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 Koh Samui 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.
The owners of The Five Islands Restaurant may not have been hugely creative with the name(!) but they have created a superb location for sunset dining. The tables are perched by the beach and marine views extend on three sides – always a beautiful spot with some great Thai and fusion dishes on offer.
An alternative is to head to the small fishing village nearby for some really authentic Thai cuisine in more traditional surroundings. Excellent fresh seafood can be found in a number of scruffy looking Thai restaurants dotted around – each a delight for your tastebuds and your wallet, if you aren’t put off by their less salubrious ambiance.
Plenty of boats operate from the bay offering trips to the nearby islands, with some noisy longtails and dilapidated converted fishing vessels pandering to tourists keen to explore the nearby islands. The snorkelling and swimming can be really fantastic – with crystal clear waters and plenty of (small) fish to see. Occasional dolphin sightings occur too, though as Samui gets more crowded with tourists these marvellous creatures are getting more scarce.
Anglers may be disappointed with the size and scale of their catch: overfishing has spoilt much of the sport around Samui’s coast, though the tour operators will happily show you several tattered photos of giant barracuda and the like to get you to book with them – unfortunately these pictures were taken many years ago!
For some real piscatorial sport it is best to head to the cluster of lakes set back from the beach at the top of the bay. Top Cats Angling offers some excellent specimen fishing with giant carp and catfish weighing in at up to one hundred kilos. All equipment and bait is supplied, along with friendly advice and some great food – for humans as well as the fish!
A number of spa resorts offer a range of treatments in very plush surroundings, and there are some exceptional villa rentals on offer. Villa Beige is a delightful retreat with amazing facilities and commands stunning views from its hillside location overlooking the coastline, and Baan Asan is tucked away in its own walled compound by the beach. Their modernistic styling may not appeal to everyone, but more traditional rental properties are available too.
Check out our selection of Koh Samui villas in the Taling Ngam area…