Authored by Robert Tellier
Situated in the Gulf of Thailand, the beautiful island of Koh Samui it is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, attracting travelers from all over the world seeking a tropical beach vacation.
Fine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters come together with nodding coconut trees to one side and the beautiful Gulf of Thailand to the other, and those wanting to dance barefoot under the soft light of the full moon can join one of Koh Samui’s wild nightly beach parties.
More than 1.5 million tourists visit the island each year to enjoy the kind of tropical coastline and beaches you find featured in ads.
Here are a few of the more popular, and some of my most favorite beaches to visit on the island. “Get a massage, have your hair braided, buy barbecued chicken or sarongs, get to know the locals or simply doze off and chill out.”
These are the Best Beaches in Koh Samui Thailand
Choeng Mon Beach
With a small number of accommodations available ranging from modest boutique hotels to higher 5 star properties, this is the perfect base for a relaxing beach vacation.
It offers isolation while being close to the busier hub of Chaweng (just a 20 minute ride in a taxi or songthaew … red pick-up trucks that haul passengers in the back).
The Big Buddha is also close-by, and the beautiful private Samui airport is just 5 minutes away!
Hotels Near Choeng Mon Beach
The Tongsai Bay
The Tongsai Bay is located on Koh Samui and provides 5-star accommodation as well as free Wi-Fi. There is also a gym with a swimming pool.
➡ Read reviews & check prices on TripAdvisor ⬅
Baywater Resort Samui
Located within the scenic countryside of Bo Phut, Baywater Resort Samui provides comfortable accommodation and a wide range of facilities, such as a gift shop and a library. It is conveniently close to Samui International Airport, which is a 10-minute drive away.
➡ Read reviews & check prices on TripAdvisor ⬅
Kaya Mani Thai Villa Resort Samui
Set within the scenic parkland of Bo Phut, Kaya Mani Thai Villa Resort Samui offers comfortable accommodation and a wide range of facilities, such as free Wi-Fi and a laundry service. It is also a short car ride from Chaweng Beach and Wat Phra Yai.
Chaweng beach is argued to be the best in Koh Samui, and with many luxury boutique hotels, this is without a doubt the most popular part of the island for tourists. Located in the north east, just south of Choeng Mon, this is where most of the islanders reside. Koh Samui’s busiest and biggest town has sprung up around one of the island’s best beaches.
The town offers more options for accommodation than anywhere else on the island, as well as restaurants and bars which cater to every taste. The town comes alive at night, and party goers will find the nightlife here to be ahead of anywhere else on Samui in terms of choice. Be sure to find the famous Soi Green Mango Strip which is the center of the nightlife scene. Chaweng’s single most popular bar is Tropical Murphy’s Irish pub.
During the day, enjoy the vast 7 kilometer stretch of beach to recover from the previous night’s activities in town.
Hotels Near Chaweng Beach
Tradewinds Cottages is located on Koh Samui and offers 3.5-star accommodation in addition to free Wi-Fi. The resort is situated on Chaweng Beach.
Chaweng Regent Beach Resort
Chaweng Regent Beach Resort is situated on Koh Samui and offers 4-star accommodation as well as a rooftop terrace and a Jacuzzi. There is also a fitness centre with yoga classes and a swimming pool.
Amari Koh Samui
Elegant and cosy, Amari Koh Samui is located in Chaweng and provides a swimming pool. It is situated a 10-minute drive from Samui International Airport and an airport shuttle is available for guests.
Heading further south of Chaweng by about half an hour, you will arrive at my favorite part of the island; the beach and village of Lamai. While a quaint town, this is Samui’s second-largest resort area after Chaweng, so provides all the amenities one would expect from a tropical vacation. There is plenty of accommodation available to suit every budget as well as a variety of dining options, food carts, bars, shopping, convenience stores and more.
Though let’s not forget about the beach! A beautiful long stretch of beach absolutely perfect for kicking back and relaxing or simply enjoying a quiet swim, Lamai is out of the way, making it a perfect destination for those looking for a quieter, more peaceful vacation. Though everything you could possibly need is just steps from the beach.
Lamai is easily reached from the busier parts of the island – we were surprised by the ease and affordable choices of transportation always available to take you anywhere you wanted to go. Equally as surprising were how reliable your taxi or songthaew drivers were. If you ask them to return and pick you up at a specific time, they’ll always be there as requested!
Hotels Near Lamai Beach
Weekender Resort is located on Koh Samui, and provides 4-star accommodation as well as an infinity pool. It offers a Jacuzzi, a sauna and free Wi-Fi access.
Pavilion Samui Villas and Resort
Pavilion Samui Villas and Resort is located on Koh Samui and offers 4-star accommodation in addition to free Wi-Fi and a rooftop terrace. There is also a gym with a swimming pool.
