Koh Samui is fast becoming one of Thailand's premier resort and lifestyle destinations; a playground in the Gulf of Thailand for the world's most discerning travellers.
Strategically located with excellent flight connections to nearby cities such as Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore, the island is perfectly positioned to cater to both tourists coming to Thailand for the first time, residents living and working in Bangkok and expats and professionals based throughout Asia. The island's popularity is increasingly reflected in the variety of lifestyle offerings on the island whether it be in the culinary, health, fashion, art or property.
Chaweng on Koh Samui's east coast has traditionally been the centre of what the island has to offer in terms of entertainment, with everything from hotels and resorts to shops, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and spas. While this area is probably the most dense in tens of nightlife options; other areas are also becoming popular. Heading from Chaweng to the south of the island takes you to Lamai beach, which is slightly less built up than Chaweng, but still a major draw for visitors. A drive north connects you to charming Bophut beach, where an original Fisherman's Village has been renovated into a quaint beachside tourist area.
In terms of real estate, Koh Samui used to be mainly a hotel destination, with the majority of real estate offerings in the hospitality sector. But as the island became better connected and the infrastructure improved, more residential projects appeared to match demand caused by high visitor numbers. As a result, Koh Samui today has some of the world's most extravagant villas, with enough rooms to fit several families as well as award winning hotels and resorts with five star international serviced to cater to even the most discerning visitors.
As an investment destination, Koh Samui seems to have made a healthy recovery from the global financial crisis, which saw a lot of investors abandon the island in search for new emerging markets. The dip in investment may have been in the long term, however, because it meant the island's property sector was cleaned out of unsustainable practices and less-than-stellar players. The result is a solid investment foundation, with healthy returns on investment for investors who are in it for the long term.