The Best Hotels on Koh Samui

Updated: November 11, 2017

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Koh Samui Hotels – Tips and Recommendations

The 15 Best Hotels on Koh Samui

  • Hansar Samui Resort & Spa – Bophut
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-245511)
    My favorite hotel on Koh Samui. A great location on Bophut beach with the fun and lively shops, pubs, and restaurants of Fisherman’s Village just steps away. The pool is huge. The hotel’s restaurant, H Bistro, is wonderful. The beachfront rooms are magical (and worth the extra cost). The only caveat: the sand directly in front of the hotel is somewhat coarse but softer sand is a short walk to the left (Bophut town is to the right).
    The beach front swimming pool at the Hansar Hotel in Bophut, Koh Samui.
  • The Four Seasons – West of Mae Nam
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-243000)
    I prefer staying in one of the fun and lively beach towns but if you want a quiet and pampered vacation then the Four Seasons is the best luxury hotel on Koh Samui. Tucked away in a quiet corner of the island it leaves the crowds far behind. Suites and villas have amazing views from their perch on the hill. The onsite restaurant, Koh, is one of the best on the island. The resort has kick-boxing lessons, kayaking, sunset views, and a kids club. There’s a nice beach (though small) and a beach front pool and restaurant.
    The best resort on Koh Samui: The Four Seasons Hotel
  • Banyan Tree – Between Lamai and Chaweng
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-915333)
    Great views, fantastic pools, private beach, good restaurants. The perfect marriage of luxury and seclusion. The restaurants and nightlife of Lamai are within a short drive.
  • Six Senses Samui – Near Choeng Mon
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-245678)
    This is an awesome resort. A beautiful and stunning location in its own private bay. The beach is superb, the food amazing, and the staff warm and friendly. It’s in a quiet location with not a lot within walking distance but taxis are easy to get and you’re not more than 15 minutes from Chaweng’s nightlife or Bophut’s restaurants. Many villas have private pools and the main infinity pool is stunning.
  • Vana Belle – Chaweng Noi
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-424030)
    A fantastic luxury beachfront resort on one of Koh Samui’s best beaches. Close to Chaweng’s restaurants and nightlife (but not really walking distance) this is a great choice for honeymooners who want quiet but not seclusion. The Ocean View Suites with private pool are about as stunning as hotel rooms get.
    The best beach hotel on Chaweng Noi
  • Amari Koh Samui – Chaweng
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-300306)
    Recently refurbished and looking beautiful. Great pool and beachfront location. Situated in a quieter section of Chaweng Beach but still an easy walk to restaurants and shopping. The Deluxe Family Duplexes are great for families.
    The best new luxury hotel on Koh Samui
  • Sala Samui Resort & Spa – Choeng Mon
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-245888)
    1 and 2 bedroom villas with private pool are truly spectacular. There’s a beautiful beach front pool, a great spa, and good quality restaurants. If you’re on your honeymoon be sure to mention so at checkin as you’ll get some nice freebies.
  • Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa – Bophut
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-42800)
    A wonderful resort right on the beach and a 1 minute walk to Bophut’s fisherman village. It’s a direct neighbor of the Hansar with more of a resort feel, many families, and a more secluded ambience. The pool is large and inviting. The hotel offers Thai boxing and yoga classes.
    Great luxury resort in Bophut.
  • The Library – Chaweng
    (Hotel Phone: +66 2712-8858)
    An ultra cool, trendy, and luxurious hotel in the heart of Chaweng. The red-colored pool catches everyone’s eye and the cocktail bar attracts the hip crowd. Beautiful minimalist suites (ground floor with patio) and studios (upper floor with balcony). Breakfast served on the beach. 2 of Chaweng’s coolest bars are on the property: an open air beach bar and a air conditioned wine bar on the street-side.
  • The Tongsai Bay Resort – Near Choeng Mon
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-245480)
    The pool villas here are simply wonderful. This is a favorite resort for honeymooners and couples seeking rest, quiet, and a beautiful beach. The shops and restaurants at Fisherman’s Village are a short taxi ride away, but there’s not much within walking distance.
  • Belmond Napasai – Near Mae Nam
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-429200)
    Luxurious beach front villas put you steps from the sea. Secluded location is great for honeymooners and those seeking peace and quiet. Lots of stairs for some villas so not the best choice if you have mobility issues.
  • Rocky’s Boutique Resort – Near Lamai
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-233021)
    A magical and secluded location south of Lamai (but not within walking distance). Great food and pools, small but picturesque beach. Deluxe Villas have private pools.
  • Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa – Bophut
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-430345)
    Awesome location right on beautiful Bophut beach. The restaurant is excellent. This is a low-key and relaxed hotel that’s nearly perfect. I’ve mentioned above that the sand on Bophut is coarse in some areas but it’s soft and powdery in front of Zazen.
  • Centara Grand Beach Resort – Chaweng
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-230500)
    On the best stretch of Chaweng beach the Centara is perfect for exploring the town’s clubs, shops, and restaurants. Top notch everything. Facilities include 5 restaurants, 2 bars, a fitness center, outdoor pool and children’s pool, kids’ club, children’s playroom and playground, spa, and tennis courts. The hotel also offers Thai cooking courses.
    The best family resort on Chaweng Beach.
  • InterContinental Baan Taling Ngam Resort – West Coast
    (Hotel Phone: +66 7742 9100)
    Incredible views of the ocean in a quiet and secluded location. Suites and villas are amazing (some have private pools). Chaweng is 45 minutes away so don’t stay here for the nightlife or shopping – it’s all about relaxation and great sunset views.
  • W Retreat Koh Samui – Mae Nam
    (Hotel Phone: +66 77-915999)
    Trendy luxury hotel on a good (but not great) beach. All rooms have a private pool. Free shuttle to Chaweng. The resort provides footwear to save your feet from the choral just offshore. Stay here if you’re after luxurious pampered service, huge rooms, and private pools – but for location and beach quality there are better choices.

Koh Samui Hotels with Private Pools

Koh Samui hotel with private swimming pool.

Where Should I Stay on Koh Samui?

  • My 3 favorite beaches on Koh Samui are Chaweng, Bophut, and Choeng Mon.
  • The best beaches on Samui are found on the stretch of coast from Mae Nam (in the north) around the northeast corner of the island and down the east coast to Lamai. The south coast and west coast beaches are good for seclusion and quiet but are rocky and can turn to mudflats during low tide. Here’s the best map of Koh Samui beaches.
  • Many beaches on Samui get quite shallow from late April to late May which can make swimming impractical in places. The farther west the beach is the more it tends to be an issue. Chaweng, Lamai, Choeng Mon, and Bophut beaches generally do not have this problem.
  • Best nightlife on Koh Samui: Chaweng (dancing, beach parties), Bophut (trendy pubs, wine bars)
  • Best restaurants on Koh Samui: Chaweng or Bophut
  • Best budget choice or long-term stay: Mae Nam
  • Best for families: Choeng Mon, Chaweng, Bophut.
  • Best to meet drunk Russian men: Lamai. (There are plenty of drunk Germans, Brits, and Americans there too.)
  • Bophut Hotels – One of my favorite beaches on Koh Samui. The sand is a little on the coarse side (it gets softer as you move south away from Fisherman’s Village) but the scenery is beautiful, the vibe relaxed, and the water calm and great for swimming. There is a nice selection of boutique hotels and upscale resorts right on the beach. Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village is a low-key collection of shops, restaurants, and bars that are fun to wander around. Recommended Hotels: Hansar (trendy luxury) • Anantara Lawana Resort & Spa (resort luxury) • Zazen (boutique) • Peace Resort (moderate) • Smile House (moderate) • World Resort (budget – great for families)
  • Mae Nam Hotels – The current favorite of flashpackers and expats, Mae Nam has a nice beach which is great for swimming (though the sea can be a little rough at times as it’s less protected than Bophut, Chaweng, or Choeng Mon). Lots of fun and relaxed places to eat both on the beach and on the streets back from the shore. Mae Nam is popular with longer term travelers that rent a place for a few months (enquire at the cafes or restaurants around town if you’re looking for a house to rent). Recommended Hotels: W Retreat (luxury) • Samui Buri Beach Resort (luxury) • Coco Palm Beach Resort (moderate – great for families) • Harry’s Bungalows (budget)
  • Chaweng Hotels – The best beach on Koh Samui though not for everyone. It’s busy, has a bit of a party atmosphere (but not hardcore by any means), and has the most hawkers of any beach on Samui. The beach in Chaweng is a 7KM stretch of sand and can roughly be broken into 3 sections:
  • North Chaweng – The beach is more of a lagoon and at low tide is very shallow and rocky. It’s quieter here and it’s where you’ll find a few of the budget accommodations in Chaweng – alongside some top end resorts. It’s a short walk along the beach to nicer sand, more restaurants, and central Chaweng. Recommended Hotels: Anantara Resort & Spa (luxury) • Amari Palm Reef (luxury, just renovated) • Briza Beach Resort (luxury) Nora Chaweng (budget)
  • Central Chaweng – A lively and fun party area. I’d still consider it family-friendly (until 10pm anyways) but don’t be expecting peace and quiet. Restaurants spill out onto the beach and as the sun sets tables appear on the sand for dinner and the music goes up a couple notches. The beach is very nice here. Recommended Hotels: The Library (luxury/boutique) • Beachcomber Hotel (moderate) • Baan Chaweng (moderate) • Ark Bar (budget)
  • South Chaweng – The nicest stretch of beach in Chaweng with great sand. The only downside is that come evening the beach restaurants here feel pretty lame (like you’re dining at an all inclusive in Honolulu) – but the funner, livelier eateries of central Chaweng are only a 10 to 15 minute walk along the beach. Recommended Hotels: Centara Grand (luxury – great for kids) • Poppies (luxury – boutique hotel)
  • Chaweng Noi Hotels – Though this is called Chaweng it’s really a separate beach on a little cove south of Chaweng. There are only 5 or 6 resorts here and 2 or 3 restaurants. It’s very quiet but near perfection if you don’t want the busyness of Chaweng. The sand is perfect and the calm waters protected by a reef which makes it perfect for kids. It’s a long walk to the shops and restaurants of central Chaweng (30+ minutes), but taxis will get you to the main strip in less than 10 minutes. Recommended Hotels: Vana Belle (wonderful luxury hotel)
  • Lamai Hotels – Like Chaweng and Bophut, Lamai has good swimming year round. The sand is slightly more coarse than Chaweng but the beach is quieter and doesn’t have as many hawkers. The main strip in Lamai is filled with girly bars – not overly lude or offensive, but enough to give Lamai a tacky touristy feel that most other beach towns don’t have. Unless you have a specific reason for staying in Lamai choose Chaweng, Bophut, Choeng Mon, Mae Nam, or honestly, pretty much anywhere before you choose Lamai. The Banyan Tree and Rocky’s listed below are not in Lamai and are completely removed from the Lamai scene. Recommended Hotels: Banyan Tree (luxury) • Zara Beach Resort (moderate) • Pavilion (boutique) • Rocky’s Resort (boutique, south of Lamai) • Samui Jasmine (moderate, very nice) • Lamai Wanta (budget)
  • Choeng Mon Hotels – Many visitors think this is Samui’s best beach. A beautiful crescent of soft sand and calm waters. The beach is lined with a handful of restaurants and hotels and is much quieter than Chaweng, Lamai, and even Bophut. It’s a great location for families (the water is calm and shallow) if you’re ok with the limited dining options. Chaweng and Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village are a 10 minute taxi rides in either direction if you need more dining or nightlife choices. Recommended Hotels: Sala Samui Resort (luxury) • Imperial Boat House (moderate, great for families) • White House Beach Resort (moderate)
  • Bangrak (Big Buddha) Beach – Not a great beach but it has good budget options, a decent beach, is very close to the airport, and is the easiest place to catch a boat to Koh Pha Ngan (scheduled departures 4 times per day). Koh Faan island, with it’s huge seated Buddha, is just offshore and worth a visit.
  • Emerald Cove and Lipa Noi – These 2 beaches are the nicest on the west coast of Samui. Both become unswimmable during low tide but if you’re really looking to get away from the crowds they’re good choices and have some very affordable accommodations (and beautiful 5 star resorts).

