One of the most popular questions asked about Koh Samui is, “where should I stay?” Before deciding which hotel to pick, you must determine which area is best for you. Koh Samui has some beautiful beaches and some gorgeous locations. The answer depends on what you are looking for – the best location for a honeymoon will not be the same for a group of backpacking friends. Here are some of the best areas on Koh Samui and some information about their benefits and attractions.
Big Buddha Beach/ Image via Mikko Koponen/ Flickr
Bangrak Beach (Big Buddha Beach)
This beach location is known as Big Buddha Beach because it is close to the most famous landmark on Koh Samui, the Big Buddha statue. When you stay in Bangrak, you can be sure of a relaxed and laid-back vacation. This area is quiet compared to the peace you’ll find in other areas, despite the noise from a few aircraft taking off or landing at the nearby airport.
If you want a little more life, this area provides easy access to the shops, bars, and restaurants at Fisherman’s Village on the next beach along, Bophut. Plus, Chaweng is one short taxi ride away. Bangrak is a good option if you like a little space and quiet but still want to be relatively close to the action.
Bophut doesn’t have the best beach in Koh Samui, but it does attract its fair share of visitors. The people coming here are a good mix of families, mid-range tourists, backpackers, and Thai visitors. You will find all kinds of accommodation here, from basic bungalows on the beach to luxury boutique hotels, but few of the larger resorts are found in other areas of Koh Samui.
However, there are a few exceptions with some big-name resorts here, including the Anantara Resort and Spa, so if you want a luxury vacation, you can stay in Bophut and be happy. The east end of Bophut is called Fisherman’s Village and has a great collection of shops and restaurants and a laidback charm. Bophut is ideal for people looking for a more family-friendly time or people who want to take things easy.
The most popular area of Koh Samui in terms of visitor numbers, Chaweng has a gorgeous beach that has attracted scores of visitors for years. The popularity has brought development with it, and this is not the most authentic or laidback area in Koh Samui. However, the beach remains stunning, and plenty of accommodation options are available, plus a wide range of options for eating out and partying.
Chaweng attracts a wide range of people, from families to backpackers, and there are five-star and more basic accommodation options available in Chaweng, so you can find something to suit your needs and budget. At the northern end of Chaweng is Chaweng Noi, a smaller bay divided from the Chaweng center by a rocky headland and provides a more relaxed vibe.
Choeng Mon Beach
Located in the northeast of Koh Samui, Choeng Mon is a gorgeous little bay that boasts a lovely stretch of sand and some rocky coves. The setting is picturesque, and the tranquil area makes it ideal for honeymooners and people looking to get away from it all. If you want to party, this is probably not the best place, but it is ideal if you want a more exclusive, tranquil resort vacation. The beach is perfect for swimming.
The beach at Lamai stretches around 4 kilometers and is one of the prettiest on Koh Samui. Lamai is the second-most popular area on Koh Samui and attracts families, groups of friends, and couples. The nightlife at Lamai can be too lively for some, although there are plenty of quieter options. Lamai is just 10 minute’s drive from Chaweng and provides a chilled-out nighttime vibe, with plenty still going on but not as full-on as Chaweng.
Maenam Beach/ Image via enqvist lau/ Flickr
Maenam Beach is chilled out and relaxed – traditionally the area for backpackers but with a wider appeal now for families and others. The beach is lovely, and you can see across to the nearby islands, and there is a wide range of suitable value accommodation available, making this a popular place. If you want some privacy, this is a good option as fewer resorts in this area exist.