Koh Samui is the most popular island in the Gulf of Thailand, with Koh Phangan, known for its Full Moon parties just to the north and Koh Tao, famous among divers around the world, also within easy reach by sea.
Koh Samui is perhaps the most famous of the three islands because it attracts such a wide range of people, from backpackers to families and high-end travellers. Some parts of the island are still very local in the sense that few tourists go there, while other parts, especially on the island's north and west coast, are very popular tourists spots with everything from fancy restaurants and trendy beach clubs to street markets and cabaret shows.
Koh Samui is often compared to Phuket, although the two islands differ greatly. Phuket is a much larger and more developed island, while Koh Samui retains much of its original tropical island feel. In terms of access, both islands have international airports with several daily connections to large cities across Asia such as Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong However, Koh Samui International Airport does not accommodate direct charter flights to the extent that Phuket International Airport does, which means the island is not as popular with package tours that tend to crowd some areas of Phuket.
Koh Samui is also home to some of the most beautiful resorts in the world, while in recent years stand-alone private villas have become one of the most popular types of boutique accommodation. The island attracts an increasing number of discerning lifestyle travellers in search of bespoke travel experiences, and the case for private luxury accommodation has become clear.
Added privacy, customised experiences and the sheer luxury of having an entire villa to yourself, make for an appealing choice. What's more, this luxury often comes at a fraction of the price it would cost in other global destinations like the Mediterranean or the Caribbean. Oftentimes, travellers actually find that when travelling in a group, renting a private villa is more cost efficient than staying in a resort or hotel, but with the same level of services and amenities.
Private villas on Koh Samui come on many shapes and sizes, which means it is always possible to find the right one to suit your needs. Some are modest with one or two bedrooms, while others are grand abodes sleeping a dozen people and offering added amenities such as a private gym, spa and movie screening room.
Established rental agencies on Koh Samui like Horizon Homes are able to guide travellers in the right direction and identify villas that suit their needs perfectly in terms of price, location and facilities.