IN KOH SAMUI
Everything you need to know
about Koh Samui beaches
Koh Samui beaches are special
Koh Samui is the second-largest island in Thailand after Phuket. It is common for holidaymakers to take a pick between the two. In a Phuket vs Koh Samui contest, it is hard to pick a winner. Both are great choices. In the end, it comes to weather and atmosphere differences. Have a look at tips related to weather in Koh Samui to see the best time to visit and how it compares with weather in Phuket.
Koh Samui has a more relaxed ambience, likely due to its smaller size and lack of land access. This makes it ideal for visitors who are looking to escape the crowds and enjoy a more laid-back vacation. The beaches on Koh Samui are stunning and less crowded, making it the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.
Koh Samui has 4 or 5 long beaches and then many medium and small ones where you may find yourself on your own!
Beaches in Koh Samui offer something for everyone. If you’re looking to relax, there are plenty of quiet spots to lounge on the sand or enjoy a coconut oil massage. Or, if you want to be more active, you can go snorkeling or paddleboarding. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants if you want to socialize. This variety is what makes Koh Samui’s beaches so special.
Keep reading to find the best beaches in Koh Samui for you.
Koh Samui Beaches Map
Best seasons to enjoy the beach in Koh Samui
High Season: The dry season is the busiest time of the year to enjoy the beach in Koh Samui. It is not too hot, small amount of rain and calm seas. The high season goes from December until February. Many people believe this is the best time to visit.
Hot Season: From March to August. During this time, beaches in Koh Samui are the perfect heat cure, in combination with the occasional thunderstorm.
Monsoon season: During October and November, rain is intense in Koh Samui and not the best time to visit the island if what you’re looking for is to spend time sunbathing at the beach. But September is still a good time to visit, not so much rain, still plenty of sunshine and better deals on hotels and flights.
Floods: If you experience floods in Thailand during the monsoon season, do not touch or submerge in standing water. It can be dangerous. There maybe sharp objects and currents and the water may carry bacteria. Also, it is not a good idea to swim in the ocean until the floodwaters have cleared.
Things to keep in mind
Sun in Thailand: With about 11 hours of sunshine a day, the sun burns hot in Thailand and you can get sunburn even early in the morning or under cloud cover. Make sure you are protected with adequate sun protection factor cream, long sleeves and headgear. Take special care with small children and babies.
You got sunburns in Thailand? Ouch, it hurts. Nothing better than a special massage to hydrate your skin. On many Thai beaches you will find covered beds where you can get a coconut massage treatment to sooth your skin.
Box jellyfish in Koh Samui: Chances to be stung by a box jellyfish in Koh Samui are low, but better be prepared than unaware. During August, September and October box jellyfish are more noticeable in the Gulf of Thailand. Certain species of box jellyfish carry an extremely venomous toxin, so make sure to keep reading to understand what to do if you get stung.
If you get stung: Right after being stung by a box jellyfish, apply vinegar directly on the area affected for at least 30 to 60 seconds. Go immediately to a hospital. Most boats, resorts, beach restaurants and bars in Koh Samui should have vinegar on their first aid kits to treat stings. Do not rub or try to clean the injury with fresh water. Do not pee on the affected area!!
You can find up-to-date guidance on what to do if you are stung here.
All beaches are public spaces in Thailand : In some places, you may see banners reading “private beach” or “customers only”. You can ignore them, because all beaches in Thailand are public.
Best Beaches in Koh Samui
Chaweng Beach, with its fine white sand and turquoise water, is one of the most popular beaches on the island. Chaweng area is the most developed and touristy area in Koh Samui, with plenty of resorts, restaurants, bars, shops, food stands. Night-life in Koh Samui is vibrant, especially in Chaweng. Having everything within minutes is great, but you may have to trade convenience for quietness during the high season.
TIP: If your hotel is not in Chaweng, but you want to use the beach for the day: there are several 4 and 5- star resorts in Chaweng, you can order drinks from their beach bar and use their sunbeds!
We love the laid back vibes in Lamai! Lamai beach can get busy, especially during the high season, but nothing close to Chaweng beach. Lamai is the second longest beach in Koh Samui. There are many options for dining and shopping in Lamai, not as sophisticated as Chaweng or Bohput, but prices are better. Surrounded by tropical hills and less developed than other popular locations in Samui, Lamai is perhaps a little bit more “authentic”…
TIP: Sunday is the day to visit Lamai! Spend the morning at the beach and stay later to visit Lamai Night Market
Bophut Beach spreads along Fisherman’s Village walking street, packed with great restaurants and bars. The beach is beautiful, with nice views and stunning sunsets looking over Koh Phangan. What makes Bophut Beach and the area special is the relaxed atmosphere compared to Chaweng. Terraces with amazing views, no traffic, quality spas and exclusive shops make Bophut one of the best beaches in Koh Samui to spend the day.
TIP: On Friday and Monday nights, you will find one of the best night markets in Koh Samui at Fisherman’s Village.
Maenam Beach is popular among locals and holiday makers looking for a long beach to walk which is not crowded. There is a number of great restaurants and resorts along Maenam Beach, specially on the eastern side. Most of the areas are easy to access aside W Samui, where you need to access through the resort to get to that section of the beach. Some parts of Maenam Beach are more suitable than others for young children because of the depth and currents. We recommend Silent Beach area for the whole family!
TIP: Treehouse Silent Beach Restaurant is a great spot to have lunch and relax on the beach. Amazing food at affordable prices.
TIP: Most Monday nights it is cinema night on the beach at W Koh Samui! Check out their Facebook page for the latest updates : Samui Beach Cinema.
