If you are looking for long, white sand beaches, majestic green coconut palms everywhere, warm, azure blue crystal
clear water - in short, a place that matches everybody's concept of a tropical paradise, then Koh Samui is ideal for you.
The beautiful island in the gulf of Thailand - until some years ago an insider spot - is becoming more and more popular
among travelers, and big tour operators and large hotel chains have established themselves there, but even mass tourism
has not managed to spoil Koh Samui's idyllic charm. The pace of life here is still very calm and relaxed.

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Beach at Utopia

The beautiful island is located in the deep south of Thailand, about 100 kilometres north of Koh Phuket, but on
the other side of the Isthmus of Kra, the narrow mountainous strip of land that connects Thailand and Malaysia.
Located 258 nautical miles south of Bangkok, Koh Samui measures some 21 kilometres at its widest point, and 25 kilometres
at its longest. Koh Samui ("Koh" means "island") is only the most well known of a veritable archipelago of 80 islands in
the south of the Gulf of Thailand (or Gulf of Siam, as it is still sometimes called). Among the other inhabitated island of
the archipelago are Koh Phangan, which has approximately the same size as Samui and is located north of it
(you can see it from Maenam Beach) and Koh Tao, also north of Samui island.


Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Beach at Utopia



Most of the visitors to Samui Island come for swimming, sunbathing, or just doing nothing. The coral reefs around
the island are, however, very good for snorkeling and scuba diving, and boating and fishing are also available
(Samui is less suitable for wind surfing the only two good beaches for it are Chaweng and Lamai). If you are not
into marine sports then a little sightseeing may be interesting. Samui Island does not offer spectacular
architecture or immortal monuments of art, but there are mountains, waterfalls, charming half-forgotten
forest Wats (Buddhist monasteries), and lovely little islands and islets around Koh Samui. Samui Island is really
one of the most beautiful places in South East Asia and you should try to enjoy it to the fullest.

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Koh Samui


Early vacationers here were attracted to the island as much by the jungle as by the beach. Where else can you get both
tropical forests and warm seas for swimming? Leave the beach and explore Samui’s unique rock formations, strange
botanical specimens and exhilarating waterfalls. Here are some of Samui’s natural wonders:

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Lamai Beach

Angthong National Marine Park

This fascinating group of islands, within sight of Samui to the north and west, is geographically different from the other islands
in the region. The Ang Thong islands rise from the other islands in the region. The Ang Thong islands rise from the seas as
dramatic walls of rock soaring hundreds of metres high. Besides the many small coves and beautiful little beaches, erosion
has shaped some strange formations. One island has a mysterious sink hole, completely enclosed by walls of sheer rock,
in its center. Definitely worth a daytrip, and instead of the standard cruise, put together a group of friends to charter a boat
and explore the islands and beaches in your own time.

Ang Thong Marine Nationalpark

The Big Buddha

Samui's most popular attraction, The Big Buddha sitting 15 metres tall was built in 1972 by the local society to give visitors a
place to pay respect to The Lord Buddha. This monumental landmark is placed on the island's Northern shore.

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Big Bhudda

Na Muang Waterfall I+II

Na Muang Waterfall is located 10km south from Nathon at Ban Thurian. There are 2 waterfalls. Na Muang one is 18 metres
high and can be reached by vehicle. Na Muang two is about 80 metres high and can only be reached by a 30 minute walk.
The waterfalls are the most scenic on the island. Between Hua Thanon and Nathon in the Southwest sector of the island,
this waterfall is just off


A concrete road, making it easily accessible to visitors. Rocks and tree roots form a natural staircase leading directly to a large pool
at the base of the waterfall. Be careful when diving or swimming in the pool, however, as shallow, sharp rocks are hidden by
the frothing of the fall.

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Na Muang I
Na Muang II

Overlap-Stone

Climbing up 150 metres along a 1.3 km road you can find argvably the best view on Koh Samui- Overlooking the
tranquil muslim Fishing village 'Hua Thanon' you can view traditional Thai fishing boats navigating small islands and sandbanks.
While in the foreground you can see palmtrees accompanied by the sweet songs tropical birds and wildlife.

