Temples, waterfalls, white-sand beaches
Koh Samui is an old hand when it comes to holidays – it was the go-to island back when Thailand first started making waves on the travel scene. Visitors were originally drawn in by its white-sand beaches, nodding palms and first-rate snorkelling and diving. Nowadays, you can add luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants and slick beach clubs to the mix.
Chaweng is the liveliest resort on the island, with a big helping of restaurants, late-night bars and shops. The beach is one of Koh Samui's best, too. If you prefer things a little quieter, but still want amenities on hand, head a little way down the coast to Lamai.
On the north coast, Bophut has a village feel, with lots of small cafés and restaurants (some right on the sandy beach), as well as shops selling handicrafts and local art, while Mae Nam has a huge, palm-edged sandy beach and a peaceful, laid-back feel.
Flight time from the UK to Thailand is approximately 11 hours 30 minutes.
Transfer time from Koh Samui airport to Koh Samui is approximately 15 minutes.
Thailand has a tropical climate, which means it’s hot and humid for most of the year. Rainy months vary depending on where you are in Thailand: in south-western areas like Phuket, the monsoon season starts around April and finishes in October, while south-east destinations like Koh Samui see more rain between September and December (there’s still plenty of sunshine between showers, though). The hottest months are March to June, although humidity is high and average temperatures can push 40°C. Wait until after the rainy season if you prefer slightly cooler temperatures – between December and February, averages stick to the high 20s and early 30s.
British passport holders do not require a visa for stays of up to 30 days.
Tipping is not expected in Thailand, although most hotels and restaurants will include a 10% service charge.
The official language of Thailand is Thai. English is widely spoken too.