Chaweng Beach Hotels

These pictures are of Chaweng Beach starting from the south and moving to the north.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
This is the south end of Chaweng Beach looking north. Bhundari Resort is to the left (not visible). The Samui Paradise Resort is the place with the orange roof. The beach is great here.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
Looking south from the Samui Paradise Resort. The Bhundari Resort is at the end of the beach. Chaweng Noi and more hotels around the headland and First Bungalow Resort. The beach is excellent there but, of course, it’s farther removed (and a longer walk) from central Chaweng.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Samui Paradise Resort.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the San Souci Samui.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Samui Resotel Beach Resort.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The Samui Resotel Beach Resort has a long stretch of beach frontage – this a view of the resort from a little farther north.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Baan Talay with the Samui Resotel Beach Resort in the background.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Kirikayan Beach Resort.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Seascape Beach Resort.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Poppies Samui. The Seascape Beach Resort is visible to the left.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Chaweng Cove Beach Resort (also called Chaweng Cove Resotel). Poppies is just visible to the left.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
Chaweng Cabana Beach House.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Chaweng Resort.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The Centara Grand Resort. The Coast restaurant, part of the Centara, is on the left (with the blue/green umbrellas).

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
Tradewinds Resort with the Centara just visible down the beach to the left.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Synergy Samui Resort (with the tall vertical white flags).

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Banana Fan Sea Resort. The Synergy Samui is in the background.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of KC Beach Club.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Buri Rasa Village with the KC Beach Club in the background.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach and sun chairs in front of OZO Chaweng Samui.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the King’s Garden Resort with the Chaweng Beachcomber Hotel visible to the left in the background.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Library Resort.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Baan Samui Resort.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Long Beach Resort

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Chaweng Buri Resort.

Beach Quality: Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Al’s Resort.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Baan Chaweng Beach Resort

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Chaweng Garden Beach Resort.

Beach Quality: Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of P&P Samui Resort

Beach Quality: OK

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Ark Bar Beach Resort. The beach here is not as bad as this makes it look but I wanted to capture that north of here (where the beach is protected by a reef) the water is calmer and a little more lagoon-like. The beach is still nice but not as idyllic. Though it is more kid-friendly.

Beach Quality: Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Montien House.

Beach Quality: Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Chaweng Regent Beach Resort.

Beach Quality: Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Dara Samui Beach Resort.

Beach Quality: Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Muang Samui Spa Resort.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of O P Bungalows. The beach forms a point here. It’s a nice place to play in the water and makes for a protected hidden cove north of there.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Marine Bungalows Samui.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Lyara Beach Hotel.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Samui Natien Resort.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Palm Island Hotel.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Chaweng Blue Lagoon Hotel.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Muang Kulaypan Hotel.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Sareeraya Villas & Suites.

Beach Quality: Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Chalala Samui Resort.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Akyra Chura Samui.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of the Briza Beach Resort.

Beach Quality: Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Kandaburi Resort and Spa.

Beach Quality: Good

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach in front of Chaba Samui Resort.

Beach Quality: OK

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
Looking south from Casa De Mar. This is where the beach narrows and then disappears.

Beach Quality: Beach No Here

Hotels on Chaweng Beach
The beach ends at Casa De Mar. The very friendly budget hotel Papillon is “behind” me as I took this shot. It’s on the water but no beach.

Bophut Beach Hotels

These pictures are of Bophut Beach starting from the west and moving to the east. The beach has soft beautiful sand on the western half then the sand grows more pebbly and coarse as you walk (east) towards the Anantara (the last hotel directly on the beach) and Fisherman’s Village. I, personally, do not mind this type of sand but some people do wish they had stayed farther down the beach (to the west) where the sand is finer.

Beach Quality: Very Good (but narrow)

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa.

Beach Quality: Very Good (but narrow)

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of Sandy Bay Resort.

Beach Quality: Very Good (but narrow)

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of World Resort.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of the the Ibis Samui Bophut.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of the Samui Palm Beach Resort.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of the Lawana Resort.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Bophut Beach
A few restaurants on Bophut Beach.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of Eden Beach Bungalows.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach at Peace Resort.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of Bo Phut Resort & Spa.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of Bandara Resort & Spa.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of the Anantara Bophut.

Beach Quality: Very Good

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of the Hansar Samui Resort & Spa.

Beach Quality: Good

Hotels on Bophut Beach
The beach in front of Smile House. The hotel is not actually on the beach (the restaurant is) but is set back about 50 feet from the beach across a small road.

Choeng Mon Beach Hotels

These pictures are of Choeng Mon Beach starting from the south and moving to the north.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Choeng Mon Beach
The beach in front of the Imperial Boat House Beach Resort.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Choeng Mon Beach
The beach in front of the Royal Muang Samui Villas.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Choeng Mon Beach
The beach in front of the White House Beach Resort & Spa.

Beach Quality: Excellent

Hotels on Choeng Mon Beach
The beach in front of the Sala Samui Resort & Spa.

See Also



478 Questions and Comments

  1. Where To Stay in Koh Phangan and Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,
    Your site is brilliant and full of great info! We’ve never been to Thailand and we’re planning our next holiday to Samui and Koh Phangan next March. We were thinking of staying for 4 nights in Koh Phangan (either Santhiya or Ananatara) and then the remaining 7 nights in Samui. Have you been to Koh Phangan and if you have which hotels do you think are best? And what about Koh Samui? We went to stay in a quiet area but not too isolated with a great long beach (we love long romantic walks) and we want a luxury accommodation with great food (vegetarian) options.. Many thanks.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Santhiya and Anantara resorts are located in Thong Nai Pan beach, which is accessible by direct speedboat from Koh Samui, if you’re staying in a luxury hotel that can arrange this; or via a bumpy 20-minute ride across the island from the main ferry terminal. This beach is actually smaller than most, barely 500m long, but postcard-prefect.

      The Santhiya is renowned for its traditional Thai design and decor, which is surprisingly unusual among Thai resorts. Most of the resort and rooms are up a hill, which means more views for everyone, but some paths are a little steep at times. More contemporary in design but also stylish, The Anantara is on the beach, which means only a selected few villas get precious direct beach frontage and uninterrupted sea views.

      Also worth considering at Thong Nai Pan are the four-star Buri Rasa, which is more affordable and located on the beach; and the amazing five-star Panviman, also spread up a hill, offering superb sea views from most rooms.

      All four resorts are truly wonderful, and your holiday is bound to be superb staying at any of these places. As you may know, rates can dramatically increase, traffic becomes unbearable and ferries burst at the seams during Full Moon Festivals, so perhaps avoid the island 3 days before and 3 days after a full moon if you want a quiet holiday. Although the parties are a long way from Thong Nai Pan, up to 15,000 revelers come to the island at that time.

      Koh Samui also offers an amazing array of resorts on beautiful beaches. Some are in isolated bays, which means limited choices of places to eat and very few genuine vegetarian options. The main beach areas, which offer a good range of things to do and places to eat, and public transport to get around, are Chaweng, Lamai and Bophut.

