Koh Samui, 295 mi/475 km south of Bangkok, was one of Thailand's early tourist developments. With its international airport and visitors flying in for a week of sun and sea, it sometimes resembles a foreign country. In the two main towns—particularly Chaweng—clubs, bars and large hotels dominate. Although quieter areas can still be found, the island is suffering badly from uncontrolled over-development.
Despite the numbers of tourists, Koh Samui does have lovely beaches and water that's a magical blue-green. The idyllic atmosphere can still be found—it's just that there are now three to four times as many people enjoying it.
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