Koh Samui, Thailand's third largest island, behind Phuket and Koh Chang, lies off the south-eastern coast of Thailand. It has been known for its luxuriant beaches and crystal seas since the first backpackers camped in bamboo beach huts in the 1970s on a remote paradise with an abundance of coconuts but no electricity, surfaced roads or real amenities. Koh Samui's natural charms were not kept secret for long, and since the 1980s the inevitable luxury tourist boom has taken hold, although coconuts still remain a primary export. Yet unlike its paradise island sisters, Koh Samui has retained some of that early budget hedonism, and upmarket resort hotels still sit alongside basic bungalow huts to provide accommodation for all budgets and holidays to suit all tastes. At 95 square miles, the island is large enough to absorb the tourist crowds and still retain a sense of tropical seclusion. Only in the high season of July and August and at Christmas does Koh Samui's popularity begin to squeeze unfavourably on its charms.