      The Sheraton, Vana Belle and Impiana resorts are at Chaweng Noi beach, separate to Chaweng and, therefore, quieter, but within a 5-minute taxi ride of Chaweng. Within Chaweng proper, Poppies is an matchless oasis, and the delightful Buri Rasa Village has a genuine village feel . In Bophut, recommended are the gorgeous Zazen, the perfect seaside boutique hotel; the Peace Resort, one of the first with renovated old-fashioned bungalows; and the Anantara, sister to the luxury resort on Koh Phangan. And it’s hard to find anywhere quiet in Lamai.

  2. Hotels in Koh Samui in September

    Hi Dave,

    Great site, well done – my wife and I are taking a romantic getaway in September for 16 nights to Koh Samui. We are after a place with amazing breakfast, great pools, and beautiful beaches, with some local restaurants not too far away (15-20 mins walk at most). Currently thinking Zazen for 6 nights, Hansar for 5, and Sala Samui for 5 nights. But given both Zazen and Hansar are on the same stretch of beach, what else do you suggest around that price in a different area that has an amazing beach etc? Do you know much about Sensimar? Seems to be getting glowing reviews on some websites. Also some reviews mention mozzies being an issue at Zazen so am unsure about it from that perspective as well – and even some complain about the beach there? Any advice would be great. Thanks, Ben

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Zazen is great but yes, beach is narrow in front of the hotel. The beach is better/wider as you move east towards town but by the time you get to Hansar (basically right in town) it’s a pebble beach (which I’m fine with, but some don’t like). In September (the start of rainy season) mosquitoes will be worse around Zazen than Hansar. Sensimar is fine if you want to hang by the pool and walk on deserted beaches but not so great to be close to restaurants and activity. Poppies and The Library, in Chaweng, are other hotels I’d recommend and have a look at.

  3. Best Hotel for Activities and Some Nightlife

    Hi Dave!
    We are heading to Koh Samui in August for our honeymoon. Tossing up between Bo Phut Resort & Spa (not Anantara), Chaweng Regent Beach Resort or Melati Beach Resort & Spa. We are in our mid 30’s, like bars rather than clubs and want the option of doing some activities ie snorkeling but nothing too strenuous! Let me know your thoughts. Cheers.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      For what you’re wanting, go for the Bophut Resort, for sure.

  4. Good Beach Hotel on Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,
    Trying to plan a trip to the Gulf Islands in August (I know might have some rain), thinking Ko Samui is best choice. I have come across many many hotels but cannot figure out what is best. Looking for a room with a pool and ocean views and a good beach. Will be looking to do some sights and city adventures. Any good choices?
    Alex

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Try Poppies in Chaweng.

  5. Bophut or Choeng Mon

    Hi Dave! Congratulations for this BRILLIANT review!
    My wife and I are going to spend 4 days in Koh Samui (beginning of May), and we are looking for a beach to relax, not so full of people, hawkers nor parties, but also with a good option of moderate-range price hotels and a good structure of restaurants. I’m torn between Bophut and Choeng Mon beaches. What would you recommend?
    All the best,
    Douglas

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Choeng Mon is much quieter and the beach/sand are better quality. Choeng Mon has some restaurants but not a lot of choice. You’ll likely be hopping in a songthaew (at least a few times) to get somewhere else for dinner. Bophut has much more in the way of bars and restaurants but is quite a bit more busy (though never rowdy or crazy).

  6. Centara or Poppies in Chaweng

    Awesome Read Dave! thanks so much!!!

    My buddy and I are looking for the perfect mixture of relaxation and a bit of fun. were both single and in our mid 30s from southern California. Right now we are stuck between Centara and Poppies. We like the beach in front of Centara but the rooms and grounds at Poppies look more relaxing. Is the beach in front of Poppies really nice? Please help us make this decision. Sergio

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      You’re right. Poppies has more character. Beach in front of Centara is a little wider and pool is bigger. Centara is a much bigger resort.

  7. Outrigger Resort in Koh Samui

    Hi Dave
    Great stuff. This is the only data one needs. I have been considering Outrigger Koh Samui as well, its on Hanuman Bay at Bo Phut beach. Can you please help, whether that will be a good choice?
    Thanks,
    Nicky

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Nice hotel on a small but good beach. Not a lot within walking distance so if you’re wanting to be near shops and restaurants this isn’t a great choice. (It’s located in the Bophut region but not on Bophut beach.)

  8. 5 Star Hotel in Koh Samui near Town

    Thanks for all the great info! We are planning a trip all over Thailand for March, 2018. Two adults, an 18 year old, and 16 year old. We are looking for a 5 star hotel, (like a four seasons), with a beautiful beach, and walking distance to shops and great restaurants near a town….help! Does this exist? Dana

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The very best hotels and resorts in Koh Samui are not near a town. That said, there are still some very very nice ones that are near the towns and walking distance to shops, nightlife, and restaurants. My favorites in Chaweng: The Library, Poppies, the Centara, and the Amari (recently refurbished). In Bophut: The Hansar and the Anantara.

  9. Luxury Hotel, Secluded but Still Close to Nightlife/Restaurants

    Dave,
    This is an amazing post. My fiance and I want to honeymoon for 7 days in Koh Samui. We would like to stay at a resort with little to no kids and is somewhat luxurious. We want to be on the beach with great sand and a 5-15min walk to restaurants and nightlife/trendy bars, but a little secluded. Do you have any places that you could recommend?

    Thanks!
    Sam

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Zazen!

  10. Koh Samui Resort for Anniversary Trip

    Hi Dave
    Thanks for absolutely wonderful info. I used your site for my travel to Greece and now want to plan for Koh Samui. It’s our 17th anniversary and we plan to spend 2 nights in Koh Samui and for us the resort is more important in terms of ambiance, beauty and scenery. Pls advise on your recommendations. We are planning in February 2017.
    Rahul

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Koh Samui is loaded with great romantic hotels but the Hansar is probably my favorite in that category – especially if you want to be walking distance to good restaurants and trendy/relaxed bars (but no clubs).

  11. Good All Inclusive Resorts in Koh Samui

    Hi Dave!
    Your article is wonderful and full of information for people like us who are travelling for first time. We are a couple and travelling to Samui on 29th December for 2 days. We want to stay in an all inclusive moderate range but a very nice beach resort. PLease help help by suggesting some also what would be the best way to travel from Ao Nang to Samui.

    Thanks,
    Nidhi Mittal

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I would not recommend an All Inclusive hotel on Koh Samui even if there was one (definitions of AI are flexible and there are a few that have packages but these are rare). Great food is a highlight of Thailand and All Inclusives are disappointing in this regard. Much better to walk out your door and find a great local place. In any case, almost all hotels have restaurants and serve alcohol so if you want an AI-like experience then that’s easy to do too.

  12. Koh Samui Beach Hotel for Honeymoon

    Hi Dave I stumbled on your site and just love it! Some advice please, I’m going for my honeymoon in early mid-December and was looking for something quiet, good beach, but not terribly far from restaurants. We’re only staying for 2 days. Thank you!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There are lots of great choices but Poppies would be right at the top of the list.

  13. Ann

    Hi Dave,

    Awesome site!!
    I need some advice please! We are going to Koh Samui at the end of January for 11 nights. Our friends are staying at Replay and i have been trying to find something more chilled and relatively close by.

    We are travelling as a couple and enjoy a nice sea view (beach quality not so important) , chilled vibe, good food, not too isolated..

    I have narrowed our list to:
    -Lanna
    -The Scent
    -The Waterfront Resort
    -The Secret Garden
    -Peace (depending if available)

    Any opinions/suggestions appreciated!

    Cheers
    Ann

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Waterfront Resort is nice and a very short walk to shops, restaurants, and bars of Bophut. Not much of a beach here though. If you want a better beach then go with Peace Resort (but that will be much farther from where your friends are staying).

  14. Renaissance, Zazen, or Le Meridien on Koh Samui

    Hey Dave, love your blog! My wife and I are going to Koh Samui in late November and would love your quick input. We’re currently looking at the Renaissance, Zazen, and Le Meridien. Do you have a favorite out of those 3? Beach quality is an important factor to us.
    Sebastian

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      If you want a nice beach then definitely go with Zazen. Meridien has a pretty lousy beach and Renaissance has a very shallow beach which is unswimmable during low tide. Zazen also has much more within walking distance (along the beach).

  15. Infinity Residence Resort in Koh Samui

    Hey, we’ll be coming on 29 December for 3 nights, i.e., 29, 30 and 31. There are 6 of us. We were thinking of Infinity Resort. We are planning to book a 4 bedroom penthouse. How is that? Can you suggest some other hotels in that price range? Is it nearby to the main clubs and party places in Koh Samui?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Nice place (large suites with private pools) but it’s a long way from anything and very secluded up in the hills. Nightlife is a good 20 minute drive.

  16. Location of Nora Buri

    Thanks so much for your comprehensive site. Just looking for a resort recommendation for 3 ladies celebrating our 40th birthdays. We will be travelling to Samui in late June next year and looking for a resort at Chewang, on a nice beach close to the restaurants, etc. We were looking at Nora Buri but now worried it might be a bit too far to walk to town. Would love any suggestion you may have. Michelle

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes, Nora Buri is a nice hotel but not much within walking distance. You can walk to town but most people taxi or use the free hourly shuttle. If you want to be close to restaurants and beach life this is not the hotel.

