Thong Krut Beach, Koh Samui

Thong Krut Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand

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.

Like Hua Thanon, this Muslim fishing village does still have the brilliantly painted traditional fishing boats, and you can still experience the remnants of the local maritime culture, while being wowed by the spectacular scenery of the two local islands.

For an austere fasting experience try the Natural High Retreat located in a one hundred year old teak house surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens with fabulous island and sea views. If you prefer to actually eat while on holiday then head to the Green Talay – a great favourite with locals and expats in the know. Try the tiger shrimps in tamarind sauce or some delicious green curry with noodles while dining on the quiet terrace area, and absorb the wonderful friendly atmosphere and food created by the talented Thai cook, Khun Nook, and her husband David.

The Snake Farm is a short hop from the beach and is an exciting show though not for the faint hearted, and kite surfing is available in the bay also for anyone in need of an adrenalin fix. Laem Sor Chedi, at the western end of the beach features a beautiful pagoda and is possibly one of the most photogenic sites on the island – the little lagoon and mangrove trees overhanging it make this a wonderfully quiet place to chill out or meditate, though on Buddhist holidays the area is inundated with happy locals celebrating and creating a festival like atmosphere. Otherwise a great picnic spot.

The locals will offer day trips that usually cover both Koh Tan and Koh Mudsum from here. Although the fishing is not great, this is probably the best spot to join a group of anglers, and snorkelling and swimming is good off both islands.

Koh Mudsum is basically just a beach – and is not cleaned so is sometimes draped with flotsam and jetsam – though there is a pearl farm to see here too.

Koh Tan is a little more interesting, with a tourist friendly Conservation Society providing signage for the mangrove walkway, some rustic bungalows and a couple of reasonable restaurants – it is a miniature Koh Samui from twenty years ago! The indigenous Muslim fishermen traditionally survived off the sea, but overfishing has reduced their numbers as they have gradually migrated away, though some now make a living from the tourists who head here.