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Sunrise at tropical beach, Koh Samui Island, Thailand

Cheap flights to Koh Samui/Samui Island

Samui International Airport - in operation since 1989 - serves the resort island of Koh Samui, situated in the Gulf of Thailand. One of the busiest airports in the country, it handles more than a million passengers yearly and sports some of the most unique passenger terminals of any airport in the world. Known as a ‘Natural Hub’, Samui Airport’s terminals boast an open-air concept with no enclosed spaces nor surrounding walls. With only high sloped roofs supported by wooden beams, the whole compound looks and feels like a resort with its lush greenery and fresh air, allowing visitors an immediate taste of the island life the minute they land.

Samui Airport sports 2 terminals - one domestic and one international - and is privately owned by Bangkok Airways. International destinations that can be reached direct from Samui Airport include Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, though plans are underway for more mid-haul direct flights to be offered from Samui to cities in Asia and the Middle East (as of September 2014).

Getting around

The airport is located only about 2 km from Chaweng, the city centre, making the commute from airport to city extremely easy. Taxis can readily be found just outside the terminals and can also be booked from the Arrivals counter at the airport. Tourists travelling in large groups can choose to book a private minibus transfer direct to their hotel or grab a shared minivan transfer.

For those who prefer to drive, car rental facilities are also available at the airport (global car rental agencies like Hertz, Sixt, Budget and Avis included). Their counters are located conveniently at the Arrivals section of the airport, along with plenty of maps and brochures to guide you to where you want to go.

What to see and do

If you’re in Koh Samui, the first thing you should do is hit the beach, of course! You’d be spoilt for choice on the island, which boasts several gorgeous beaches that all come with soft white sands, warm blue waters and coconut trees. One of the most famous, Chaweng Beach, is a safe choice for a guaranteed good time - usually filled with young holidaymakers enjoying the sun and sea, Chaweng is well-stocked for all your holiday needs with diving and snorkelling facilities, bars, restaurants and accommodation options that range from budget to luxury all readily available. With everything you need right on the beach, you’d scarcely need to leave the area for anything and can mingle with plenty of like-minded beach-lovers during your tropical holiday.

After a sufficient amount of time lazing on the beach, why not have a look at some of the island’s cultural attractions as well? A must-see on Koh Samui is the Big Buddha Temple, otherwise known as Wat Phra Yai. Containing a mammoth 12-metre golden statue of the Buddha, it is a mighty impressive sight and considered one of the island’s most iconic landmarks, apparently visible even from the air. Depicting the Buddha’s journey to enlightenment, the statue sits in the Mara position, representative of how the Buddha resisted temptation sent by Mara, Lord of Illusion, through meditation. The Buddha represents purity and resolve, and is considered a sacred place of worship as well as tourist attraction.

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