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Samui Lifestyle and Activities

Aug 18, 2007
Not that long ago Samui island was a favorite destination for adventure seeking sun worshippers. These seasoned travelers visited Samui long before it was in the guide books. Seaside bungalows were available for as little as 150 baht per night, and you could count on spending day after sunny day on the beach in near perfect tranquility. These visitors found there was an almost mesmerizingly restful and carefree feel to the island that often kept them here long after they intended to return home.

Those who have known and loved Samui Island since those early days may not agree about the current pace of development in some areas, but for the most part they do agree on one thing. The island retains its sleepy magic and Ko Samui is still a tropical paradise. These days' luxury Samui villas are popping up throughout the island and Ko Samui seems intent on catching up with its Andaman counterpart, Phuket in terms of development, infrastructure and the choice of Samui villas.

However, much of Samui Island, especially south coast, remains largely undeveloped. A day spent on a motorbike or in a jeep exploring this lush terrain is a day of sheer serendipity. With its spectacular and astonishingly diverse flora, and its dozy little neighborhoods peopled by some of the world's most amiable islanders, this kind of exploration is sure to provide the delights you imagined when you planned your holiday.

Short direct flights here now on Samui Island depart several times a day from Bangkok, Phuket, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. You can also arrive by train, bus and boat.

The most obvious thing to do while holidaying on Koh Samui is to laze on one of the beautiful beaches, and swim or paddle in the warm tropical waters, but you will probably want to do other things as well, and there are lots and lots to do. Some of the more popular activities include Snorkeling. Snorkellers can accompany their diving companions on scuba dive trips, take a tour organized for snorkellers, a trip arranged by local fishermen to one of the many surrounding islands, or just snorkel from the beaches and rock formations dotted around the Island. Either way, the beauty of the coral and fish that can be seen through your mask is great.

Windsurfing equipment is available for rent from several water sport centers around the island. Lessons are available for beginner adults and children. Prices start from 300 baht per hour for equipment rental and from 500 baht for a one hour individual lesson (equipment included). The conditions for windsurfing are great, with good offshore winds throughout the year.

Scuba Diving is also very popular and the Gulf of Thailand offers a huge variety of dive sites suitable for all levels of diver. So whether you want to blow your very first bubbles underwater or you're an experienced diver looking for something more challenging, there are plenty of options to choose from.

One of the things that makes Samui so appealing is the fact that you can still stop at a street cart for a 30 baht plate of Pad Thai or Fried Rice, while just around the corner a lavish buffet is being served on the beach. All the options are here, including several Thai vegetarian restaurants.

In recent years an international community of entrepreneur restaurateurs have brought to Samui the cuisines of Japan, Italy, Germany, India, Brazilian, Switzerland, France, Sweden and Mexico, among others. Good Western cuisine can now be found in almost every village on the island. Need a "back home" style snack or a fast-food fix? There are excellent bakeries, ice cream parlours, McDonalds is in Chaweng and Lamai along with other well known pizza outlets.

If you stay long enough for your digestive system to begin to get acclimatized, you might try eating at one of the outdoor evening markets that locals frequent. Here you will find some of Samui's most authentic (and spicy!) Thai food. The seating arrangements may be crude and the air filled with the noise of nearby locals relaxing after work with Karaoke, but the food will be hot, tasty and cheap.
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