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Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand is the third-largest island in the country, after Phuket and Ko Chang. Over the last two decades it has gained popularity among tourists for its wide variety of beaches (with its wide range of choice for all kinds of traveler).
This amazing island offers clean white sand, a seemingly unlimited supply of coconuts, and spectacular coral reefs for diving activities. Yet the best part as far as we are concerned? Compared to Phuket, the island is less crowded with tourists.
And Ko Samui is also conveniently connected to various major cities in Asia such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, etc.
The following table presents a brief comparison of the major beaches in Ko Samui.
|Beach||Maenam||Bophut||Thong Son and Choeng Mon||Chaweng||Lamai|
|Distance from airport||North of the island, 30 minutes west of the airport||Closest to the airport, approx. 10 minutes to the west||10-15 minutes to the north of airport||10 minutes southeast of the airport||30 minutes south of the airport|
|Known for||Local atmosphere, wide range of accommodation, relatively quiet||Easy access to Ang Thong Marine Park, Sail Rock and Koh Tao Island||Close to the airport and Chaweng, yet relatively isolated||Vibrant night life, wide range of shopping and dining options||Village atmosphere, cheaper than Chaweng|
|Popularity||Mostly locals, but gaining in popularity for its convenience and tranquility||Popular with water-sports and diving enthusiasts.||Mostly locals||Once popular for backpackers, now popular with international travelers||Popular with all travelers, mostly Westerners.|
|Crowd- levels||Not so crowded||Moderately crowded||Least crowded||Most crowded||Moderately crowded, less than Chaweng|
|Visiting times||January to November||Year-round, best between June and August||Year-round||Year-round||March to October|
Maenam beach is a 5-km long and narrow beach on the north coast, and is the most westerly stretch of sand. Sunset views from the east of the beach are exceptionally pretty.Families and Honeymoons
Calm and shallow seas make Maenam Beach a top attraction for families with children, while upscale-market resorts here cater for couples looking for a romantic getaway with a private beach view. Maenam boasts a good combination of tranquility and convenient facilities.Activities
In addition to kite-surfing and various other water activities, you can look forward to escaping to the nearby rainforest or playing a round at one of the best golf courses in Thailand. After a whole day’s fun, stroll over to Maenam’s walking street, to enjoy local delicacies served at food stalls along the street.Travel Essentials
A short songthaew ride from Chaweng or Nathon will do, for about 100 baht. Do be aware that it is very quiet after dark in Maenam.
Bophut, a cultural hub for quick access to various spots in Ko Samui, is popular as a starting point for diving tours at Ang Thong National Marine Park or Ko Tao Island. These two places are the best diving spots in Ko Samui.Families and Honeymoons
Children’s playful natures can be easily satisfied in Bophut, as the beach is conveniently close to a water park and go-kart venue. Some of the best beach hotels in Samui are also available in Bophut. Fisherman’s VIllage and Big Buddha Temple are just round the corner, for a cultural-experience trip.Activities
Start the day at Bophut with a walk to Big Buddha Temple or with diving to nearby islands. Make a food and shopping trip to Fisherman’s Village in the evening.Travel Essentials
If you wish to try out scuba diving, you are recommended to go between June and August, as the water is then the clearest; but it is possible to dive virtually all year round. If you happen to be in Samui on a Friday, go to Fisherman’s Village Walking Street for the Friday-only market.
Visiting the 12-meter seated Buddha statue at the Big Buddha temple is best done during festivals, such as Loy Kratong or Songkran, when you will be able to enjoy the fabulous festival focused on the temple.
Thong Son and Choeng Mon beaches are the quietest and most secluded, with basic facilities for enjoying your trip to Ko Samui. Both beaches are at the easterly end, making them good for viewing sunrises.Families and Honeymoons
At these beaches, you will be able enjoy private times with your loved ones, as most activities can be kept inside. The beaches are perfect for relaxing trips in a tropical atmosphere.Activities
There’s not much to do outside your hotel in the vicinity of these beaches, with the exclusivity of the area.
To reach the crowds, you can easily rent a bicycle, electric bicycle, or even a motorbike, to go to the Big Buddha temple, or Bophut and Chaweng beaches. Or just rent vehicles to see a larger portion of the east coast at your leisure.Travel Essentials
The city of Ko Samui is in the area around Thong Son, Choeng Mon and Bophut. Though the region is not usually frequented by tourists, it could be a great place for experiencing the lives of the local people of Ko Samui.
Chaweng is now rated as one of the best beaches in Thailand, as its eye-pleasing fine white sand stretches for a few kilometers and enjoys mesmerizing sunrise views in the early mornings.
Chaweng has been a hub for tourists from all over the world. It is not surprising that most top-rated accommodation, restaurants, clubs, bars, and Irish pubs are located in Chaweng.Families and Honeymoons
Staying in a beachfront hotel room with your loved ones will allow you to enjoy the sunrise without leaving your room. All kinds of entertainment is available for couples and families. Crowds might bring the fun out of you. But if you prefer a quieter trip, Chaweng might be bottom of your list.Activities
Further inland, you can find all kinds of amusements you will never forget. Solve live riddles, play football golf, or visit the aquapark. Go to any beachfront restaurant or bar to enjoy the breeze from the Gulf of Thailand. The nightlife in Chaweng is exceptionally lively. So don’t expect the night to end before 1 am.Travel Essentials
Located near the airport, with great accommodation and dining options, Chaweng is normally crowded all through the year. If you are looking for a social vacation, Chaweng is surely the best beach for you.
Lamai offers a wide range of attractions and activities, especially water-sports. Its distance from the airport makes most tourists relinquish the beauty of this old village. But you should think twice! Lamai beach is ideal for those who prefer slow-paced activities, such as snorkeling, bike rides or simple strolls along the beach.Families and Honeymoons
White fine sand with fewer tourists means you’ll have more space per person to relax privately. Beach bars are common at Lamai, for couples to chill out on beach sofas.Activities
At Lamai, getting fine-priced accommodation is just as easy as getting a good meal. You could visit Lamai night plaza at the center of the town or go further to Lamai viewpoint, to enjoy a breathtaking view of the town from a higher perspective.
On the way to the viewpoint, you can also take a picture of Hin Ta and Hin Yai (Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks).Travel Essentials
Although classified as a village, Lamai is quite big to be covered by foot. Be sure to rent a taxi or vehicle for transport. Try to avoid commuting during rush hour, as narrow roads are easily bottlenecked. And be sure to check what the facilities are like, as some may be starting to show their age.
Want to enjoy Ko Samui without all the hassle of planning? Feel free to contact us, as we have professionals ready to give you expert advice on the perfect beach for you and your family.