Koh Samui is a compact island and you can travel around the fifty kilometre ring road in an hour or so by private hire car, and double that if you choose to experience the rather rickety forms of public transport! Over twenty excellent beaches can be accessed from this road by taking a detour of maybe five to twenty-five minutes or so.
Samui’s beaches are picture postcards come to life, embodying everyone’s idea of a tropical paradise! Coconut palms sway in the sultry breeze, shady fronds wave gently over powder fine white sand as clear turquoise waters lap softly on the shore.
In the west of the island some beaches are virtually deserted while those in the east, near the bustling centres of Chaweng, Maenam and Lamai, tempt the visitor with a range of exotic tastes, fragrances and experiences.
Nothing beats a beachside massage after a refreshing dip in the warm seas – or to soothe away the aches and pains after an exhilarating jet ski ride! Allow yourself to be pampered and have a facial or a manicure or maybe even have your hair braided while chilling on the beach…
Lunch on delicious chicken and fresh tropical fruits sold by friendly vendors hauling red hot barbecues and coolers suspended from yokes across their shoulders – why not make friends with these locals and see them laugh when you try your hand at lifting these incredible contraptions? You’ll certainly appreciate how hard they’re working for just a handful of baht while you soak up the sun!
Even the shopping comes to you while you lounge on the beach, with some beautiful (and some tacky!) souvenirs, hand crafted artefacts, locally made silver jewellery and brilliantly colourful sarongs to choose from – all offered by smiling local vendors throughout the day.
As evening arrives and the tropical sun finally dips below the horizon, the main beaches transform into a festival of food, drink and entertainment, with choices to suit everyone: dine by candlelight while reclining on beachmats on the sand, or loll in sunloungers in an informal setting, sipping a cocktail or three, or opt instead for a mouth watering gourmet meal served in a top notch restaurant that shares same view…
Watch talented jugglers twirling flaming sticks and balls, enjoy the fireworks that light up the night sky most days, and send a flaming Chinese lantern soaring towards the stars for good luck.
You might prefer to find a quiet romantic spot to enjoy the moonlight reflected on the water, or perhaps you’ll be tempted to join the club like atmosphere of the busiest beach bars that pump out house music for party revellers! The choice is yours…
Choosing Your Villa Rental Property Location
Each beach has a character of its own and all have a range of rental properties within easy reach. Whether you want to be near a busy beach, or prefer solitude – or you’re looking for something in between – Samui has a rental villa or apartment in the perfect location for you.
Why not check out the links below to help select your ideal beach before searching our extensive database to find the perfect holiday rental property for you!
If you like to party or want to shop until you drop, then Chaweng is the place for you! This is the throbbing heart of the island, with the busiest beach and plentiful nightlife offering bars, clubs and restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets.
Swish cocktail lounges and banging beach bars; gourmet restaurants with five star service and fusion cuisine vie with street vendors selling exotically fragrant Thai food; Armani knock offs compete with hand tailored silk suits and dresses ready to collect in 24 hours; pirated CDs and DVDs sit alongside genuine Ray Bans; and quality handcrafted items made by skilled artisans can be had for just a few baht more than the abundant tourist tat… It really is all here!
Read more about Chaweng beach…
Long considered the ‘family’ beach, with lower cost accommodation offering standards to match, Lamai has come of age, and now has much more to offer – while maintaining its friendly, low key approach. Although this is the second busiest resort on the island, visitors are absorbed without fuss or crowds.
As Samui has moved up market, Lamai beach has been closing the gap on its bigger, brasher sister – Chaweng. Something of a Cinderella in the past, with a shorter stretch of off-white sand and a budget feel to it, Lamai is blossoming into a genuine alternative for anyone looking for some action, but with a laid back atmosphere. The natural beauty this palm fringed beach is less spoilt, and the quality and range of restaurants and bars will cater to most tastes.
Read more about Lamai beach…
Bangrak and the Big Buddha Beach
Located on the northeast of the island, maybe twenty minutes cab ride from Chaweng, Bangrak village and the Big Buddha Beach provide a quiet location away from the tourist crowds. Often overlooked by many who travel to Samui it can provide those who choose to rent a holiday home here a very quiet alternative to the busier resorts, and is just minutes away from Samui international airport. For short breaks of a few days before a flight, this is an ideal choice.
Literally translated, Bangrak means The Village of Love! With a fabulous view across the water to Koh Phangan, plenty of yachts and speedboats gently bobbing idyllically in the bay, a palm fringed powder white beach with relatively little development along it, and some superb seafront restaurants to choose from, this can be a very romantic spot. Unlike Chaweng and Lamai on the eastern coast of Samui, Bangrak and its northern neighbours often boast spectacular tropical sunsets…
Read more about Bangrak & Big Buddha beach…
Bophut Beach and The Fisherman’s Village
Bophut beach is situated on the north of the island between Maenam and Big Buddha beach and, like its neighbours, is much quieter than Chaweng and Lamai, though still only a 20 to 30 minute taxi ride from the action.
