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Koh Samui Travel Tips - Helpful hints and advice on local destination information

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Koh Samui is a newly-risen star in the Thai resort scene, and tourists will find  that locals are enthusiastic and hospitable. Rules of etiquette are very Thai, but foreign visitors are given plenty of leeway. Facilities are in place across the island to ensure speedy transportation and convenient banking to keep business in motion.

Customs and etiquette

There are a few things foreign visitors do well to remember in Thailand. The head is viewed as the highest part of the body and should not be touched by another person, even playfully. Conversely, the feet are considered low and dirty, so it's rude to point your soles at another person or to gesture in any way with a foot.

Guests remove their shoes before entering a private residence as well as inside temples and prayer halls. Finally, the royal family is viewed in the highest regard and must never be criticized publicly. Tourists are encouraged to avoid bringing the topic up altogether.

Money

The Thai Baht (THB) is the central unit of currency. While Samui's prices are inflated above those on Thai mainland, Western visitors still get excellent value for money, especially when it comes to mid-range dining and local shopping. The opportunity to splurge still exists in the resorts.

Credit cards are accepted in many boutiques, finer restaurants and hotels, but a five percent service charge is often added to the bill. ATMs are widespread around Chaweng and Lamai beaches, but become scarcer on the west coast.

 

Weather

There are two major seasons here along the gulf: wet and dry. The rainy season lasts from November to February, when the rest of Thailand is usually drier. Visiting during this time of year may afford off-season bargains, but this isn't always the case. The best off-season time to visit is during September and October when crowds are lowest.

The most popular time to travel to Koh Samui continues to be the dry season, which lasts from February to June. Rain rarely falls and the weather is warm but still comfortable. Temperatures rise in March and peak mid-year.

Transportation

The main method of getting around the island is by taxi, and these line up in all major commercial districts as well as outside the ferry terminal at Na Thon. Songthaew pickup trucks are a major form of transport for locals, and they connect to all major towns along fixed routes.

Visitors can also rent a car while on Samui, but they're technically required to arrange an international license before departing. This is merely a matter of showing your existing license and paying a modest fee. Motorcycles are also for rent.

The most convenient way to get to and from the Koh Samui Airport (USM) is by taxi, though this can be relatively expensive depending on your destination. Many of the mid-range and upscale hotels will arrange to pick guests up from the airport at no cost.

Fast facts

Population: 50,000
Spoken languages: Thai (with a southern dialect)
Electrical: 220 Volts, 50 Hertz
Phone/calling code: +66 77