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Ko Samui island of Surat Thani Province (or Koh Samui, Thai: เกาะสมุย), or often, simply Samui as it is referred to by locals, is an island off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand, close to the mainland Surat Thani town. It is Thailand's third largest island, with an area of 228.7 km2 and a population of over 50,000 (2008). It is rich with natural resources, white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees.
Although Ko Samui is in southern Thailand, where Islam has a strong influence, the original inhabitants of the island, known as 'Chao Samui', are predominantly Buddhist. In the past, most of the locals made their living in the coconut farming business. Nowadays, however, most work in jobs related to tourism.
Many locals have become wealthy from selling off land they have owned for decades. As a result of the extensive development of the island, many Thai-Chinese have come to Samui from the capital of Bangkok (Khung-Thep). Most of the manual labor needed to keep up with the islands growth has been provided by people native to the countrys poorer north-eastern region. As a result, there is a wide cross section of economic classes on the island.
The south of Thailand is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai Chinese, Muslims and traditional sea-faring gypsies. Ko Samui does not seem to suffer from the religious tensions in communities along the southern border of Thailand, and in general the locals live in harmony. Outside of the tourist areas, the Thai language is spoken with a thick Southern dialect which is even difficult for northern Thais to understand.
With this broad mixture of cultures, Ko Samui is always celebrating some tradition or another, including western.
 Events and festivals
Buffalo Fighting Festival One of the best-known festivals on Ko Samui is its Buffalo Fighting Festival, which is held on special occasions such as New Years Day and Songkran. Unlike Spanish bull-fighting, the fighting on Ko Samui is fairly harmless. The fighting season varies according to some ancient customs and ceremonies. The buffalo are beautifully decorated with ribbons and gold-painted leaves. Before the contest which lasts just two rounds, monks spray them with holy water. The winning owner typically takes home millions of baht in prize money.
Ten Stars Samui Art Party A recurring cultural event bringing together art lovers, local Thai and international artists and their new, original artworks. These bi-monthly events, hosted at various high-end resorts and other 5-star venues on the island, focus on building the art community on Ko Samui with presentations by featured artists.
Bowling Championship This is an annual bowling event held in May every year.
Avis Samui Tennis Open The annual amateur tennis tournament held in July.
The Fisherman's Village Festival This five-day festival is celebrated with fun, music and food. The music is usually played by well-known artists and food tents sell inexpensive cuisine provided by local hotels.
Triathlon Event The International Triathlon Union organizes this event every year. This event in Ko Samui draws more than five hundred participants from around the world. The event attracts competitors and visitors as well as locals. This event actually has never taken place and was promoted via a website only.
Samui Regatta The Samui Regatta is a sailing tournament, held every year. The tournament is internationally known and competitors come from as far away as Australia, Singapore, Japan and China. This event, for boats of all sizes and shapes, began in 2002.
Full Moon Party (Ko Phangan) Had Rin Beach on nearby Ko Phang-ngan was once a secret haven for a few backpackers who could only get to the beach by boat. Now, it is packed with bungalows, bars, pizza joints and even a 7-11 and every month on full-moon, a huge all-night event is held with rave music played by international DJs to thousands of party-goers.
 Local food
In general, Southern Thai food is renowned for its spiciness. Much of the cuisine has its origins in Malay, Indonesian and Indian food. Favorite dishes from the south include Indian-style Muslim curry (massaman), rice noodles in fish curry sauce (Khanom Jeen) and chicken biryani.
Local food in Ko Samui and its province of Surat Thani are salted eggs and rambutan.
Info Taken from Wikipedia****
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