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The Best and Worst Places To Stay in Koh Samui

The Best and Worst Places To Stay in Koh Samui
12 January 2018

Paradise can be easily found, just go straight to Koh Samui; located in Thailand’s gulf is one of the gems in the crown of the country. It receives thousands of visitors every year, there is no way not to fall in love with this beautiful place.

Some tourists come to stay in simple bungalows for months, some others live the luxury in fancy resorts and villas for a week or two; no matter how much time you spend in there; it will never be enough.

The beaches can make anyone speechless with the crystal blue water and golden sand under your feet. If you’re searching for amazing beaches to dive in, natural attractions for adventure time, fancy spa to forget about the world, partying all night and many more, Koh Samui has it all covered.

Several matters have to be considered when picking where to stay. Koh Samui can fit in anyone’s desires and budget; you just need to do your research about the options and choose the most suitable one for you. First of all, the budget is the key; from little hostels to fancy resorts can be found all around Samui, it will all depend on your style and how much you’re willing to spend. Always keep in mind that some zones can have different range prices in comparison to others, it means you can find a luxury room in Chaweng with a very different price for the same room in Crystal Bay.

On the other hand, you will need to decide whether you would like to stay directly on the beach or near it; as Koh Samui is a hilly area, hotel locations vary a lot. If what you want is to take off your sandals right in the Hotel’s lobby and be a few steps away from the golden sand, all you need is a beachfront view hotel. However, if you’re looking for serenity and astonishing views of the entire bay, where you need to book is in hillside hotels; the road to the beach is something you would also enjoy.

Once you have defined both location and budget, the decision becomes a piece of cake! Sometimes, the multiple options we find on the internet can make the booking process something stressful, however, if you dedicated a bit of time to it; it will be totally worth it. Do not forget to read some reviews on the internet and search for all the commodities every option has to offer you, then take the wisest decision.

Early booking may help you to get better –and lower- prices, also it will avoid the stress of not finding something good enough during the high season. This advice not only works with hotel reservations, yet transportation too, check out the updated ferries schedule here and book right away!

Luckily, for all travelers; the amazing Koh Samui seems to be great in every aspect. It is extremely hard to find something negative to say about this place, and harder to qualify the worst area to stay. No matter which one you pick, joy and good memories will come easily.

In this article, what we intend to do is to show you the good and not so good parts of every important area, and the final word is totally up to you.

Chaweng Beach

Chaweng Beach

It is located in the northeast area of the island; this astonishing beach is the most popular place to stay when visiting Samui. Several accommodation options are available in Chaweng. Also, this zone is the biggest, most developed, and very lively.

About the beach, it can appear in any dictionary next to the definition of paradisiac; the combination of high palm trees, sheer blue water, and the finest white sand makes it the perfect location. Luckily, many hotels are located next to the beach so you will be a few steps away from it. However, it’s not only about the beach in here; Chaweng counts with an enormous complex meant for shopping. Restaurants and bars are also spread all over the place, making the foodie experience a really good one.

Nightlife is very active in the area, many clubs and bars are open until very late at night where you can go to drink cocktails and dance, socializing here is also absolutely interesting as you will meet people from the entire world.

Why we strongly recommend this place to spend your vacations; is the fact that it’s close to the airport, all the commodities are offered so you get the all-in-one experience, not having to rent a car to move through the city or going to the beach. A wide range of prices is an important thing in here, you can easily find the best option according to your budget.

Nevertheless, a negative fact about Chaweng beach is, as a consequence of being the most famous place in the island, crowds are constantly seen over here. The zone is almost never calmed, noises come from everywhere; if you’re looking for serenity and relaxation, go somewhere else.

Lamai Beach

Lamai Beach

The most ancient and touristic place in the entire island, Lamai is located at the south of Chaweng. It is a town full of resorts in eastern Samui. Very alike to its neighbor, Lamai has a wide variety of activities to do with plenty of good dining, accommodation, shopping, and entertainment options.

The whole composition of this town makes it an excellent place to stay, smaller than Chaweng, yet, absolutely not boring; nightlife in here is very cheerful too, however, not as wild as in the neighbor area. An interesting matter in this area is the fact that prices are lower in comparison with similar zones, which makes it the acutest spot for narrow budgets or big groups like families or friends.

While the whole island is developing high-standards’ tourist attractions, which leads to higher prices; Lamai remains the same. What is not so good about this area is the difficulty you may face to get into the beach if you’re not staying in a beachfront hotel, as traffic can get really heavy during the day.


The best way to describe this place is the right combination between old and new; local and foreigner. This city is mainly a fisherman’s village located on the north coast of the island, this gorgeous destination proudly maintains its Thai heritage. In here, old and made with wood traditional shops are spread among modern buildings and accommodations.

This 2-kilometer long coast has space for everything and everyone. Not too wild, yet not so quiet; the area is fully filled with shopping boutiques, restaurants, and cafés, fun activities, and attractions. By the way, the freshest seafood is served in this town day by day, do not doubt to taste one of the best Thai flavors.

To sum up, if a place not too influenced by the tourism industry, where locals and visitors get along very well, with the perfect combination between active and quiet place, a wide variety of dining options and hotels is what you’re looking for; Bophut is the way to go!

A very good range of hotel prices are available in here, it’s a perfect location for family trips; nights are quiet which makes it perfect to sleep tight after a long day. Sadly, the water may get a little bit murky, especially around December.

