Saturday, 23 March 2013

Vacationing in Koh Samui

Gorgeous view from Beyond the Sea in Koh Samui

Even a brief stopover at the vacation island of Koh Samui can readily captivate a passing visitor who in most probability would vow to come back for a longer stay. This alluring tourist destination is located off the eastern coast of Thailand, now easily accessible within an hour by plane from the country’s capital, Bangkok. The island dazzles with the pristine sands of its beaches and its blue crystal clear waters. Samui also boasts of a wide selection of fine bars and restaurants serving both local and international cuisine.

The third biggest in the Gulf ofThailand, Koh Samui is actually the crown jewel of an archipelago made up of eighty islands. Thus, a Samui visit enables choices from a wide array of beaches to chill out. Despite the growing influx of tourists drawn by these kaleidoscopic delights, it is endearing to note that this tourist attraction has retained much of its rustic splendor. Islands near Samui worth a visit include Ko Pha Ngan which has superb beaches and eye-pleasing waterfalls. A stop at the Ko Tao is likewise an enticing option as this virgin island flaunts magnificent corals in its waters.

An inland tour of Samui will reveal sprawling plantations of coconut palms which is a major driver of the economy in the island. The produce from the coconuts are sold at the mainland, and the plantations’ palms likewise locally supply  fiber for mats or ropes, thatch for roofing, and vegetable oil which isn’t only a base for food items but also serves as raw material for consumer products like soap and candle. Besides coconut farming, rice cultivation and fishing are also sources of livelihood for the locals.

With the growing importance of tourism in the island in recent years, the travel business has also started to have a positive impact on the local economy and the island’s residents. It was not too long ago that tourists found the path to Koh Samui which was erstwhile popular only among backpackers.

Travel to the island when the transport facilities weren’t as developed as today was a challenge. Samui was then fairly isolated, as it is 560 kilometers north of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. Geographically, Samui is in fact closer to Malaysia than it is from Bangkok. The island is also about 80 kilometers from Surat Thani, the local capital. With the construction of the island’s airport, however, the travel time between the Thai mainland and Samui was significantly reduced, enabling the island’s tourist industry to blossom.  

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