Last updated on March 26th, 2019 at 07:56 am
If you’re looking for the best Koh Samui beach plus more great things to do in Koh Samui, Thailand you’ve landed in the right place!
We recently spent six weeks on the beautiful Thai island of Koh Samui, house sitting and caring for 3 awesome dogs and one very independent cat. Admittedly we spent a lot of our time enjoying our lovely home office and kitchen and playing with the dogs but we did also manage to get out and explore the island a fair bit.
Of course as always we want to share our findings with you so we’ve created this ‘best of’ list of things to do in Koh Samui starting with the Best Koh Samui beach.
Best Koh Samui Beach: Silver Beach
For us there’s no doubt that the best Koh Samui beach is Silver beach. Also known as Crystal beach, this idyllic cove lies just 3km from the busy stretch of sand in Lamai but couldn’t be further apart in personality. The sand is silky and white, the water is clear and clean and there’s no sound of pounding techno music or sign of beach vendors. Although it’s a small beach you can always find a spot to lay your towel in sun or shade and there a few lovely restaurants for food and refreshments. It’s a perfect place to spend the day relaxing and swimming.
Tip: It is difficult to park here if you’re not staying at the Silver Beach Resort so arriving by bike is your best option. If you do bring a car you may need to park on the road and walk down.
Best Koh Samui Party Beach Bar: Ark Bar
Image courtesy of Island Info Koh Samui
The casual and lively Ark Bar sits on popular Chaweng Beach and is a hot spot for partyers day and night. By day you can find bronzed beauties lounging on sun beads on the sand or by the pool. Come evening the drinking increases and the hookahs come out. By dark the music is pumping, people are moving and the fire dancers are performing. It’s mostly a young crowd but it’s a great place for anyone to get a taste of the Samui party scene without being trapped in a hot crowded nightclub. This is where we spent NYE, bringing in the new year dancing in the sand as fireworks exploded all around the bay.
Tip: If you want to check out the scene in the evening from the comfort of a beach lounger get there before 8pm to snag a spot. Otherwise you’ll be standing in the crowd of college kids.
Best Koh Samui Daytime Tour: Island Gem Picnic
After researching tours on Koh Samui we decided on the Island Gem Picnic and we are so glad we did. This is a private tour which includes riding on a longboat, prime snorkeling away from the crowded tour boats and a gourmet meal prepared on a quiet (often private) island beach. The staff set up a romantic picnic setting with mats and cushions under a shade awning and serve you food and wine or beer on real plates glasses…no plastic here! The experience leaves you feeling like a celebrity at a really affordable price.
Tip: You have a choice of western or Thai food and although I’m sure both are fantastic we highly recommend the Thai. It is fresh, flavorful and of a quality you would find at a top restaurant. *Vegetarian meals are also available on request
Best Koh Samui Evening Event: The Thai Experience
The Thai Experience gets rave reviews on Tripadvisor for good reason. This is one of the most unique, entertaining and enjoyable evenings we’ve had in Thailand…and we’ve had some good ones! It’s essentially a private dinner party for about 10 people complete with top shelf drinks and gourmet food. The staff keep everyone entertained by teaching in an interactive way about the food and history of the Thai culture. Everything about this event rates 5 stars from us, from the food to the service to the overall theme it’s a winner. You may not know anyone at the beginning of the evening but by the end you have a whole new group of friends.
Tip: Although this event is fun whether you drink or not having a cocktail or two does help loosen everyone up which makes for a really entertaining evening. Plus the wine and cocktails are top shelf and free flowing. *Vegetarian options available on request
Best Koh Samui Walking Street Market: Fisherman’s Village or Lamai?
Image courtesy of Samui Holiday
This was a tough one for us to decide as they are both good and each have a different vibe. Lamai Walking Street is a bit more traditional and local whereas Fisherman’s Village is a little more upscale simply because of the location. They both have great food, drink and craft stands and entertainment (often the same performers as they are on different days. If you are on the island long enough you won’t need to decide…just visit both.
Tip: Lamai Walking Street is on Sundays 4pm-late and Fisherman’s Village Market is on Fridays from 6pm-midnight.
Coolest Bar in Koh Samui: The Samui Rock Bar
This Reggae bar is built amongst the rocks and sand of a little cove close to Lamai and right next to the infamous Hin Ta and Hin Yai rock formations. As with most Reggae bars it’s pretty chill and laid back but the unique location and gorgeous view of the Samui Rock Bar make it extra special and worth a visit.
Tip: We went in the afternoon when there wasn’t much going on but it can get pretty busy at night so go early if you want a seat other than rock and sand.
Best Free Evening Entertainment in Koh Samui: Movie night at W Resort
Every Monday night the W Hotel Koh Samui shows a movie on the beach. You can snuggle up in a big beach bean bag bed or on a cozy half circle sofa and nibble on popcorn while watching a blockbuster movie under the stars. There is no admission charged but they do appreciate you purchasing a drink or snack from the beach bar. They will often offer up free popcorn with a drink purchase. They also have one of the best views from their lounge if you’re looking for a romantic nightcap.
Tip: As with many places on the island a bike is preferable over a car due to parking issues. As it is a resort though it would also be easy to catch a taxi.
Best Koh Samui Bar for Relaxing: Coco Tam’s
Coco Tam’s is on the beach at Fisherman’s Village and has a cool array of seating options. On the street level over looking the beach there are standard bar stools, a little more unusual bar swings and the very unique ‘trampoline beds’ that emulate the netting on a catamaran. Our favorite spot was on the beach lounging on a big bean bag chair at a low Japanese style table. This is a great alternative to the Ark Bar if you want something more chill and relaxing but still on the beach.
