Koh Samui, often known as Ko Samui, is a distinctive island off the east coast in the Gulf of Thailand. It is the second largest island in Thailand comprising 11 main beaches with charming bays, lagoons, hills and characteristic rocky outcrops.
With an area of 228.7 square kilometers, Samui island is the second biggest after one of Asia most favorite islands; Phuket in the Andaman Seas. What I like best about Ko Samui is there are more than 40 super idyllic islands getaways located to the west forming the incredible Ang Thong National Park.
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. Basic accommodations like bungalows and camping can only be booked via the Park’s website.
Koh Samui Weather By Month
Weather Forecast: 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, seaports 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 beach picture postcard scenario.
Best Time 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. Favorite month for Italian to visit Ko Samui is on August where most of the accommodations are fully book and favorite long-stay tourists are from Sweden.
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 and 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.
“Always booked your rental jeep with leading booking sites for insurance coverage incase of breakdowns and accidents. Some local shops providing rental vehicles will offer you a cheaper rental price. But insurance are sometimes not in proper order”.
Depending on your trip, and stay on the island, there are diversity of ways to travel to Koh Samui.
I propose that you book ahead especially on peak season for your convenience. Check out booking.com for good deals.
If you’re short on time, take a domestic flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui. Since, Bangkok Air is the only boutique airline that managed and controls the airport, the ticket cost is manipulated.
Cheaper & Wiser – Western tourists travelling into Bangkok prefers to fly to the mainland Surathani and catch the express ferry. It is much more cheaper. 12go.asia is a good transfer website especially for Asia and Thailand.
The best beaches I would recommend…
- Best For Sunset View: Thong Krut Beach, near Baan Taling Ngam where most of the private villas and resorts on a hillslope offering breathtaking sea view and nearby islands. A peaceful fishing village with shallow waters and muddy sea bottom, not recommended for swimming but totally spectacular sunset where you can escape the crowd.
- Best For Swimming: Silver Beach is a small lagoon but wide enough to accommodate visitors who likes strolling along it’s fine sand shoreline. The sand is powdery, light and doesn’t burn your feet which is super perfect for tanning. The waters are clean and suitable for swimming.
The best beach for activities I would suggest….
- Best For Beach Activities: Chaweng beach is the heartbeat of the island for it’s diverse activities catering to the younger visitors with nightlife, parties, beach entertainment and anything under the sun. From November to January, choppy waters and waves bring in dirt and mud affecting the eastern coast of the island. But mostly, Chaweng comes alive after sunset.
Samui island can be categorized into 2 different groups of tourists. Central Chaweng is the most popular beach and are preferred by younger party-minded crowd while Lamai beach is more favored with the older set.
Best Beach Village For Couples And Young Families
Bophut is one of the last villages on 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, the 2km long strip is a quaint village on the east side of Samui island where nightlife have been strongly discouraged.
The crescent shape bay with sandy beach flanked by swaying coconut palms, small restaurants and beach-side bars perfect for couples looking for a chill-out location and families for bonding. The waters are clean and calm which is great for swimming and sun-tanning. There are certainly no pole-dancing girly bars here.
The village is 15 minutes to the airport and takes you almost the same time to Chaweng beach by cars or motorbikes. You can also travel cheap by hopping onto Songthaew which ply between Bhoput and Chaweng frequently. It is also the main pier for ferry and speedboats to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
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.
A small shop offering leather shoes and shoe repairs at reasonably priced and are all original designs and superior quality. Massage and menicure by the beach, cooking class or get a cool Tatoo at reasonable price.
Best Beach Village For Older Couples & Retirees
Lamai beach is located on the east side of Samui island stretching 4km with sandy shoreline and deep waters. It is at the deepest at the village center where all the main activities are. If you love open water swimming, this is the perfect beach for you.
The beach village is approximately 6 km of long winding, uphill and downhill ride from Chaweng beach. There is nothing much to do besides laze around as it is a super low-key beach getaway. Great for older couples to just relax on most of the quite beaches cut off by huge rocks. The beach is punctuated with rocky outcrops so most of the bungalows and resorts are cut off from each other.
There are a number of girly bars located along the town strip and few restaurants, a food market and shops selling clothes and souvenirs. Most of the older guests prefers to hang out at their own accommodations rather than stay on late here. Unless, you like to check out the girly bars which serve cheap drinks.
I just love this relax vibe here but everything seems to start totally late in the morning. There are a handful of restaurants on the strip that opens early particular in low season. One of those that I go for early Breakfast is Will Wait Bakery & Restaurant, where you can get cheap freshly baked pastries and Breakfast set.
Take a diving course at one of those Padi license Dive School.
Three different gyms are available on the strip. The cheapest gyms in Samui island.
Visit Lamai beach walking street on Sundays for a large range of food stalls, live music and children activities.
Getaways From Koh Samui To Koh Phangan
Thanks to its distinct island topography that fits all types of visitors including female solo travelers, Koh Phangan is only 30 minutes ferry ride direct from Bophut Koh Samui. The island can be visited all year round just like Koh Samui.
Fame for its monthly Full Moon party, the island is a favorite for Israelis to visit. Phangan is also a hotspot for Yoga retreats. At yogaretreat-kohphangan near Haad Rin, programs such and detox and fasting are popular with visitors from 3 to 14 days. Its founders and teachers are all long term Farangs.
The best Koh Phangan beaches I would recommend….
- Bottle Beach: For its sun-kiss white sand and clear turquoise color waters.
- Hat Sadet: Rows of beachfront coconut trees makes this beach like you see in the movies. 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 in the afternoon on the following day.
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. Both Samui, Phangan and nearby islands will be at a standstill on this epic occasion.
There is an entrance fee of 100 baht and the most popular drink is the “bucket”. A combination of alcohol of choice with ice, coke and Red Bull starting from 200 baht pack into a silver bucket. Most resorts in Koh Phangan are fully booked at this time and requires 3-7 days of pre-booking.
“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. Suggest not to book your accommodations that is too far away although there are taxis plying from the party to your resort on meter”.
Best Island Getaways For Snorkeling & Diving
Koh Tao, sometimes known as “turtle island,” is one of the most well-known and inexpensive destinations in the world to learn to scuba dive. This is the smallest of the three islands, yet it offers a lot of lovely beaches.
There are a variety of interesting and colorful fish species including turtles thriving in the brilliant coral reefs garden. Whale sharks and Manta Rays are regular visitors to this island.
Mango Bay has to be the most preferred trip getaways from Koh Samui because of its awesome snorkeling location. 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.
If you want to escape the high season, Koh Tao can be visited all year round. However, from November to January, boat trips for scuba diving and snorkeling to the island from Koh Samui can be cancelled due to choppy waters from the Monsoon season.
Because of the distance traveled from Bangkok or other locations around Thailand, it is not appropriate for a short vacation to Koh Samui. I hope this guide for couples and families on Koh Samui top beaches and island getaways will assist in planning your picture perfect trip!
- Note: This post experience may be a ‘little off the chart” due to restraint caused by the Pandemic situation. For latest happenings, I suggest this Facebook group for real time information.