Koh Samui ranks as one of the world's top true beachfront destinations. With over 240 hotels & resorts right on the beach, about 2/3 of its total accommodations, perhaps no other beach destination can match it.

A backpacker haven 20 years ago with simple beach huts, Samui has matured into a tropical holiday island with luxury beach resorts, boutique & spa resorts, design hotels and health & wellness centres. Some budget cottages remain, while 3 star and family accommodations abound.

This lush coconut island is mountainous, with some natural rainforest remaining higher up. The many small bays cut by the rugged terrain often harbour hidden beaches that have allowed the creation of numerous romantic beach retreats. On Samui one can find a party beach, a family beach, a remote & quiet beach and yet still there is many a hidden paradise that visitors never discover.

Samui's reputation for health & wellness centres lingers from the backpacker days, and has developed with the arrival of numerous spa resorts. Virtually every good resort has a spa, health club and some spa treatments, while Thai massage and massage therapy are available, on open air mats, under almost every big tree on the main beaches.

Beach weddings are becoming popular, and many resorts offer wedding packages that include a Thai-style ceremony. While Samui has no topless beach, and Thais frown on nudity, there are endless quiet corners where women can sunbathe discretely. Samui now has two beautiful golf courses.

by John Everingham