From Europe to Latin America, from Australia to the USA, very many people now recognise the name of Koh Samui, and for good reason. This beautiful tropical island has been charming its visitors ever since the first tourists arrived in 1971. Those who experience Samui are rewarded with an idyllic tropical retreat with little traffic, white-sand beaches, a sapphire-blue sea, an abundance of tantalising Thai cuisine and an unusually warm and friendly people.

Koh Samui is just 21 kilometres at its widest point and 25 at its longest. Its hinterland consists of forested hills of limestone and granite, and the shoreline is made up of countless palm-fringed beaches and bays.

The best (and most developed) beaches are at Chaweng and Lamai on the east coast, where you can now find a very wide range of accommodation, and both restaurants and nightspots to suit every taste. Bophut and Maenam, on the calmer north coast facing Koh Phangan, are also popular beaches offering a quieter, gentler holiday experience.

Samui's natural attractions include the coral beds at Laem Sed and Tong Takien, the Hin Lat and Na Muang waterfalls and the phallic rock formations at the southern end of Lamai bay - to identify just a handful. And beyond the main island are many others equally as exciting - Koh Phangan (world famous for its monthly Full Moon Parties), Koh Tao (one of the best diving locations in Thailand) and Ang Thong National Marine Park (a compact archipelago of small and virtually untouched islands which are best explored by sea kayak).

From the moment you arrive on Koh Samui, the beauty and relaxed atmosphere of this island will begin to catch you in its spell.