Thailand sees tourists in their droves year on year thanks to the islands’ gorgeous beaches and rich cultural milieu. If you’re planning a trip to this popular vacation spot, you may be wondering where to start. And there is no better place than the best beaches in Koh Samui.
Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular destinations, and it’s clear why. When it comes to the best beaches, Koh Samui is abundant with options. This tropical paradise is Thailand’s second-largest island, home to over forty beautiful beaches.
Koh Samui (or Samui Island) is just off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus. Known for its brilliant beaches, mountain landscapes, and coconut groves, this tropical paradise has so much to offer. Luckily, it’s also inexpensive to get to the island from Bangkok. You can take a cheap one-hour flight to get there. If you prefer to travel to paradise by bus and boat, read our post about how to get to Koh Samui here.
Read on to discover five incredible Koh Samui beaches.
Best beaches in Koh Samui, Thailand
Located on Koh Samui’s east coast, Chaweng has a reputation for a lovely white sand beach and an excellent nightlife scene. This is one of the most popular beaches on the island and is integral to its tourism. You’ll see throngs of tourists as well as tons of locals on this spectacular three-mile beach strip.
Chaweng provides a desirable location to lounge under the sun and take a dip in the ocean waters. At night, this beach strip transforms into something entirely new. The relaxing daytime chill spot transforms into a funky party hub under the moonlight.
In the heart of Chaweng beach, you’ll find the one-stop party destination, Ark Bar Beach Club. International DJs play house and groove music well into the night while patrons sip on ice-cold cocktails poolside.
The club is part of the Ark Beach Resort, which houses numerous luxurious hotel rooms where you can spend your vacation.
For something a little more lowkey, you can try On Street Bar. This gem on Chaweng Beach Road is a great place to unwind after a long day at the beach. Enjoy cocktail buckets and live music sets at this charming Chaweng nook.
Here are the best hotels in Chaweng according to guests from Booking.com:
If you’re looking for a laidback Koh Samui beach, Lamai has a calming atmosphere and blissful feel to it. You can buy food and drinks right at the beach from local stalls, and there are high-end restaurants in the area, too.
Lamai does experience rip currents on occasion. The vibe is far more natural and tranquil than that of Chaweng, and the tourist attractions are cheaper too.
There are luxurious resorts overlooking Lamai, and the sunset over the beach is simply magnificent. If you’re not relaxing at your hotel, why not go for a swim? When the water isn’t choppy, Lamai is easy to swim, and the beach drops off quickly into the sea.
One of the unexpected things about Lamai that tourists love is the fire shows. Near Kon-Tiki Nordic (what was once Swing Bar), you’ll see incredible professional fire spinners performing about three times a week. I know I said the beach is low-key, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a cocktail and fire display now, does it? It is Thailand, after all.
Silver Beach or Crystal Bay
Silver Beach (or Haad Thong Takhian to the locals) is a real paradise north of Lamai. This spot has the perfect swimming conditions, and the crystal clear waters glisten under the Thai sunshine. It’s no wonder this beach is sometimes called Crystal Bay.
A standout feature of this spectacular beach is the grand boulders peeking out from the ocean waters. Though this beach is one of the smallest – less than a mile-long stretch – Silver Beach is truly Instagrammable.
There are almost no waves here, making it an excellent beach just to float, unwind and absorb your surroundings. Towards the rock pools, you’ll find hundreds of fish species, and this area is ideal for snorkeling. There are small patches of coral reef all over the bay, in fact.
I bet you’ll already be relaxed after swimming at Crystal Bay. But, on the off chance you still have some tension to release, you can get a massage right on the beach. Just go up to one of the women manning the tents above the shore, and you’ll melt away into a state of utter bliss.
Primarily a ‘backpacker beach,’ Maenam is an excellent place to be if you’re looking for some privacy and a fabulous stretch of shore. There are loads of affordable bungalows dotted along the beach, and this spot offers a romantic setting for an evening stroll. Maenam is a lesser-known beach in Koh Samui, so you’ll have far more space without contending with hundreds of tourists. Maenam beach also offers great options of luxurious resorts.
You’ll find large palm trees along the shore, where you can chill out and read a book under the shade. The sand here is coarser and not as sparkling white as, say, Chewang, but just as breathtaking all the same. Despite the coarse sand and pebbles, the beach is still walkable and has alluring sunset views.
The nightlife in Maenam is as mellow as the beach itself, without the loud techno vibes of other Thai clubs. Instead, you can crack open a cold one at a backwater pub and enjoy the sounds of the waves crashing onto the shore.
Home to the historic Fishermen’s Village, Bophut is arguably the best beach in Koh Samui. This beach strip is known for its fascinating local markets, seaside resorts, and upscale restaurants.
Fishermen’s Village in the north of Koh Samui is one of the oldest areas on the island. This charming beach village used to be a French outpost for migrants from China in the 17th century. Today, you can observe Chinese influences woven into the fabric of the Thai culture in Bophut. The Mediterranean atmosphere here certainly makes Bophut stand out amongst the rest of Koh Samui’s incredible beaches.
Set on a backdrop of lush palm trees, Bophut Beach should be high on any Thailand itinerary. If you drive about 10-minutes, you’ll find the iconic Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai). This temple houses a 40-foot statue of a golden Buddhu – a must-see if you’re headed to Koh Samui.
Enjoy Koh Samui’s best beaches
Koh Samui is a top-notch island destination whether you’re staying in a private villa or roughing at a bungalow backpacker. You can enjoy a glorious day by the water, relax under a palm tree, or go snorkeling at the nearby islands. I hope you love every minute of your stay in Koh Samui!
We have traveled around Thailand for years, so we know quite a lot about planning a trip to the Thai Islands (Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tao, Koh Lipe, Koh Lanta and Phuket). You can find all our posts about Thailand here. Also, have a look at our guides to unique things to do in Bangkok, Sukhothai, Chiang Rai, Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya and how to travel in Thailand by bus.
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