The island of Koh Samui is a small tropical island located in the Gulf of Thailand. With a size of approximately 250 km², it is the third largest island of the Kingdom of Thailand. The development of Koh Samui began late compared to its big sister of Phuket, and particularly because of the geography of the island, which delayed the construction of a road going around the island, which had been achieved only in the middle of the last century.
General infos about Koh Samui
But in less than two decades, Koh Samui has become a major tourist destination in Southeast Asia. The resort island is lined by beautiful sandy beaches, and one can discover beautiful landscapes both on land and under water, the area being particularly popular amongst scuba divers.
Koh Samui is also part of an archipelago of over 80 islands, the other famous islands in the region being Koh Tao or Koh Pha Ngan.
Koh Samui has a tropical climate throughout the year, with temperatures ranging between 25 and 34 degrees Celsius. Three seasons on the island can be distinguished: a hot season from February to May, which coincides with the main tourist season as it is very rarely raining during this period. The rainy season or monsoon begins in June and ends in late October. Finally, a fresher period extends from November to January. Despite the hot weather at certain times of the year, Koh Samui remains pleasant throughout the year due to the gentle sea breeze coming from the Gulf of Thailand.
In summary, Koh Samui is a pleasant and relaxing tropical island, locals not departing from the traditional Thai friendliness.
What are the main areas of Koh Samui?
Situated in the northwestern area of Koh Samui, Bang Po is a laid-back and serene area, ideal for the holiday-makers who love a natural and tranquil tropical setting. Bang Po isn’t a big tourist centre, but it is possible to find a number of shopping venues, restaurants, as well as luxurious resorts. Actually, Bang Po received a lot of media attention after international celebrities such as Bill Gates or David Beckham visited the area and decided to buy properties here. Ban Po beach is stunningly beautiful and clean and is definitely the main attraction of the region.
Bophut is a lovely destination of the island, that has kept its traditional atmosphere despite the development of tourism. The views of Koh Pha Ngan from Bophut are breathtaking. This area is perfect for the holiday makers looking for a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. In addition, there is number of restaurants in Bophut, from cheap local restaurants to sophisticated places serving a more refined cuisine.
With its 7 kilometers, Chaweng is Koh Samui’s longest beach and also the largest village, famous for its vibrant nightlife. For the holiday makers who are coming to Koh Samui to party, Chaweng and its countless bars or discos is the ideal spot. Chaweng is also the house of many shopping venues as well as restaurants proposing a great variety of food, such as seafood, Thai cuisine, but also international cuisines (Chinese, Japanese, and a number of excellent European restaurants).
Choeng Mon is a beautiful bay situated just East of the Big Buddha. This area offers a laid back atmosphere ideal for families. Despite its peacefulness, it’s easy to find shops, restaurants, tailors or mini marts, and Choeng Mon is also the place where we can find Koh Samui’s most luxurious resorts.
Situated on Koh Samui’s southeast coast, Laem Set offers a beautiful tropical scenery, with pristine sandy beaches and panoramic views of the nearby islands. Laem Set is one of the most peaceful area of Koh Samui as there are no shops or nightlife. However, families with kids are likely to visit Laem Set’s tourist attractions such as the Butterfly Gardens, the Samui Aquarium or the Tiger Zoo. Laem Set offers a perfect setting for nature lovers.
Laem Sor is the most southern destination on Koh Samui and is often considered as a hidden treasure. The main attraction is the Pagoda temple, and the rest of the area is perfectly fitted for nature lovers. For those who are traveling to Koh Samui in order to appreciate the tranquillity of the island, Laem Sor offers an ideal getaway far from the buzzing tourist crowds.
After Chaweng, Lamai is the most popular beach on the island, offering perfect swimming conditions as well as a number of snorkeling spots situated not far from the shore line, and so it is the perfect location to discover the colourful corals and fishes of the island. Whilst Lamai is not as bustling as Chaweng, the center of the area offers a few bars and pubs with a good reputation, as well as a great deal of restaurants. On the contrary, Lamai’s southern and northern areas remain quiet at all hours of the day and night.
Lipa Noi features an idyllic beach with a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, and offering the spectacle of superb sunsets. In fact, people are coming here from all over the islands to admire the last rays of the Sun. The proximity to Koh Samui’s main ferry terminal makes Lipa Noi the perfect place for those who travel by car from the mainland. The beach has very little rocks or corals and so it is a perfect place for kids to enjoy a day at the beach. There are a few high end resorts and hotels in the area, offering alongside a few local restaurants a good choice of cuisines.
Mae Nam is a lovely beach of 4 kilometers length. This adorable village is also the main departure port to the neighbouring islands of Koh Tao or Koh Pha Ngan, where the famous fullmoon party takes place every month. A number of local shops are offering to rent windsurfs or kite-surfs, making this area very popular amongst sport-oriented holiday-makers. At night time, it is possible to find a few places with animation in Maenam, though the area remain mostly quiet & peaceful, offering the perfect conditions for families and travelers willing to stay away from the crowd.
Nathon is Koh Samui’s administrative & business centre. The area also features a charming white sandy beach with turquoise waters. There are no corals or rocks, there the swimming conditions are perfect for adults and kids alike. Ideal for holiday-makers who are looking forward to relax, Nathon is also home to some of Koh Samui’s most reputed spas. There are also a great number of shopping venues, especially these old Chinese shophouses where there are all sorts of souvenirs and goods.
Located on Koh Samui’s northeast coast between the Big Buddha beach and Choeng Mon, Plai Laem offers a number of palm fringed beaches with low density, providing a perfect tropical scenery for those who are looking for tranquillity and peacefulness. Besides offering a peaceful setting ideal for luxury beach front villas, Plai Laem is also famous for its Buddhist temple. Yet quiet, Plai Laem is a short ride away from more buzzing tourist centres such as Chaweng, hence making it an ideal destination on the island for holiday-makers who want to enjoy a relaxing and entertaining stay.
Taling Ngam is often referred to as Koh Samui’s best hidden secret. Undoubtfully, this beautiful area offers a tranquil atmosphere perfectly suited for nature lovers. Taling Ngam is situated on Koh Samui’s west coast and offers spectacular sunsets and many locals often come here to enjoy an evening watching the last colours of the day. The beach is superb and very laid back and enjoys the immediate proximity of other beautiful beaches such as Lipa Noi. Here the waters are calm and offer perfect swimming & snorkelling conditions all year round.