Thai House Beach Resort
Boasting unique views of Lamai Beach, Thai House Beach Resort is located in a popular part of Maret and provides free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool and a Jacuzzi. It offers 3-star accommodation and views of the garden.
This is one of the most idyllic and beautiful small beaches on Samui. Also commonly known as Silver Beach (easier translation) it is located between Chaweng and Lamai. It cannot be spotted from the road, though definitely worth a visit. The crystal clear waters are more secluded, and snorkeling is some of the best.
With soft white powdery sand and crystal-clear shallow waters, this beach is absolutely beautiful and unspoiled. Lined with a couple of smaller boutique hotels and a modest beach bar restaurant, it really is a small hidden gem on the island and not one widely known by most visitors.
Located in the other direction on the island’s north shore, the stunning Maenam Beach lies to the west of Choeng Mon, about a ½ hour drive until you reach the busy town of Maenam. With predominantly low budget beach bungalows (though also offering higher end 5 star resorts), this is another popular part of the island for tourists, and is known as Samui’s last predominantly backpacker beach.
The beach runs for 7 kilometers, and is favored among windsurfers due to the currents and winds which pick up on the north side. Though for this reason too, the waters are not as clear here as other beaches along the coast.
Hotels Near Maenam Beach
The Moonrakers Beachfront Villas
The Moonrakers Beachfront Villas is ideally positioned in peaceful surrounds in Mae Nam, a short car trip from Chaweng Noi Beach and Wat Phra Yai. The hotel is set on Maenam Beach.
Anjali is situated in Mae Nam and features complimentary wireless internet. The hotel is located on Maenam Beach.
Amarin Samui Hotel
Located in Mae Nam, Amarin Samui Hotel is an easy drive from Bo Phut and provides free Wi-Fi and a rooftop pool. It offers 3-star accommodation with air-conditioned rooms.
Anthong Marine National Park
If you are visiting the island, do make a note to also visit Anthong Marine National Park. One of Samui’s most famous surrounding attractions, the park is also lined with spectacular and remote beaches, these more off the beaten path.
Dotted with 42 beautiful tiny islands, there are many day trip opportunities from the park. It offers spectacular scenery and beautiful swimming in the crystal clears waters of the Gulf of Thailand.
Koh Samui Hotels
Having touched on only 5 of the islands beaches that we visited during our brief stay, that’s not to say that Samui isn’t bursting with more coastline to explore.
If you’d like to search for Koh Samui hotels at the lowest prices, enter your dates below and click search. Booking.com will find the best hotel deals, and you can book your stay directly with them.
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Featured photo credit: Steve Jurvetson. Pinterest images by Sarah_Ackerman & Steve Jurvetson.
I’m heading to Thailand in August. I was there about 8 years ago but only went down the Andaman coast, so I’m very excited to see Koh Samui. The photos make it look stunning!
Ooooh you’ll LOVE it! Do make sure you carve out some time for Anthong Marine National Park – it won’t disappoint!! Safe travels!
I spent a few hours in Koh Samui in transit from Bangkok to Koh Pha Ngan and these pictures have made me really regret not staying longer! I was on a tight schedule because I was rushing to the full moon party so that’s my excuse. Looks like I need to make a return trip to Thailand!
Sounds like the perfect excuse to plan a return trip! Though totally understand – I bet the Full Moon party was epic! It’s on my bucket list to make it one year :)
I love this guide. I first visited Koh Samui 20 years ago and loved it. Just a couple of months ago, I returned with my husband and kids and didn’t recognize the place. It was all grown up! I guess great places do that. We had a wonderful time there and hit a few of the beaches you mentioned. We also enjoyed having our ow private island picnic as well as a fab evening out with the Thai Experience. I do love Thailand.
Glad you enjoyed the post Heidi!! It’s funny how places tend to grow up along with the times – I’ve had that happen to me a few different times on destinations I chose to re-visit after having been there as an early teen. Glad you enjoy Koh Samui so much that you’ve returned though – truly is a fab spot on the map!
Private Island picnic sounds wonderful!!
I spent two weeks on Ko Samui in the early 90s. It’s changed so much! I know I spent time on Chewang Beach, but the others, I’m not so sure. Really appreciate this comparison. If I go back, I’ll definitely suss some of these other ones out.
Heidi mentioned the same above, about how much it had changed since she was first there. Hopefully in a good way! With a lot more tourism though I would guess without a doubt!
Glad you enjoyed the post Jody – and I do hope you manage a trip back at some stage – let us know if you’re looking for any more additional comparisons on the beach!
Thailand is on my bucket list and these beaches look amazing! Are they easy to get to? Is there parking? How about facilities like bathrooms and places to eat on the beach or do people bring a picnic?
