Ko Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand, about 35 km northeast of Surat Thani town (9°N, 100°E). The island measures some 25 km at its widest point. It is surrounded by about sixty other islands, which compose the Ang Thong Marine National Park (Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park) and include other tourist destinations (Ko Phangan, Ko Tao and Ko Nang Yuan).
The central part of the island is an almost uninhabitable jungle mountain, Khao Pom, peaking at 635 m. The various lowland areas are connected together by a single 51 km road, running mostly along the coast to encircle the bulk of the island.
The old capital is Nathon, on the northwest coast of the island. It remains the major port for fishing and inter-island transportation. Nathon is the seat of the regional government, and the commercial hub for Samui locals. It is almost small enough to walk everywhere. The old Chinese shop houses along the middle street whisper of an exotic history.
Each of Samui's primary beaches is now also nominally considered as a small town, due to the number of hotels, restaurants and nightlife that have sprung up in recent years. The primary tourist beaches, and beach communities, are Lamai Beach, on the southeast of the island, Chaweng Beach, which is on the eastern side of the island, and Bophut (Fisherman's Village) on the northeast side of the island. These beaches form the built-up side, with hundreds of shops and entertainment venues. More recently, the western side of the island has seen 5-star hotels and resorts spring up, such as Nikki Beach, Conrad, and Four Seasons resorts.
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