Don't be shy on coconut island

Don't be shy on coconut island

PALM trees, golden beaches, sunshine - the dream tropical holiday doesn't get a lot better than that.

Plai Laem temple, Koh Samui, Thailand.

These treats, and more, draw thousands of Brits to Koh Samui, dubbed the Island of Coconuts, in the Gulf of Thailand.

Many visitors have so fallen in love with the place that they've bought holiday homes.

Long ago Koh Samui was a magnet for hippies and you can still stay in a wooden hut for just £2 a night.

But now celebs such as the Beckhams and Sven Goran Eriksson also own luxury villas there.

There are fabulous tropical beaches, including the palm-fringed strip at Chaweng.

Just beware of timeshare touts.

You can tour the island in half a day. A taxi for four hours costs about £25.

But get a driver with enough English to explain where you want to go.

Just north of Ban Hua Thanon you can tackle the interestingly shaped Grandmother and Grandfather rocks, a rude combination of geology and biology.

At the Khunaram monastery is a mummified Buddhist monk who predicted the date of his death.

Plai Laem Buddhist temple, Koh Samui, Thailand,

When he died in 1973, aged 79, his followers sat him up in his coffin and that is where he greets visitors today.

The Na Muang 1 waterfalls cascade 60ft into a rock pool and a short uphill hike takes you to the more remote Na Muang 2 falls.

Na Muang 1 falls are reached by road and you can try an elephant ride through the jungle.

Check out the Samui Butterfly Farm, while Koh Samui also has centres displaying monkeys, crocodiles and snakes.

Thai boxing is popular and bouts occur several times a week.

On the north coast at Bangrak is the 40ft Big Buddha, next to the ornate Plai Laem temple.

In Bophut Bay, known as Fisherman's Village for its relaxed and traditional lifestyle, you can dine on the beach at a number of good restaurants.

Some of the best sunsets in Asia can be enjoyed in the south west of the island around Taling Ngam Bay.

The stunning Tongsai Bay eco-resort comprises villas, cottages and apartments that blend in with the landscape and wildlife.

Every room has a bath on the balcony so you can freshen up while enjoying the views.

If you fancy tropical chilling, the Island of Coconuts is the answer.

You'd be nuts not to.

Read more: