Koh Samui (also known as Ko Samui) is the second largest island in Thailand, located off of east coast of the Kra Isthmus. While Koh Samui has the features you’d expect of an island- extravagant palm trees and beautiful beaches- it’s also known for its dense rainforest and luxurious spas and resorts. The most popular aspect of the island is definitely the 12 meters tall gold Big Buddha statue located at the Wat Phra Yai temple in the Bophut area. Regardless of your expectations of Koh Samui, we guarantee that you’ll be impressed with this island. Samui is all about finding the beach that fits your criteria because there is a variety to choose from.
Quick note: Prices will obviously vary from high season to low season, in some cases by almost 50%! Low tourist season is from May to October and high tourist season is November to April. Personally I think Phuket is the best in October as it is the last month of the low season and there doesn’t seem to be much rain to ruin your holiday.
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Busy nightlife and a great beaches!
Chaweng is the perfect destination for those who love a night out; it’s considered the centre of Koh Samui. Chaweng beach is a long stretch on the northeast coast of Koh Samui, it’s great for sunbathing, jet skiing, and partying! Keep in mind that Chaweng can get quite crowded, although not as crowded as beaches in Phuket so if you prefer secluded beaches and quieter areas, you might want to visit another area of Koh Samui (which we will cover off below). Chaweng’s busy beaches are always a great place to make some new friends and chat to locals. Once it gets dark, Chaweng has the liveliest party scene in Thailand, which is also unique as most of the bars and clubs are along the beach. You can party all night and then leave the club and lay on the beach, listening to the relaxing sounds of the ocean. There are several bars, souvenir stands, restaurants, and spas along beach road – so there is something for just about everyone.
Where to Stay in Chaweng
Cheapest Hostels in Chaweng:
Budget Hotels in Chaweng:
Mid-Range Hotels in Chaweng:
Family Friendly Hotels in Chaweng:
Luxury Hotels in Chaweng:
Like Chaweng, Lamai is popular with travellers because of its nightlife, however on a smaller scale. There are several resorts along the coast, and the water is perfect for swimming, especially in the southern and central areas of Lamai, however access to the beach can be difficult if you aren’t staying at a beach hotel.
The stunning sunrises encourage a lot of travellers to wake up early and walk along the beach just to witness their beauty. Lamai is a bit cheaper than Chaweng in terms of food and accommodation, so for those on a budget, it’s the perfect place to stay. In addition to its pristine beaches, Lamai also has a walking street market that features cheap and fresh food, clothing stalls and lively local music. Lamai also has several kid-friendly attractions, including a water park called Coco Splash.
Where to Stay in Lamai
Budget Hotels in Lamai:
Mid-Range Hotels in Lamai:
Family Friendly Hotels in Lamai:
Luxury Hotels in Lamai:
Quiet areas perfect for families
Bophut is a very beach-oriented area with scenic views and touristy shops. It features a place called Fisherman’s Village, which began as an area for fishermen (as the name suggests) but has evolved into an area that shows off Koh Samui’s heritage with Thai-Chinese insipred shops and houses. This area has a few art galleries, plenty of eateries and a small section of activities which are very family friendly. Today Fisherman’s Village is considered one of the best night markets in Koh Samui.
Bophut is a perfect area for families as its not too busy and not too quiet, while there is some nightlife, its not as crazy as other areas of the island. Most of the resorts in the area are kid-friendly and offer a variety of activities for the kiddies and adults alike. Also in Bophut is the famous 12m tall Big Buddha statue that can be seen from nearly every spot on the island.
Where to Stay in Bophut
Cheapest Hostels in Bophut:
Budget Hotels in Bophut:
Mid-Range Hotels in Bophut:
Mantra Samui Resort (our favourite)
Family Friendly Hotels in Bophut:
Luxury Hotels in Bophut:
Quiet area for couples and families
Choeng Mon is on the northeastern tip of the island, just past the airport turnoff. It’s made up of a series of bays with beautiful white sandy beaches. This area of Koh Samui coastline has kept the beaches quiet and the waters clean and is said by locals to be some of the best beaches on the island. Choeng Mon is a fairly quiet area with a few restaurants and catered towards couples or families who don’t want to stay near the hustle and bustle, however it is only about 15 minutes north of Chaweng and 5 minutes from Big Buddha, so you aren’t in the middle of nowhere! Choeng Mon doesn’t really offer many backpacking or budget accommodations options, so it’s not considered a cheap area to stay. Choeng Mon is the best place to stay in Koh Samui for honeymooners who want a little more privacy.
Where to Stay in Choeng Mon
Budget Hotels in Choeng Mon:
Mid-Range Hotels in Choeng Mon:
Family Friendly Hotels in Choeng Mon:
Luxury Hotels in Choeng Mon:
Perfect for Backpackers or people who love quiet beaches
If you’re interested in a beach that’s a bit “off the beaten path”, you won’t be disappointed by Maenam Beach. It’s the last true backpackers haven in Koh Samui. Other areas of Koh Samui, like Bang Rak and Chaweng, cater to families or expats and the prices typically run a bit higher as there are more luxury resorts. However, Maenam is one of the most affordable areas on the island, which might be why it’s so popular with the backpacking crowd.
The primary type of accommodation in Maenam is bungalows that are rented at a low rate and offers local hole-in-the-wall eateries that also serve food for cheap prices. Maenam is definitely more like a village than a small town- there are few locals, smaller crowds of tourists and only one traffic light.
While Maenam is more so catered to backpackers, however it does offer a number of high end luxury resorts suited for couples who want to get away from the nightlife or want to relax of their honeymoon.
Where to Stay in Maenam
Bungalows and Villas in Maenam
Cheapest Hostels in Maenam:
Budget Hotels in Maenam:
Mid-Range Hotels in Maenam:
Family Friendly Hotels in Maenam:
Luxury Hotels in Maenam:
With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!
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