Koh Samui as a destination – what to expect
For only just over one hours flying from Bangkok, Koh Samui and the surrounding islands is the bit of tropical Thailand that is mostly natural and the crowds of tourists have let alone. At least it still has some of the areas preserved and quieter. Koh Samui has a distinctly different character to some of the more busy resort destinations such as Phuket. We would hesitate to say in all honesty that all parts of the island are pure, but when you leave Chaweng and head around the North West and South West coast you can find an even pace of life and tropical slowness that refreshes and de-stresses all in one go.
Why find a home here?
If you are considering a change of life style, then before you come to Koh Samui you should watch The Beach, the Leo DiCaprio film set on the dreamy Thai island of Phi Phi, which was a stand-in for Koh Samui. Ignore the Hollywood melodrama about sharks and drug runners, but concentrate on the backdrop; the golden sand, the softness of the Southeast Asian sky and water in shades of teal, tiger-beetle green and peacock blue. That part of the movie is real.
Thai fishermen settled on Koh Samui more than 1,500 years ago and kept their secret well into the 20th century. There wasn’t a road or motor vehicle on Samui, Thailand’s third largest island, until the 1940s, and even today, the mountainous interior remains largely jungle, although now we can take a 4WD on certain roads that snake up into the hillside. The coast is strung with fishing villages, Buddhist temples and thousands of coconut palms that provide the island’s primary export. Motorbike, Song tow and boat are still the main ways to get around.
Discovered by hippies in the 70s, backpackers in the 80s and upscale dropouts in the 90s, this island blends everything Thailand offers in abundance including but not limited to Thai massages, beachside bungalows, lively bars with posh resorts and all the modern conveniences. As is true in other parts of Thailand, a 40 Thai Baht bowl of noodles at a place like Big Buddha or Bophut walking street can be as scrumptious as at any fine restaurant.
Who are your fellow inhabitants?
Koh Samui inhabitants are now a mixture from all parts of the world. It is fair to say that its popularity has meant that there are many styles and colors of people living here on retirement or simply on vacation. The numbers tend to swell during peak holiday seasons and into long parts of the year. The local Samui people are very welcoming, and many are highly involved with ensuring that the Island grows gracefully in a nice way.
You know it’s an island when …
Everybody is dressed in shorts and T shirts, and time always creeps by slowly. Nobody rushes on Samui so the pace of life lingers longer. People enjoy simple things and foods. There is always a beach no more than a few minutes away.
Direct flights to Bangkok and the island of Phuket are about an hour. Alternatively you can hop on the ferry and take a ride to Donsak, and then take local buses where ever you please.
Size: 95 square miles
Population: 40,000 (but swells to well over this during peak and high seasons).
Median Home Price: 7,000,000 Thai Baht
There is a mixture of properties that will suit many budgets, so almost all can find a home either to rent or purchase. From small condos to the largest luxury beach front villa or hillside retreat, there are many choices to entice would be escapees from all parts of the world.