Perfectly positioned as one of Asia's most popular holiday destinations, Koh Samui is fast becoming the darling of the jet set, as a beautiful place to retire, holiday or invest.
Having started out as a favourite among backpackers and people travelling on a shoestring budget, the island saw rapid development throughout the 1990s and 2000s which has transformed it into one of the most sophisticated holiday and lifestyle destinations in Thailand, offering visitors a wide range of high-end entertainment options such as fine dining, exotic shopping, world-renowned hospitality.
Apart from being a lively and dynamic destination, Koh Samui is also known for its natural beauty. The early beginning of its rise to fame as a popular tourist destination saw the construction and infrastructure develop at an alarming rate, to the point where locals as well as visitors were complaining about the sustainability of Koh Samui's progress. Fortunately, the local authorities, businesses and residents responded fast and today there is a welcome appreciation and acknowledgement from various stakeholders of the importance of keeping Koh Samui clean. Sustainable practices such as garbage sorting and water recycling have become more prevalent and many resorts and villa management firms have implemented energy saving measures such as urging guests to re-use towels and turn off air conditioning when not using rooms.
As the tourism industry on Koh Samui has matured, more people now see the island as an attractive investment destination. The number of international visitors arriving both overland and via Koh Samui International Airport has continually increased over the last 10 to 15 years, providing investors into the island's residential and villa markets with ample opportunity to see returns and rental yields. Villas and apartments now make up a large percentage of the island's accommodation options with these segments particularly popular with families or larger groups travelling together.
While the island has plenty of hidden gems, it is the east and north coast that have traditionally been the most popular for beach and hillside villas. Chaweng, Choeng Mon, Bophut and Lamai are the most popular locations and offer a range of accommodation options. New areas are also opening up, which offer more privacy and remote beauty. The west and south coast feature miles of relatively quiet beaches where visitors can enjoy a more laid-back atmosphere and witness the everyday life of the locals working in the island's traditional fishing and coconut farming industries.