Situated in the Gulf of Thailand, the island of Koh Samui is a kaleidoscope of colour with spectacular sunrises, striking sunsets and a vibrant beachside nightlife.
Visitors often find bliss along its eastern coastline, indulging in a massage or mobile mani-pedi while sunning themselves on the sand. Others immerse themselves in fragrant Thai cuisine or search for adventure on the back of a scooter. Moments of Zen can also be found across tourist-free towns, inside traditional temples and amongst flowing waterfalls.
Koh Samui is a popular island destination with cruise liners such as Princess Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.
Located on the west side of the island is the capital city of Nathon, which is home to the Koh Samui cruise port. There is no cruise terminal as such, only three piers that are also serviced by ferries from the mainland. The centre of town is only a stone’s throw away from the port.
All of the facilities you will need are within walking distance from the port.
Facilities nearby include:
Coffee shops with free Wi-Fi
A post box
Banks and ATMs
How to Get Around
The centre of town is easily reached on foot; however, other main attractions and activities will require transportation. Taxis line up outside the pier and can also offer day-tours of the island for a negotiated price. Whether you bargain the fare or use the metre, make sure both you and the driver are clear on the payment arrangement before setting off. ‘Songthaews’ or open-air buses can also be flagged from the street and loop the island.
Bicycles and motorbikes are also a fun and adventurous way to explore the island. Be careful when hiring a motorbike, however – there are often reports of scams with tourists charged exorbitant prices. Make sure you only hire from reputable businesses and triple check the contract and the condition of the motorbike before signing anything.
Travel times from the port:
It is a 6 minute journey to the centre of town.
It is a 20 minute journey to Na Muang Falls
It is a 27 minute journey to Hin Ta Hin Yai Rocks
It is a 38 minute journey to Chaweng Beach.
Currency – Thailand’s currency is the Thai Baht, which is broken down into baht (similar to dollars) and satang (similar to cents). Coins can often be found in 25 and 50 satang, as well as 1, 2, 5, and 10 baht. 1, 5 and 10 satang are uncommon and not always accepted by shops but are technically legal tender. Banknotes are available in 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 baht.
Time Zone – All year round, clocks in Koh Samui follow the Indochina Time Zone, which is 7 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – Koh Samui’s tropical monsoon climate brings warmth and humidity to the island throughout the year, with average lows around 25 degrees Celsius and average highs between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius. There are three distinct seasons: dry (December – February), hot (March – April) and rainy (September – November). Dry season is peak season for visitors while the monsoon season, although sprinkled with unpredictable rainy days, can still be pleasant.
Chaweng Beach – Curving along the eastern side of the island, Chaweng Beach is a tourist hot spot with resorts, shops, beach bars and restaurants sitting side-by-side all the way down the strip. It’s a hub of activity with water sports like jet skiing, snorkelling and sea kayaking tours constantly heading out into the ocean. Those looking to simply kick back on the beach will find themselves approached by local hawkers offering massages, pedicures, cold beers and snacks.
Hin Ta Hin Yai – Nature has created a cheeky rock formation on the south eastern side of Koh Samui at the end of Lamai Beach. Sitting dangerously close to one another and garnering embarrassed chuckles from visitors, the Grandfather and Grandmother rocks are said to be the transformed bodies of an elderly couple who were desperate to marry off their only son. They died at sea while sailing to a nearby island to ask the hand of a girl on his behalf. Visitors can climb the rocks and enjoy spectacular views over waters so clear that fish can be seen darting across the surface.
Na Muang Falls – The tallest waterfalls on the island are the Na Muang Falls – a pair of cascades best seen during the monsoon season. The first of the falls are also called the ‘Purple Waterfalls’ as the rock face glimmers a shade of amethyst under the spray. Easily accessible from the road, a short independent hike will get you up to the falls.