Nathon, Samui's administrative and business centre, doesn't offer a great deal to the short-stay visitor. For anyone arriving by boat as a passenger, Nathon is the island's main port (car ferries dock at Lipa Noi, a few kilometres south) and jumping-off point for the islands of Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and mainland Surat Thani. 

    The town's main tourist attraction for day-trippers is its old wooden Chinese shophouses that line the middle road, selling an esoteric range of goods, including a lot of gold. Souvenirs bought here will also be considerably cheaper than elsewhere on the island. Food-wise, any of the waterfront seafood restaurants are recommended for a taste of truly authentic and very spicy, local cuisine. Hotel accommodation is cheap and plentiful, but as few tourists have any need to stay the night, it's primarily aimed at the local market. 

    neighborhoods in Koh Samui

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