Koh Samui - A Brief Guide
Koh Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand, off the south-east coast. It was long the haunt of the backpacker, due to its laid-back beach vibe, but it has since matured and transformed itself into a first class holiday destination. Its gorgeous beaches, lush tropical forested mountains, top end facilities and services draw families and friends from all over the globe.
Koh Samui caters for all types of travellers with quiet and serene hideaway bays, fine dining opportunities, chic bars, cultural and adventurous activities. There is also plenty to keep children entertained.
Getting to Koh Samui
Koh Samui has a charming international airport where you are transferred to the arrivals pavilion by a colourful train, your first taste of the tropical experience to come!
You can fly direct to Samui or transfer in. There are plenty of flights per day from Bangkok. There are also daily flights from Hong Kong, Singapore, Phuket and Malaysia. For a longer, but less expensive journey, there are budget airlines that fly from Bangkok to Surat Thani. You could even opt for the train. It is 10 hours travel time to Koh Samui, but you can opt for an overnight sleeper. The journey will then continue with a 30-minute bus ride to the port and a 90-minute ferry to Koh Samui.;
Getting around Koh Samui
Chauffer - Hiring a car or minivan with a driver is an easy and convenient way to explore the island. You can then be dropped off and picked up at your leisure, avoiding parking hassles and getting lost.
Taxis - Taxis on Koh Samui tend to be quite pricey and they are not metered and you will need to negotiate a good price. There are local trucks called Songthaews, which have red open sides. They run particular routes and if you check they are going where you’re heading you can jump on and enjoy the ride!
Navigo - The Navigo Thailand App is cheaper than a taxi fare, and they use quality cars. Once booked, a photo and name of the driver as well as the number of the car will be sent and the arrival time. You can track their arrival on your phone.
Cars and scooter hire - If you prefer to be more independent, you can rent a car or a scooter. If you go for the scooter option be very careful, make sure you wear a helmet.
A quick guide of where to stay
The resorts of Bophut, Chaweng and Lamai are the most developed areas and some of the most popular areas to stay in the northeast corner and east coast of Koh Samui. There are several other beaches in the west and south coasts. These areas are less developed and great if you are looking for something more peaceful and with a local flavour and vibe. There are some hidden gems and some excellent beaches for families.
Chaweng is the most popular resort town with a stunning white sand beach and turquoise water. This beach is buzzing and lively. It has a huge range of watersports that includes an inflatable obstacle course on the water, jet skiing and parasailing to name a few. If you’re looking for lively nightlife, a vibrant scene, and a vast range of shopping and dining experiences - this is for you. Our range of Chaweng villas are mainly in the hills with panoramic sea viewsis the most popular resort town with a stunning white sand beach and turquoise water. This beach is buzzing and lively. It has a huge range of watersports that includes an inflatable obstacle course on the water, jet skiing and parasailing to name a few. If you’re looking for lively nightlife, a vibrant scene, and a vast range of shopping and dining experiences - this is for you.
On the east coast corner of Koh Samui is picturesque and peaceful beach called Choeng Mon. It’s a small, quiet bay that’s a favourite with families. The sea is shallow and calm, with a white sand beach bordered with rustic style restaurants and quality hotels. Many of our Choeng Mon Villas are within walking distance of the beach.
On the northeast coast is the long, yellow sandy bay of Bophut, backed by the Fisherman’s village which has a string of chic restaurants and bars. It also hosts a weekly Walking street market. Most of our Bophut Villas are nestled in the hillside above the beach
Lamai, on the east coast, has a more relaxed laid back feel than Chaweng, but still has its fair share of stylish restaurants and hip bars. It has a wide sandy beach, and the deep sea at Lamai makes this a good choice for keen swimmers - but watch out for the red flags on the less calm days. Check out our beachfront villas in Lamai.
On the less developed south-west coast is the quiet, secluded bay of Ban Taling Ngam. This is where you need to head for a spectacular sunset when the sun creates a stunning backdrop to the famous Five islands. We’ve got a full range of beachfront villas at Taling Ngam to choose from.
Activities & Attractions
Koh Samui has a variety of land and sea-based activities to suit everyone from kids to honeymooners to groups of friends. You can experience glorious island hopping boat trips, spa visits, jungle adventures and cultural activities. Check out our boat charters, boat trips, inland adventures, watersports, temple visits and other activities.
A few of our favourite trips for your list:
If you like a bit of a thrill and spending time in the forest, then glide through the canopy in the hills of Maenam on the zip line cable ride. The zip lines fly you between the trees and up and down their trunks. You’ll get spectacular aerial views over the mountains and the Secret Falls.
AngThong Marine Park
This jaw-dropping spot is definitely one to include on your Samui itinerary. Ang Thong is a stunning archipelago made up of 42 islands. Limestone rock formations are dotted throughout the marine park, and the tour visits caves, hidden lagoons, and white sand beaches with stops for snorkelling in crystal clear waters over shallow coral gardens.
There are plenty of spas on Samui, to suit all budgets, for an indulgent pampering. Many of the aromatic oils, creams and scrubs are made locally with tropical fruits, herbs and spices. Try a wrap or a scrub to rejuvenate and you will soon be glowing
If you are looking for a massage, then the traditional Thai massage incorporates a combination of point pressure and yoga-like stretching to re-energise the body. An Aromatherapy massage uses deliciously smelling essential oils to relieve aching muscles, tension and stress.
If you have the budget, choose a package like the Chocoholic Delight or Stress Relief. They often include a choice of massage with a wrap or scrub, a facial or foot massage followed by a steam or sauna.
Click to view all Koh Samui activities and attractions
Dining & Nightlife
Koh Samui is a hot pot of different dining and nightlife experience. There is something for everyone, whether you want an unforgettable fine dining experience or an authentic street food one. Check out our guide to dining out and nightlife on Koh Samui.
Fitness & Wellbeing
Fitness fanatics can still find the right facilities to keep up the pace when on holiday. Koh Samui has a sophisticated range of fitness facilities, health and wellbeing packages and yoga retreats. Check out our guide to fitness and wellbeing on Koh Samui.
The best time to travel
Anytime is a good time to visit Koh Samui! It has fourseasons: rainy (roughly Oct - Mid Dec), warm (Dec - Feb), hot (March-May) and warm and showery July - Oct). However, the weather can be unpredictable and even in the rainy season, there’ll be a good few hours of dry weather and sunshine.
The most popular season to visit Koh Samui is from December - March.