Once a backpackers’ haven, Samui has succeeded in attracting international five-star brands, a strong luxury villas market for rentals and sale as well as golf courses.
Superyacht sailors are venturing from Phuket on the west side of Thailand, facing the Andaman Sea, to Samui off the Gulf of Thailand coast.
Now plans are underway for the island’s first marina, thanks to growing government and private support,” says Capt Charlie Dwyer, who heads Asia Pacific Superyachts.
In the meantime, Samui has been offering professional yacht support since 2002.
Samui caught the attention of international tourists in the early 1970s mainly backpackers who travelled by train to Surat Thani and crossed to the island by a daily ferry.
In the 1980s an airport opened and that prompted hundreds of family-run resorts to open, plus a golf course. In 2007 Four Seasons unveiled the first high-end villa resort on the island.
Others followed including high-end hotels Le Méridien, the W Retreat, Conrad Koh Samui and in 2017 the Ritz Carlton.
“The construction of at least one luxury yacht marina on Samui in the near future is driving more interest from superyachts”, said Mr Dwyer.
With the steady increase in demand for villa rentals, Samui has also become popular among investors seeking a strong return on investment, or a second holiday home in a quieter location than Phuket, he noted.
Mr Dwyer says the best season to visit of Gulf of Thailand island is March to September to avoid the rainy season, October to mid-December.
In addition to commercial airline services, Samui is now accessible by private jets chartered from VIP Jets, based in Bangkok.
– Don Ross
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Don Ross is the Managing Editor of TTR Weekly. Email firstname.lastname@example.org