There is evidence suggesting that Ko Samui was first inhabited by men no later than 1,200 years ago. Until 1940, however, Ko Samui was almost unknown to the outside world. Those from the mainland had to take about 6 hours travelling from a harbour in Surat Thani to reach the island. Samui people themselves had only one means of transportation, i.e. walking. To illustrate, it took several hours for people to walk from Maenam district through jungles to Lamai Beach.
Road construction was hardly conceived since Samui's mountainous area would require heavy construction machines to carry out the work but the transportation of such equipment to the island was impossible. However, in 1967 the government was asked by a headman of the island to give a hand to the island's development. Then construction was launched by manual labour and the result of the long hard work was a dirt track. Some parts of the track climbing up a mountain had an unacceptable angle for a car to pass. The drivers who used the path thus had to come down and push their cars.
Samui's concrete ring road was finished in 1973 by the order of the government. The road passing beautiful beaches around the island made tourism possible. Realizing the charms of Ko Samui and its high potential to be a successful tourist destination, the Tourism Authority of Thailand ordered an exploration of the island in 1980 and made a plan to develop and promote the tourism on the island. As time passed, more schemes were initiated and revised to make it a quality island resort for both domestic and international tourists. As a result, it has become a popular tourist destination of Thailand at present.