  17. Hotel with Luxury and Location in Chaweng

    Hi there, love your web page so help full. We have been to Koh Samui (Hansar) a few years back and loved it was one of our best holidays, so we are returning for our anniversary but even though we loved Bohput Hansar we didn’t venture over to Chaweng much, so was thinking of staying in Chaweng for a change but do love luxury and waking distance to restaurants but love the serenity of a quiet beach . Can you suggest a great hotel spent so long looking .
    Louise

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I’d recommend Poppies for you. Beautiful hotel on a quiet stretch of beach in Chaweng but still a fairly short walk (along the beach) to restaurants and nightlife. (Not as close as the Hansar but it’s an easy enjoyable walk.)

  18. Sala Samui, Anantara Lawana, or Hansar

    Hi Dave,

    We are planning to be in Koh Samui on 28th of October and can’t decide between 3 hotels – Sala Samui, Anantara Lawana, and Hansar.
    We are coming for our anniversary and we are in our 30’s. We want a beautiful hotel with a good beach. Please suggest.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      All are very nice hotels. Sala Samui has the best beach in a quiet town with a handful of restaurants but no nightlife. Anantara is fantastic but the beach is lousy and there’s not much within walking distance. Hansar has a trendy vibe, lots of bars and restaurants are steps from the hotel but beach directly in front of hotel has coarse sand (still nice but it’s not the idyllic soft sand you might want – for that you need to walk down the beach 5 or 10 minutes).

  19. Hotel with Nice Beach and Private Pool

    Hi Dave,

    Awesome work ! Very Informative site. Loved it ! I’m planning to go on a honeymoon to Koh Samui in mid december. I would like a resort with good beach, with a private pool and best service. I have shortlisted Vana Belle, Six Senses Samui, Banyan Tree, Coco Palm and Baan Haad Ngam. Vana Belle and Banyan Tree are a bit expensive for me. Any other options?
    Another thing is I know its hard to find good vegetarian food options but any recommendation of restaurants or hotel which serves good veg food would be helpful.

    Thanks.
    Pratik

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Vanna Belle has beautiful private pools and a great beach (the best sand of the hotels you listed).

  20. Centrally Located Luxury Hotel

    Hi Dave. Great job on the website, very informative. My wife and 2 year old will be in Samui for a short weekend break in Mid-October. We wanted to be in a lively area preferably in Chaweng (not too crazy like Ark Bar) but in luxury. Price is not much of a factor as I will only be there for 2 nights. Was thinking of either the Vana Belle, W Retreat, or The Library.
    1. Would appreciate your recommendation on the hotel and also weather at that time (would it be too rainy)?
    2. Any other 5 star hotels would be much appreciated (preferably in Chaweng with a good beach and walking distance from restaurants)

    Thank you for help!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The 3 hotels you mention are all very nice but the Vana Belle (Chaweng Noi) and W (Mae Nam) are not central and don’t have much within walking distance. In October, Koh Samui is quiet so these out-of-the-way places will be especially quiet. Along with the Library I would recommend Poppies in Chaweng – great hotels and walking distance to many restaurants.

  21. Hotel Similar to Hansar

    Hi we are a couple looking at going to Phuket or Koh samui in March for our 30th anniversary we have been to both places before and loved them both, but preferred Koh Samui more we stayed at the Hansar and loved it for the location, beach, restaurants, bars all walking distance to great hotel. Our question is we would like to go back but are a bit worried about going back to same hotel as we dislike doing a holiday the same. We do like five five star with no kids can you suggest any other hotels like the Hansar? Not interested in party Chaweng. Hope you can help.
    Thank you Louise

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes, the Hansar is one of my favorites and there isn’t anything quite like it on Samui. But closest would be the wonderful Zazen – more boutiquey than Hansar, the beach is nicer here and the vibe more relaxed. The only thing that might not work for you is that it’s a 10/15 minute walk along the beach to bars and restaurants of Fisherman’s Village (though it’s easy to grab a taxi back if it’s too far in the dark).

  22. Honeymoon on Koh Samui / Kala Samui Resort

    Hi Dave

    I really enjoy your page along with great advise etc. Me and my soon to be wife are planning our honeymoon to Koh Samui. We are still young and active. We would enjoy the night life on the beach, sunny days in the ocean and some island exploring. We are looking at staying at the Kala Samui for the 8 nights? Do you recommend this hotel? Do you think we should stay in various hotels during our trip? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you
    Juliaan Sinclair

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Kala Samui is very nice and good value for the 4-star quality that’s there. But there are some cons to be aware: no direct beach access, few places to eat within walking distance, need to take a shuttle or taxi to get to Chaweng (where the nightlife is primarily located). If you’re happy relaxing by the pool with gorgeous views of the sea then it’s a great choice. For a typical beach holiday, not so much. Regardless of where you choose, yes, with 8 days I would stay at 2 different hotels in 2 different towns.

  23. Outrigger Hotel on Koh Samui

    Hi SD, have you any thoughts on the Outrigger hotel? Have booked for early September for hubby and me for our first holiday without the (now adult!) kids. I know it’s a quiet location but just wondering whether we should pay extra and change to a different hotel which we can access things to do more easily? Doesn’t seem to be recommended on any travel sites and although has good reviews, there aren’t as many as with other hotels.

    Georgie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Nice hotel but not much of a beach (though pools are nice, and pool villas are great value) and very little within walking distance. If you’re looking to relax it’s a good choice. If you want to be able to walk out your door and enjoy some drinks or choose from a bunch of restaurants then yes, you’d be better in Chaweng, Bophut, or even Choeng Mon.

  24. Fair House Villas and Spa in Koh Samui

    Hey Dave! Great work here. I have a question about Fair House Villas and Spa. I’m reading a few conflicting reviews online and was hoping you can help steer my decision. Wife and I looking to chill, snorkel, and swim around ocean.

    Thanks,

    David G.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Good value 4 star hotel. A little isolated with only 2 or 3 restaurants within an easy walk but a great choice if you’re looking to relax and don’t want to pay the prices at the Hansar or Anantara (for example). Pretty easy to catch a taxi or sangthaew to Bophut or Chaweng – or use the free shuttle from the hotel. Pool is great. Beach is ok/good.

  25. Cheap Food in Chaweng

    Are the majority of eateries located on The beach road in Chaweng or are their other areas close by that would offer better prices off the main touristy road. I’m looking for open air local hole in the wall places or street food carts. Ted

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Walk south on the beach road to the area around the Centara and they’ll be cheap restaurants and a few carts off to the right.

  26. Beach Hotels on Koh Samui

    Hello SD, I just booked a stay in Phuket (air tickets paid already bkk-hkt-bkk) and recently found out Phuket beaches do not have or allow beach chairs anymore on beaches (mats/towels only). Not sure about umbrellas but this is an issue for me and a lot of folk who have back issues. I called a few hotels in Samui and they said they have chairs for hotel guests so seems no issue in Samui but can you confirm this? I’m a middle aged male traveling solo who is past the Ark Bar party scene days. I would like a nice beach (with chairs) that has local food joints and some bars around somewhat close but I will rent scooter so doesn’t have to be walkable. Can you give me a couple more choices similar to Poppies (but a little cheaper). Also where could I get a good detailed map of island to use when riding around island? Thank you in advance.

    Ted

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes, beach chairs are allowed on Samui beaches. Good hotels that are a little cheaper than Poppies are the Banana Fan Sea and Chaweng Beachcomber. Both have good beach and are an easy walk to good restaurants. You’ll see free maps at some hotels and restaurants with Koh Samui Map on the cover. Pretty good for roads, hotels, restaurants, and beaches.

  27. Le Meridien on Koh Samui

    Awesome site Dave! What are your thoughts on Le Meridien if staying in one of their Pavilion Pool villas? They were offering 30% off so seemed like good value relative to other hotels with villas and private pools. For some background, just going for a 40th birthday with my girlfriend. Not looking to party. Just a reasonably priced luxury experience around $300 USD in early July. Willing to travel to the best beaches and restaurants. More about the villa, public spaces (spa, pool), service and food experience for us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Brett

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Le Meridien is a wonderful hotel but the location is not great (20 minute walk to Lamai) and the beach is not good for swimming, though it is pretty and makes for a nice setting. This is a good choice if you’re happy sitting around the pool or within your luxurious room.

  28. Getting from Koh Phayam to Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,

    Do you know the best way to travel from Koh Phayam to Koh Samui?

    Your blog is so helpful!

    Thanks,
    Sarah

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There are direct mini buses that run between Surathani and Ranong. So, using these, you’d have to take a boat from Koh Phayam (these run on a regular schedule) to Ranong, hop on a minibus from Ranong to Surathani then catch another boat to Koh Samui from Surathani. Depending on the schedules, you’ll probably need two days to accomplish this.

      Another option would be to take a boat to Ranong and then fly to Bangkok from Ranong. Then you’d catch a flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui. Nok Air runs two to three flights per day to/from Bangkok to/from Ranong, some in the morning. There are lots of flights to Samui from Bangkok so you could link up the flights fairly easy with the hope your Nok Air flight wouldn’t be delayed. This option would obviously cost a lot more than the bus but it would be much more comfortable and quick.

  29. Koh Samui Resort for Honeymoon

    Hi Dave,

    Could you please advise where would be ideal to stay for our Honeymoon? We looked at Peace, Centara Grand, Anantara BoPhut, and Pavilion.

    We were ideally looking for somewhere where we would be away from family with kids and could do a bit of touring/island hopping too?

    Any recommendations?

