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Ko Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand, approximately 84 kilometers east of Surat Thani Province, or approximately 700 kilometers south of Bangkok. Known as the Coconut Island, Ko Samui is one of the most famous and popular attractions of Thailand. With an area of 247 square kilometers, Ko Samui is the third largest island of Thailand after Phuket and Ko Chang (of Trat Province). The topography of the island is that of a plain with a mountain range in the middle and 7 important streams. In addition, there is a 50-kilometer paved road that encircles the island. Moreover, the area of the island stretches to a group of 48 surrounding islets.
Despite the fast pace of development, Ko Samui has been able to maintain its charm its classical image of a tropical beach resort fringed by coconut trees. Travelers to the island can enjoy a mixed blessing of vibrant day and nightlife along side with tranquility which can easily be found across different parts of Ko Samui as the archipelago is a peaceful home for fishermen and a natural den for seagulls and other rare birds.
By airBangkok Airways flies from Bangkok to Ko Samui 13 times daily. The flight takes about one hour and 10 minutes. It also offers daily flights between Phuket and Samui. For more information, call its Bangkok office, 0 2229 3456, 0 2229 3434, Samui office, 0 7742 2512 - 9 or Samui Airport Office 0 7724 5601-8.
Air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok\'s Southern Bus Terminal for Surat Thani several times daily. The trip takes about 11 hours. For further information, call 0 2435 1199, 0 2435 1200 (air-con), 0 2434 5557 - 8 (non-air-con).
From Bangkok, take Highway 4 (Buddha Monthon Road) through Phetchaburi and Chumphon Provinces and then drive on to Highways 41 and 401 to Surat Thani Province. From Surat Thani, visitors can take their cars to Ko Samui through a vehicle ferry at Donsak Pier. The trip takes 1.30 hours.
Several trains leave Bangkok\'s Hualamphong Station for Surat Thani daily. The trip takes about 12 hours. Train / bus / ferry combination tickets are also available. For more information, call Hualamphong Railway Station, 0 2223 7010, 0 2223 7020.
Coconut Calm Beach Resort
Start: 1,100 THB .
Samui Mermaid Resort
Big Buddha Beach
Start: 400 THB .
Full Moon Bungalows
Big Buddha Beach
Start: 990 THB .
Beach House Samui Hotel
Big Buddha Beach
Start: 1,700 THB .
Beach Front Apartment
Start: 1,600 THB .
Baan Samui Resort
Start: 3,450 THB .
Imperial Boat House Hotel
Choeng Mon Beach
Start: 3,050 THB .
Tongsai Bay Cottages & Hotel
Start: 8,150 THB .
Koh Samui Diving
Ko Samui offers high-quality diving most of the year, though it\'s probably best avoided during the monsoon in November and December. It is still possible to take shore-based courses during this time however. The four-day PADI Open Water Course is very competitively priced compared to elsewhere in the world and there\'s a wide range of schools to choose from. The most famous dive site in the area is Sail Rock, North of Ko Pha Ngan, which has an 18m natural rock chimney swimthrough and is a good place to see whale sharks. Other sites can be found in the North of Anthong Marine National Park and close to the Gulf\'s diving mecca Ko Tao, which has 21 sites off its shores. A day\'s diving from Samui should get to two to three sites.
The worlds latest aquatic craze has arrived on Samui in style - located at the Samui Orchid Resort in Laem Set, the Koh Samui Kite Centre uses the latest Airrush equipment and offers a full range of kiteboarding courses for all ability levels. The location also benefits from a shallow sandy bay, which is perfect for beginners. November to March when the north easterly to easterly wind blows between 8 to 20 knots is probably the best time to go. Tel. 077 424 017-501.
Golf in Koh Samui
From mini-golf to the real thing. The island\'s first and currently only, professional standard golf course, opened in 2003 offering great golf and a gorgeous location in the hills above Maenam . If you prefer something less challenging, there\'s always mini-golf...
The best season for diving is from January to May and from September to October when visibility is at its best.
Health - Samui has several hospitals of varying quality. By far the best is Samui International Hospital in Chaweng (North Beach Road, Tel. 077 422 272), which can deal with most medical needs. Anyone requiring long term or highly specialised treatment should get to Bangkok as quickly as possible.
Immigration - visa extensions are available at the Immigration Office in Nathon. Thanon Thaweeradphakdee, Tel. 077 421 069.
Post Offices - There are many sub-post offices all over the island, which are fine for buying stamps and sending postcards. For anything more urgent, go to the main post office in Nathon, which also has a telecom centre for international calls. Seaside Road. Open 8.30am - 430pm Mon - Fri and 9am - 12pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Police - There are police boxes or stations in most towns, but many of the officers in them won\'t be able to speak any English. To overcome the language barrier, see the tourist police in Nathon. Thanon Thaweeradphakdee, Tel. 077 421 281.