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The perfect blend of unspoilt natural beauty and established tourist infrastructure, Thailand’s third largest island, Koh Samui provides the perfect island getaway. Pristine palm-fringed beaches, pulsating bars and fascinating cultural attractions combine to offer a fully-rounded Thai island experience.

Known affectionately as just Samui to the locals, the Island is part of the Surat Thani Province off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus, about 750km south of the country’s capital, Bangkok. The island gained popularity as a tourist destination in the 1970s when backpackers discovered the pristine serenity. By the early 1990s, Samui was no longer a secret and to cater for the increased visitor numbers, infrastructure developed accordingly. Today it is one of Thailand’s major resort destinations.

From April through to September, when the rest of Thailand experiences monsoonal weather patterns, Koh Samui generally remains dry. The wet season lasts from October to December and therefore is probably not the best time to visit. Samui generally enjoys glorious sunny days from January through to March, making this period the best time to go. Prices are generally higher from around December to July. Day time temperatures on the island remain around the 30 degree mark year round; in winter they hover around a balmy 84 degrees and in summer they climb to 90 degrees. At night the temperature drops to around 77 degrees.

Just to the north of the island is Ko Pha-ngan, home to the famed full moon parties. In many respects Ko Pha-ngan resembles what Koh Samui was prior to the tourist discovery. Ko Pha-ngan offers a more rustic Thai experience than its glitzy cousin to the south.