    Bhavika Jiwa

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Those are all nice hotels but Centara and Anantara Bophut have lots of kids and families so I would skip those for a honeymoon. Pavilion is in Lamai which does not have a honeymoon vibe (a little too seedy for my tastes). But Peace Resort would be perfect. Great beach but still close to the charming shops and restaurants of Bophut.

  30. Library Hotel in Chaweng

    These hotels all seem really beautiful. I need to find some pictures of what they look like on the inside. That one with the red pool seems rather interesting in particular. I wonder what made them think to make their pool red.
    Sarah Anderson

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Library Hotel is a trendy boutique hotel with a beach bar (beside the red swimming pool) and a hip wine bar/restaurant on the main road. Here are some photos from when I toured the property a few months back.

      The bedroom and sitting area:
      The bed and sofa at Library Hotel in Chaweng.

      The Bathroom:
      Bathrooms at Library Hotel in Chaweng

      Private Balcony (you can just see the pool in the distance):
      Room with balcony at Library Hotel on Chaweng Beach.

      Restaurant and main entrance to the hotel:
      The restaurant and entrance on Chaweng's main street.

  31. Recommended Hotels on Koh Samui

    Hi there Dave,
    Firstly Congratulations on a wonderful and informative site!!! AMAZING!!!!

    We haven’t had a holiday in over 2 years so we really don’t want to get this wrong.
    Looking at going to Koh Samui for 15 days in mid June with my husband and 2yr old Daughter. (Is the weather ok at this time? Is there a lot of rain?)
    We were thinking of breaking up our stay in 3 x 5days. (Do you think this is too much or stick to just two accommodations over this time?)

    1. Choeng Mon Hotels (Sala Samui, Tongsai Bay, Melati, Outrigger, or Royal Muang)
    We are wanting relaxation for the first 5 days, great beach, great pool and not too fussed being a little secluded.
    2. Bophut Hotels (Hansar, Anantara, Bophut Resort, or Bandara)
    Beautiful hotel preferably with a King size bed as we co-sleep, Nice beach, great pool and walking distance to restaurants.
    3. Chaweng Hotels (Centara, Anantara, Sareeraya) – or any other suggestions as i know you said South Chaweng has the nicer beaches.
    Great Beach, great pool, and walking distance to restaurants but don’t want to stay next door to something like Ark.

    Are the beaches on Koh Phangan nicer than in Koh Samui? Is it worth staying there for 5 nights?

    Thank you for your time in advance!

    Meg

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      These are all great hotels so you’ve chosen well. The only one I would question is the Anantara in Chaweng, which though it’s a lovely hotel does not have a great beach and is not walking distance (or at least, not an easy walk) to central Chaweng. My favorites would be Sala Samui in Choeng Mon (Tongsai if you want more luxury and more seclusion). In Bophut, the Hansar (trendy boutique) or the Anantara (very family friendly, lots of kids). In Chaweng, the Centara (large family friendly resort) or Poppies (smaller and more intimate but not as many kids).

      Your other questions: weather should be good in June – some rain here and there but generally sunny skies. 3 towns each for 5 days sounds perfect to me. Koh Phangan is wonderful and worth a visit. Are the beaches better there than on Koh Samui? Not a huge difference but maybe by a tiny bit.

  32. Centara or the Banana Fan Sea

    Hi Dave! Your website is amazing! Such a huge help! Thanks for putting all of this together. My husband and I are traveling to Ko Samui in mid September for only 3 days and have been back and forth on where to stay. We are looking at either Centara or the Banana Fan (and booking the beach villa). Priorities: Beautiful views (from the room/balcony), great beach steps away, walking distance of great restaurants (we are big foodies), and a room that is somewhat modern and very clean. We are also looking for that “Thai feel” and not necessarily a resort that you can go to anywhere. I know you highly recommend Centara, but we are a newly married couple, no children. Centara seems highly child filled. It also seems like many of the Centara rooms don’t have a great view of the beach (though I could be wrong), and many of the TripAdvisor reviews have negative reviews of the Centara being old and not well kept. Any thoughts between the two? Your reviews on Greece hotels were spot on, so I trust your opinion and would love your feedback between the two options. Thanks!

    Christina McClelan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I wouldn’t stay at the Centara if you were looking for a non-resort hotel (especially if you don’t have kids). Banana Fan Sea is a better choice. And better still is Poppies (great thai vibe right on the beach). All 3 are on a great stretch of beach with good restaurants within an easy walk.

  33. Hotel for Family of 4

    Hi Dave,
    I am visiting Samui in the early July with my family – 2 adult and 2 children age 11 and 14.
    I plan to stay at the Santhiya in Phangan for 4 nights and I want to stay in Koh Samui for 4 nights. Looked at Royal Muang. Perhaps you can suggest a good resort and not far from good restaurants. Our budget is around 300 dollar per night for the room.

    Thanks
    Viresh

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Royal Muang is very nice. It’s on a quiet calm beach with several restaurants nearby but not a lot of choice – and not nearly as many places to eat as Chaweng or Bophut. For more options read The Best Hotels for Families on Koh Samui.

  34. Hotels for Couple in Their 20s

    Hi Dave! Thanks so much for the info on your page and for helping out so many people trying to find their dream hotel/ beach in Samui.

    My boyfriend and I are in Samui from late April to the beginning of May (8 nights in total). As we can’t decide on one place to stay the entire 8 nights, we’ve decided to split our stay into 4 and 4. The first 4 nights in somewhere a bit more happening (not completely in the action but a short walk away). And the 2nd 4 nights in a rusticy style, romantic, more secluded bungalow type place (but again not completely isolated – we are massive foodies so anywhere near where we can get delicious Thai dishes will be a winner!).

    We’re looking at the moment at the Beluga Boutique Resort just south of Lamai, or somewhere towards the south of Chaweng for the first 4 nights, and Eden beach bungalows or Baan Bophut Hotel for the 2nd 4 nights (although we would also consider Mae Nam and Choeng Mon). What do you think to these or are there any other suggestions you have? We are both mid-20s and would like places on a nice beach that’s not crowded with deck chairs and kids.

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Beluga is a very nice hotel but not my favorite location for enjoying nightlife and dining as it’s in Lamai which is not nearly as nice as Bophut (trendy bars and restaurants) or even Chaweng (better nightlife). I’d stay at either of those towns before Lamai. South Chaweng Beach is a great if you want a good beach, quiet location, but still walking distance to clubs and restaurants. Eden Beach Bungalows is on a great stretch of beach in Bophut and a 5 to 10 minute walk along the sand to the shops and restaurants of Bophut. Baan Bophut is on the other side of Bophut town (from Eden) and the beach is not as nice here but still fine for swimming. Baan has restaurants and trendy bars (never really noisy) just out the door – central Bophut is a 3 minute walk away.

  35. Koh Samui Hotel with Kid Friendly Beach / Close to Everything

    Hi Dave,

    We, a family of 4 with kids aged 9 & 2 are planning a trip. Could you pls recommend a hotel with close proximity to beach (kids friendly for swimming) at the same time walking distance to shopping / dining. Basis on previous comments short listed the following;
    * Hansar
    * Saree Raya
    * Centara Grand
    * Buri Rasa
    * The Library
    * Muang Samui
    * Anantara
    * Chaweng Garden
    * Amari

    I know I’ve listed many…. Appreciate if you could recommend basis my requirement (#1 being the best match)

    Thank you

    Tharshini

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      They are all good choices (except for the library which is more of a chic couples hotel). The Hansar (in Bophut) is the best for being an easy walk (steps, really) to shopping and dining but the beach here is a little coarse (I rather like it but most people prefer softer sand). The Anantara Bophut is right next door to the Hansar and has more of a family-feel. (There are two Anantaras on Koh Samui, the other is Lawana and though it’s a beautiful resort it does not have a great beach or convenient location.) The Centara Grand (south Chaweng) has a great beach and pool and is very kid-friendly. It’s a 10 minute walk to the main shopping/dining area of Chaweng. Buri Rasa and Chaweng Garden are the most central and beach is good – but not as nice as Centara. Muang Samui and Amari are a 5 to 10 minute walk from central Chaweng. The water here is protected and very calm but beach is not as nice and water can look a little lagoonish. It’s still fine but not as beautiful as the beach in south Chaweng. All the resorts I mention would be fine choices with Centara probably being the best.

  36. Baan Talay Resort or King's Garden Resort

    Hi Dave, amazing job and amazing blog!

    I am going to Samui in May, I have decided to stay on Chaweng, as I am looking for a nice beach resort and some nightlife, restaurants, not too busy and noisy but with a walking distance to everything. I am considering Baan Talay Resort as it seems to be relaxed, chilled vibe place and quite good standard. I am also considering King’s Garden Resort. Both are in my budget, I would like to spend 2,500 Bath. Which of those two would you recommend? Or maybe you could recommend something different but with similar standard and with similar price range? I am little afraid that Baan Talay may be too dated. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
    Thanks!
    Monika

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both are very nice mid-range resorts. King’s Garden perhaps slightly nicer but not by much. King’s Garden is more centrally located and nightlife and wider choice of restaurants are within an easy walk. Baan Talay has a nice pool (no pool at King’s Garden) and the sand is a little softer down here at the south end of Chaweng. It’s a 10 to 15 minute walk to nightlife from Baan Talay.

  37. W Resort or Vanna Belle

    Hi Dave,

    A friend and I are planning our trip to Thailand for May and are having a hard time deciding where to stay in Koh Samui. We’re willing to splurge and were looking at either the W or Vanna Belle, would you recommend one over the other? We’re looking to relax, do some day trips, and enjoy some of the nightlife, so want to be in a good location but also want to enjoy the luxuries of a nice hotel. I’d also love to know where you would recommend if we wanted to save a little rather than going all out on one of the aforementioned hotels.

