In the 1970s Thailand’s third largest island was known as a haven for backpackers arriving on cheap flights to Koh Samui. But recent developments of luxury resorts and health spas, plus shops, restaurants and bars, has opened up Koh Samui as a destination of choice for many Australian travellers. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui has a warm, dry climate for most of the year with temps averaging 30C and only a short, wet season. It is blessed with all the trappings of a tropical paradise, white sand beaches with crystal-clear waters, lush tropical rainforest and coral reefs with plentiful fish. Koh Samui’s high season runs from December to August, peaking in the months of July and August. The Christmas holiday period is also very busy and when cheap flights to Koh Samui are harder to find.
Koh Samui’s off season is from September to November as these are the rainy months and sightseeing can be interrupted by afternoon downpours. November is the wettest and windiest month, though surfers should look for cheap flights to Koh Samui at this time as the waves are at their largest.
When is the best time to book a flight to Koh Samui?
Between May and June is the optimal time to take flights to Koh Samui as there are fewer tourists and accommodation prices are lower. The weather is also at its best and the ocean is perfect for swimming, snorkelling and diving. For the cheapest flights to Koh Samui, search for flights a couple of months out from your dates of choice, and fly midweek if you can.
Thai Airways is the national carrier and operates indirect flights to Koh Samui from Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney via Bangkok. Along with Bangkok Airways, Thai Airways services 17 flights per day to the island. Other airlines that offer indirect flights to Koh Samui from Australia are Etihad Airways, Jetstar and Qantas.
How to get from the airport to the city centre?
Koh Samui Airport (USM) is located approximately 3 km north of Chaweng Beach, the main tourist town. The fifteen minute journey can be undertaken by airport shuttle bus, or private and shared minivans, which can seat up to six passengers. The transport counter in the arrivals area handles information and bookings. There are a few car rental companies in the arrivals area if you wish to hire a car for the duration of your stay.
Koh Samui insider information
Fisherman's Village is packed with restaurants, shops, market stalls and bars. There is an Irish bar, naturally, called The Irish Times. The Billabong Surf Club flies the Aussie flag.
Hua Thanon is a Muslim village on the south coast. While there are some restaurants and a wonderful beach, seeing the fishermen at work and looking at their beautifully decorated boats is the best thing.
The bonus to playing a round of golf on Koh Samui are the beautiful views. The Santiburu Samui Country Club on the north coast is an 18-hole, par-72 course. The Royal Samui Golf and Country Club is located next to Chaweng Beach and will be an 18-hole course. It's nine holes at present. There are views of Lamai, Cheweng and the surrounding islands.
Samui Shooting Sport is close to Chaweng about 200 metres from the Tesco Lotus superstore. It's a great place to let off some steam with, perhaps, an AK-47. Elephant trekking is a gentler option. It's a great, slow, way to go into Koh Samaui's jungly heart.
From the pier at Bophut beach you can take a boat to Ko Pha Ngan or take a day trip to the Ang Thong National Marine Park, which consists of 42 limestone islands with soaring mountains, sheer cliffs and dense, green forest.
Hin Ta and Hin Yai - Grandfather Rock and Grandmother Rock - provide a quirky photo op. The rocks, south of Chaweng beach, are shaped, suggestively, like male and female genitalia.
The Muay Thai stadium in Chaweng town is worth a visit to experience this traditional sport.