Join us on facebook - become a fan

Koh Samui History

Koh Samui Map

Until 1940, there were no roads no vehicles on Koh Samui. Its inhabitants lived there simply and almost without contact with the outside world.

People moved on the island on foot or by boat by following coasts. For example, to go from Maenam to Lamai, it took several hours of walking through the mountainous jungle, and going there and back in the same day was impossible.

Tourism was there unknown, because there was simply no convenient means to go to the island. The only way of reaching it from mainland was with the daily connection by night boat, what took more than 6 hours of crossing from Suratthani to Nathon. And by arriving here, it was necessary even to count several hours to reach final destination.

Tourism was there unknown

The firsts construction plans of a road were abandoned because of the numerous mountainous regions of the island and the impossibility to bring on it construction machines. But in 1967, Khun Dilok Suthiklom, the "leader" of the island of that time decided that something must be made for the development and asked the country government for help.

Two main obstacles were the high hill between Nathon and Maenam and the rocky and mountainous side between Lamai and Chaweng which had to be blown up to allow the road to rise in an acceptable angle.

Trees and rocks were removed to clear the way which as final result was a narrow track which made the round of the island. The beginning of the construction of the road began with a long and enormous manual labor of several hundred persons "to clean" a way around the island. The first years before the concrete laying, it was not rare that everybody came out from car (excepted the driver obviously) to push and to help it go up hillsides.

European backpackers who discovered this beautiful and tropical Thai island

The sector between Lamai and Chaweng had to be cut in the mountain on a 3 km length, a task which would have been impossible without dynamite and heavy construction machines. So, machines were brought from mainland and due to the lack of a deep quay of stopover, had to be landed on the ground by deep enough coasts to allow the big transport boat to get closer to the bank and to cast anchor on the ground. During this period, delays were taken on the construction project due to the rainy season and to the monsoon, making practically impossible the progress of the works.

And finally in 1973, order had come from Bangkok to finish this project up and the concrete began to pour to finish 52 kilometers of road which make the round of the island. For a long time, this road was only 2 meters in width until when it was widen about 2 years ago to face the traffic increase.

The first tourists that appear in the Samui history books were the European backpackers who discovered this beautiful and tropical Thai island in the 70's. Obviously the infrastructure was not in place yet for mass tourism in those days and most visitors slept in basic beach huts along one of the beautiful sandy beaches of Koh Samui.

Tourism has changed a great deal since those early days

Tourism has changed a great deal since those early days in the history of Samui tourism as since then tourism has become the main source of income for the island. The quality of the Samui hotels and other tourists infrastructure has also improved dramatically as many beautiful 4 and 5 star Samui resorts and hotels can be found all over the island.

The immigrants however quickly discovered the richness of the soil on Koh Samui and soon agriculture popped up throughout Samui and an important chapter in Samui history started as Koh Samui still benefits to this very day of the actions of the original inhabitants. Coconut tree plantations were started as well as plantations with numerous other tropical and delicious fruits. For those of you that have visited Thailand you will certainly have tasted the lovely and sweet lynchee which can be found in many Koh Samui farms.

Nowadays, we can hardly imagine the time when the only way to go from a place to another one on Koh Samui was on foot or by boat...