click here for things to do on Koh Samui
We just got back from Koh Samui. We took a ferry 1 1/2 hours to the island, and then a 45 min. bus ride to the beach, where we found a guesthouse. Samui is definitely a happening place, loaded with international tourists - literally people from all over. Primarily Europeans and Australians, though. And lots of entire families are vacationing in Thailand. Many times Kade said I should just take pictures of the young kids and send them to Miles and Leslie just to show that others don't think the world is too dangerous for travel. Of course, the Europeans make things interesting out on the beach - LOTS of topless women.
Although there are some inexpensive places around Samui, there's nothing like one of the resorts if you want high standards and excellent service. During the high season, a nice bungalow beachside goes for $100 US. We stayed at a resort, and it cost around $30 US per night. Massages, food and all sorts of merchandise were available on the beach and the main road.
Local Thais, even ones in Surat Thani, don't travel much to Samui simply because it's out of the budget for the ordinary Thai. Samui, and some other exotic islands, are like Hawaii, and are geared towards out-of-towners from far-away places, and to middle class and upper-class Thais. Also, I would imagine that for Thais, Samui is a lot like Miami is to many Americans. Most would admit it's very interesting, but the next thing they would say is that there are too many foreigners. There are other islands and beaches that Thais frequent regularly.
Saw lots of Buddha images and I thought of you.