Bophut is a magnet for tourists looking for some authentic Thai/Asian style: also known as Fisherman’s village it contains a number of very attractive traditional wooden shophouses, boasting their Chinese heritage. Despite some new development overlooking the water, the locals have preserved the best examples and maintained a sophisticated, upmarket feel. The shops have been converted into trendy boutiques, high quality hand crafted jewellery stores, souvenir stalls and some excellent bars and restaurants – and the strict ‘no ladybar’ policy provides a marked contrast to the tackier tourist meccas on the island: there are no semi-clad girls twirling round poles here.
Read more about Bophut beach & The Fisherman’s Village…
Heading west from Bophut towards Nathon on the island’s ring road, Maenam appears to be an uninspiring potpourri of bleak concrete shophouses, scruffy bars and mostly mediocre restaurants, interspersed with the occasional top notch resort and excellent dining option. Extending for several kilometres, many travellers pass through without realising they are just a couple of hundred metres from another beautiful beach running parallel to this concrete jungle.
Maybe that’s why Maenam beach is never crowded: you’ll probably see no more than a handful of other people in the vicinity – yet, as evening approaches, you will be treated to a spectacular sunset from if you are at one of the best vantage points towards the eastern end of the beach. Magnificent views of Koh Phangan complete this wonderful holiday picture.
Read more about Maenam beach…
Known by locals as Tongtakien Bay, this small beach nestles between Lamai and Chaweng, and is a delightful spot just off the main road between those main centres. With three beach resorts there can be moderate crowds during peak season (December) but when it’s quiet – which is most of the time – it is a great place to chill and take in the stunning surroundings: crystal clear turquoise waters, powdery white sand and craggy limestone boulders surrounded by lush tropical greenery. This is everyone’s idea of a paradise beach!
Read more about Silver beach & Tongtakien Bay…
Choeng Mon Bay
Until recently this sleepy little beach, just 10 minutes north of Chaweng, was one of Samui’s best kept secrets. As Samui has got busier, more guests have discovered the delights of this beautiful bay, with its sweeping view of offshore islands and a little causeway that appears at low tides for access to one of its own.
The beach offers a great selection of bars and restaurants, and the recent rise in popularity has seen the arrival of touts on the beach hiring jetskis – sadly the attendant noise and crazy antics of the riders have changed the laid back feel somewhat, but it is still a great place to relax.
Read more about Choeng Mon beach…
Bang Kao / Laem Set Beach
Heading west of Hua Thanon and detouring south off the ring road brings a whole new aspect to Samui and delivers a nature lover’s ideal holiday area . The beaches from Bang Kao, through Thong Krut and Taling Ngam Bays to Lipa Noi are all relatively undeveloped and gaining a reputation as the most desirable area on the island. New developments are appearing, but the pace of change is much slower than the busy resorts to the east and north, and these recently built properties, resorts and facilities are generally aimed at up-market travellers and jet-setters who have recently discovered the fabulous natural beauty of this tropical island.
Read more about Bang Kao & Laem Set beaches…
Thong Krut Beach
Thong Krut Bay is found in Samui’s deep south and the fishing village here has largely been given over tour operators and restaurants due to the proximity of the highly picturesque islands of Koh Tan and Koh Mudsum a few kilometres off the beach. The area is not good for swimming as there are extensive mudflats at low tide and you’ll be fighting busy boat traffic when the tide is in, but you are very close to Bang Kao and Taling Ngam with their spectacular and peaceful powder beaches if you decide to base yourself here.
Read more about Thong Krut Beach…
South of Nathon and Lipa Noi lies another stretch of pretty, unspoilt beach away from the crowds of Chaweng and Lamai. Fabulous views and magical sunsets highlight the Five Islands – a cluster of small rocky outcrops that are popular destinations for day trippers – and further in the distance the bigger islands of Angthong Marine Park and the mainland decorate the horizon.
Taling Ngam offers a degree of exclusivity and serves a range of high end rental properties and resorts, though there is limited dining to be found. The swanky Le Meridan Hotel cascades down jungle covered hillside to the beach, and offers some elegant dining by its infinity pool: a great place for a spot of lunch or a sunset cocktail.
Read more about Taling Ngam..
Lipa Noi & Lipa Yai Beaches
The west coast of Koh Samui is the least developed area on the island, with large swathes of deserted jungle fringed beaches with the clear blue sea lapping quietly on the sleepy shores. There is very little action here so it is the perfect spot for that get away from it all holiday!
Lipa Noi and Lipa Yai beaches, plus tiny Tong Yang beach, all boast fabulous sunset views across to the Angthong Marine Park and safe, shallow waters which are ideal for kids swimming – all located just minutes from Nathon’s shopping and the car ferries to the mainland ferry port of Donsak – this area has been a popular location for families and older travelers looking for some peace and tranquility.
Read more about Lipa Noi & Lipa Yai Beaches…