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Koh Samui Guide

How to decide

How to decide" />

In the northeast corner of the island and close to the airport, Chaweng Beach is the biggest and most lively resort town on Koh Samui. Best known for its nightlife, it is the place to go to party, though it is also home to the island’s biggest shopping complex and a fantastic range of hotels, activities, attractions and restaurants. The beach itself is most people’s idea of paradise, with nodding palm trees surrounding the numerous resorts which are placed right by the sand while fine white sand leads into a beautifully clear sea.

Who is it For:

  • People who love to party
  • People who like a busy and lively beach
  • People who want everything in one place
  • Couples and young travellers

What’s Good:

  • Massive choice of nightlife, dining and shopping options
  • Wide range of hotel prices
  • Many hotels right on the beach
  • Convenient for the airport

What’s Not So Good:

  • Gets crowded in high season
  • The centre of town is noisy well into the early hour of the morning
 

How to decide

How to decide" />

This eastern resort town, south of Chaweng Beach, has a similar sort of vibe to its northerly neighbour, but on a smaller scale. Like in Chaweng, nightlife is still a major attraction and there are plenty of great dining, entertainment and accommodation options. The older of Koh Samui’s more popular destinations, it has a cheap and cheerful atmosphere and some truly unique attractions. While much of the island is evolving to target high-end, big-spending tourists – and this process is no less evident in Lamai Beach, with the appearance of some great spas – Lamai’s age and popularity means that there are many bargains still to be found.

Who is it For:

  • Budget-conscious holidaymakers
  • Families
  • People who like a good but not hectic nightlife

What’s Good:

  • Plenty of dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment options
  • Good range of hotel prices

What’s Not So Good:

  • Access to the beach can be difficult if you do not stay in a beach hotel
  • Traffic is intense at rush hours

How to decide

How to decide" />

An interesting meeting point between old and new, the Fisherman’s Village of this north-coast resort destination proudly displays the heritage of Koh Samui. The old wooden Thai-Chinese shop-houses are intermingled with modern conveniences, such as several beautiful modern resorts right on the stunning two-kilometre-long beach, boutique shops, chic and retro restaurants, and a small selection of fun activities and attractions. As a counterpoint to the hedonistic nightlife of Chaweng Beach, there has been a very successful effort to keep Bophut more traditional, making it a much more family-friendly destination.

Who is it For:

  • People who want a compromise between 'too busy' and 'too quiet
  • People looking for a village community feel
  • Families
  • Weathy travellers looking for a sophisticated destination

What’s Good:

  • Good choice of nightlife, dining and shopping options
  • Wide range of hotel prices
  • Plenty of dining choices overlooking the beach

What’s Not So Good:

  • Pretty quiet at night
  • The water can be quite murky, particularly around December

How to decide

How to decide" />

Looking out towards Koh Phangan, Maenam Beach is popular with backpackers and offers everything that you would expect of such a title – budget shopping, fun activities and its fair share of rough-and-ready restaurants, along with a good selection of low-cost accommodation right on the beach. However, the other end of the spectrum is also very well catered for, with high-quality and very private five-star resorts, fine dining options and a quiet, sophisticated nightlife. Either way, Maenam Beach is a great place to go to relax and take it easy on a pleasant beach.

Who is it For:

  • Couples
  • People who want to get away from it all
  • Beach lovers
  • People who like staying in very exclusive resorts

What’s Good:

  • A choice of budget and high-end hotels
  • A modest selection of fun activities (kite-surfing, football-golfing, and more)

What’s Not So Good:

  • The water is not typically clear and there is a moderate drift
  • Very quiet after dark

 

How to decide

How to decide" />

This north-eastern beach has only recently gained popularity, with most of the clientele being budget travellers and backpackers. It is conveniently situated, being close both to the Koh Samui Airport and the ferry to Had Rin on Koh Phangan. It is also home to several cultural attractions, including the titular Big Buddha. The accommodation options are mostly in the budget to mid-range categories, which increasingly attract families and tour groups. It is a popular destination with people who want the option of enjoying the nightlife of Chaweng Beach or the unique shopping options of Fisherman’s Village, but want to stay somewhere quiet and relaxing.

Who is it For:

  • Backpackers
  • Families
  • People who like a good but not hectic nightlife
  • People who want a compromise between 'too busy' and 'too quiet’
  • Budget-conscious travellers

What’s Good:

  • The beach is very clean and the water is amongst the clearest in Samui
  • The nightlife is modest, but mostly wholesome and family-friendly
  • Convenient for the airport and for the ferry to Koh Phangan

What’s Not So Good:

  • Some parts of the beach are not good for swimming due to rocks and corals
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