How do you get there? Easy! Drive towards Wat "Sila Ngu" (just outside Lamai) on the opposite side you can see signposts.
The first 500 metres is pretty flat this is followed by a steeper section (experienced motorcyclist or 4-wheel-jeeps should
have no problem) also reachable on foot, a short walk of 10 - 15 minutes.
On arrival you can rest at 'Paradise view point' restaurant.
You will be greeted by the friendly staff who offer very reasonable 
price ice cool drinks. Stay longer and sample the the excellent
Thai or European food. If the trip has wet your appetite 
there is a chance to go on guided tours leading up to 500 m high peaks.


Hin Ta - Hin Yai
 

Strangely shaped rocks at south Lamai. A local story tells of an old couple whose ship was wrecked in the bay. Their body's were
washed ashore to create the rocks.


Hin Lad Waterfall
 

Cool down after an enjoyable 2km walk along a jungle path by taking a dip in a beautiful swimming pool under this waterfall.
In evergreen, rain forest setting with palms and creepers, the waterfall have several levels with a cool pool for a fresh water swim.
Tough shoes are recommended for the walk, but the swim makes it well worth it. Check the water before diving, as there are many
rocks just below the surface. Packing a picnic will allow you to spend a couple of hours here and really enjoy the solitude.
At the foot of the falls is Hin Lad monastery, which is worth seeing as well. The tranquil feel of the grounds and the Buddhist sayings
that line the path are especially worth noting if you have just arrived on Samui from a hectic job. The falls are on the eastern end
of route 4172, 2km south of Nathon.


Secret Buddha Garden

The secret Buddha garden is hidden in the hills of Samui. You can see several statues, temples and waterfalls which are 
build by one man in the last 20 years.


Ancient House

A house made of teakwood without any nails at Ban Thale is the oldest house on the island. It was built approximately
150 years ago, is constructed of teak planks
and shows off many beautiful woodcarvings.


Butterfly Garden

Na Tian Butterfly Garden is situated at the bottom of the hill south of the island. Apart from the numerous species of
butterflies on display, there are also other
interesting features in the garden: The bee house, a Thai style house which allows the visitor to observe the activities of bees.
The insect museum, rare insects from
Thailand and other countries are displayed here.


Snake Farm

A definite must see for all those visiting the island. Shows featuring snakes indigenous to Samui as well as Centipede, Scorpion and
Cock Fighting shows. Informative and entertaining. Great for the entire family and worth looking for. Follow the signs seen throughout
the island. Show times are 11.00 and 14.00 everyday.


Naga Pearl Farm

Visit the Naga Pearl Farm and discover how pearls are cultured. A 30 minute boat ride from Ban Thong Krut landing will bring
you to Koh Matsum and the Naga Pearl Farm. After you learn about pearl culture, you will enjoy eating Thai food and spend the
afternoon on the white sandy beach. Don't miss the Naga Pearl Shop, located at 81/1 Ban Thong Krut, where all varieties of pearl
and pearl products are offered. Pearl shells and special handicrafts are very nice souvenirs to bring back home.

Thailand has a land area of approximately 518,000 square kilometres. On its north-south axis the longest distance
is approx 1,700 kilometres and on the east-west axis it is 800 kilometres. However at one point 250 kilometres south
of Bangkok the Burmese border is only 20 kilometres from the Gulf of Thailand. The country can be divided into four
distinct regions. The central region is a low-lying plain dominated by the Chao Phraya river and its network of tributaries
and canals. As well as being the most fertile region of the country it is also the most populated, containing the capital 
Bangkok, with its six million inhabitants. The north is a mainly mountainous area containing the country's highest peak,
Don Inthanon, rising to a height of 2,590 metres. Chiang Mai, Thailand's second largest city with a population of 170,000,
is situated in the midst of this region. The northeast of the country is generally flat and scenically is the least attractive
of the four regions. This area is the least visited by tourists. Economically it is the most depressed region of the country
with a mainly agricultural workforce making the best use they can of the poor soil and erratic rainfall. To the east is
Cambodia and to the north Laos across the Mekong river. As these countries hopefully open up to trade and tourism in the
near future the fortunes of this region should improve. Southern Thailand which extends to the border with peninsular
Malaysia is sandwiched between the Gulf of Thailand to the east and the Andaman sea, a branch of the Indian ocean,
to the west. The terrain for the most part is mountainous with the flatter land along the coastal strip. Although the hills
are not as high as in the north the scenery is still spectacular, especially in the area of Khao Sok national park not far from 
Phuket, the largest island and the destination of many visitors to the south. Stretching along the coast from Burma in the
north to Malaysia in the south are dozens of islands with some of the best beaches in Asia. Off the east coast are more
islands including Koh Samui. Many of these are at present far less developed than Phuket and are ideal for those seeking a
tranquil beach holiday.

