Koh Samui is one of the most popular resorts in Thailand and the second largest island in the country. Geographically, it is located in the Gulf of Siam in the South China Sea of the Pacific Ocean, on the same side of the Malacca Peninsula as the island of Koh Chang, but significantly to the south. The main treasure of Koh Samui is its amazing and beautiful tropical nature - warm turquoise water, snow-white sand, coral reefs, coconut trees, bright sun and cloudless sky. However, there will be enough entertainment for those who are looking for something more than just a hasteless beach holiday. On the island itself there is a number of very interesting temples - both Thai and Chinese, attractions that are in different ways related to the animal world, and one of the most important is the National Marine Park of Angthong, which consist of 42 smaller islands and is a unique place for diving. In addition, there is quite a variety of shopping opportunities on Koh Samui - from local little shops and night markets to the newly built shopping center. A huge number of restaurants will provide food for every taste with dishes of different cuisines of the world. Along the coast of the island there is a ring road that is just a bit over 50 km long, the entire resort life of Koh Samui gravitates toward it. And the coastline itself is divided into a number of beaches, the main ones of which we will describe below.
It is no coincidence that Chaweng Beach is the busiest and most popular holiday destination on Koh Samui, offering a wide choice of restaurants, cafes, shops, bars and nightclubs for every taste. Because of the snow-white stretch of sand that is 7 km long, coconut trees and blue sapphire ocean, Chaweng Beach is considered to be one of the best in the world. If shopping and the pursuit of a bargain is what you are looking for, then this is your place, with an endless variety of shops where you can practice your negotiating skills. If you are interested in more prestigious shopping, be sure to visit the new trade complex called "Central Plaza", located next to Chaweng Lake. Towards evening, Chaweng turns into a really crowded place - restaurants place tables on the beach and invite to dinner, skilful jugglers present a fire show, and beach vendors walk along the shore and sell fireworks, Chinese lanterns and other goods.
Maenam is situated on the north coast of Koh Samui. In this area you will see a picturesque white sand beach, located a short distance from the ring road. Sleepy atmosphere combined with countless coconut trees and unspoiled views of the neighboring island of Koh Phangan make Maenam a very desirable destination. This is a reasonable choice for a family holiday, since the sea here is usually calm and the beach is quiet. In this part of the island there are many restaurants and bars offering a wide range of dishes of various cuisines of the world. On Thursday evening, Maenam becomes "The Walking Street" - this is a Thai evening market, where the locals present various crafts of their own making, clothing, delicious street food and much more. In Maenam there is an interesting and ornate Chinese temple, which is especially fascinating to visit during the Chinese New Year, as you will have the opportunity to see the show of dragons! On the hills of Maenam you can find a golf course and a tennis club called "Santiburi" with astonishing ocean views.
In Bophut the famous Fisherman's Village is located, in its time it was a real fishermen's village, now it's a charming promenade with lots of restaurants, shops and bars. A fishing village is really worth a visit. Especially on Friday, when it becomes "The Walking Street", a Thai evening market where local people offer homemade souvenirs, clothes, various snacks and treats. Bophut is on the north side of the island near major supermarkets and a new shopping center known as The Warf, which descends directly to Bophut Beach and the Fisherman's Village. This is a good place for a family holiday, because there is noticeably less commercial nightlife compared to other areas of the island, such as Chaweng. Bophut is a long beach with golden sand and views of the neighboring island of Koh Phangan.
Bangrak is found on the northeast coast of Koh Samui, near the beaches of Choeng Mon, Chaweng and Bophut. Every day from two moorings of Bangrak boats leave for the neighboring islands, getting to the airport is also quite easy. Big Buddha district adjoins Bangrak, it is called so because of the huge temple of the Big Buddha, attracting thousands of tourists every year. The appropriately named impressive golden statue of the Big Buddha rises above the coast and is visible from a distance both from the sea and from the land. Nightlife in Bangrak is somewhat livelier than in Bophut and Choeng Mon, but it is still relatively quiet compared to such areas as Chaweng and Lamai. In this part of the island there is a Thai market and a "Tesco Lotus" mini-market. Bangrak Beach is calm and beautiful, the views of the nearby island of Koh Phangan contribute to its beauty.
