The Thai island of Koh Samui is a slice of picturesque paradise. Making up one of the Mu Koh Samui group of islands that are located in the scenic Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is home to some of Thailand’s finest luxury resorts, quirky beachside bungalows and wellness retreats.
The small towns on the island are made up of fine dining, classy bars and late night clubs. People from all over the world are enticed to bask in the bliss of the white sandy beaches, sip wine in the trendy bars and devour the fresh local cuisine. Secluded resorts can be found in parts of the island too, where beaches are less touristy and the sea is crystal clear.
Map of Koh Samui
Koh Samui is connected to the mainland and other paradise islands in the area via an international airport and ferry terminals. To make it easy for you to find which area of the island you should stay in, we have created a list of where to stay in Koh Samui.
Chaweng’s nightlife is a big draw to those traveling to Koh Samui in order to dance the night away in the town’s numerous nightclubs and drink in its many bars. The center of Chaweng is built up around a strip which is where you will find tailors that will make you a handmade suit at a low price and fast food restaurants that serve up food to hungry party goers. The beach is a long stretch of white sand fringed with funky beach bars and restaurants that lead into hotel complexes with private pools.
There is a huge range of accommodation in Chaweng, most are more reasonably priced hostels and guesthouses which cater to the young party crowd. It’s easy to jump in a taxi from here and travel to various destinations on the island, or even catch a local songthaew to nearby towns.
Best Places to Stay in Chaweng
Sareeraya Villas & Suites – If you’re looking to spend your Thai island break lapping up amazing views surrounded by luxury, this could be the spot for you. This beautiful boutique hotel sits at the quieter north end of Chaweng Beach, but it’s still in easy walking distance to bars and eateries. Everything at this hotel is spotlessly clean and immaculately maintained, from the large rooms to the beachside pool and the hotel restaurant. Some suites come with direct access to the pool, others have sea views. Then there are the villas, which come with their very own private pool.
Chaweng Regent Beach Resort – Set right on Chaweng Beach – close to all of the bars and restaurants in the center of the area – staying at this hotel is a truly relaxing and enjoyable experience. Staff are always on hand and are super friendly and helpful. Rooms are decorated in a mix of modern and traditional Thai details and feature private terraces. Start your day with a breakfast buffet, take a dip in one of their two outdoor pools, enjoy a treatment in the hotel spa, and then round off your day by the sea with a cocktail from the bar at happy hour.
Ark Bar Beach Resort – A fun and vibrant place to stay close to the beach, this is a great hotel for people who want to let their hair down. This 3-star offering is right in the middle of the action, surrounded by the main shopping areas of the town – plus, it’s just a ten-minute walk to Chaweng Night Market. Featuring three outdoor pools and four beachside bars, pool parties are held throughout the week, with music kicking off in early afternoon until the early hours; it’s easy to release your inner party animal here. The food served in the hotel restaurant is reasonably priced and delicious – as are the drinks.
Lamai Beach[SEE MAP]
One of the best beaches on the island has to be Lamai Beach, with its sweeping stretch of golden sands, the turquoise lapping waters of the Gulf of Thailand and a relaxing family friendly atmosphere. Lamai beach is home to some great beach resorts that offer a mixed range of accommodation for various budgets. The most expensive hotels feature sea views and include pools and luxury spas – more budget options can be found further into town. Most of the hotels on the beachfront are smaller than in other places in Koh Samui and have a more intimate, friendly appeal.
Even though the beach attracts many tourists, the area still retains a village atmosphere and most bars and restaurants are owned and run by locals. If you want to travel around, the best option is to ask your hotel for transport, or hire yourself a vehicle at a low cost.
Best Places to Stay in Lamai Beach
Banyan Tree Samui – Staying at this hotel along an exclusive beachfront also means enjoying the freedom of having your very own private villa. Boasting amazing coastal views, villas come complete with balconies, large windows, and modern facilities. Set among lush tropical gardens, this 5-star hotel features a spa, no less than five restaurants, and an outdoor swimming pool – along with a fitness center and a library. You can tuck into the wide selection of options for breakfast, then head off for a day of activities that can be arranged by the hotel, such as diving, fishing or cycling.
Manathai Koh Samui – Situated in neat colonial style buildings, Manathai Koh Samui is like a small village; the variety of rooms on offer are connected by small paved pathways leading through the gardens to the restaurant, bar, and two swimming pool with lounge areas. Rooms are sizeable and spacious, with high ceilings and floor length windows which open up onto private terraces – where you can sip a drink from the mini bar. They also feature large and super comfy beds. Lamai Beach is just a stone’s throw away and makes the perfect spot for watching the sunset.
Lamai Coconut Beach Resort – With a wide selection of room types on offer, there should be something to suit everyone’s travel needs at this beachfront resort hotel. Recently renovated, and boasting beautiful beach bungalows – as well as garden view bungalows – there are also rooms which either look out onto the swimming pool or the ocean. Decorated with delectate elements of Thai style combined with a tropical island theme, there’s a handful of onsite restaurants to dine in and a happy hour too. Lamai Coconut Beach Resort also provides access to a wide range of amenities, including a babysitting service, vehicle rental, and even a doctor!