CHOENG MON BEACH
Choeng Mon Beach is located at the Northeastern tip of the island. You can access the beach through the first line hotels in Choeng Mon. Despite having direct access from several resorts, Choeng Mon Beach tends to be reasonably relaxed depending on the season. In our opinion, this is one of the best beaches in Koh Samui for families. Choeng Mon Beach provides a great combination of fine sand and shallow waters perfect for children and the resort bars right on the beach, perfect for adults.
TIP: On Wednesdays, there is a cozy night market in Choeng Mon, recently renovated. Some big resorts have stands providing delicious food at street market prices.
Bangrak Beach, also known as Big Buddha Beach, is located on the north side of the island. The beach is a long strip of sand along Bangrak Bay. There are a number of resorts, bars and restaurants, and the pier, with boats departing to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Great beach for a long walk to enjoy spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
TIP: Have lunch or a beer enjoying a great atmosphere at Secret Garden Resort in Bangrak Beach!
Silver Beach is located on the eastern side of Koh Samui. It is also known as Crystal Bay. This beach is calm, with shallow waters perfect for swimmers and families with small children. There are 2 resorts on the beach, so you can spend a morning or an afternoon at the beach and have lunch or early dinner at one of the resorts restaurants.
Silver Beach is more relaxed than Chaweng, Bophut or Lamai areas, because it is more secluded, but the sand is fine white, and the water crystal clear most of the year.
Thongson Bay is one of our favorite beaches in Koh Samui. It’s not close to the main ring road, so a little secluded but still easily accessible.
With its fine white sand and clear water, it’s hard to beat this beach. There you will find a Thai restaurant and the 5 – star Melati Resort. Great beach if you look for some peace and quiet. You can spend the whole morning or afternoon on the beach and have lunch or dinner at any of the restaurants. Suitable for anyone, including families with small children. To reach the beach, follow the signs for Melati Resort. Once there, go to the right and once you get to the dirt road, drive all the way down to the car park next to the restaurant on the beach.
Coral Cove Beach is not a very well known beach in Koh Samui, so it is more appealing to visitors who seek a private piece of paradise with calm, quiet and seclusion. The beach is roughly 200 meters in length, yet remarkably you’ll find more space for yourself here than in the busy Chaweng. On both sides of the beach, there are boulders and rock formations creating the perfect frame and the ever-present Samui coconut trees are in view. The water is clean and warm, however it might not be the best place for families with small children as the sea becomes quite deep very close to the shore. It is perfect for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving.
TIP: A great spot to relax and have a lovely Thai meal at the beachside restaurant of Coral Cove Resort.
BAN TAI BEACH
Ban Tai beach is one of the few “secret” places on the island, of which tourists know so little. It is situated on the north coast of the island, between Maenam Beach and Bang Por Beach, rather far from the main road. If you want to find it, follow the signs for Mimosa Resort.
This 2 km long strip of sand is perfect for families with kids or couples looking for relaxation. Here you will find perfectly clear water and fine sand. You might find a few rocks while entering the water, but the rest of the shore is covered with soft and fine sand. If you swim a little far from the coast you’ll see corrals and small fish. You may also encounter a few turtles and stingrays.
TIP: Thanks to the big angle of the coastline to the west, you will be able to see the sunsets much better from here than from Bang Por.
LIPA NOI BEACH
Situated on the west coast of Koh Samui, Lipa Noi Beach is not one of the first beaches to come to mind when visiting Koh Samui. But if you have the time, trust us it is worth a visit. We love this beach because it’s far from the hustle and bustle of Koh Samui, it’s beautiful with fine white sand and clear blue water, one of the best beaches for kids and there’s a local feel to it compared to other beaches in Koh Samui. Ohhh and did we mention that on this beach you can experience some of the most breathtaking sunsets in Koh Samui?!?
TIP: One of the trendiest beach clubs on the island, Nikki Beach Club and Resort, is located on Lipa Noi.
Nathon is located on the northwestern coast of Ko Samui. It is the main port in Koh Samui with many ferry routes. The beach here is not the best, but is famous for its picturesque sunsets. Many tourists come to enjoy the incredible views and charming little shops and restaurants lining the ocean front. The town itself is very picturesque and is quickly becoming known as a popular shopping and dining destination.
TIP: Enjoy dinner at Lucky Restaurant – here you will find both Thai and western food at a decent price (and reasonably priced beer). This little restaurant is run by a super friendly British/Thai couple. Say “hi” from us if you pass by!
TALING NGAM BEACH
Another less known, less touristic and less developed beach, situated on the south-west coast of Koh Samui. Here you will find plenty of palm trees, shallow waters, amazing sunsets and views over the 5 islands. The beach is a great place to relax and unwind. Along the stretch of sand, you will see hammocks swinging from the palms, leaning over the beach. This beach is great for snorkeling, but the sea bed can be difficult to walk on without swimming shoes.
TIP: Enjoy sunset cocktails at the InterContinental Koh Samui Resort for a magical experience!
BANG KAO BEACH
Situated on the south coast of Koh Samui, this is one of the quietest beaches. It is great for relaxing and sunbathing, walks on the sand but not so much for swimming – very shallow waters and stony sea bed.
TIP: Visit Khao Chedi Temple with views over the whole Bay Area of Bang Kao, the islands of Koh Tan, Koh Mat Sum and the Surat Thani mainland in the background. It’s also one of the best spots on the island to catch the sunrise and sunset. Check out Pagoda Laem Sor, five minutes away on the beach.
PLAI LAEM BEACH
Situated on the northeastern side of the island, very close to Koh Samui Airport. This beach is very quiet and there is not much to do, apart from relaxing on the sand with a book and watching the sunsets. The water here is very shallow, but the sea bed is stony and muddy, not good for swimming.
TIP: If in the area, choose Samrong Beach or Thongson Bay for a day at the beach. You will find clear crystal waters, powdery white sand, and the feeling you have your very own private beach.