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Map of Thailand


Climate & The Best Time for Traveling

Basically, Thailand has three seasons: a dry and hot season (from November until February), a very hot season (from March until the end of April the weather is still dry, but very hot, and doing sightseeing tours may be uncomfortable) and a wet and hot season (this is the monsoon season from May to the end of October).
 
Koh Samui, however, is a little bit different from the rest of Thailand - the islands in the southwest of the Gulf of Siam have climate of their own.the best time for traveling to Koh Samui are the months from March to September. The rainy season starts in October most rainfalls occur in November. December to February (main season) it is up to 30ฐC (86ฐF). Sometimes a short tropical rain, mostly in December. This is the best season for European people, because it is not too hot. March to June it becomes very hot, up to 40ฐC (114ฐF), are rarely raining. You will enjoy to have a bungalow with air condition! July to September (main season) is hot, but some days its raining. August is called the Italian season (you can guess why). June, October, November are rainy seasons. But its not raining every day. In contrast to other regions of Thailand, Samui not really have a raining season. But sometimes there are sunless periods of 2 or 3 days.

          Thai food is internationally famous. Whether chili-hot or comparatively bland, harmony is the guiding
principle behind each dish. Thai cuisine is essentially a marriage of centuries-old Eastern and Western influences
harmoniously combined into something uniquely Thai. The characteristics of Thai food depend on who cooks it,
for whom it is cooked, for what occasion, and where it is cooked to suit all palates. Originally, Thai cooking reflected
the characteristics of a waterborne lifestyle. Aquatic animals, plants and herbs were major ingredients. Large
chunks of meat were eschewed. Subsequent influences introduced the use  of sizeable chunks to Thai cooking.                           

                      
Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Seafood
  Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Seafood

With their Buddhist background, Thais shunned the use of large animals in big  chunks. Big cuts of meat were
shredded and laced with herbs and spices. Traditional Thai cooking methods were stewing and baking, or grilling.
Chinese influences saw the introduction of frying, stir frying and deep-frying. Culinary influences from the 17th century
onwards included Portuguese, Dutch, French and Japanese. Chillies were introduced to Thai cooking during the late
1600s by Portuguese missionaries who had acquired a taste for  them while serving in South America. Thais were
very adapt at 'Siamese-ising' foreign cooking methods, and substituting ingredients. The ghee used in Indian
cooking was replaced by coconut oil, and coconut milk substituted for other daily products. Overpowering pure spices
were toned down and enhanced by fresh herbs such as lemon grass and galanga. Eventually, fewer and less
spices were used in Thai curries, while the use of fresh herbs   increased. It is generally acknowledged that Thai
curries burn intensely, but briefly, whereas other curries, with strong spices, burn for longer periods. Instead of serving
dishes in courses, a Thai meal is served all at once, permitting dinners to enjoy complementary combinations of different tastes. 
A proper Thai meal should consist of a soup, a curry dish with condiments, a dip with accompanying fish and 

vegetables. A spiced salad may replace the curry dish. The soup can also be spicy, but the curry should be
replaced by non spiced items. There must be a harmony of tastes and textures within individual dishes and the entire meal. 

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Dinner at Utopia

A large variety of sweets, most of them based on rice flour and coconut milk are produced. If you have a "sweet tooth"
Thailand definitely is your place! A favorite Thai dessert is Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango, or you can try a platter of
sliced local fruit like pomelo, melon, pineapple, rose apple, papaya, etc.

Thailand's rich soil yields an extraordinary variety of fruits including more than two dozen kinds of bananas and
of course the pungent durian! No matter when you come to Thailand, or whatever part of the country you visit,
you'll find fresh fruit vendors on every street and the wide choice of fruits available is sure to be a memorable part
of your experience.

Many herbs and spices used in Thai cuisine have beneficial medicinal properties. Herewith are some examples:

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Chili: "Phrik" in Thai

Chili is an erect, branched, shrub-like herb with fruits used as garnishing and flavoring in Thai dishes. There are many different species. All contain capsaicin, a biologically active ingredient beneficial to the respiratory system, blood pressure and heart. Other therapeutic uses include being a stomachic, carminative and antiflatulence agent, and digestant.