Mae Nam

This astonishing place combines two types of travelers very opposite to each other. Can you imagine how it works? Well, Maenam is one of the favorite spots for backpack travelers, those who do not care about luxury and spas, yet in having fun and exploring everywhere.

For them, a large list of accommodation options with considerably low costs are located right on the beach, especially bungalows that can be rented even for months. In the same way, cheap yet good quality restaurants and bars offer their services around the bay.

On the other hand, it is not all about low budgets in here. Maenam also attracts fancy travelers who are seeking for a quiet place to forget all their concerns for a while. The other end of the spectrum is also very renowned in this area. Five-star resorts are a great attraction in the zone. Also, they are located at the end of the bay which makes the sense of privacy way more intense.

Everything seems to be really good in Mae Nam, whether you are looking for all-inclusive hotels or comfortable bungalows on the beach; staying here will always be a good decision. A negative point about this beach is the fact that clear water is not so common.

Big Buddha

Big Buddha

This beautiful place received its name based on the Big Buddha sculpture, several Buddhist monuments and temples are spread over the place, making it attractive to get to know the culture a bit deeper. The location of Big Buddha is very convenient too, it is near the airport and near the pier where almost all the ferries and fast boats depart and arrive.

Almost all kinds of travelers consider visiting this zone when traveling to Koh Samui. However, it is a backpacker’s favorite, given the fact that the majority of the accommodations belongs to the mid-range category.

The beach in Big Buddha has fairly gained the tag of the clearest in Koh Samui, crystal blue water, and the finest golden sand make the perfect match. Nevertheless, not all the parts of the beach are recommended to dive in, swimming in areas with rocks and corals can be dangerous; the last thing you want to remember from your trip to Samui is having hurt yourself with a sharp coral.

Choeng Mon

Many reasons make this place a very good one to spend your vacation; for the beach, the soft sand will invite you to pass the day laid down on it, building sandcastles or just getting a smooth suntan. The vibe around the beach is very relaxed and serene, few bungalows and restaurants are dotted right on the sand; in here all the services are managed by locals, even women offering massages on the beach; by staying there you will also be helping in supporting family businesses.

Staying there will make you feel like you have discovered one of the hidden secrets of the island as you will see very few tourists around.

On the other hand, the city is the exact opposite; all you need can be found with minimum effort, from banks and drugstores to restaurants and shops. But don’t worry, the city is far from being crowded and noisy.

If you’re considering this place as an option to stay; here, hotels come at different sizes and prices; from cheap rooms for young backpack travelers to comfortable and big ones for families, also newlyweds just love this place to begin their happy married life in the perfect way.

Visitors who are looking for crazy nights and partying out loud from one bar to another may consider Choeng Mon a boring place, which is not true, yet it is calmer at night than the other zones in the island.


Right in the northern part of Lamai Beach, this awe-inspiring beach has many names such as Silver Beach or Crystal Bay. This bay is not too long yet very charming that it will make you feel like you are in the Caribbean.

The bay is occupied with big resorts that offer good quality services in terms of accommodation and dining. However; if you are not into fancy resorts, you have nothing to worry about, as Thai law allows tourists that are not staying in the mentioned hotels to enjoy free access to the bay.

This beach will not disappoint you in any aspect; powdery sand is just ideal to build sand castles, water is serene and crystal blue –of course-, sunbathing and swimming are flawless activities to spend the day. Also, if you’re interested in taking a closer look at the vibrant sea life; snorkeling in this bay will give you amazing views of the various sea creatures. Kayaks can also be rented here.

Sadly, both ends of the bay have many rocks, so make sure to wear the right shoes while you’re walking in this zone as it is not recommended for swimming. Have you heard good things come in small packages? Well, it fits extremely well in the description of this beach; not too big yet not crowded, where there is a space for everything.

Taling Ngam

Taling Ngam

An immaculate lush forest that covers the beach in which you get the most breathtaking views of the Angthong Marine National Park. This place is often qualified as one of the most beautiful in the entire island.

Once you’re there, none electronic devices nor watches or internet connection will be needed. Taling Ngam is what you need to get in touch with your inner peace and contemplate the nature, everything around this place emanates peace and tranquility.

One of the main attractions of this part of the island is food, especially seafood which is cataloged as one of the finest in the whole island; it perfectly combines both the freshness and the authentic Thai flavors.

About commodities, few bungalows are dotted right on the beach, staying there will totally complete the experience in which no luxury is required. However, note that the nearest town is 20 – 30 minutes away; and it requires more than one hour drive to get to Chaweng beach so it may not be the most accurate place for a starting point to move all over the island.


The capital of the island and where the pier is located, if you’re arriving by ferry; you may want to spend a night or two there; like every capital city, Nathon has most of the offices, banks, and shopping centers in the island.

Regarding accommodation, Nathon has an acceptable variety of hotels from 2 to 4 stars in general. In the main streets of this city, traditional shops with authentic Chinese influence are placed where you can get the most iconic souvenirs. However, this city has few things to offer tourists as it is not really designed for tourism purposes.

Last-minute advice

Always keep in mind that our main intention is to make your trip as pleasant as possible so you can have the best memories of your vacation trip. No matter what location you pick to stay in Koh Samui, we ensure you will have a great time as this island is absolutely full of beauty and joy.

The best time to visit this Koh Samui Island is from mid-December to early September; in this period of time, the weather is sunny and nice to enjoy diving into the warm water while in October and November it rains very often. However, great prices are offered in this rainy season.

Do not forget to check our updated ferry schedule!