    Thanks!
    Melissa

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both of these are luxurious resorts but are lacking in some areas that are important to you. Neither have great locations for nightlife as there’s not much around either (taxis are necessary to get to clubs and beach bars). The beach at the W is not one of the best on Koh Samui. The beach at the Vanna Belle is great but some units are far from the beach so you’re not walking out your door and onto the sand. A good alternative that would likely cost less is Poppies on Chaweng beach. The sand is great here and clubs and restaurants are a 10 minute walk to the north.

  38. Chaweng Garden Beach Resort or Chaweng Regent Beach Resort

    Hi Dave, love your site!
    We’re group of 6 and looking to stay at central chaweng, whats your recommendation between Chaweng Garden Beach Resort and Chaweng Regent Beach Resort? Or any recommendation for a good one around there at the same price point? Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated and any hotel recommendations would be great too.
    Thanks in advance.
    Jerry

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both are nice places with good location. The beach is a little better in front of Chaweng Garden and it’s a few minutes closer to central Chaweng shopping and restaurants. Chaweng Regent is a little quieter.

  39. Baan Haad Ngam Resort Hotel on Koh Samui

    Hi Dave
    I am going to Koh Samui beginning of September ( after attending wedding in Singapore). This is the first time to Thailand and brother-in-law was thinking of booking Baan Haad Ngam Resort Hotel. Any thoughts? Tricia McDaid

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Nice hotel (has a boutique feel) at the quiet end of Chaweng Beach. The beach is not as good here as in South Chaweng and can disappear during high tide. Nightlife of central Chaweng is a 10 to 15 minute walk along the beach.

  40. Laem Set Area of Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,
    How do you rate the Laem Set area for beaches and eating places? How far is the airport from Laem Set?
    Regards
    Aly Stewart

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Laem Set (in the southeast of Koh Samui) is one of the lesser developed parts of the island and because of that it feels worlds away from the rest of Samui. The beaches are white and not as sweeping as the ones in the more developed areas of the north but they are also considerably less busy and have some scenic limestone outcrops, blue water, and shade from coconut palms. The water can get fairly shallow in some places at low tide making swimming difficult and unpleasant (unless you can get out past the coral reef 100m offshore). Because it’s more remote, most people eat at their resort or rent a car or motorbike to drive to eating places. There’s really not that many eating options around right in Laem Set. Driving west along the south coast there are some fantastic, very authentic seafood places, and most are right on the water – Ging Pagarang is the most well known. Otherwise going north towards Lamai turns up more tourist-oriented places, some of which are very, very good – the local market in Lamai is fantastic for snacks and Thai treats and there’s also an excellent French bakery. From Laem Set to the airport is about 45 minutes.

      1. Just Returned

        Hi Dave,
        Just a note to endorse your web site. We have just returned from Koh Samui, we had booked before I discovered your site. BIG REGRET. Everything you said about Laem Set was spot on.

        The information and advice is 100% tourist friendly, I had a vehicle most of the time so saw 90% of the island and could relate to every thing on your site.

        We moved up to Bophut for our last two nights and stayed at the Smile House which was lovely for the 3500 Baht b.b. Rate.
        So fellow tourists : Use this site !!!!!!!

        Aly Stewart

  41. Sheraton Samui

    Hi Dave,

    Just wondering what your thoughts are on The Sheraton Samui, any information is much appreciated!!

    Thanks
    Sharon

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Large resort (be prepared for some hill walking or waiting for a golf buggie to get from the beach to the suites) on a great beach with good swimming. A few restaurants along the beach but for nightlife and more choice you’ll be taking a taxi to Chaweng 5 to 10 minutes away. (It is walkable but most people take a taxi.) The Sheraton doesn’t have a lot of character so it wouldn’t be my first choice.

  42. Moderate Hotel with Private Pool on Koh Samui

    Hey Dave!
    Thanks for all your hard work, your site is awesome. My boyfriend and I are planning a trip out to Koh Samui at the end of November. There are a ton of great resorts, and we were looking for suites with a private pool that are affordable. We found The Kala Samui and The Sarann are almost right next to each other. Do you know anything about either of these hotels or can recommend a similar one around the same price point?

    Thanks!
    Kelsey McGrath

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Kala Samui and the Sarann are both nice but pretty isolated (no shops or restaurants within walking distance) and neither hotel is set right on a beach (though the Sarann is a very short walk from the beach). I’d recommend Coco Palm Beach Resort in Mae Nam. Bungalows have nice private pools and it’s located on the beach. The area is quiet but still some good restaurants and a mini-mart within a short walk.

  43. Good Chaweng Hotel close to Shops and Restaurants

    Hello!
    I am a solo traveler heading to Koh Samui in March. You website is great. I’m looking for a safe relaxing upscale hotel on the beach but in walking distance to shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Would OZO Chaweng be a good choice? Would Bo Phut be a better option? And top 3 tourist attraction/must see 🙂

    T. Carly

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Ozo is a wonderful hotel with a great beach front location. It has a nice pool and plenty of nightlife and restaurants within a 10 minute walk along the beach.

      The top activity for most people is taking a day trip to Ang Thong Marine Park. The boat trip includes kayaking, snorkeling, lunch on the beach, and time to hike around some deserted island and/or relax on the beach.

      Diving is popular but it’s more expensive from Samui than from the nearby islands of Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. The sites are magnificent though and there are even chances of seeing whale sharks. If you’re not a diver, Samui is a good place to try it or get certified.

      Renting a car and driving around the island for a DIY tour can be very fun. The southern part of the island is the most wild and beautiful and there are lots of places to stop like Magic Alambic (the rum distillery), a waterfall hike to Nam Tok Nam Muang, and authentic seafood restaurants on the south coast. If you don’t feel like driving hiring a driver doesn’t cost much more and is much easier.

      There are lots of spas, yoga, and meditation all around the island. Although lots of people like going on elephant treks and to safari parks, it’s important to note that the animals are rarely well-cared for. If you’re interested in elephant parks then visit Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.

      Most people come to Koh Samui to relax on the beach, be pampered in luxury accommodation, or to party at the bars (mostly on Chaweng and Lamai) so that’s a great plan too!

  44. Amari Renovations

    Hi Dave, we have booked the Amari in chaweng for 6 nights from 3 April. It opens on the 1st so I’m a bit nervous! Do you know much about what the renovations are doing and what will be changing? And I guess if it will be all finished or generally do these things keep going once opened?
    Alice

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      They say that work will be complete by April 1. Sounds like a very thorough redo, with new pools, restaurants, lounge area, dive center, and kids’ club.

  45. Koh Samui and Phuket in Mid-September

    Hi,

    I really appreciate your work. I am planning to visit Koh Samui and Phuket in the middle of September. Later I found that September will having heavy rainfall. But many sources gives different notes. Shall we visit these places in mid September? Can we get all the sports and enjoy the places during that time?

    Thanks,
    Madhan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There are no certainties with the weather and that’s doubly so with Thailand. Yes, on average there is plenty of rain in September in southern Thailand. Typically there is more rain in September on the west coast (Phuket) than on the east coast (Koh Samui). But it’s common for people to visit during September and have great weather (it will often rain once a day then clear to sunny blue skies). One thing that I’ll say with more confidence is that the sea will be rough in September on Phuket and not very swimmable. If you wanted to play the odds then visit Koh Samui as the rains usually hit later in the year (October/November) and September will usually have nicer weather than on Phuket.

  46. Bandara, Nora Buri, or Ozo

    Hi Dave! My husband and I are going to Koh Samui in March. We actually went to santorini last year and stayed at Absolute Bliss (after your recommendation). We wanted to get your opinion on Bandara, Nora Buri, and Ozo. We are looking for relaxation and beach with a nice pool. Mainly clean and high end. Last question (random) I’m terrified of spiders and have been reading that Thailand is full of tarantulas haha. Wondering what my chances are of seeing one? Also should we rule of chiang Mai because of the smoke? Thanks!!

    Stephanie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      All are nice hotels (I’d call them good quality 4 star hotels). The biggest difference is location. Nora Buri has a lousy beach and not much around it but it has great views and is wonderful for relaxing (and is a popular hotel for weddings). Bandara has a good beach and is a very short walk along the sand to Bophut’s shops, bars, and restaurants. Ozo has the best beach of the 3. It’s in a quieter area of Chaweng but it’s only 5 or 10 minutes to nightlife and restaurants.

  47. Quiet Beach Town with Some Nightlife/Sports Bars

    Yo mate! Brilliant site.

    I’m planning 2-3 weeks in Samui with my wife in November and December. We wanna do a cheap – but nice – beach bungalow.

    I’m not into that whole Full Moon party vibe, but don’t really want absoulte peace and quiet. A nice couple of bars and resturants on the beach plus a couple of local pubs (showing sport etc) would do me fine.

    I was thinking of Treehouse Silent beach bungalows on Maenem. Question is though, as I don’t want to hire a scooter to get around, is Maenem going to be too quiet and secluded? If we wanted to go into a town for drinks / music one night – is this the wrong place to go?

    Ryan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Mae Nam is certainly quiet and the Treehouse is in an even quieter section of the town – there’s not a lot within a 10 or 15 minute walk. You can certainly get a drink in Mae Nam and have a nice meal but you’d have to taxi to Bophut for anything that feels like nightlife or a sports bar.