Choeng Mon is situated on the northeast side of the island and is probably one of the best beaches for swimming in Koh Samui, as it is protected by a bay in which the water is always very calm and suitable for a family holiday. You can rent kayaks on the beach, but if you do not feel energetic enough, then why not relax with a cocktail and enjoy the views of the small island of Fan Yai and the outstanding rock formations that partially form the bay. Also, this is the most suitable place for a relaxing oil massage on the beach. Some may note that Choeng Mon is considered to be one of the most prestigious areas of the island, since most of the proposed accommodation options consist mainly of expensive hotels and luxury villas. Next to Choeng Mon there are Chaweng Beach, Bangrak and Bophut.
Bang Por / Ban Tai
Bang Por and Ban Tai are quiet, tranquil areas located on the north coast of Koh Samui, not far from Maenam Beach. The long picturesque white sand beach stretches into the distance, and on a clear day it has a beautiful view of the National Marine Park of Angthong. Stunning sunsets can be enjoyed with an enviable regularity, and small Thai fishing boats begin their work at this time. The water here is rather shallow, so you don't have to worry about children playing on the beach. A lot of small roads lead to the sea, where there are several restaurants and a couple of occasional bars along the coast. In this area you can find many luxurious private villas located on the beach or in the hills overlooking the ocean. If you go further along the ring road, you will arrive in Nathon, from where boats leave for the mainland.
Lamai is the second most popular resort on the island of Koh Samui, situated on the east coast with palm trees and an impressive white sand beach that is 4 miles long. Lamai and the surrounding area became a dynamic and lively center with a lot of shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs. During the day, there are various water sports available, and here come the connoisseurs of beach holidays in the sun from all over the world. In the evening, many prefer to dine outdoors and watch a fire show, while the locals comb the beach selling their goods. On Sunday evening, Lamai turns into "The Walking Street" - a Thai evening market, which features handmade products, clothes, delicious street food and traditional Thai snacks. Now in this area there are major supermarkets, including "Makro" and "Tesco". In Lamai there are at least two large temples that attract thousands of visitors each year. Other sights that cannot be missed are Hin Ta Hin Yai, which translates as the Stones of Grandma and Grandpa. In Lamai there are two local markets and a small fishing village.
Located on the sleepy south-west coast of Koh Samui, Taling Ngam area is a great place for those who need a more relaxed holiday. The picturesque and distinctive coast line benefits from spectacular sunsets and majestic views to the neighboring five islands known in Thai as Koh Si Koh Ha, which in fact means "four islands - five islands", since one island is hidden behind the other. The well-known landmark in Taling Ngam is the Elephant Gate leading to the ocean. This area is considered the virgin coast of the island, since most of it is not developed. Sometimes pink dolphins can be seen swimming and playing in the waters off the coast of Taling Ngam. The much more developed area of Lamai with its shops, restaurants and bars is only 10-15 minutes away.
Laem Set and Laem Sor
The areas of Laem Set and Laem Sor are found at the southernmost point of Koh Samui. These two rather quiet places are great for those who want a more relaxing holiday, or for families, who want to have a good time together and enjoy some privacy, away from somewhat commercialized areas of the island. The coast line here is very picturesque, and you can regularly enjoy wonderful sunsets. Popular attractions in this part of the island include a butterfly garden, an aquarium, a tiger zoo, a snake farm and waterfalls in the jungle that are particularly impressive during the rainy season or shortly after. Another place worth visiting is the Laem Set pagoda, a temple of golden color, located on the southernmost tip of the island. The golden temple vividly and impressively contrasts with the turquoise ocean. Both Laem Set and Laem Sor are about 10 minutes drive from Lamai and 15 minutes drive from Nathon.
Lipa Noi is a relatively uninhabited area located on the west coast of Koh Samui. Its quiet white sand beach is ideal for swimming, so it's an excellent choice for a family holiday. Amazing sunsets are also typical for this place, and the famous beach club "Nikki" arranges various parties and events right here. On the beach you can find many restaurants and bars. However, Lipa Noi is not developed to the extent of Lamai or Chaweng. Just a 5 minutes drive will take you to Nathon with its many restaurants, shops, bars and the pier, from where daily boats set off for the mainland.