Koh Samui is Thailand's most popular island destination after Phuket and lies approximately 80km off Southern Thailand's eastern coast. The island, which floats in the crystal clear Gulf of Thailand, is world famous for its diving, kayaking and snorkeling but is also now becoming a world-class golfing venue.
Koh Samui offers visitors a choice between one magnificent 18-hole golf course, two stunning 9-hole golf courses and the Samui Golf Club's driving range and putting green facility.
The 18-hole course is to be found at the Santiburi Golf & Country Club while the 9-holers bask in the sun at the Royal Samui Golf & Country Club and at Bophut Hills near the popular Chaweng Beach. The course at Santiburi hosted the Bangkok Airways Open in 2006 and, with its extremely fast Tifeagle grass greens, its opulent clubhouse and its greens that demand accuracy over driving power, is well on its way to becoming an internationally renowned course.
Clinging to the mountainside above the pristine Chaweng and Lamai beaches, the Royal Samui 9-hole course can't wait to grow up into the 18-holer that its designers meant it to be. The nine holes that are presently playable require expert choices in club selection, and their perilous drops in elevation offer players challenges not normally seen in 9-hole courses. The remaining 9 holes are presently under development, but no golfer would say no to playing the existing 9 holes twice just to get a full 18-hole Royal Samui experience.
The Bophut Hills Golf Course is a par 27 and was designed by Pirapon Namatra, who also co-designed Santiburi. Bophut offers a relaxing round of golf amidst coconut trees, and playing Bophut is probably as close to paradise as golfers are going to get. Both Royal Samui and Bophut Hills also offer guests use of their luxuriously appointed club houses and ancillary facilities.
Most, if not all, of the luxury resorts, hotels, villas and spas on Koh Samui offer golf vacation packages. Although tourists could visit Koh Samui and stay wherever they chose and still be able to take advantage of the great golf courses, driving range and putting green, there are certain resorts that specialize in golf packages.
These resorts include the opulent Bo Phut Resort & Spa, which is surrounded by plantations stretching over 7 acres, and the 5 star Kirikayan Luxury Pool Villas & Spa located near the famed Maenam Beach and the Santiburi Resort, which is also known as "Peaceful Town".
Apart from the golf packages that include accommodation at one of the luxury resorts, there is also the VIP Private Charter Cruise to the nearby Anthong Marine Park where all tour participants are awarded free rounds of golf at either Santiburi or Royal Samui.
Most Koh Samui golf vacations are pre-packaged but they can be customized to suit individual golfing parties. Typical package tours offer either 3, 5 or 7 days combined with 2, 4 or 6 nights respectively while the customized tours are of indeterminate length. Each individual package tour will have its own specific features but, generally, tour costs will include things like green fees, golf carts, caddy services and transfers to and from the golf courses.
Another popular feature is the 24/7 golfing hotline that is available to the tour participant. As far as cost is concerned, the general rule seems to be that the more people are included in the golfing party, the more value for money the tour will be.