South of Koh Samui is an archipelago of six small islands that are mostly uninhabited. One of these islands is Koh Matsum, which is about half an hour’s ride from Samui by long-tail boat. The appeal of the island lies not only in its fine beaches but environmentally in its unspoiled, green forests. The island is also a favourite of snorkelers due to its rich marine life dominated by vibrant soft coral.
It is also one of the better dive sites around Samui with black tip reef sharks occasionally spotted in the reefs. Within close proximity to Samui, approximately 3.5 kilometres away, found opposite the beaches by the Laem Sor pagoda, local officials have realised this island’s high potential as a tourism attraction. In fact, it has been reported that tourists visiting Koh Matsum are continually increasing.
Since there is no existing plan or regulations to guide the future development of the island in the face of a growing tourism, the Department of Public Works and the city and country planning office of Suratthani province organised a project to draw up a tourism plan for Koh Matsum. The subsequent plan covers the administration and management of the island with the view to preventing problems that may arise when it becomes developed as a destination.