KOH SAMUI

Ko Samui (or Koh SamuiThaiเกาะสมุย) is an island off the east coast of the Kra IsthmusThailand. Geographically in the Chumphon Archipelago, it is part of Surat Thani Province, though as of 2012, Ko Samui was granted Municipality status and thus is now locally self-governing. Ko Samui is Thailand’s second-largest island after Phuket, with an area of 228.7 km2, a population of over 63,000 and a hotel occupancy rate of 73 percent as the number of visitors continues to increase. Abundant tourist resources, sandy beaches, coral reefs, and coconut trees are present on the island.

The island was probably first inhabited about 15 centuries ago, settled by fishermen from the Malay Peninsula and southern China. It appears on Chinese maps dating back to 1687, under the name Pulo Cornam. The name samui is mysterious in itself. Perhaps it is an extension of the name of one of the native trees, mui. Some people believe that the word “samui” derives from the Malay word “saboey”, or “safe haven”, although there appears to be no credible corroboration of this. Ko is the Thai word for “island”.

Until the late-20th century, Ko Samui was an isolated self-sufficient community, having little connection with the mainland of Thailand. The island was without roads until the early 1970s, and the 15 km journey from one side of the island to the other could involve a whole-day trek through the mountainous central jungles.

Ko Samui’s economy now is based primarily on a successful tourist industry, as well as exports of coconut and rubber.

Economic growth has brought not only prosperity, but also major changes to the island’s environment and culture

Situated in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui’s paradisal beaches, relaxed culture, awesome nightlife and dirt cheap prices make it a top destination for the backpacker crowd. But it’s also home to a handful of luxury resorts, a tonne of posh spas and a great little airport all catering to holiday makers wanting to relax in the lap of luxury too. Koh Samui (sometimes spelt Ko Samui) is Thailand’s second-largest island (behind Phuket) and it takes just over an hour to drive around its perimeter. Its middle is virtually uninhabitable on account of all the mountainous rainforest but there’s still a wealth of hidden treasures to explore around the coast

Koh Samui’s Famous Big Buddha

Big Buddha

The best known and most famous of all the landmarks on this island is the Big Buddha temple. Sitting just off the corner of Koh Samui on a little tiny island is a 12 meter tall statue of Buddha in a seated position. The local name for the temple is Wat Phra Yai and it is connected to the main island by a causeway. Made of gold and sitting in the Mara position it shows a time when Buddha was rejecting all temptations that were forced upon him. When you fly into Koh Samui the statue is usually the first thing that you will spot due to its prominent location. There are a few food and amulet stalls at the temple which are also worth looking at either when you arrive or depart.

Sights At Hin Ta And Hin Yai

Hin Ta & Hin Yai

Hin Ta & Hin Yai

All throughout Thailand you will see things that shock and surprise you, but maybe nothing quite like this. The rocks were discovered by locals many years ago and are naturally shaped to look like male and female genitalia. The rocks have been fondly named Ta (Grandpa) and Yai (Grandma.) The rocks have a story that has become part of folklore over the years and you can see the story on a sign as you get closer to the rocks, the story goes that an old couple called Ta Kreng and Yai Riem were traveling to a neighboring province to see a man called Ta Monglai to ask that his daughter marry their son, on the way the boat ran into a storm and they died at sea. The couple then turned into rocks as a symbol of their intentions.