See locations below - Click a location to read more.
The long stretch of beautiful beach at Ban Tai is conveniently placed next to Ban Tai village which has a good selection of restaurants and shops. The speedboat service delivers you to Koh Samui and back in about 15 minutes time.
The waters are calm and beaches are very clean around these beaches. Accommodation choices here are relatively limited with most of it being residential villas and houses. There is next to no shopping or nightlife in this area, but one of Samui’s best seafood restaurants "Bang Po Seafood" is located here.
This area provides a range of relaxed and mid-range priced resorts, some of them well established. Some parts of the beach are not facilitated for swimming because of corals and rocks in the sea, while other parts, for example on the beach of Saboey resort is excellent. There is a very good Ban Sabai Spa in Bangrak with a big choice of excellent treatments. Also, make sure to check out the Big Buddha beach for sunsets – Try BBC cafe near Big Buddha! Petcherat Pier offers daily trips to Angthong Marine Park and Koh Tao, and speed boats private trips and night transfers to the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan. There is a big food market just at the beginning of the airport, that sells all kind of seafood, fruit, vegetables and meat.
The Fisherman’s Village a well preserved village which provides authentic island charm and also has a Mediterranean feel due to a design of beachside restaurants and the chosen cuisine that is available. The main street, which runs parallel to the beach, is lined by old wooden Chinese and Thai shop-houses, which are converted into the restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes, shops and guesthouses. Fisherman’s Village is well-known as one of the best places to eat and drink on the island, as it is a home to some popular restaurants such as Thai/European restaurants “Krua Bophut”, “Starfish & Coffee“, “Happy Elephant“, “Samui Spice“, “Shades”, “Smile House” restaurant, steak house “Shack”, Italian “Villa Bianka”, “Juzza Pizza” and “Alla Baja”, fusion food “The Pier” and “56″ restaurants, “Karma Sutra”, French “Gourmandie”, Indian “Tandoori Taj” and “Kohinor” and many many more ... Also several famous bars and pubs such as Billabong, Frog and Gecko, Emerald Irish Pub, Mosquito Bar, tiny Reggie bar, and many more. Shopping here is more boutique style with exclusive selections of clothing, accessories and jewellery, made in Thailand or imported from Bali, India and Hong Kong. There are several small local businesses such as diving shops, Internet cafes, travel agents, pharmacies, massage shops, tattoo shops and mini-markets. The beach in Bophut is not the best for walking, as it has very rough sand, but is good for swimming as the water is quite deep. Bophut suits families with kids or couples who want a relaxing holiday, good food and shopping. There are no girly-bars or Go-Go bars around, and the atmosphere in the village is very relaxed and friendly. Experience the Walking Street on Fridays in Bophut - Traffic is closed off and every business sets up a table in front of their shop or restaurant. People from all around the island come to Fisherman’s Village to taste Thai street food, do bargain shopping, experience live music and have a great night.
Chaweng Beach is usually divided into three sections: North Chaweng, Central Chaweng and Chaweng Noi. Chaweng Beach is the longest beach on Samui, and attracts many young travelers and families, but still remains good value. The beach is almost 7 km long with fine white sand. The water is emerald blue, and it has a coral reef where waves break, leaving the bay quite serene. Not far from the beach, there are two small islands close the the reef - In the morning, you can explore the nearest island by walking through the shallow water, or by snorkeling or kayaking to the second island which is further out and larger. The central beach area is more crowded than the quieter north - Vendors frequently pass by, offering drinks, fruit, ice cream and local Thai food. A variety of local crafts and Thai souvenirs are also available. The beach itself is usually accessed through the hotels, as there are no roads directly on the beach. It is very relaxing but noticeably more touristy during the high season. Parallel to the beach, lies Samui’s largest collection of restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, fast food and convenience stores.
This is a very family friendly area, and the water is shallow and clean. Many locals also come to this beach because of the local restaurants offering free beach lounges which is quite hard to find on Samui as most of them belong to the hotels. There are a couple of diving shops right on the beach, a few tailor shops, massage places, a few nice beach restaurants occasionally playing live music, and some water sports such as jet-ski, banana ride, kayaks and a floating castle for kids.
Hua Thanon, which starts just beyond Hin Tin & Hin Yai, is a quiet location, and home to a few long-stay backpacker resorts as well as one of Samui’s last remaining traditional fishing fleets. The Muslim village has a charming atmosphere and is well worth a visit for a glimpse into island life before mass tourism. The fishermen’s elegantly painted kor lae boats are very photogenic, as is the village’s fish market. There are a few decent seafood restaurants by the side of the sea, which give you a taste of true Samui cuisine at budget prices.
