Koh Samui is the third biggest island in Thailand and sits within the Chumphon Archipelago, famed for its clear waters and mostly uninhabited islands. Isolated from the Thai mainland, Koh Samui was a self sustainable fishing community until backpackers began discovering its charms in the late 1970’s. Roads and bungalows were built and today the island is a global tourism destination. The natural beauty for which it became famous remains, but holidayers will also find a healthy nightlife and excellent dining options in the busier areas. Koh Samui is so loved because you can have any kind of holiday you like - it accommodates families looking for a peaceful getaway as easily as it does the young party seeker, provided you know where to look!
Finding Apartments, Guest Houses and Villas in Koh Samui
Koh Samui is well prepared for visitors with any budget and have some incredible villas, apartments and other holiday rentals to complete the perfect beach holiday. If you’re keen to hit the nightlife of Koh Samui, it’s best to find a villa in Chaweng or Lamai where most of the clubs and bars are located. For a more laid back trip, try a holiday rental in the north of the island, where the beaches are as beautiful but a lot less crowded. Bophut Beach is one of the best places to eat out on Samui, has a pretty beach and plenty of charming accommodation, but is decidedly more peaceful than nearby Chaweng.
Explore Koh Samui
The best thing to do in Koh Samui is enjoy your surroundings, eat well and indulge yourself. Chaweng is the longest beach on the east side of Koh Samui and is very popular with young people and families for its crystal clear water, pure white sand and nightlife. Under the coconut trees vendors sell clothes, snacks and deliciously spicy local street food, so it’s easy to stay at the beach for the whole day. The central part of Chaweng Beach has a party atmosphere and plenty of clubs, so visitors looking for a more chilled time should find accommodation to the north or south. For full relaxation, try a Thai massage at one of the many reasonably priced but well run spas on the island and feel the knots in your back disappear. Many operators will also do beauty treatments, including the renowned Magnolia Spa at Chaweng. Lamai is another popular beach, and is a good base for exploring other areas if you have had enough lying in the sun for the day. To the south is Hua Thanon, a small Muslim fishing village that is a fascinating window into life on the island before tourism. The village is mostly self-sustainable and centres around a daily fish market, where you can pick up some freshly caught prawns for lunch. In the evening at Lamai, hit the restaurants and clubs, or the night market for some shopping. The Lameso Pagoda is a good stopover if you’re spending the day checking out the southern part of the island. The gold plated structure is right on the beach and is a picture perfect setting for an afternoon walk. If your accommodation is around Chaweng, it will take about half an hour to reach the Lameso Pagoda by taxi. You can also get a boat to Koh Tao for a day of scuba diving and snorkelling at a range of spots accommodating all skill levels. You’ll see a huge variety of corals, tropical fish and even sometimes turtles, who use the island as a breeding spot.
Koh Samui is easily reachable by plane from Bangkok to the airport at the north of the island, or by ferry from Surat Thani on the mainland to Nathon Port on the west coast. Though roads were only first built here in the late 1970’s, Koh Samui is now well connected and the island can be crossed on road in about half an hour. Tuk-tuks and taxis are always within a few feet of you and are a fun, cheap way to hop between your villa and the beaches. Motorbikes are also cheap to rent and are an easy way to beach hop or explore the inland further, but as in the rest of Thailand, accidents are frequent, so take care.