Boasting sun, sea and miles of powder-white sands, Koh Samui is every beach lover’s dream. This picture-perfect island is fringed with some of the best beaches in the world, with each offering something slightly different from the next.
There are six main beaches in Koh Samui, spanning across the island’s north and eastern coasts. Chaweng and Lamai on the east side are by far the liveliest with an array of activities and entertainment at any time of the day or night. The northern beaches of Big Buddha, Bo Phut, Choeng Mon and Mae Nam are more peaceful, boasting an abundance of tropical island charm. Whether you’re in search of a tranquil treat or bustling beach buzz, Koh Samui’s diverse bays offer something to suit all tastes. Here’s a handy guide to help you find the best beach in Koh Samui…
- Chaweng Beach
The renowned Chaweng is Koh Samui’s most popular tourist resort. Here you will find an endless array of shops, hotels, restaurants and bars as well as the longest beach on the island. Chaweng Beach is divided into three diverse sections, all with their own charm and delights. The northern end is the quietest part with a stunning sandy headland and a shallow channel separating the main beach from the smaller island of Koh Matlang. Many luxury villas in Koh Samui are located here; just a stone’s throw the warm shallow waters and palm-fringed shore.
The central area of the beach is most popular with tourists. Expect sun bathers and beach vendors galore, with water sports equipment to rent from an array of outlets along the main strip. Entertainment is on offer both night and day, with live music, Thai dancing and many bars to enjoy. There are plenty of beachside restaurants to choose from, most providing cushions on the sand for a guests to lay back and enjoy the atmosphere.
The south end of the beach is the widest part and hosts many of the island’s events including the annual Samui Regatta. A few steps away from the sand is Chaweng’s main strip where you’ll find 5 kilometres of shops and stalls, restaurants and bars, pharmacies, opticians, supermarkets and more.
- Lamai Beach
For those in search of something a little more family-friendly, Lamai Beach is one of the best beaches in Koh Samui. Known as the second most popular beach on the island after Chaweng, this sweeping bay stretches as far as the world famous Hin Ta and Hin Ya formations. To the north of the beach is Tong Takian Bay, set amidst lush green mountains; a stunning spot to explore for locals and visitors alike.
The town itself sits back around 100 metres from the main beach, offering an excellent selection of shops and services. Lamai nightlife is not for the faint-hearted, with plenty of bars and nightlife located in the middle of the main street. Restaurants can be found in abundance, with something to suit all tastes and budgets. There are plenty of gorgeous Koh Samui villas located in Lamai, conveniently situated in private developments yet close to the bustle and facilities nearby. Lamai boats an array of attractions including temples, a small zoo and charming local villages and stunning viewpoints to explore.
- Bangrak Beach
Also known as Big Buddha Beach, this bay is named after Ko Samui’s famed 12-metre Buddha statue towering overhead. The beach here is located on the northeast coast just a short drive from Chaweng, although the atmosphere here is far calmer. Bangrak boasts wide undulating sands lined with resorts, restaurants and shops. As with all of Koh Samui, it’s easy to find water sports vendors and tour operators offering energetic activities in abundance. From here visitors can take a boat across to Koh Pha Ngan for the full moon party or visit the enormous Big Buddha statue which can be seen by air on arrival to the island.
- Bophut Beach
Bophut Beach is the perfect peaceful spot during a Koh Samui holiday. Located far from the madding crowd Bophut is also known as Fisherman’s Village – a traditional and well preserved part of Koh Samui. The centre of the beach is home to an array of charming wooden houses, perfectly in keeping with the natural surroundings. The beach itself stretches for more than two miles, boasting immaculate powder white sands and rows of tropical coconut palms. A small number of boats are still used for fishing here and Bophut is known for its laid-back family-friendly allure. The village itself is great to explore with an excellent selection of bars and eateries, plus a ‘walking street’ event every Friday featuring live music and performances plus food, clothes and jewellery stalls.
- Mae Nam Beach
Perhaps the prettiest beach in Koh Samui, Mae Nam is a must-see spot during your Koh Samui vacation. This tranquil bay is one of the most picturesque places on the island with fine gold sand, an azure ocean and a perfect view of Koh Pha Ngan in the distance. Mae Nam is a remote beach, perfect for lazing the days away in the warm Samui sun. At the west end is the Wat Na Phra Lan temple, great for sightseeing. There’s also the Lomprayah Pier, with regular boats trips over to Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan. The stunning John’s Garden is a great spot to eat, particularly popular with couples and honeymooners. Mae Nam also hosts a weekly ‘walking street’ selling snacks, clothing, jewellery and much more. This beach is also the closest to Nathon, the administrative centre of Koh Samui.
- Choeng Mon Beach
Nestled in the far northeast corner of Koh Samui, Choeng Mon Beach is best known for its quiet, secluded bays. Home to some of the best accommodation in Koh Samui, this area is popular with couples, families and the more discerning luxury traveller. The main beach is one of the best beaches in Koh Samui, with plenty of water sports options and kayak trips over to Koh Fan Yai island. Away from the beach are a few fantastic restaurants and great resorts for drinking and dining in Choeng Mon. Chaweng in the south and Bophut and Big Buddha Beach to the west are easily accessible for those in search of a more active itinerary. Songthaews operate here, as do taxis, for guests looking to visit other parts of the island – alternatively motorbike and car hire in Koh Samui can easily be arranged.