Koh Samui is the most developed of the holiday islands of the Gulf of Thailand. It is the only one with an airport, and even is something described as being "over-developed." However, from an the perspective of an outdoors enthusiast, none of that really matters. It is arguably the best-equipped place for getting your hands on a sailboat, has plenty of beach activities, and even better access to certain dive sites than even the more popular Koh Tao or Koh Phangan.
Koh Samui has a reputation for being overdeveloped and attracting far too many "lager louts," but it is a fairly big place and there are still plenty of beaches where it is possible to pursue outdoor adventure. Windsurfing and kiteboarding are possible on most of Koh Samui's beaches, although the surf is only rarely strong enough to support even Boogie Boarding and body surfing, let alone proper surfing. Maenam and Choengmon beaches are the two least developed beaches, and that is where the crowds are likely to be thinnest.
Snorkeling and Diving
Most of the beaches on Koh Samui have rocky points or reefs that are only a short swim from the sand, and these offer plenty of corals and sealife for viewing. The island's many tourist agencies also offer snorkeling trips to the coves and points that are harder to get to. Many hotels offer them. Most scuba diving excursions allow snorkelers to come along for a modest fee, and Koh Samui has plenty of access to scuba diving. Boats from Koh Samui leave for two- and three-dive day trips at all of the sites in the Koh Samui-Koh Phangan-Koh Tao area, but there are two that are particular to Koh Samui, and rarely if ever visited by divers who are not staying on the island: the small islands of Koh Kra and Koh Losin. These are 80 and 100 miles from Koh Samui respectively, so getting there is a live-aboard trip, but they are well worth it.
Due to the Koh Samui regatta, sailing is quite popular on the island, and there are a number of options for renting sailboats. Sea kayaking trips also head out to Angthong National Park, a marine park that is popular among snorkelers and scuba divers.
The interior of the island is home to a fairly decent tropical forest, but it can hardly be called "pristine," and to brand it a jungle would be a considerable overstatement. However, there are trails for hiking and mountain biking, and a company called Canopy Adventures offers swinging off treehouses by cable through the forest.
P.O. Box 28
Maenam, Koh Samui
Surat Thani 84330
011 (+66) 0870467307
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.