               

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

 Cumin: "Yi-ra" in Thai

Cumin is a small shrubbery herb, the fruit of which contains a 2-4% volatile oil with a pungent odour, and which is used as a flavouring and condiment. Cumin's therapeutic properties manifest as a stomachic, bitter tonic, carminative, stimulant and astringent.

                   

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Garlic: "Kra-thiam" in Thai

Garlic is an annual herbaceous plant with underground bulbs comprising several cloves. Dried mature bulbs are used as a flavouring and condiment in Thai cuisine. The bulbs contain a 0.1-0.36% garlic oil and organic sulfur compounds. Therapeutic uses are as an antimicrobial, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, antiflatulence and cholesterol lowering agents.

                   

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Ginger: "Khing" in Thai

Ginger is an erect plant with thickened, fleshy and aromatic rhizomes. Used in different forms as a food, flavouring and spice. Ginger's rhizomes contain a 1-2% volatile oil. Ginger's therapeutic uses are as a carminative, antinauseant and antiflatulence agent.

             

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Galanga: "Kha" in Thai

Greater Galanga is an erect annual plant with aromatic, ginger-like rhizomes, and commonly used in Thai cooking as a flavouring. The approximately 0.04 volatile oil content has therapeutic uses as carminative, stomachic, antirheumatic and antimicrobial agents.

           

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Hoary Basil: "Maeng-lak" in Thai

Hoary Basil is an annual herbaceous plant with slightly hairy and pale green leaves, eaten either raw or used as a flavouring, and containing approximately 0.7% volatile oil. Therapeutic benefits include the alleviation of cough symptoms, and as diaphoretic and carminative agents.

           

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Kafffir: "Ma-krut" in Thai

The leaves, peel and juice of the Kaffir Lime are used as a flavouring in Thai cuisine. The leaves and peel contain a volatile oil. The major therapeutic benefit of the juice is as an appetizer.

                   

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

(No Common English Name): Krachai in Thai 

This erect annual plant with aromatic rhizomes and yellow-brown roots, is used as a flavouring. The rhizomes contain approximately 0.8% volatile oil. The plant has stomachache relieving and antimicrobial properties, and therapeutic benefits as an antitussive and antiflatulence agent.

              

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Lemon Grass: "Ta-khrai" in Thai

This erect annual plant resembles a coarse grey-green grass. Fresh leaves and grass are used as flavouring. Lemongrass contains a 0.2-0.4 volatile oil. Therapeutic properties are as a diurectic, emmanagogue, antiflatulence, antiflu and antimicrobial agent.

               

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Lime: "Ma-nao" in Thai

Lime is used principally as a garnish for fish and meat dishes. The fruit contains Hesperidin and Naringin , scientifically proven anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Lime juice is used as an appetizer, and has antitussive, antiflu, stomachic and antiscorbutic properties.

              

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Marsh Mint: "Sa-ra-nae" in Thai

The fresh leaves of this herbaceous plant are used as a flavouring and eaten raw in Thai cuisine. Volatile oil contents give the plant several therapeutic uses, including carminative, mild antiseptic, local anaesthetic, diaphoretic and digestant properties.

               

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Sacred Basil: "Ka-phrao" in Thai

Sacred Basil is an annual herbaceous plant that resembles Sweet Basil but has narrower and often times reddish-purple leaves. The fresh leaves, which are used as a flavouring, contain approximately 0.5% volatile oil, which exhibits antimicrobial activity, specifically as a 
carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant and stomachic.

             

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Shallot: "Hom,Hom-lek,Hom-daeng" in Thai

Shallots, or small red onions, are annual herbaceous plants. Underground bulbs comprise garlic-like cloves. Shallot bulbs contain a volatile oil, and are used as flavouring or seasoning agents. Therapeutic properties include the alleviation of stomach discomfort, and as an antihelmintic, antidiarrhoeal, expectorant, antitussive, diuretic and antiflu agents.

                   

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Sweet Basil: "Ho-ra-pha" in Thai

Sweet Basil is an annual herbaceous plant, the fresh leaves of which are either eaten raw or used as a flavouring in Thai cooking. Volatile oil content varies according to different varieties. Therapeutic properties are as carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, digestant and stomachic agents.