  48. South Chaweng or Choeng Mon

    Hi Dave,
    Awesome website and I love the photos of all the beaches and your recommended quality of each!
    I’m travelling to Koh Samui in June/July with my husband and two kids aged 4 and 6. I can’t seem to decide between staying in Choeng Mon or South Chaweng. We love a great beach that is safe for swimming with kids but also with some options for restaurants along beach and small town. We don’t need too much noise and colour at night time but happy for a bit of action and not just a deserted town. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated and any hotel recommendations would be great too! We hope to stay directly on the beach. Thanks in advance for your response ?

    Hayley

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I prefer South Chaweng as there is much more within walking distance but still quiet by most measures. When I stay in Choeng Mon I inevitably spend a fair bit of time in a taxi getting someplace else. A quiet beach sounds good in theory but after sitting around the beach all day it’s nice to be able to mix it up with some different dining options. However, the beach in Choeng Mon is more kid-friendly. The water is shallower and calmer than Chaweng.

  49. Luxury Hotel near Clubs and Nightlife

    Hey Dave!
    You’ve put together a great resource!

    I wanted your advice – we were looking to travel to Samui at the end of March (Easter weekend).

    We are a few couples who are traveling there with the intention to party (hard, but not too hardcore!)

    Following your article, we’ve decided to stay in the Chaweng area, and we wanted to be as close to the action as possible.

    We wouldn’t want to stay in a hotel like Ark, but at the same time we don’t want to stay somewhere too secluded.

    We are a little late in booking for this long weekend, but I would appreciate it if you could suggest us some good hotels. Basically a 5 star property, but nothing over the top (as we don’t expect to spend too much time in the hotel).

    Thanks!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Two very nice hotels (4/5 star) near Ark Bar and the stretch of beach with lots of nightlife are The Library (trendy, with 2 cools bars of its own, one on the beach, one on the main road) and Muang Samui Resort (more relaxed and resort-like). While both hotels are a short walk along the beach (in different directions) to Ark Bar they’re not close enough to hear the music of the clubs.

  50. Banyan Tree for Honeymoon Group

    Hi Dave. I know you recommend booking online to get the best deals but we’re having trouble reserving 7 hotel rooms for our families during a honeymoon weekend at the Banyan Tree. Any advice?

    Sean

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      For large groups it’s better to contact the hotel directly.

      Contact Ms. Pawadee at +66-77-915333 extension 7110. Good luck.

  51. Honeymoon Questions about Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,
    Congrats for your site, it is amazingly managed, helpful and up to date, great job!

    My wife and I are honeymooning on Koh Samui next week.

    I would like to take the opportunity to ask few question if you do not mind.
    We will stay a few days in Koh Samui – any experience or comments on Pinnacle Samui Resort in Maenam beach and Imperial Boat House in Choeng Mon?
    We are also planning to go to Koh Phangan for 1 night or 2 (as we are interested in Full Moon Party – we thought if we are there once why miss it … is it safe, worth it?
    What currency is the best to take from Europe? I heard USD.
    Where is the best place to exchange money on Samui?
    Where is the best place to get taxi from on Samui? I’ve read a few bad things (like rip off).
    Where is the best place to go snorkeling?

    I’m so much appreciate your effort answering these questions, only if you have time.

    Thank you.
    Victor

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      – Both are nice mid-range hotels with great beaches. Pinnacle does not have a lot nearby but is close to the ferry to Koh Phangan. Imperial has one of the best pools on Koh samui.
      – Full Moon Party is very fun and as long as you know what you’re getting into (it can get a little crazy) is definitely worth it. And best to stay overnight for a day or two to enjoy it properly.
      – USD or Euros are both fine. Lots of ATMs and that’s the easiest way to get baht.
      – If you get your hotel to arrange a taxi (usually the hotel mini van) you’ll pay a little more than the local rate but you won’t get ripped off and you won’t have to negotiate.
      – There isn’t much good snorkeling on Koh Samui but many day trips that take you to good snorkeling sites.

  52. Vana Belle, Sala Samui, or Hansar

    Hi Dave! Loving your blog–such a great travel resource, thank you! I will be traveling throughout Thailand and Cambodia with my boyfriend (we’re both in our mid-twenties) from March 18 – April 1. We are spending the last four nights and five days of our trip in Koh Samui and are having a bit of difficulty deciding between two or three luxury hotels. We are looking for something luxurious and romantic with a great pool and beach. Although we are hoping for a very relaxing vacation, we may want to go into town for a fun night or two during our stay. We have narrowed it down to SALA and Vana Belle with Hansar coming in as a close third. What is your preference between Vana Belle and SALA? And how does Hansar stack up against those two?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
    Ally

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I like Hansar because you can walk everywhere (within Bophut) from it. With Vana Belle and Sala you’ll be in the taxi a bit. Vana Belle is the most WOW! It has a trendy 5-star feel (but can also feel too big at times). Sala is the most relaxed. Both Vana Belle and Sala front beautiful soft-sand beaches. The beach in front of Hansar is beautiful to look at but to find soft sand you have to walk 5 or 10 minutes to the west.

  53. Great Beach Hotel with Some Nightlife (but Not Crazy)

    Hi Dave,
    Firstly, thank you putting this site together. The information is fantastic and I particularly like the beach quality pictures. Very helpful indeed.
    I have posted this on Tripadvisor but after finding your site, if you wouldn’t mind, I would like to get your advice?

    My Wife and I are travelling to Koh Samui in June and are spending 5 nights there in total, with 3 nights in Koh Phangan sandwhiched in between.

    I was hoping for some help/advice on which area to stay in Koh Samui when we return for 3 nights. I have spent weeks researching the island and I am completely torn between Chaweng, Bophut and Choeng Mon.

    I believe Chaweng has the nicest beach but I am slightly put off by the thought of the craziness of the place. It seems the type of place we would like to visit for an evening but maybe not be there for three nights. Then I looked at Bophut and that seemed to have a decent nightlife but heard not so good things about the beach and the sea. Apparently the sea water is quite murky in places? Then the third place as I mentioned is Choeng Mon which seems to have a nice beach but is the quietest of the three.

    We would like somewhere which has a nice balance of a good variety of bars and restaurants to choose from and a nice beach at the same time. We are late 20’s if this helps.

    The hotels looked at are Poppies, Buri Rasa, Ozo, Sea Dance, Sala, Bo Phut Resort, and Spa plus a few others.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I think South Chaweng or Bophut. While there are parts of Chaweng that have a party vibe I don’t think anyone would call South Chaweng crazy. It’s pretty quiet. Bophut has a nice beach (and gets nicer the farther west you go). It’s a nice mix of trendy nightlife and good swimming. Choeng Mon has a wonderful beach but is very quieter (both Bophut and Chaweng are a 15 minute taxi ride away).

  54. Raffaella La Gatta

    Hello Dave,
    your articles are very comprehensive, and I hope you can help me with my struggle!

    We are planning honeymoon in Thailand, and staying in Koh Samui the last 5 days (6 nights) form 27th June to 3rd July 2016

    Our travel agency suggested Rocky’s Boutique, but I’m concerned for (1) the low tides and (2) drunk russians in Lamai (!!!) Plus the upgrade to the private pool option is a bit exaggerated for just the two of us.

    So I have carefully looked into your list of resorts and down-selected the following alternatives, which can give us nice private pools:

    SALA, Six Senses, Anantara and Tongsai.

    1. Given they are all (apart form Anantara) secluded, which one would offer the best beach considering the time of the year (low tides)?
    2. How far are the SALA/SixSenses/Tongsai from the main town with bars and restaurants?
    3. What do you think of Rocky’s? Still a good option?

    PS: We are not after the crazy nightlife (and definitely not for drunk people), but more looking for less-western more-eastern village/town with nice local touch of bars and restaurant.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      1. Sala has the best beach. Then Anantara.
      2. It’s about 15 minutes from Sala, Six Senses, and Tongsai to Bophut and Chaweng.
      3. Rocky’s is great for sitting around the pool. The hotel itself is wonderful. But not much of a beach and nothing much within walking distance.

  55. Hansar, Anantara Bophut, or Rocky Resort

    Love the website! Super useful information. I’m hoping you can give me some advice. We will be meeting our 19 year old son in Koh Samui at the end of his gap travels and want to spoil him a bit. I’m trying to decide between Hansar, Anantara Bophut and Rocky Resort – maybe push the boat out for the Sala resort. I’m quite fussy and would like something with a bit of style which makes me think of Hansar, but it looks a bit bleak with not much greenery around it. Rocky Resort looks cosier, but does it still have the Wow factor? Also am a bit worried about what you say about Lamai. Is Anantara very busy with little children? What do you think would be my best bet? I’d be grateful for any advise. Thanks, Sarah Wimborne

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Stay at the Hansar if you want something trendy, great restaurant, great pool (but back a little from the beach, separated by a lane). Stay at Rocky’s if you want something quiet and relish the idea of hanging around the pool all day (not much within walking distance). The Anantara has the best of both but can have a lot of kids. I’d go with the Hansar.

  56. Koh Samui to Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan

    Hey Dave,
    I am planning my trip to Ko Samui mid march for the full moon. My question is what’s the best Hotel to stay if you are looking for 3 star room but value for money? And also near to Chewang? Also what’s the best way to get to Koh Phangan from Samui? Thanks

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Chaweng Beachcomber Hotel is a very nice 3 star hotel with good rates and right on the beach. There will be speed boats from Chaweng Beach to the Full Moon Party – I personally would not take these for safety reasons especially if you plan to come back in the middle of the night. Larger boats leave from the Bangrak and Mae Nam ferry piers and are a safer option.