There are a few charming attractions in Laem Set that make this a worthy destination for visitors - The Butterfly Garden up on a hill, with its tropical greenery habituated by colorful insects. The Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo are nearby - You’ll see fish, corals, turtles, sharks, catfish and other creatures from the depths of the ocean. Laem Set has a few high end hotels and boutique resorts, as well as first class dining and dedicated spas. It’s in easy reach of waterfalls, while the beach is soft sand, and a great place for afternoon cocktails.
The beach is less crowded than Chaeng, and the water is deeper, especially in the southern part of the beach. Northern Lamai has some corals and rocks, which makes swimming more difficult. In the central part of the beach you can find places to rent kayaks and jet-skis, or do some parasailing or waterskiing if you enjoy water-sports. Nightlife in Lamai is not as prominent as in Chaweng, but still offers good variety, including a popular nightclub called Fusion, Shamrock Pub for live rock live TV Sports, a Thai boxing stadium, plus many bars, discos and clubs. Lamai’s shopping is mostly located on the Beach Road, and offers a few good upmarket shops as well as several market stalls selling pirat goods, fake clothing and cheap T-shirts, surf shorts and sarongs. Lamai has a fair amount of girly bars, which gives it the reputation as the place for single guys. However, you can easily avoid the bar area, and stay near the beach, where you can enjoy everything Lamai offers.
Lipa Noi is close to Raja Ferry, the main transfer boat to and from mainland. The water is shallow here, making it a good beach for families with children. Shopping is limited in this area, so tourists have to go to Nathon frequently for their shopping requirements. There are quite a few simple Thai and seafood places over in Lipa Noi, which is also a great location for watching sunsets!
Maenam beach generally attracts local expats, long-term visitors and backpackers, but there are also many nice residential villa projects. The beach is nice and soft, the water is deep and good for swimming, and there are many basic Thai restaurants on the beach and on the road. Maenam Village is very quiet, has two main streets with several restaurants and shops and has an old pier where you can take a long-tail boat to Koh Phangan every day at 12 PM. Lomprayah pier is located further down, towards the west Maenam, which has daily boats to Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and Bangkok. There is a Golf Course in Maenam hills for those who like to play golf.
A paved road leads off the main street connecting Hua Thanon, south of Lamai, to Nathon. There are actually two tiers to the falls - The higher tier requires some trekking to reach, on foot or elephant. The lower tier is 30 meters high with water cascading over a sheer rock face into a deep pool that can be nice for swimming if there aren’t too many other people. Along the path leading to the falls from the parking area, are several souvenir stalls as well as some food stalls that can prepare authentic Thai food at reasonable prices. Just off the parking lot is a place where you can get an elephant to take you up to any of the other waterfalls, or elsewhere in the interior. Further down the access road from the falls is the self-styled "Namuang Safari Park" offering elephant rides, monkey shows, and just about anything else you might wanna see. Its a bit over but might be good fun if you have children with you.
Nathon is a place for various local events, and celebrations - Chinese New year is very popular here due to the partly Chinese population of this area. The town’s main tourist attractions are old Chinese wooden houses that are located on the road between main road and waterfront road. Shopping in Nathon is less expensive than anywhere else on the island and offers a fresh market that has a very big choice of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fresh seafood. Many tourists come specifically to enjoy the spectacular sunset views and the quaint little shops and restaurants that line the ocean front. The town itself is quite picturesque and is fast becoming a known shopping- and dining destination. There are quite a few basic restaurants in Nathon which serve authentic Thai cuisine and a few budget beachfront hotels, good for overnight sleep before or after transfer to the mainland.
Plai Laem is a quiet area, perfect for relaxing but within 10 minutes you can reach the bustling area of Chaweng for entertainment and shopping. There are some local shops, while a slightly longer walk will take you to a few bars and restaurants near the Big Buddha statue and Plai Laem temple. Plai Laem is within walking distance from the beach and neighboring Choeng Mon beach is only about 5 minutes drive away. In Plai Laem you will find a selection of good Thai restaurants along the main road, and a couple of restaurants and bars on the beach. For a pampering experience, you can try one of the inexpensive Thai massage places on the road or on the beach or visit one of the high end spas and retreats. Plai Laem is a popular destination in Koh Samui, due to its location and stunning views and sunsets. The sand stretches 2 kilometers and is white and soft - The water is kept warm and calm by an of shore coral so it’s great for paddling, swimming and snorkeling. Koh Samui International Airport is five minutes away.
Taling Ngam is generally a remote area, ideal for those who want to get away from it all and enjoy a relaxing holiday away from the busy streets of more developed parts of Samui. Taling Ngam is also home to a few great resorts such as Baan Taling Ngam Resort and Ban Sabai Sunset Beach Resort.