                   

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui

Turmeric:  "Kha-min" in Thai

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, and provides yellow colouring for Thai food. The rhizomes contain a 3-4% volatile oil with unique aromatic characteristics. Turmeric's therapeutic properties manifest as a carminative, antiflatulence and stomachic.

Overview of the History and Geography of Koh Samui

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Nathon 1965


Koh Samui lies 35 kilometres off the Surat Thani (one of the major cities in southern Thailand) coast and about 700 kilometres south of Bangkok. The island was probably originally settled about 1500 years ago by fishermen, but its existence has first been officially recorded by the Chinese only as late as about 1500 AD, in ancient maps from the Ming dynasty. Apparently Samui Island had trade connections with China (at least Chinese ceramics were found in ship wrecks from that period that has sunken near the coast of Samui). The probably most dramatic episode in the history of the island
was the short Japanese occupation during World War II. Today Koh Samui belongs to Thailand but due to the long isolation from the rest of the world (little was known about Koh Samui until the early 1970s) the islanders (Samui has about 35.000 inhabitants) still think of themselves as really different from the rest of the country and are proud of their island culture. Samui has a size of about 250 kilometres in square (comparable to the Malaysian island Penang). As everywhere in Thailand, the major religion is Theravada Buddhism and there are lots of simple temples and shrines on the island, sometimes hidden in the jungle.

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Ancient Map

Until the year 1940, Koh Samui was without any road and cars. The Island lived in its own pace with almost no contact to the outside world . Getting from Maenam to Lamai Beach for example meant walking through the mountain jungles for hours and hours, a trip that was impossible to make to and back in one day. Tourism was unknown, there was simply no convenient way for anybody to come to Koh Samui. The only way to reach the island from the mainland was by a daily boat (6 hours from Surat Thani harbor to Nathon). At arrival here one had to count on another couple of hours or more to reach ones final destination. Early plans of a road construction were laid down because of the mountainous area and the impossibility to get heavy construction machines to the island. In the year 1967, Khun Dilok Suthiklom, the headman of the island decided that something had to be done for development and contacted the government for help. First start of construction consisted of manual labor by hundreds of people cleaning a way around the island. Rocks and trees has to be cleared out of the way and the result after long hard handwork was a kind of dirt track that lead almost all the way around. Two major obstacles were the high mountains between Nathon and Maenam and the long mountain stretch between Lamai and Chaweng. The former had to be lowered by dynamite to allow the road to climb up in an acceptable angle; even so, in the first couple of years before laying out concrete it meant usually that everybody except the driver had to get off the car and help pushing it up. The area between Lamai and Chaweng is the rockiest cliff landscape on Samui and road had to be more or less carved out of the
mountains on a length of 3 km, an impossible task without dynamite and heavy construction machinery. So these machines were slipped over from the mainland and in lack of a deep water pier had to be brought to land on beaches that were steep enough to allow the large carrying vessels to anchor at land. In-between there were further delays due to prolonged rainy seasons, the heavy monsoon rains making it virtually impossible to work at all, not to mention laying out concrete. Finally in the year 1973 order came from Bangkok to finish the Samui ring road project and concrete started to run to complete a 52 km. long, 12 metres wide road all around the island that now seems indispensable to us and most people cannot even imagine anymore there was time when the only way to get from one place to other on Koh Samui was on foot or by boat. Life on the island is still very quiet, much more so than for instance on Phuket. There are schools on Samui but the more well-to-do families prefer to send their children to the colleges and universities on the Thai mainland. The main produce of the island are coconuts (which are processed for copra production), tropical fruit, and bamboo. Fishing is of course also a major source of income and recently the tourism industry (most of the accommodation offered on Samui is still owned by locals, not by large hotel chains) has become more and more popular.

The Thai unit of currency is the Baht. You can change money either at the banks in Nathon, or at the money changers in
Chaweng, Maenam or Lamai. The basic exchange rates are the same everywhere. It is best to bring traveler's cheques, because
they are safer and because the exchange for them is slightly better than the rate for cash.

(You have to show you passport and give your address in Thailand if you want to cash a cheque.)

Major credit cards (Visa, American Express, MasterCard) are generally accepted in hotels and the big shops.