Tip: If you like Hookah and drinking out of a coconut while watching the sunset this is the place. It also makes a great date spot.
Most Romantic Koh Samui Restaurant: Krua Bophut
There are many romantic restaurants on the beach in Koh Samui, especially at Fisherman’s Village but our favorite was Krua Bophut. The food was delicious, plentiful and very well priced, the service was excellent and the tables on the deck or on the beach are lit solely by candles on the tables and twinkle lights in the trees. If you get seated on the beach you also have the sand between your toes and the sound of the surf, what’s more romantic than that?
Tip: This is a popular spot so if you really want an outdoor table or especially one on the beach be sure to arrive early or make a reservation.
Best Ways to Stay Fit on Koh Samui: Yoga, Beach Runs and Muay Thai
As always we strive to maintain a good healthy balance in our lives and staying fit while traveling is a bit part of that. There are plenty of public gyms on Samui and many of the resorts will let you use their facilities for a small fee but we enjoy making exercise fun by doing outdoor activities. An early morning beach run followed by a beach yoga session is one of our favorite ways to stay fit when we’re on the ocean but if you want something a bit more strenuous try Muay Thai. There are lots of training camps on the island offering all inclusive weekly packages but for single classes suitable for all fitness levels and ages the best option is Super Pro Samui.
Tip: For more tips and resources on staying fit while on holiday check out the online fitness professionals at Fit Living Lifestyle
Best Scenic Drive on Koh Samui: Inland from Maenam to Lamai
There is a road aptly named Ring road that circles the island of Koh Samui but we found a much more scenic route to cut across island from Maenam to Lamai or vice versa. Starting in Maenam the straight open road first takes you through beautiful countryside and farmland before climbing fairly steeply to spectacular viewpoints then snaking slowly back down to sea level and the town of Lamai.
Tip: If you’re starting in Maenam look for soi 1 across from the police station and My Bar and just follow the road inland.
Best Koh Samui Free Nature Day: Hike to Na Muang Waterfall
There are several waterfalls on Koh Samui but Na Muang is our favorite. There are actually two falls here aptly named #1 and #2 and you can hike from one to the other. The falls are set in the midst of lush tropical jungle and there are refreshing pools to swim in so be sure to bring a swimsuit and towels. Also were good shoes for hiking as the climb between the two, although fairly short, can be steep and slippery in spots. They are located 12 km SE of Nathon Bay and there are plenty of sign all around the area on Ring Rd pointing you in the right direction.
Tip: There is no admission charged to the falls or for parking but sometimes the local will try to tell you otherwise.
Best Spot to Watch a Koh Samui Sunset: Big Buddha Beach
We were quite happy to find out that most of the busy popular beaches are on the east coast which means that the best beaches for watching the sunset are nice and quiet. Big Buddha Beach is a good spot and is you want to enjoy a cocktail as the sky turns pink there is the appropriately named Sunset Bar at the entrance to the Big Buddha statue.
Tip: If the small Sunset Bar is full you can run across the street to the convenience store and grab a refreshment to enjoy while sitting on the conveniently placed rocks next to the bar.
Of course there are plenty of other great beaches, restaurants and activities on the island, this is simply a sampling of our own personal favorites based on what we experienced. Have you been to Koh Samui? What are your favorite spots to eat, drink and relax?
Koh Samui Quick Tips
How to get to Koh Samui:
- Several airlines fly in and out of Koh Samui from some major hubs such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Singapore. We always use Skyscanner to search and book the cheapest flights.
- Our favorite way to travel is by train and you can take an overnight train from Bangkok to Surat Thani then transfer to a bus then Lomprayah ferry. It takes about 12 hours in total and it sounds a lot more daunting than it is. For convenience you can book the whole thing in one shot and we always use 12GoAsia to do this.
- The most cost effective way to get to Koh Samui is by bus and ferry and again it takes about 12 hours and can be booked through 12GoAsia.
- If you have a car there are vehicle ferries departing from Donsak. Check Seatran and Raja ferry lines for more info.
Where to Stay in Koh Samui
- Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island and also one of the most popular among tourists and ex pats so there is an abundance of accommodations available. You can find budget friendly backpacker style hostels, charming beach bungalows, boutique hotels and upscale resorts so there really is something for everyone. There are even Koh Samui rentals of luxury villas and apartments,
- To book a hotel room in Asia we use either Agoda or when we want to compare the rates of all the booking engines we use Hotels Combined . As we were house sitting we had no need for accommodations but we did take the time to check out a few hotels on the island and asked friends for their favorites. We’ve listed a couple of those choices below.
The Bandara Resort was just down the road from our house so we would often go to the resort to use the pool and the gym. There are two pools, one in the gardens and one on the beach. It’s a lovely resort and great value for the price.
Friends of ours came to Koh Samui while we were there and stayed at the Eden Beach Bungalows so we were able to get a peek and a review from them. They loved the boutique hotel for it’s comfortable bungalows, it’s beach location and the very reasonable price. From what we saw we would definitely put this at the top of our list if we go back to Samui.
Does this post inspire you? Pin it for later!
Disclaimer: All of the above recommendations are based on our own personal experience. There are a couple of affiliate and sponsored links contained in the content but this does not affect any costs to the purchaser or any opinions rendered. It is simply one small way we contribute to our income. Thanks for following our journey!
Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.