The Nathon Pier is often the first port of call for many travelers who visit the captivating tropical island of Koh Samui. It serves as the principal arrival and departure point for boats traveling between the island and mainland Thailand, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao. Visit this working harbor for a snapshot glimpse of the beaches and jungle-covered hills that characterize the island’s stunning natural beauty.
Step off your ferry and immediately feel the island’s charm. Peer down at the glistening water of the Gulf of Thailand and gaze up at the rolling, forest-covered hills. Watch as workers load and unload goods bound for the resorts’ bars, restaurants and hotels. A collection of colorful fishing trawlers moor in the harbor as local fishermen clean their catch of the day.
Nathon Pier sits on the northwest coast of Nathon Town, the island’s administrative center. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Samui Airport and 50 minutes from Chaweng, the island’s liveliest beach resort. Taxis line up at the entrance to the pier waiting to whisk travelers off to their hotels. Look for car and scooter rental companies here.
Just a short walk from the pier is Nathon Town itself. Its main street is lined with banks, bakeries, hotels, internet cafés and travel agents. Pick up cheap beachwear items and backpacker-styled clothing at the handful of shops. Poke around the traditional wooden Chinese shophouses, which sell everything from amulets and jewelry to herbs and spices.
Nathon Pier is a short distance from several pristine beaches. On its doorstep is Nathon Beach, a less-visited wide stretch of golden sand framed by excellent seafood restaurants. About 4 miles (6 kilometers) to the south is Lipa Noi Beach, characterized by its fine sand, shallow water, spas and beachfront bungalows. Travel farther south to Taling Ngam, where the crystal clear water and unspoiled coral are perfect for snorkeling adventures.