Ko Samui Beaches

Though the most beautiful beaches in Thailand are mostly on the western side (Andaman sea), you can find lovely beaches on the eastern side as well. On this review I will cover some of Ko Samui’s popular and less-known beaches.

Most of the famous beaches are on the northern and eastern side of Ko Samui, but others like Lipa Noi are on the southern and western part of the island.

The high tide and low tide – many tourists plan a fun vacation on one of the islands in Gulf of Thailand, lying on the beach and bathing in the sea – but once they arrive at the beach they find an unpleasant surprise: the water either cover the beach (high tide) and leave a narrow strip of sand, if at all, or retreat back hundreds of meters (low tide), leaving a wide, murky strip of mud, that is both unpleasant to see and makes bathing impossible. Most people are unaware of this issue, that may disrupt their vacation.

The reason to that is the strange phenomenon of high tide and low tide in the Gulf of Thailand.   

The following review will elaborate on high tide and low tide and suggest what to do => click the link

Cheweng Beach

The most famous beach in Ko Samui is one of the best beaches on the island, yet naturally the area is also one of the most crowded.

The wide beach is located on the eastern side, north of Lamai, some 20 minutes’ drive away from Ko Samui airport. It stretches across 7 km and divided to several sections (north, center, south and Chaweng Noi in the most southern part). The main area is lively and bubbly, and the northern/southern margins are far quieter.

Though you won’t find here clear turquoise waters, the sand is rather soft and white, and the sea has no rocks. The waves and flows are stronger here, hence the leftovers swept to shore – so the beach is not that clean in certain seasons. Along the beach there are several hotels right on the shore, which usually care for its cleaning.

Chaweng area features more hotels and resorts than any other area of Ko Samui – the wide variety of accommodations includes humble guesthouses and luxurious 5-star hotels (personally, I was impressed by The Sala and The Library). The main street that stretches along the shore is lively, crowded and rather noisy, with a wide variety of restaurants, shops, shopping centers, pubs and clubs of all sorts. This is the hot-spot for Ko Samui’s nightlife; it’s a good destination for young travelers looking to party and hang out, rather than families seeking laid back, calm locations that are less commercialized.

Lamai Beach

South of Chaweng beach, on the eastern side of Ko Samui, you’ll find Lamai beach. The beach and its surrounding are considered as the second largest area after Chaweng, and you’ll find here a smaller variety of hotels, restaurants and nightlife, but still a nice selection to choose from. It suits those who want their nightlife less noisy than Chaweng, yet still seek an active area, rather than a distant and secluded beach with not much to do in the evening.

On Sundays, Lamai beach features the night market – a fun, bubbly pedestrian zone.

To find out more on Ko Samui night markets check out this review => click the link

Bophut Beach

This is another well-known beach, on the eastern side of the northern part of Ko Samui, overlooking the neighboring island of Ko Phangan.

The 3 km long beach has 2 parts: the western part features many hotels sitting on the shore, and the eastern part is the oldest area of Ko Samui – the Fisherman’s Village which features a small shopping center called The Wharf, many restaurants, boutiques and more.

To read more about it check out this review => click the link

Bophut area is calmer and quieter than Chaweng and Lamai. It has no exciting nightlife or funky clubs, so it’s more suitable for families with children seeking a calm vacation. The beach is nice, yet its sand is somewhat yellow and coarse.

Behind the hotels sitting on the shore, there’s a main road that parallels the sea, with various businesses, several restaurants, massage places etc. It is completely different from the narrow yet busy streets of Chaweng and Lamai. On the other side, there’s the Fisherman’s village on the eastern part of Bophut beach – the humble nightlife area of Bophut with its various restaurants. On Fridays, the Fisherman’s village features a pedestrian zone with a night market, and the place becomes crowded and lively, with its wide variety of food and shopping stalls.

Maenam Beach

Overlooking Ko Phangan from the western side of the northern part of Ko Samui, you’ll find Maenam beach. One of the most luxurios Ko Samui hotels, the famous W Retreat, is found between Maenam nd Bophut beach.

These beaches are similar, yet Maenam is more spacious, calm and quiet; it brings the old Ko Samui to mind, before it became one of the most crowded islands in Thailand. In the evenings you can walk around Maenam Village, which is smaller and humbler than the Fisherman’s Village, yet still contains various restaurants and pubs along with different shops.

On Thursdays, the beach area features the fun and entertaining night market.

To find out more on Ko Samui night markets check out this review => click the link

Crystal Bay

Also known as Silver beach is a small bay with a beautiful beach, that’s only several hundred meters long. Located between Chaweng and Lamai, this is the most beautiful beach in Ko Samui if you ask me. It brings to mind marvelous beaches in other islands of Thailand.

You can find 3-4 resorts on the beach alongside restaurants. A short drive will take you to the nearby beaches of Chaweng or Lamai if you’d like to go out, shop or visit night markets.

♥ Slightly south of Crystal Bay, you’ll find one of the most luxurious hotels on the island, The Banyan Tree. The spectacular, high quality hotel is located near a tiny bay and has its own beach. You’ll find it between Chaweng and Lamai beaches.

Choeng Mon Beach

In the north-east corner of Ko Samoi, you’ll find Choeng Mon beach with its small bays. Though it’s relatively close to Bophut and Chaweng beaches, the site is somewhat secluded and the Songtaew – public transportation vans that drive across Ko Samui – don’t pass by Choeng Mon regularly.

The beach is nice but nothing more, with older visitors and organized tourist groups (mostly west European). As there are no shops outside the hotels or places to hang out at night, you’ll have to take a ride to one of the other beaches – Bophut or Chaweng if you’d like a night out.

Lipa Noi

Unlike the other beaches that were previously reviewed here, Lipa Noi beach is on the western side of the island – so you can watch sunsets there. The beach is close to the pier from which you can transfer cars, so it’s the right place for those who come to Ko Samui with their car. This long beach is pleasant with no rocks, has less waves and flows than in the eastern side and the water are hardly deep, which makes it ideal if you’re coming with young children. You won’t find any parties or wild nightlife here; there’s nothing apart from a few hotels and resorts on the beach, so the visitors here are older and calmer; they seek laid back vacation and relaxed leisure time without shopping, partying etc.

♥ The most prominent place to stay here is The Nikky Resort – an excellent modern hotel with a great atmosphere, which is located right on the beach.