Ko Samui Travel Guide

Ko Samui is a tropical paradise that sits in the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand. It is a well-developed island with a wide choice of accommodation, from five-star hotels to budget rooms and everything in between.

The island is split up into areas, with the main town of Chaweng offering the most hotels, shops, bars and restaurants as well as a three-mile stretch of beach. Lamai is also popular but slightly quieter, with a nice beach and plenty of shops and stalls. Bophut is home to the charming Fisherman’s Village and a unique selection of boutique hotels and top quality eateries.

Bang Rak and Maenam are very similar in what they offer and the capital of the island is Nathon, a town filled with local people, a busy port and not geared toward tourists. There are numerous villages dotted between towns that boast secluded beaches, tasty treats and local secrets.

During the day Samui is a popular beach destination, with most towns and villages presenting tropical sandy beaches with crystal clear seas. Chaweng Beach is the largest and most impressive stretch of pure white sand on the island, with Lamai offering a slightly smaller and less crowded beach. Bophut and Choeng Mon beaches are great for famillies and are lined with a plethora of bars and restaurants all hosting unspoiled views.

The heart of Ko Samui is filled with dense, green jungle, which provides the basis for the island’s adventure activities. Elephant trekking is popular, with professional guided treks through the hilly areas on offer, as are visits to the scattering of impressive waterfalls and temples.

By night, Ko Samui has something to offer everyone, with an eclectic mix of five-star restaurants on the beach to hawker stalls selling cheap meals on the roadside. Seafood is a specialty on the island, with seafood restaurants cooking their fresh daily catches on a barbeque. In the quieter villages there are local eateries and stalls that offer a taste of authentic Thai cooking at cheap prices.

The bar culture in Samui is as mixed as the dining scene, with western-style trendy establishments to beach bars and go-go bars. Lamai is well known for its Thai lady bars, as is Maenam and Bang Rak, with Chaweng offering the largest concentration of regular bars and clubs.

Getting There & Away

Ko Samui boasts an international airport that welcomes many daily flights from Bangkok (1 hour, 20 minutes), Phuket, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Many travelers choose to get a 12-hour train or a bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then board ferries that are destined for Ko Samui (2 hours).

Things to Do

Ko Samui Attractions

Namuang Waterfalls

Past lamai and up in the hills are some stunning cascades that are best explored after heavy rains.

Paradise Park Farm

Is full of exotic birds and farm animals that live in the spacious 50 rai of land that is set on pom mountain. the farm boasts a restaurant, infinity swimming pool and play parks.

Buddha’s Secret Garden

Hidden in the hills of the island, this area has a secretive feel to it and houses a group of buddha statues, temples and small waterfalls.

Samui beaches

There are dozens of beaches worth checking out, with chaweng’s white sands being hugely popular.

Grandmother and Grandfather rocks

These rocks represent male and female genital organs, giving visitors a laugh.

Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo

Ideal for a family day out, here those who dare can have their picture taken with a bengal tiger.