The old fisherman’s village of Bophut is a charming view into how the Koh Samui of the past can be brought into modern times. The center of Bophut runs along an old, narrow pedestrianized street that is parallel to the beach. The beachfront is abuzz with beautiful people sipping on cocktails or splashing in the pools of their beachfront hotels.
Along the pedestrianized street, chic eateries serve a high standard of cuisine and delicious wine. The area gets a little more lively in the evening, but without the raucous nightlife found elsewhere on the island. The resorts here are small but well kept and are perfect for people who are traveling with children, as there are lots of different fun water sports to try out on the beach.
Best Places to Stay in Bophut
Mantra Samui Resort – Set high on a hillside overlooking Bophut town, staying at this 5-star hotel not only means tranquility, but also sweeping views of the surrounding tropical landscape. The large rooms share the same stunning panoramic views. At Mantra Samui Resort, you can lounge on the sun terrace and look you across the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand, or take a swim in the incredible infinity pool. You could even treat yourself to an in-house spa treatment. The hotel runs a complimentary shuttle bus to take guests to the nearby sites such as Fisherman’s Village for a wide choice of dining and bars.
Smile House – Put a smile on your face and stay in this hotel which offers a slice of luxury for reasonable prices. Set right on Bophut Beach, the rooms consist of traditional Thai bungalows dotted around manicured gardens and shaded by palm trees. Take a refreshing swim in the calm sea waters, cool off in one of the hotel’s two pools, and tuck into a delicious dinner in the beachside restaurant. The central location also means that you’ll be close to all the vibrancy of town for dinner and great bars in Fisherman’s Village.
Mae Nam[SEE MAP]
If you’re not interested in drinking and dancing in Koh Samui’s party resorts and want to spend your days on a beautiful beach instead then you should stay in Mae Nam. Home to some of the top resorts on the island, Mae Nam is where you will find luxury resorts that are perfect for couples on their honeymoon, or for those who just want to kick back, relax and enjoy their holiday.
The east side of the beach is where you will find more eateries and bars, whereas the west is much more secluded and quiet. It is easy to rent a motorbike from your hotel or guest house and travel around the island from here, or you can get a taxi to take you to interesting landmarks.
Best Places to Stay in Mae Nam
Paradise Beach Resort Samui – The perfect spot for travelers looking for a bit of peace and quiet on their Thai island getaway, this 4-star resort is all about relaxation and serene surroundings. Staying here means being surrounded by tropical gardens, shaded by trees, and views out across the sea. Located right on tranquil Maenam Beach, guests can choose from two swimming pools or splash around in the sea before enjoying meals at the hotel restaurant. Around a ten-minute walk from the center of the village, the hotel provides a free shuttle service to Fisherman’s Village and Chaweng.
Coco Palm Beach Resort – A resort with a laid back atmosphere and very friendly staff, you’ll be able to unwind into the chilled out island mindset in no time if you stay here. Low key yet charming, the hotel features dark wood throughout and is surrounded by tropical trees; you’ll really feel like you’re staying among nature. There’s a good choice of rooms at this 3-star offering, from beachfront villas to family bungalows, which makes it ideal for a big family holiday. The hotel’s slice of white sand beach is great for swimming – but you can take a dip in the beachside pool.
Choeng Mon[SEE MAP]
Packed with restaurants, bars and massage parlours, Choeng Mon is a lively beach resort which is clustered along a small, family friendly picturesque beach. Further along the coast there are a number of coves and private beaches which have been taken over by large, luxury hotels that are some of the most exclusive, expensive and best hotels in the area. If you have a smaller budget, lower priced accommodation can be found along the eastern end of Choeng Mon beach, where smaller family run hotels offer a more personal touch.
If you feel like adventuring further afield for an evening of partying or perhaps just for an evening meal, then the heady beach resort of Chaweng Beach is a quick 15 minutes away by taxi, which are usually easy to come by.
Where to Stay in Choeng Mon
SALA Samui Choengmon Beach – With all the delicate details and eye for aesthetics, this hotel oozes Thai elegance. Step into a world of simple style and let yourself be enchanted by the luxurious, laid-back atmosphere. Stay in a poolside villa or treat yourself to a villa with its own private pool and enjoy the modern facilities throughout the hotel. Boasting two beachfront pools, access to a private beach and a spa, you can wind up your days of relaxing and soaking up the sun by choosing to dine in the hotel restaurant or in the privacy of your villa.
Lipa Noi[SEE MAP]
The stunning secluded beaches of Lipa Noi’s serene, laid back, no hassle atmosphere is the real essence of Koh Samui. Far from busy beach bars and tourist traps, the beach has some of the best swimming spots on the island. Think crystal clear turquoise waters, pure white sands and bowing palm trees, Lipa Noi has everything that makes up the classic image of paradise. The beach is almost deserted apart from a few, low key mid range resorts and a few privately owned houses and yoga schools. This place is like a special secret of seclusion that you don’t want other people to know about.
The best way to travel from here is to hire yourself a motorbike and hit the roads. The surrounding areas are dotted with homely villages and the real life of Koh Samui’s inhabitants.
