Should you visit Koh Samui?
Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island (Phuket takes the crown) and is situated in the Gulf of Thailand alongside Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
Just like it’s neighbours, Koh Samui is surrounded by stunning, white-sand beaches and endless activities. This makes the island an extremely popular destination, attracting a wide audience, from budget backpackers to wealthy holidaymakers.
Unsurprisingly, Koh Samui is also one of the more developed islands in Thailand and even has its own airport, Samui Airport (USM).
Don’t be deterred by the development and higher prices though, the island still has much to offer with its amazing sights and beaches!
Where to stay in Koh Samui
The island is a bit like a genie, it can grant whatever you desire, whether it be a luxury resort or a budget bungalow.
With a mixture of accommodation in most locations the choice of where to stay really is yours.
Location #1: Chaweng – the place with great shopping, restaurants and nightlife
First up is Chaweng beach. Situated in the north east corner of the island, it’s close to the airport, making it super accessible.
Once you’ve reached Chaweng you don’t really ever have to leave!
Being the most developed area on the island, it has everything you’ll need, from a huge shopping complex, lively bars to restaurants catering to every taste.
We also couldn’t go without mentioning the 7km long fine white sand beach which despite being popular still manages to preserve a tranquil and relaxing feel.
Location #2: Lamai Beach – it has pretty much everything you need
If hordes of humans in one place isn’t your thing, then Lamai could be a good substitute for you.
It still captures the upbeat vibe of its northerly neighbour, Chaweng, but on a smaller scale. The area still offers plenty of entertainment, with all your necessary conveniences nearby.
You’ll easily find ways to occupy your nights in one of the many beachside bars or restaurants offering great dining.
Location #3: Bophut – the best of the new and the old
Bophut, on the north coast, is a brilliant blend of the old and the new, giving you a glimpse into the history of the island.
This fisherman’s village has taken on a cosmopolitan feel due to the boutique shops and chic restaurants. The 2km beach is split with the east side hosting a scattering of cheaper hotels whilst the west features those 5 star luxury resorts most of us can only dream of.
How to get around Koh Samui
Due to how developed the island is, it’s probably one of the easiest islands to travel around. You will find taxis, songthaews, motorbikes, and even ride sharing apps such as Grab or Navigo.
We highly recommend using a ride sharing app first before a conventional taxi as prices can sometimes be up to 30% cheaper!
You can also rent a car or a motorbike and drive yourself around the island but be sure to have your international driver’s license with you and be aware of the local road laws.
A motorbike at 250-300 THB/day is significantly cheaper than a care at around 800 THB/day depending on the car, but you certainly compromise on comfort.
Best beaches on Koh Samui
It’s no surprise that Koh Samui is so popular when it has a 50km of coastline that’s dotted with over 40 picturesque and powdery white-sand beaches.
Most beaches offer a range of accommodation, from resorts oozing with luxury to cheap and cheerful bungalows, no matter which one you pick.
Top pick #1: Chaweng Beach (north east)
It’s not a coincidence that the most popular resort area on Koh Samui also has one of the most idyllic beaches on the island.
The delicate white sands making up Chaweng beach are encased by rocky headlines and bordered by picture-perfect palm trees.
Exploring the offshore reef gives you the perfect opportunity to work up an appetite which you can then satisfy at one of the many restaurants and beach bars lining the beach.
Top pick #2: Taling Ngam (west coast)
If you’re looking for tranquility and seclusion from your trip to Koh Samui, then you’ve pretty much found it in Taling Ngam beach.
The beach offers a front row, intimate showing of the glorious sunset each night as the sun retires for the day. Even better, the backdrop to this stunning spectacle is Ang Thong Marine Park. Now that’s got to take some beating!
With the nearest sizable town, Nathon, a 20-30 minute drive away you’ll get to experience peace and seclusion which is fast becoming scarce in this world.
Top pick #3: Bang Por (south west)
Bang Por holds the crown for the longest stretch of sand on the island, reaching an impressive 11km of uninterrupted pristine sand.
This beach adds a tropical touch to your visit, creating an off the beaten track vibe whilst still providing a reasonable selection of restaurants and bars. The seafood is a real winner here!
Only 5-10 minutes away from the less sleepy village of Maenam and capital town of Nathon, Bang Por is a great beach to add into your day trip plans.
How To Get To Koh Samui?
|Leaving from||Duration||Prices from||See details|
|Bangkok||1hr 15mins-18.5 hours||760 THB-2,650 THB ($25-$87)||Bangkok to Koh Samui|
|Koh Phangan||30mins||220 THB ($7.50)||Koh Phangan to Koh Samui|
|Koh Samui Airport||15mins-1hr||100 THB-1,000 THB ($3.30-$33)||Koh Samui Airport to Koh Samui|
|Koh Tao||2hrs||550 THB ($18)||Koh Tao to Koh Samui|
My favourite places to stay in Koh Samui
If you’re looking for a fun and social atmosphere, this is the perfect hostel! On-site swimming pool, bar and lounge area for socializing with other travelers. Extremely close to the beach, restaurants, bars and all amenities. The hostel offers very comfortable beds and is extremely clean. The hostel staff is very friendly and will assist with arranging tours and forward travel plans.
- Swimming pool
- Social atmosphere
- Comfortable beds
Single bunk starts at $9 per night
If you’re traveling alone but prefer a little more luxury and a quiet place then The Rock Hostel is a perfect choice. This hostel offers private beach access with lounge chairs, a swimming pool, and stunning sea views. The location is perfect, the hostel is quiet and relaxing and the staff is amazing. Treat yourself to a few days of luxury and relaxation here.
- Private beach
- Swimming pool
- Excellent location
- Extremely clean and comfortable
Single bunk starts at $15
This adults-only beach house located in Taling Ngam Beach comes with countless recommendations. The beds are extremely comfortable, the hostel is very clean and a small breakfast of fruit with bread and jam is provided daily. There is an on-site bar, lounge and bbq area and the beach is right next door. The host is known to be exceptionally friendly, even taking guests on tours or dropping them off at the pier on departure day.
- Extremely helpful staff
- Breakfast included
- Very comfortable beds
- Beach nearby
Single room starts at $20 per night
Located on a hill, this hotel offers amazing sea views from your private balcony and room. The outdoor pool is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a drink from the on-site bar. The restaurant offers a variety of western and Thai food to choose from. This hotel is the perfect getaway for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
- Swimming pool
- Stunning sea views
- On-site restaurant & bar
- Extremely clean, luxury hotel
Private rooms start at $33
These beautiful beachfront bungalows, located at the Bophut area of Koh Samui, are an absolute luxury! Relish in the privacy these bungalows offer while still being just steps from the beach. There is an on-site swimming pool, bar, beachfront restaurant and a lovely terrace for guests to enjoy. Soak up the luxury, stunning views and comforts this resort has to offer.
- Swimming pool
- On-site bar and restaurant
- Private bungalow
Private bungalows start at $46
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