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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What places can one explore around Koh Samui?

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Visiting this beautiful island can be quite a holiday in itself, what with the various beaches, restaurants, monasteries and sightseeing options to explore. But if you’re in the mood for a little holiday within a holiday, head to one of these popular places around Koh Samui and make that holiday even more perfect:

  • Koh Phangan

    Full moon and in Koh Samui? You might want to take the first ferry off to Koh Phangan, Koh Samui’s sister island. And no this is not a furtive call to all werewolves, but if you are the sort of person who doesn’t come alive until after dark (and no, not calling out to vampires either) Koh Phangan’s Full moon beach parties set the bar on beach front nightlife. Held every month at full moon on Haad Rin Nok Beach, it is a dance and music extravaganza that lures party animals from across the world and you are likely to rub elbows with as many as 15,000 people dancing to the electronic beats reverberating the island almost off its location. Located at a distance of 100 km from Koh Samui, regular ferries chart their course from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan. Apart from the full moon revelry, Koh Phangan is ringed with beautiful, pristine beaches and if you are lucky, you may very well come across long arcs of white sand beaches that are free of masses.

  • Koh Tao

    North of Koh Phangan and smallest of the sister triad that Koh Samui forms with Koh Phangan and Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Tao, is your ultimate destination for the very best in scuba diving and snorkeling this side of Thailand. It’s incredibly wide selection of diving sites has acted like a magnetic pull, luring hardened and professional divers as well as those for whom scuba diving and snorkeling are pretty much one and the same. Not surprisingly, every where you glance you can spot a scuba diving school, or shops selling and renting out scuba diving and snorkelling equipment. With a population of 1,400 at the last count, you might expect it to be less crowded than the others. However, given its fame amongst the watersports enthusiasts worldwide, Koh Tao is just as crowded as its other sisters. 90 km from Koh Samui, regular ferries depart to Koh Tao from Samui.

  • Ang Thong Marine National Park

    A chain of islands of lush tangle of dry evergreens, beach and limestone forest, Ang Thong Marine National Park lies within sight of Koh Samui towards the Northwest in the Central Gulf coast of Southern Thailand. Ang Thong, translating to golden bowl, is a protected nature reserve and to preserve its natural beauty, entry to the park is restricted and allowed only through licensed operators and carriers.  Having gained much of its fame in Alex Garland’s novel The Beach, Ang Thong Marine National Park is teeming with rich biodiversity and you will come across otters, langurs, crab-eating monkeys, hogs, silver haired bats as well as 54 species of birds and 14 species of reptiles. A breeding ground for  Butterfly fish, Angel fish, Blue-Spotted fantail rays, Blacktip reef sharks, blue swimming crabs, sea fans, sea whips, oysters, coral, etc. Ang Thong will enthrall you with its scenery that changes rapidly and dramatically, from emerald sea water lakes to rock cliffs and caves, and its sea waters patrolled by whales and dolphins.

Licensed tour operators ply regular ferries to Ang Thong Marine National Park from Koh Samui and Koh Tao.

Entry fee is THB 200 for adults and THB 100 for children under 12 years of age. For locals, adult and children alike, the entry fee is THB 40.

In true bohemian style, Koh Samui and its surroundings regions offer something for every palate, whether you are a party hearty, naturalist, outdoor water sports enthusiast or all rolled into one.

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