We all have different reasons to make Koh Samui the next travel destination, but there’s at least one reason that we all share – tropical beaches. Not all the beaches on the island are created equally – some are lively, others lesser known, some with a fantastic view, and some very close to the action.
With an estimated 40 beaches around the island, there’s bound to be one that floats your boat. That said, why limit yourself to just one? The island is small enough to drive around in less than two hours, so feel free to experience a different one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Whichever you choose, here are 5 of Samui’s best beaches to give you a flavour of the island.
It’s often the longest and the most beautiful beach on an island that is the most developed, and on Samui, that honour goes to Chaweng. Draped along the eastern shorelines of the island, Chaweng is a lively seven-kilometre stretch of soft sandy beach. From the island’s largest shopping complex to open air night markets, fine dining restaurants to rustic beach bars, there’s a good chance you can find it in this vibrant neighbourhood. Even though it’s the most developed, Chaweng’s beach sprawl means you can still seek out a quiet spot under swaying palms to enjoy a fresh coconut and drink in the view.
Head south from Chaweng, and you’ll come across Lamai on the other side of the cape. At four kilometres long, Lamai is considerably smaller and with a more laid-back vibe, but still with plenty of shopping, restaurants and bars along its shores. Three times a week, a walking street – Lamai Night Plaza – sets up with the standard selection of tourist tack to test your haggling skills.
When travellers hear Bophut, it’s usually in the context of Fisherman’s Village, a charming stretch of coastline dotted with wooden shophouses and open air seaside restaurants. Bophut is home to a Friday night walking street – one of the island’s best beach shopping experiences on the island – that sets up in Fisherman’s Village. Outside from the Village, the beachfront restaurants and bars in the area are atmospheric and casual, which, combined with its proximity to the airport, make Bophut a popular choice for visitors.
Mae Nam Beach
If you keep going west from Bophut, you’ll come across Mae Nam, a quiet stretch of beach looking out over Koh Phangan. Unlike some other beaches, the water is a fair distance from the ring road, allowing it to maintain the illusion of tropical seclusion. The sand may not be as fine as, say, Chaweng, but visitors looking to spend a quiet day on the beach will enjoy the area’s relaxed local vibe and bustle-free stretch of sand.
Lipa Noi Beach
Lipa Noi is a remote beach on the western coast just south of Nathon – the island’s main car ferry pier – and far from the dazzling lights of Chaweng. Other than its tranquil nature, the beach is known for its shallow depth and fine sandy seabed, making it a popular spot for families with kids and for sunset hunters.