- Recently Updated: November 2022
Koh Samui, often referred as the best island off the east coast in the Gulf of Thailand. It is the second largest island to explore with charming bays, lagoons, hills and characteristic rocky outcrops.
Chaweng is the most popular beach vacation in Samui and are preferred by younger crowd while Lamai beach is more favored with the older set. There are also other lovely beaches to explore which fits perfectly for all types of beach goers.
How To Reach Koh Samui From Bangkok
Depending on your trip and stay on Koh Samui, there are diversity of ways to travel from Bangkok to Samui. If you’re short on time, take a domestic flight from Bangkok directly to Koh Samui.
Cheaper Option – International tourists travelling into Bangkok can fly to mainland Surathani via Thailand’s domestic airport and catches the express ferry across to Samui.
You can book online for Surathani Airport + Van + Ferry transfer package on 12go.asia which is pretty reliable for Asia travel route.
This route is popular for European tourists because of costly airfare especially on Bangkok Air (Bangkok – Samui – Bangkok flight route).
Renting a jeep is the best option but ensure the vehicle is covered with insurance. Motorbike is not a good option if you consume alcohol.
In fact, you can rent a vehicle upon arrival at the ferry jetty in Nathon (Samui) and drive to your hotel or resort. Only 1 ring road to all beachside towns and rental cost is cheaper here.
Best Months To Visit Koh Samui
Koh Samui is best to visit from November to February which is considered the dry season. This time is also the super peak season whereby cost of accommodations starts to soar.
So for me, I like to visit Samui around April to July where the weather is sunny and less crowded. This is the low season with pretty less tourist arrivals and flights and accommodations cost are affordable.
Weather: The Gulf of Thailand has few primary phases. You should expect sunny weather from December to February (dry season), with little rain and breezy winds that helps to keep you cool indoors as well as outdoors.
Due to the breezy and sunny weather, sea-sports activities are great at this time. March to May, you will notice a constant rise in temperature averaging at 32°C.
June and July have beautiful sunshine with short downpours creating the perfect picture postcard scenario to hit the beach.
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So, is Koh Samui worth visiting? What I like about Koh Samui is that you can explore the whole island on your own without getting lost. There is only a main ring road running along the coastline.
It take about 45 minutes by jeep or motorbike to complete the loop. All the inner streets, lanes and tracks leading to your resort are displayed clearly with signboards.
The islands and beaches encompassing the National Park are accessible to foreign visitors. If you like a day trip to tranquil and post-card perfect beaches, there are boats charters from Koh Samui.
Besides exploring Samui’s beaches, there’re also awesome things to do and easy access to cool places with your rental bikes and cars is not a problem at all.
Best Beaches In Koh Samui
Perfect for Couples
Bophut is one of the last beachside towns in Koh Samui where you can still feel the island’s laid-back vibe. Also known as the Fisherman’s Village and famous for sunset vibes and seafood.
The 2km long strip is a quaint village on the east side of Samui island where nightlife have been strongly discouraged. Most of the beach activities at night are low key.
The crescent shape bay with sandy beach flanked by swaying coconut palms, small restaurants and beach-side bars are perfect trips for couples and family vacations.
The waters are clean and calm which is great for swimming and sun-tanning. There are certainly no pole-dancing girly bars here. Best vacation spots for couples to spend some quality time together.
The beachside town is 15 minutes from the airport and takes almost the same time to travel to Chaweng beach by car or motorbike. It’s also the main pier for ferry departure to Koh Phangan.
Top things to do:
- Bophut is the best beach area to stay if you want to experience the fame monthly Koh Phangan Full Moon Party. Speedboats operates almost hourly making return trips easy and fast.
- At the western end of the Fisherman’s Village, you can rent jet ski which is less expensive than in Phuket.
- Try Go-carting for some fun. The track is located on the main road. Just ask any locals for direction.
- There are massage and manicure by the beach, cooking class or get a cool Tatoo at reasonable price.
Where to eat:
- There are several minimarkets and souvenir shops as well as a few somewhat interesting Chinese-themed restaurants.
- Small restaurants on the beach serve up affordable seafood with humongous menu.
- There are several pubs and few bakeries serving traditional European-style snacks and pub grub, as well as fine restaurants serving a wide range of French, Italian, and British cuisine.
- The Friday Walking Market in Bophut is always a hit. The strip will be lined with food, souvenirs and snacks kiosks.
Older Couples Haven
Lamai beach is located on the east side of Samui island stretching 4km with sandy shoreline and deep waters. This beach town is the preferred beach vacation for older couples.
The water is at the deepest in Lamai beach center where all the main activities are. If you love open water swimming, this is the perfect beach location for you.
Lamai is approximately 6 km of long winding, uphill and downhill ride from Chaweng beach. It’s a chill-out holiday spot to laze around and it’s super low-key as well.
