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Koh Samui’s history is only very little documented due to the fact that the knowledge was passed from generation to generation by word of mouth. The name might derived from the local tree ‘mui’ or from the Chinese word ‘Saboey’ which has the meaning ‘safe haven’ and ‘Koh’ means literally ‘Island’ in Thai.
Based on findings of Chinese ceramics from the 17th century one can assume that the island was discovered approximately 1500 years ago as a hideaway for sea traders and as a place for fishermen. People from China immigrated and settled in the Northern part of Koh Samui and made their income with coconut tree plantations.
The South and East of the island was discovered and settled by Muslims arriving from Malaysia.
Koh Samui was an isolated island community until the 20th century with almost no connection to Surat Thani or other parts of the mainland. The inhabitants lived in small and autonomic villages with only little contact to other villages on the island due to the lack of passable roads. Most people still made their income with coconut tree plantations or other tropical fruits and vegetables.
1967, Khun Dilok Suthiklom – the island chief, helped to improve the infrastructure of the island and authorities of Bangkok agreed to build the now famous 51 km long ring road around Koh Samui. The building works were not finished until 1973.
As soon as the road was built first tourists arrived on the island – backpackers and hippies from Europe discovered the beauty of Koh Samui.
Slowly, more and more ferry or boat transfer connections between the mainland and the island were established. The last 15 years have brought major changes and developments – Thai and international investors started to build huge five star resorts around the island including Silavadee Pool Spa Resort.