Hey Priscilla! So glad to hear Thailand is on your list – hope you manage to organize a trip soon! From Rob’s account, all of the beaches are very accessible, and he was surprised with how cheap and easy it was to organize a taxi. When they drop you off you can let them know a time to pick you up too, and they’ll be there. Super convenient and you don’t need to worry about parking :)
Sounds like a lot of people enjoy picnics, though the facilities will vary depending on the beach. For instance the bigger resort.tourist beaches like Chaweng Beach you’ll find lined with recreation and facilities, and the town is built up around the beach so it’s an easy walk to find some food.
You’ll love Thailand – remember to make some time for a day trip to Anthong Marine National Park too :)
Beaches – everyone’s idea of heaven, what more if they’re sandy and white. These beaches certainly come closest to one’s expectation of a heavenly break!
Absolutely – white sand and crystal clear water is my perfect idea of paradise!! Take me there now!
I’ve never been to Thailand but this post is definitely a motivator. My mom spent a bunch of time on Koh Samui a few years ago and regaled me with tales of Chewang and Lamai. Glad to hear they’re still amazing.
Glad to hear you’ve been suitably inspired Miranda! I so hope you manage a trip to Thailand soon :)
I traveled 4 years ago to this place, I enjoyed it very much. Thank you for reminding me!
Fantastic David! We’re happy to inspire a trip down memory lane :) Hope you have the chance to revist soon!
I have been to Thongtakian Beach and it feels like home!
Awesome Umina! A great place to call a second home :)
Chaweng Beach is my fav. Right in the center of the action.
Definitely puts you at the heart of everything! So glad you enjoyed your time on Koh Samui :)
What amazes me most about this place are the beaches with crystal waters… I feel like one day I can get to know this place. Reminds Me of the beaches of Brazil.
Absolutely! I hope you have the opportunity to see them in person one day :) I haven’t yet made it to Brazil, but hope to travel at some point soon :)
Looking forward to go in these beaches. Now I can finally fill up my itinerary when I go to Koh Samui next month.
Glad the post was helpful in shaping your itinerary HL :) Have an amazing time in Koh Samui!
I have a trip with my husband at Chaweng Beach last summer.
At Chaweng Beach you can book Water Ski – Great activity for beginner or expert. You will have fun to run over the water surface and fly like the rocket, piercing all the air through and chilling the voice with great joy
So glad to hear you both enjoyed your time in Chaweng Beach Solhim. Water Skiing sounds like a lot of fun!
Wow those photos are gorgeous. I’ve always wanted to get more into travelling and this was definitely good motivation for me! Thailand just seems so amazing
Thanks John, glad you enjoyed the post. Thailand is amazing indeed! Hope you have the chance to experience it too!
I think Lamai beach is the one I visited the last time I was in Thailand. It was definitely peaceful, something we were looking for specifically when planning the trip.
Glad to hear you had a fabulous time Austin, yes, Lamai beach is a tranquil haven :)
What a great guide! These places all look like a dream come true to me. The photos are so amazing!
Thanks Mary, I’m glad the guide was helpful for you :) Hope you have the chance to visit soon!
I went to Koh Samui for my senior trip and absolutely fell in love. Thanks for sharing this guide! Amazing photos
It definitely has that affect re falling head over heels! So glad you enjoyed your time in Koh Samui :)
Now that I’m not in school anymore, I really want to start traveling. Thank you so much for the amazing tips to save for the future!
You’re welcome Hannah, Thailand is a great country to break into backpacking. Happy travels!
I traveled to Lamai Beach a few years ago; the food was absolutely incredible and great views for miles!
So glad you had a fabulous time Katie! Such a fab combination, great food, great views!
The most popular beaches in Koh Samui could not be more different from each other. In my opinion, Chaweng Beach is the best. It’s Koh Samui’s most popular stretch of powdery white sand.
Totally agree, it’s nice that there’s so much choice and diversity :) Definitely can’t go past Chaweng Beach though!
Thanks for such a great post! I love beach so much and you just bring so many great options to consider. The Thongtakian Beach and Maenam Beach sounds beautiful and I would love to explore soon :))
You’re welcome John, I’m so glad that the post was helpful for you – I hope you have an amazing time in Koh Samui!
Amazing photos, the beaches look beautiful!
Glad you enjoyed the post Erin, one of those places where not even the photos do the beauty of the island justice :D
Thanks for reading!
I’m really hoping to get to visit Thailand with my cousins in the next few years – and it really looks like it is worth saving up for (and easier to afford than I thought!) What great photos and I’ll be bookmarking this for when we make more solid plans!
Sounds amazing Sarah, definitely a trip worth saving up for, and definitely one of the more affordable places in the world :)
Have an amazing trip, feel free to touch base if you need any help once you start your planning :)
Wow. Thailand is such a beautiful country. Koh Samui is one of the most picturesque places in the pacific that’s fo sure! Great post my friend, it really looks like you enjoyed your travels.
It is indeed! So glad you enjoyed the post Ryan, I hope you have the chance to head back to Thailand for a return journey :)