With over 500 hotels on Koh Samui (and counting), you certainly won’t be alone for your trip here. In fact, give this one a miss if you want to get off the beaten track and pick one of the smaller Thai islands instead like nearby Koh Tao. There is a huge population here of over 40,000 people and the island is struggling to cope with the ever increasing influx of visitors every year. Sometimes certain parts of Koh Samui don’t even feel like you are on an island, but if you want sun, sea, and sand in a convenient setting where you have access to restaurants, nightlife, and a huge choice of accommodation then this will be a good choice.
Lamai Beach lies on the southeast coast of Koh Samui and it can get pretty loud here if that’s what you are looking for. Music is played at all hours of the day and night and watersports are also a favorite activity so don’t expect to see much in the way of underwater life in these parts. Vendors walk up and down the beach selling food and souvenirs and just off the beach there are bars, restaurants, and cheap accommodation which attracts a backpacker crowd. If you want solitude then this isn’t the place to find it.
Mae Nam Beach
If you just want to sit on a tropical beach and relax with a book or have a leisurely nap then come to Mae Nam Beach on Koh Samui’s northern coast. This part of the island is far quieter than the southern side and the beach is clean and safe and you can swim at pretty much any time of day. Mae Nam is also fairly far away from roads and booming cafes or bars so the level of noise pollution is far less than in other places.
The most popular beach on Koh Samui but also the prettiest, Chaweng Beach is the stuff of picture postcards, all white sand and sparkling waters. It is one of the busiest beaches you can imagine, and there are souvenir vendors, others selling food and drinks, crowds, people playing ball games, and just about everything else happening here at any given time. Needless to say it‘s noisy and it can be hard to get a nice spot if you don’t get there early, but it’s also perfect for those who like their island paradise to come with cafes, bars, and food and drink delivered straight to your lap.
Koh Samui is overpopulated and over visited meaning that it has lost a lot of its former glory, but it remains a firm favorite for good reason. Anything you want here you will find, and the island boasts hospitals, supermarkets, hundreds of cafes, bars, and restaurants, and even an international school to cater to the ever growing expatriate community here. If you are looking for a fully functional tropical island or are prepared to seek out the quieter side then this is definitely a must-visit.