Getting There & Around

          Koh Samui has a very pretty international airport (it is a private airport operated by Bangkok Airways) and most
visitors arrive via plane (there are flights from Bangkok almost every hour ). A so-called limousine counter (in reality the vehicles
are minibuses that make a round trip tour to the hotels and drop the passengers off according to their wishes) is located in the
arrival hall and you should book your transportation to Utopia Resort there. You can also reach Koh Samui via ferry from Surat
Thani on the Thai mainland.   
            

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Koh Samui International Airport


          The express ferry (a passenger ferry) departs three times a day and is probably best. The crossing takes about 2 hours
and takes you directly to the pier in Nathon (where you can easily get transportation to your hotel or guesthouse). The express
ferries leave from Tha Thong Pier 4 kilometres away from Surat Thani (whereas the pier for the vehicle ferry from Son Sak is
located 60 kilometres - and a 2 hour bus ride - from Surat Thani, and drops you off at a pier 10 kilometres south of Nathon).
You can reach Surat Thani either by plane (with Thai Airways) or by train from Bangkok. There are a handful of taxies in Koh Samui
(a relatively new development) The most common means of transport are Songthaews (lorries or vans with wooden benches for sitting).
You must always determine the fare before you enter! Of course, Utopia or a rental car agency can provide you with a rental car or a
motorcycle (though you should be warned that the traffic conditions are somewhat tricky it is probably better to hire a driver as well). A lot of
tourists rent motorcycles in Koh Samui, but driving a motorcycle is really dangerous if you are not thoroughly familiar with both a) the art of riding
a motorcycle, and b) the traffic conditions in Asian countries.
                  

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Koh Samui international Airport


Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Beach at the Westcoast
         

You should dress for a tropical climate: cotton or silk clothes are most comfortable

(linen is too heavy). Attire on Koh Samui is absolutely informal, so light, loose

cotton clothing is most recommended. If visiting mountainous areas or national

parks, a wind breaker can be handy. When visiting temples short tight shirts or

blouses are not acceptable. Especially when exploring the night-life, tight dresses or

miniskirts are no problem. On the other hand, naked sunbathing or topless

appearance in public places is considered rude and is generally not accepted.


           Thai is a tone language of Sino-Tibetan origin. This means that differences in tone make differences in meaning. The Thai language has five tones, and if you mispronounce you do not simply say an incorrect word, you say another word entirely! Many Thais, however, (not all, of course!) speak some English and at least in the tourist areas of Thailand, like Bangkok, Phuket, or Koh Samui you can manage easily even without knowing Thai (in the more remote areas, like the Northeast, or the South, you might run into problems.) It is also always a good idea to ask the concierge of your hotel or somebody else to write down the names of your destinations in Thai script, and to take a business card of your hotel, and a good bilingual map with you.

There are various systems of transliteration, especially for Thai consonants. In this guide, "Th" means that the sound is a soft "t", and "ph" means that the sound is a soft "p" (not "f").

When traveling in Thailand and having to make one's own arrangements with regard to transport, food and accommodation it will usually be possible to find someone who speaks at least some English. It is extremely rare to encounter a Thai who speaks any non Asian language except English. Obviously for a guest house, hotel, restaurant or tour company it is advantageous to have English speaking employees as travelers gravitate towards any establishment that is going to make life easier. However for the traveler who has acquired even a very basic vocabulary there are many advantages. Everything from hotel rooms to souvenirs can be obtained at a lower cost. This is not only because it will be assumed that someone speaking Thai ( even if rather badly ) is familiar with prices but also because it frees the visitor from having to rely on the popular places to stay , shop and eat. Most important of all it shows an interest in and respect for the country and its people. The modern Thai language is thought to be derived from the Mon and Khmer dialects of what is now Burma and Cambodia with many words taken from Indian Sanskrit and Pali, the latter still used by Buddhist monks. In common with Chinese and other Asian languages it is tone sensitive. For Westerners the latter is the most difficult aspect of the language to master. The same word can have up to five different meanings depending on the tone used when pronouncing it - flat, high, low, falling or rising. That's the bad news but it's probably no worse than English speakers inflicting pronunciations such as 'rough', 'though', 'through', 'cough' and 'bough' on the rest of the world. The good news is that Thai has no genders, articles, plurals or irregular verbs. Despite what well meaning guide and phrase books tell you it is far more important for a short term visitor to acquire a working vocabulary than worry overmuch about the use of tones. You are only going to be using simple phrases and in most cases you will be understood by the context. The Thai alphabet employs a non-Roman script consisting of 44 consonants and 24 vowels. Writing proceeds from left to MainWindow and there are no spaces between the words. For the short term visitor there is no need for any knowledge of Thai script. All railway stations, town signs, main streets, most information in public buildings and transport timetables are displayed in Thai and English. The better guide books include Thai script on maps, places of interest and in the food and drink section to enable the reader to point to the appropriate word if all else fails.

