Focus on Samui Island

Koh Samui, in the Gulf of Thailand, is the Kingdom’s third-largest island and a popular holiday destination for tourists from around the world. Previously, the island’s top income-earner was its abundant coconut plantations. But tourism has taken the economic lead over agriculture, with many 3- to 5-star resorts lining the island’s beaches and cliffs. Flights from Bangkok take about an hour, which is roughly the same amount of time that it takes to circumnavigate Samui by car along its winding and hilly coast road. Much of the tourist and property development is along the coastal areas, with the greater part of the island’s hinterland given over to forest and plantation crops.
The island’s infrastructure has improved in line with its tourist and property markets. There is now an international hospital, and a large supermarket chain. Santiburi, the island’s first golf course, is soon to be joined by an 18-hole international course in the hills behind Lamai, and rumours abound of plans for marina. The island’s roads—once the bane of many visitors—have been substantially improved, with one-way systems installed on the busier sections, and expansion to four lanes easing congestion on the hills.
The principal tourist areas of the island are around the beaches of Chaweng and Lamai, on the east coast. Here, the shanty bungalow operations and beachfront bars and restaurants have been predominantly replaced by luxury 4-and 5 star hotel resorts over the last 15 years.
Within the last few years, Samui has seen much growth in its market for luxury homes—the island’s splendid beaches and long high season making it an ideal place for retirement or an extended vacation. Several developments are currently underway, offering a wide selection of views, facilities and prices. Much of this development is along the northern stretch of the island — near Maenam and Bophut beaches — and upon the hilly northeast peninsula, a few minutes from Samui Airport. There are also luxury villa operations near the 5-star Le Meridien resort at Taling Ngam.



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