Where to Stay in Lipa Noi
The Lipa Lovely Beach Resort – Set right on the waterfront, this small resort is a world of calm and quiet. Lounge around one of two pools on a sun lounger or on the white sand of Lipa Beach and swim in the clear sea water. The hotel restaurant serves satisfyingly large portions of local dishes and freshly prepared drinks, so you can enjoy dinner in the ambient atmosphere as the sun sets over the ocean. If you fancy a little pampering at this 3-star resort, there’s the option for massages as well as yoga and meditation sessions.
Bangrak’s Beach is less touristy than other destinations on the island, but the sand is clean, fine and white and the water is fairly deep which means it’s great for watersports and snorkeling. Bangrak itself is close to bigger destinations such as Bophut and Chaweng, but there are a few eateries and bars around the area for you to try out some local delights.
There are some new, well designed, mid range hotels along the beach which have restaurants and bars attached, as well as lower priced accommodation further into the town. Bangrak also has its own pier which has recently been updated and now has great facilities. It is easy to catch a ferry from the pier to other islands in Thailand such as Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
Where to Stay in Bangrak
Prana Resorts Samui – There’s a huge choice of rooms on offer at Prana Resorts Samui, from deluxe suites to rooms with private access to the pool. The rooms are all designed in modern style with tropical elements and are spotlessly clean. An enjoyable place to spend a family holiday, children can be entertained in the daily Kids Club and have fun splashing around in the pool. Keep up with your workouts at the onsite gym or just simply treat yourself and tuck into delicious dinners on the rooftop restaurant.
Nathon’s a hub for transport on Koh Samui and is where many people will arrive and leave through its passenger ferry pier. The town is a center for business on the island but actually has a charm all of its own. The attractive old Chinatown is surprisingly located here along small back streets. The Chinese community have been living on Koh Samui for many generations and add to the interesting tapestry of the island’s local inhabitants.
Further from the port, the beachfront is pretty and with its shallow waters and beautiful sunsets, it’s a great spot to stay in Koh Samui if you only have a couple of nights to spare. Accomodation is invariably low cost in the town and is located close to the local fresh food market and various tourist shops.
Where to tay in Nathon
Amera Villas – For a Thai island getaway with all the family, Amera Villas is ideal. Get everyone together in paradise as you stay in the luxury of your own private villa. Effortlessly stylish, with a simple, modern, yet homely feeling, the villa comes with plenty of space for everybody to feel comfortable. The main attraction, however, is the view; it’s so spectacular that it’ll be hard to tear yourself away from it. Watch the sunset across the treetops of the tropical landscape and swim practically in nature at the outdoor pool on the sun terrace.
Laem Set[SEE MAP]
Laem Set, on the south east of the island, is a lesser developed region where the beautiful beaches are scattered with leaning palm trees and big rocks. People visit this area on family holidays or on yoga retreats to recline in its peace and quiet. Laem Set beach has its own coral reef which can be found about 100 meters from shore and is best explored by hiring a kayak.
There aren’t many restaurants or shops in the area and accommodation is mainly made up of mid-range hotels and luxury resorts, which have lots of rooms and private villas with pools and restaurants. There are also a handful of luxury wellness resorts along the beach which are expensive, but mean you can bask in the knowledge that you are being healthy and you are on holiday in paradise.
Where to Stay in Laem Set
Banburee Resort – This 4-star choice is a fun, friendly, family resort with a choice of rooms and suites. Located right on the beach and with a large outdoor pool and garden area, you won’t want to move from the comfort of your sun lounger. If you do want to venture further afield, the hotel’s free shuttle service will take you to nearby Lamai town. There are yoga classes and a hotel spa with steam rooms. Plus, after a busy day relaxing, there’s the choice of two restaurants for dinner.
Taling Ngam[SEE MAP]
Sleepy, laid back Taling Ngam’s stretch of coast is long and luxurious. Surrounded by the depths of the jungle and with incredible views across the Ang Thong Marine National Park, Taling Ngam is one of the most picturesque spots on Koh Samui. Spend your days here lazing in the sands and, as evening falls, watch the sunset in spectacular fashion across the water. Accommodation in the area is dominated by big, luxury developments which are spread out along the coast, but the resorts are hardly noticeable and there are some cheaper, budget beach bungalows available too, which offer fantastic beach views.
Taling Ngam is only half an hour away from the main pier in Nathon, so is easy to travel to. If you want to be surrounded by the pure, immaculate beauty of a Thai beach then you should stay here.
Where to Stay in Taling Ngam
Conrad Koh Samui – If you’re looking for seclusion among nature combined with a big helping of luxurious surroundings, then look no further than the 5-star Conrad Koh Samui. Enjoy the privacy of this beach getaway. Here you can expect no more than the best service from your high-end bungalow nestled in the tropical jungle of the mountainside, right on the tip of the island. The views here are breathtaking, especially from the hotel’s infinity pool, which features sun loungers actually set in the water. Choose from various rooms and wake up in the comfort of your huge bed to views across the ocean before taking a morning swim in the privacy of your own pool.