Samui Guide Magazine Online Version. "Koh Samui. "Koh" is Thai for Island and Koh Samui is Thailand's favorite island getaway location. Located in the south of The Gulf of Thailand just offshore from Surat Thani. The island is surrounded by white sand beaches and coral reefs. The Angthong Marine National Park lies just a few kilometers away. Samui is a favorite with young and old, singles and families, Thais and International visitors. Features and attractions include natural beauty, waterfalls, national parks, inland mountains, coral reefs, extensive white sand beaches, scuba diving, four-wheel-driving, elephant trekking, mountain tours, island tours, national park tours, accomodation, night life, zoos, parks, gardens, temples, wats, restaurants, markets, fishing villages, buffalo fights, working monkeys, snake farms, butterfly farms, bungalows, 5-Star accomodations, PADI & BSAC dive courses, land & house rentals and purchase. Samui is the place to be for the holiday of your lifetime." 
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Samui Culture

Koh Samui is a living, working island with distinctive local habits and customs. The first settlers that landed here were Chinese traders and Muslim fishermen, and both of these groups still inhabit the island today living peacefully alongside their Thai cousins. Local markets like the one at Lam Din, behind Chaweng, the Nathon fresh food market, and Hua Thanon fishing village are good places to get an authentic taste of local life. Tourism may be the main source of income on Koh Samui, but scratch beneath the surface and you will find a proud and vibrant local culture. Below are some suggestions for those who are looking for ‘the real Samui’.

Thai Festivals are an important part of daily life on Koh Samui. The larger celebrations are Chinese New Year in February, Songkran (Thai New Year) in April and Loi Krathong (Festival of Light) in November. These all involve processions, temple festivities, food fairs and live performances. There are also regular food and cultural events staged by the Tourism Authority in Nathon, the island’s capital. Check TAT promotions for details. www.tourismthailand.org


 

Temple fairs take place throughout the year, passing from village to village. Popular with locals of all ages, the bigger ones combine a fun fair with live entertainment, market stalls, and local food. The temple fair is probably the only place where you can buy a new pair of flip flops, watch a Kung Fu film, have your fortune told, and indulge in a bag of deep-fried grasshoppers all in one evening.
Buffalo Fighting is still a popular sport on Koh Samui and champion buffalos can be worth several million baht. The fighting season varies according to ancient customs and ceremonies so it’s difficult to predict when a bout will take place, but if you visit Samui at the right time, there are stadiums in the south at Ban Saket, and also in Ban Makham, just outside Nathon. Unlike the Sanish version, the buffalos fight each other, locking horns until the weaker one submits. The atmosphere around the ring is usually very lively.
 



Country bars are the preferred venues for many local people on a night out and generally feature live local music, good food and a few drinks with friends. It’s always best to go with Thai people if you want to fully appreciate this local revelry, but foreigners on their own are just as welcome to join the party. Look out for cowboy style logos and bars with a small stage, most of which are located around the main island ring road.




Songkran Festival
April is the end of the Buddhist lunar cycle and therefore heralds three days of New Year festivities in Thailand. Songkran is celebrated throughout the Kingdom from 12-14th of the month, and includes both traditional and more modern forms of revelry. Families pay a visit to their local temple to make merit and share food, and later in the evening parties are thrown all over the island. Water is an important symbol of the festival, and on at least one of the days, usually the middle one, local people go out into the street and pour water over each other, often by the bucketful. The original gesture was to pour a cup lightly over someone’s shoulder but nowadays it’s more like the biggest water fight on the planet. If you want to experience this annual madness from the inside, then head for Tropical Murphy’s Pub in downtown Chaweng where you can sip a few cool ones while you shower every passing bike with ice cold ‘nam’, and make lifelong friends with everyone you meet in the process. In the spirit of the festival, the Samui authorities are asking everyone to maintain an atmosphere of light-hearted fun, and to be aware of the dangers posed to riders and passers by. “Sawat Di Pi Mai.”