          Respect for the police is a must and rude talk or shouting should be avoided in every case, guilty or not guilty. Thai police officers have much greater powers on action than for example their European counterparts and will not accept disrespectful behavior. Common offences such as not wearing a helmet will get you a 500 Baht fine and a 2 hour wait at the local police station to pay your fine. Parking on the wrong side of the road will get your bike or car chained up and another long wait to pay your fine. If you rent a motorcycle and you get involved in an accident you will have to pay for all the damage regardless if you are in the right or in the wrong. Basically that's the way it is, motorcycles are not insured and the Thai police will take the side of their fellow countrymen over you in any dispute. Having said that, the tourist police in Koh Samui  are also aware of the little tricks that the rip-off merchants use (such as short changing at money exchange booths) so if you feel that you have been done an injustice then stand on your ground, remain cool at all times whilst awaiting their arrival.

          In general, Thai Buddhist temples (Wats) are open to everyone. The temples are very often not just beautiful but they also have a very pleasant, calm, soothing atmosphere and you should try to visit at least some of them. There are, however, several rules that you must observe. Modest clothing is required, which means for ladies: a skirt or dress that covers the knees and a top with sleeves that covers the shoulders and is not transparent. For men, modest clothing means long pants and a shirt that covers the shoulders. Shorts will not do! 

Before entering any building in a temple you must always take off your shoes. Outside are often shelves for the shoes (sometimes separate shelves, one for Thais and one for foreigners). In general, you may photograph anything in a Wat, but taking pictures while people are praying is not polite! You should also never, ever have your picture taken with any Buddhist image. The monks may be photographed, by they often do not like it they just hide when they see a camera aimed at them. Women may talk to monks, but may not touch them (and the monks may also not receive anything directly from a woman's hand). You should also never, ever touch the head of a Buddha statue or point with a foot a it, or climb on anything in a temple.In general, just ask yourself: would I behave this way in a church or temple of my own confession? and act accordingly.

How Not to Offend

In general, Thais are friendly and polite, and you should try to act the same way. It is very bad behavior to start loud arguments or challenge someone in public. Harsh criticism, shouting, or other displays of anger or rage will not get you anywhere in Thailand. A person's head is considered sacred and it is an insult to touch it. The feet, on the other hand, are considered very impure, and you should never point at a person, or a religious object with a foot or step over somebody. The king of Thailand and royal family are held in genuine respect by the people and you should never speak derogatively about them or act disrespectfully with regard to them (for instance, never step on a Thai bank note - it depicts the head of the king. People have been known to be arrested for this!)

          You should be careful with the food from food stalls or in simple restaurants. Eat only things that have been thoroughly cooked and are served really hot. The large amounts of chili that are part of nearly every Thai dish may have a disinfecting effect, but you should not rely on this! Vaccinations against tetanus, hepatitis, and salmonella
infections are generally advisable.

Koh Samui Hotel - Utopia Resort - Lamai Beach - Thailand - The resort for a perfect holiday on Koh Samui
Sunrise at Lamai Beach

Thailand is generally considered a safe country and for tourists, Koh Samui is very safe place with no open violence in the streets. There is probably criminality, but it is unlikely that you will encounter it. The worst that could happen to you is probably that you get pick pocketed or that a tout tries to take you to a shopping center. These people often wait in front of temples or museums and tell you that they are closed. Guess what they suggest you should do instead? Right, visit a jewellery shop - or a handicraft store... Just ignore them. If the temple happens to be really closed, you can come back and get a taxi or a songthaew then. Always refuse when somebody offers you a free tour at tourist attractions As everywhere, of course, it is better to avoid carrying large amounts of cash, credit cards or traveler's cheques are preferable.

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