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Koh Samui > Travel Guides > Thai Culture

Koh Samui Culture

Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country and Koh Samui features a number of temples scattered around the island. The most impressive, and touristy, is the 12 meter tall statue of The Buddha. This statue is a focal point for festivals and religious celebration on the island, and is surrounded by fellow giant statues and temples.

The country’s second religion is Islam, and the village of Hua Thanon is known as a ”Muslim village.” Hua Thanon is a functioning fishing village and exhibits some of the quirks of its belief system, adding some variety to worship on the island.

The King is highly revered in Thailand by law and his photo is everywhere. The lady you’ll also see pictured in shops and homes is the Queen, and the two etch themselves onto the psyche of the locals from an early age. The subject is a sensitive one.

Samui has its own beach life, and the shores of the island are full of character, colour and vibrancy. Public nudity is still illegal, and despite the behavior of local prostitutes and general European girls, the emphasis is still on respectability, and covering up in public, even in the sea.

The centre of community spirit on the island is perhaps the area surrounding Chaweng Lake. Festivals such as November’s Loy Kratong are celebrated here, and in the off season the location is home to aerobic dance, football players, joggers, and speech making politicians, though not always at the same time. It’s best enjoyed in the early evening.

Sports include chicken boxing, buffalo fighting, and Muay Thai (Thai kick boxing). Shouting is enjoyed at these events, as is heckling and a jolly good time for all.

Koh Samui was settled by Hainan fishermen from China, and remnants of the trade still exist. There are still signs of the island’s position as a coconut exporter a few decades back, and Fisherman’s village in Bophut betrays the changing cultural shifts over the past half century in its architecture. Now the island is a tourist hot spot, and has developed accordingly.