As we prepare to open the doors to The Beach Samui, a Private Residence Club, later this year, we look back at the history of the tropical paradise that is now seeing some of the region’s most exciting Asian property development.
Although there is evidence that this beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand was inhabited from the 11th century onwards, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that it became a popular haven for fisherman sheltering from storms as they crossed the gulf.
Battered by the high seas the fishermen arrived on the shores of the island to find an idyllic paradise full of natural resources such as exotic fruits, acres of thick vegetation and an abundant marine life. And like many people who have chosen to invest in some of the most attractive Asian property development opportunities on the island, they found it impossible to leave.
Many of these fishermen were of Chinese origin and it is thought that the word ‘Samui’ comes from the Chinese word ‘saboey’, which means ‘safe haven’.
For the next two hundred-plus years, Koh Samui remained fairly anonymous to the rest of Thailand, its distance of 35km from the mainland meaning that it was largely left to its own devises. Its main economy was the harvesting of tropical plants and fruits such as the coconut and durian plants, which grew plentifully on Samui. Farmers soon realised there was a market for their produce on the mainland, however, and the island quickly grew in prosperity as a result.
It wasn’t until the early 1960s that the first foreign tourists started to visit Koh Samui, changing the course of the island’s history dramatically. In 1967 a project to build the first road around the island began, leading the way for more ambitious developments.
Its emergence on to the international tourism map was fast and furious and by 1975, it was firmly established as one of the favorite destinations amongst European backpackers.
The rest, they say, is history. With the influx of tourists came the development of accommodation on the island, as well as an improved ferry service shortly followed by the creation of its own airport.
Koh Samui is now one of Thailand property news’ greatest success stories. To meet a growing demand for luxury tourism a large number of five star resorts and residences like The Beach Samui have sprung up on the island, making it one of the premier destinations in the world for high-end travelers, according to Thailand property news.