Great for older visitors to just relax on most of the quite beaches isolated by huge rocks. The beach is punctuated with rocky outcrops so some of the bungalows and resorts are cut off from each other.
There are a number of girly bars located along the town strip, affordable restaurants, food market and shops selling clothes and souvenirs.
A handful of cafes and restaurants on the strip that opens early. One of those that I go for early breakfast is Will Wait Bakery & Restaurant, where you can get affordable freshly baked pastries and breakfast set.
Top things to do:
- Take a diving course at one of those Padi license Dive School.
- Gyms are available on the strip. The most affordable gyms in Samui island.
- Visit Lamai beach walking street on Sundays for a large range of food stalls, live music and children activities.
Where to eat:
- Next to Lamai beach main cross-junction near McDonalds, a good choice of vendors open for business from around 4p.m.
- This is a spot to return to for meals in the evening because of the low food prices.
- There are a few non girly bars and pubs closest to the shoreline and one of my favorite is Samuirockbar.
- You can catch the sunset and mellow up while relaxing on the humongous rock formations at Hin Tai Hin Yai.
Thong Krut Beach
Best For Sunset View
Thong Krut Beach near Baan Taling Ngam, where most of the private villas and resorts on a hillslope offers breathtaking sea view as well as nearby islands.
A tranquil fishing village with shallow waters and muddy sea bottom, not recommended for swimming. What you’ll discover is a secluded and uncrowded beach with spectacular sunset.
Best For Swimming
Silver Beach is a small lagoon but wide enough to accommodate visitors who likes strolling along its fine sandy shoreline.
The sand is powdery, light and doesn’t burn your feet, which is perfect for tanning while you walk up and down the seaside. The waters are clean and suitable for swimming.
Chaweng beach comprises of north, central and Noi are the heartbeat of the island for its diverse activities catering to the younger visitors with nightlife, beach entertainment and anything under the sun.
North Chaweng is great location to enjoy the tons of nightlife and shopping while Central Chaweng is where all the established bungalows and resorts are located. A number of superb restaurants and good for swimming as well.
Chaweng Noi is the most quietest and perfect for those looking for undisturbed tanning and spending some peaceful time with your partner. The beach is a short distance away from central Chaweng.
Open year round and thanks to its distinct island topography that fits all types of visitors including solo females, Koh Phangan is only 30 minutes ferry ride direct from Bophut.
Fame for its monthly Full Moon party, the island is also a hotspot for Yoga retreats. At yogaretreat-kohphangan near Haad Rin, programs such as detox and fasting are popular with visitors.
Beaches I would recommend
- Bottle Beach: For its sun-kiss white sand and turquoise color waters.
- Hat Sadet: Rows of beachfront coconut trees makes this beach picture-perfect. Super relaxing and great tanning spots as well.
- Secret Beach: Every holiday beach destinations has its own sunset view to chill out and this beach has one of the best in South East Asia.
Things to know about Full Moon party
There are full moon party at Bali, Koh Toch in Cambodia and other top beach destinations but Koh Phangan takes the cake.
Phangan full moon party stretches almost the entire 2km of Haad Rin beach with more than 10 bars and clubs participating with top local and International guest DJs.
This 24 hours non-stop full moon party event starts as early as in the evening until the next day. The music, dancing and boozing never stop flowing till late.
The best months to experience this spectacular full moon party are on peak season (November-February) where you will find thousands of tourists and locals partying together on Haad Rin beach.
Most popular drink is the “bucket”. A combination of alcohol of choice with ice, coke and Red Bull pack into a silver bucket. Most resorts in Phangan are fully booked at this time and requires 3-7 days of pre-booking.
Safety At Full Moon Party
- It is unsafe to pass out or sleep on the beach.
- Ensure your accommodations are nearby incase you need to “crash out” of the party.
- There are tons of resorts and bungalows nearby to stay.
- Suggest not to book your accommodations that is too far away although there are taxis plying from the party to your resort
Diving & Snorkelling
Koh Tao, sometimes known as “turtle island,” is one of the most well-known and inexpensive destinations in Asia to learn to scuba dive for beginners. This is the smallest of the three islands, yet it offers a lot of lovely idyllic beaches.
There are a variety of interesting and colorful fish species including turtles thriving in the coral reefs garden. Whale sharks and Manta Rays are regular visitors to this island.
Mango Bay is one of the best beach getaways from Koh Samui because of its awesome snorkeling location. Koh Tao can be visited all year round.
There are high-speed catamaran ferry service from Koh Samui to Koh Tao leaving from the Paralan Pier at Maenam and arriving at Mae Haad Pier on the west coast of Koh Tao.
Because of the distance traveled from Bangkok or other local locations to the Gulf of Thailand, it’s not appropriate for a short vacation in Koh Samui and its beautiful nearby islands.