Ko Samui Beach Guide

Beach Huts on the Palm- Fringed Shoreline

Take only memories, leave only footprints
Chief Seattle 1786 - 1866

This Ko Samui Beach guide invites you on what is perhaps the ultimate adventure journey of a lifetime. It's also a great opportunity to explore Thailand's finest and possibly the best-loved beaches.

If you haven't been here before, you might never have guessed that somewhere on this vast planet of ours is this wondrous tropical island. Ko Samui is truly what dreams are made of and if these dreams would be a reality, you wouldn't ever want to leave the island lifestyle.

I'm absolutely convinced that many seasoned travel writers get some of their best inspirations whilst on these beautiful island beaches. And so began my journey as a travel writer. 

I'd love you to stay tuned for more adventure travel stories as the journey takes you further down this path. Just like the vast universe itself, there is no end, only the beginning. And this journey is right in front of you.

If ever there were more appealing beaches in Thailand, then the beaches of Ko Samui have got to be right on top of the list, then again once here, you'll be able to judge that yourself. It can be extremely difficult to try and describe or explain the absolute natural beauty of these stunning locations.

To be honest, the best time to be here isn't necessary during high-season, that is, before Christmas and after New Year, as it can become extremely crowded, especially on the most popular Ko Samui beaches. During the rest of the year, including the rainy season, you'll still be able to have a fantastic time.


Chaweng Beach

Ko Samui Beach - Chaweng

Chaweng Beach is a magnificent beach that extends for about six kilometres (four miles) along with a palm-fringed stretch of silky soft sandy coastline. The Beach is situated on the east coast of Ko Samui island and overlooking the coastline here is some equally impressive crystal clear emerald-blue waters and an easily accessible coral reef. The reef itself can be reached from two small islands off Chaweng beach. 

In fact, you could simply walk through the shallow waters to them. The other larger island of the two is a bit further out, but will no doubt provide you with some excellent opportunities to enjoy some snorkelling and or kayaking.

Because of the amazing reefs in Ko Samui, you're welcome to take advantage of the diving schools here, where you could even take your diver's license. Other beach activities include jet skiing, para-sailing, windsurfing and wakeboarding.

You can rent several water sports utilities from speedboats to banana boats to canoes. Not to be outdone, you could even hire a catamaran for the day. And with so much to do, it would make sense to get going as soon as possible.

And because of its popularity, Chaweng Beach is the most developed of all the beaches on the island. It's also where you'll find the best hotels and resorts, as are all the top 5-star restaurants, as well as the casual communal sit down open air establishments.

There are also many souvenir and clothing stores, including the notorious tailor shops that seem to follow you around wherever you go. And of course, there are the ever-present bars and clubs pumping out rock, reggae and techno music to anyone who cares to listen.

If you prefer somewhere a little quieter, then try the northern part of the beach as it less crowded than its central parts. Please remember that to stay cool on the beach, you can always find quite a few local food and drink vendors passing by offering anything from fruits, ice cream to local Thai food for your convenience.


Chaweng Beach View from a Restaurant

Ko Samui Beach - The North Island

There are a few beaches along the north coast of Ko Samui. They may not be the prettiest on the island, but they do create a superb platform to wonderful panoramic views across the ocean, particularly those towards Ko Phangan.

Maenam is the most westerly beach being an exposed four kilometre bay with a relatively narrow white shoreline with slightly coarser sand unlike that of the east coast. What this beach does have, is a rather laid-backed atmosphere to it and permits you to spoil yourself with good safe swimming.

You are also likely to find the most budget travellers despite some recent upmarket developments. What you won't find here are the razzle dazzle bars and nightclubs. For that, you'll have to take a late night songthaew to either Chaweng or Lamai.

The next bay is Bophut which is similar in stature to Maenam, though remarkably different in atmosphere and facilities, that being the more noticeable Italian and French influence. It's a quiet beach with a wholesome family feel to it attracting a mixture of young and older crowds.

At the east end of the bay is the fishing village of Ban Bophut, where you'll find a few small hotels, a sprinkling of internet cafes, supermarkets, travel agencies and one second-hand bookstore.

You are also likely to find the most budget travellers despite some recent upmarket developments. What you won't find here are the razzle-dazzle bars and nightclubs. For that, you'll have to take a late night songthaew to either Chaweng or Lamai.

The next bay is Bophut which is similar in stature to Maenam, though remarkably different in atmosphere and facilities, that being the more noticeable Italian and French influence. It's a quiet beach with a wholesome family feel to it attracting a mixture of young and older crowds.

At the east end of the bay is the fishing village of Ban Bophut, where you'll find a few small hotels, a sprinkling of internet cafes, supermarkets, travel agencies and one second-hand bookstore. 


Vendor selling fruit on Chaweng Beach

Ko Samui Beach - Lamai Beach

Lamai Beach is the second most popular Ko Samui beach. This smaller neighbour also on the east coast can be found a few kilometres around the corner just south of Chaweng Beach. This is a pretty little piece of paradise, particularly down at the beaches southern end. Lamai beach takes on the shape of a crescent moon with hundreds of coconut trees bending over the blue-green waters thus giving it a very tranquil feel.

There are some bizarre-looking rock formations dotted about, so be extremely careful when swimming in the sea here as it is quite deep in places.

Although there are far fewer tourists here at this Ko Samui beach, it does, however, attract many backpackers. Lamai beach also dishes out all the usual suspects when it comes to water sports such as jet-skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing and para-sailing. You can rent a variety of motorised boats for your private use.

At the southern end of the beach in an area called Hin Ta Hin Yai, you'll find a wide range of souvenir shops. You'll also find several go-go bars, pubs and discos. 


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View over Lamai Beach

Ko Samui Beach - Big Buddha Beach

No one can quite understand why anyone would want to spend so much time at Bangrak Bay unless of course you enjoy the resonating sound of traffic from the adjacent road or have an infectious fascination for roaring overhead aeroplanes. The bay is that close to the new airport.

Big Buddha Beach is another name often referred to this Ko Samui beach. It's a small bay located right in the north-eastern part of the island with views overlooking two small offshore islands. On one of the islands is a twelve metre high Buddha which can be seen from miles away. The enormous statue silently gazes down on sun-worshipers and is considered a well-known landmark here.


Ko Samui Beach Guide to Big Buddha



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