  57. Ozo or Chaweng Regent

    Dave,

    I need your help. I will be with my wife and 12 year old in March 2016 for 6 nights. After countless hours of research, it’s either OZO Chaweng or Chaweng Regent. My wife prefers central location near massage shops and restaurants hence Chaweng Regent and I prefer the quality of the beach so OZO. Is there a big or noticeable difference in quality of the beach for these two hotels. (i.e. crystal clear/clean water, fine sand, good for swimming). Can you tell me if there are massage shops and restaurants close to Ozo so we don’t have venture into the central part of Chaweng daily. Which hotel would you pick? Thank you for your help.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The beach and swimming are definitely better at OZO. Chaweng Regent has nice sand but the water there is more lagoonish – still nice but not like OZO. There are many massage shops around and I’m almost positive there’s one directly opposite OZO on the main road so finding a place won’t be a problem. Good restaurants are easy to get to from both.

  58. Briza Beach Resort in Chaweng

    Hello,

    People like you make travelling much more fun 🙂

    1) I have booked Briza Beach Resort for 2 nights for my honeymoon, and still I am left with 3 more nights on Koh Samui, please suggest me a good budget hotel. Will Ark Bar be a good option to stay also? Or shall I go for some secluded place in Mae Nam? Also I want to remain connected with the night life of Koh Samui.

    2) How’s life near Briza Beach Resort? Is the beach good? How far is Chaweng Nightlife from Briza?

    Thanks,
    Rahul

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      1) Ark Bar is a party place with nice modern rooms but nothing special. Food is lousy, beach is decent but probably the worst spot for swimming on Chaweng Beach. Basically, you stay at Ark Bar to party and sit around the pool listening to the djs (usually good to great). Mae Nam is the polar opposite (very nice beach, quiet restaurants, local slow-paced vibe), so you need to decide what environment you want – and I can’t help with that.
      2) Briza is a 15 minute walk from Ark Bar. A decent selection of restaurants nearby. Beach is very good (but not as nice as south Chaweng).

  59. May Wong

    Very informative. Fantastic tips. Thank you Dave!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Thanks. Glad it was helpful.

  60. Hotel in Bophut

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your fantastic website! I would love love love to ask you a few questions. Me and my partner are going to Phuket and staying at the Katathani and then to Koh Samui for 8 nights. I initially liked the pool look of the Melati but then found that it had kids and was far from bophut. Bophut sounds upper class and trendy so I’m really unsure which hotel to pick. We want luxury and water sports and shops and a clean beautiful hotel. I’m looking at the Hansaar after everything you have said about it although the gym there looks a bit daggy. I would love to hear your thoughts. I want that real special feel of beautiful lights at night lit up around the restaurants near the water and just being able to walk anywhere and have that true holiday feel. 🙂
    Emma

    1. DaveDave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I love the Hansar – great pool, great suites, great restaurant, great location (steps from Bophut’s shops and restaurants). The only caveat is that the beach directly in front of the hotel is fairly coarse. I happen to like this style of beach but many prefer softer sand and for that you have to walk 5 to 10 minutes to the west (away from town) and the sand gets nicer and nicer. Regardless of the sand, the swimming is great on the entire stretch of beach.

      1. Hotel Impiana on Koh Samui

        Thanks so much Dave – yeah I think we will do the Hansar for 4 nights and then thinking of going to the Impiana for another 4 nights. There aren’t many nice luxury hotels for couples in South Chaweng. The hotels that seemed to look good are ones like the Peace resort, The Hansar, and the Impiana – most other dont seem to have that resort holiday feel (without the kids). What do you think of the Impiana? If we toss up between the Hansar (though I don’t think this has the best beach) where else would you suggest to divide the trip up with soft sand and beautiful beach? Would the Impiana suit something like this? Thanks Dave 🙂

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

          Impiana is a nice hotel (though definitely not luxurious like the Hansar) on Chaweng Noi. It’s a long walk from the center of Chaweng and a 10 minute taxi ride. The beach here is great but not a lot of restaurants. It’s divided from the main Chaweng beach by a rocky headland.

          1. Hansar and Sareeraya

            Hi Dave,

            I have decided on the Hansar but am thinking we might get a little bored there for 8 nights… do you think its a good idea we split the stay and perhaps go over to the Sareeraya? We want luxury but also a beautiful beach thats close to walk to restaurants and shops. So Bophut and the Hansar sounds perfect for this. Just thinking if we should split the stay and maybe stay somewhere else also luxurious on south Chaweng? Centara looks too family orientated and to be honest not that luxurious 🙂 Love to hear your feedback – thanks lovely.
            Emma

          2. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

            Yeah, I would probably split my time between the 2 places. Hansar and Sareeraya have a very different feel. Hansar has more nearby and a trendier funkier feel. Sareeraya has more of a beach feel – it’s quieter but the main nightlife area is a 10 minute walk south along the beach. The Hansar is more luxurious while the Sareeraya has a larger room for similar rates.

          3. Emma

            Hey Dave! What hotel would you stay at for something trendy and luxurious like the Hansar but in south chaweng? I can’t seem to see any good hotels around there that are clean and luxurious. What would you suggest? Thanks 🙂

          4. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

            The Library is the hotel most similar to Hansar. Trendy and fun. Cool beach bar and hip restaurant on the main road (back from the beach). It’s debatable whether this is central or south Chaweng.

          5. Luxury Hotel in South Chaweng

            Hi Dave! After some extensive research on costs and rooms I have found Peace Resort as option one and have booked at 5 nights for $1k. I am looking to go over to South Chaweng way because of the beach being beautiful and relatively close to walk to things. I was wondering your advise and am looking to book a stunning beach view for about $1500 for our other 4 nights. How would you rate these – Nora Beach, Nora Buri, Bhundari, or the Sheraton? I think the Amari Palm is undergoing construction. Would love to hear your thoughts on the best quality of these or others around that price point! Thanks heaps.

          6. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

            Those are all nice hotels but none of them are in South Chaweng. Nori Buri (great resort but not much around it and beach is only so-so), Nori Beach (not quite as nice as Nori Buri but a little closer to central Chaweng and nicer beach), and Bhundari Spa & Resort (nice beach but still not much within a short walk) are in north Chaweng. (There is also a budget hotel called Boundary Chaweng that is in south Chaweng.) The Sheraton is in Chaweng Noi – a small beach area south of south Chaweng (it’s separated from Chaweng by a headland that juts into the water) – and has a great beach. There are a handful of restaurants in Chaweng Noi but you’ll still likely be taking a taxi into central Chaweng for more options.

  61. Zazen, Hansar, or Bo Phut Resort and Spa

    Hi Dave!
    I really enjoy your site. Was hoping you could give me a bit of advice. My fiancé and are heading to Koh Samui from July 19th to July 24th and we are trying to decide on a hotel to book near the fisherman’s village in Bophut. We are currently deciding between Zazen, Hansar, and Bo Phut Resort and Spa. Which would you recommend. I see that you have a lot of good things to say about the first two but i was wondering what you thought about the Bophut Resort and Spa? We are looking to stay somewhere that is romantic and private with a great beach that is good for swimming but we want to be close enough to walk to the fisherman’s village so we can enjoy the food and shops there. Also, i’m a little worried about July as i know the weather isn’t the best that time of year. Does it rain a lot in Koh Samui towards the end of July? Please let me know your thoughts. Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thanks,
    Maria

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Hansar would be my pick but all are very nice. Bo Phut Resort & Spa has a very relaxing and romantic feel (while Hansar is more trendy romantic) and it’s an 8 minute walk along the beach to the shops and Restaurants of Fisherman’s Village. The food is better at Hansar and the pool bar often lively and fun. Hansar is steps from Fisherman’s Village. Zazen is great but a longish walk from Fisherman’s Village – especially at night.

      1. Maria

        Thanks for the info..We booked Hansar! Thanks so much for your help! 🙂

  62. Bangkok, West Coast, East Coast

    Hi Dave,

    Fab site – It’s been a great help in planning my trip! My boyfriend and I are leaving on Monday, here is our plan so far – Bangkok (2 nights) > Koh Samui (4 nights) > Ko Tao (2 nights) > Koh Phangan (2 nights) > Then we plan to leave Koh Phangan and head to Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Lanta and any other small islands close by. We are flying home from Phuket would you say we would be better off to start with the islands and then head to Phuket or do Phuket first and finish up on the islands. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks 🙂

    Hannah

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I would do Bangkok, bus/ferry to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, fly to Krabi, ferry to Koh Lanta, Phi Phi, Phuket, fly home.

      1. Hannah

        We’ve already booked flights from Bangkok to Koh Samui as we wanted to spend Christmas in Samui and wanted to go to Koh Tao before the Full Moon party in Koh Phangan as once that is finished we will then head to Islands/Phuket, so from Koh Phangan were would you suggest first Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Lanta or Krabi?

        Many thanks,
        Hannah

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

          I would recommend flying (as you save a full day of travel) and that would mean a flight from Samui to either Krabi or Phuket. It will probably come down to what’s available as flights fill quickly during the holiday season.

          1. Hannah

            Thanks had a look but not one single direct flight from Koh Samui to Krabi or Phuket is left. So ferry will be our only option I think.

            Many thanks Dave!

  63. Tongsai Bay or Anantara Bophut

    Hi Samui Dave!

    A) You are awesome! Your website is hands down the #1 resource for Samui.
    B) My fiance and I will be on the island the first week of June. We are considering Tongsai Bay or the Anantara Bophut. We had been looking at Zazen, but the reviews say the water is too murky. We like the secludedness of Tongsai, but the ability to walk to the Fisherman’s Village from the Bophut is also enticing. In either case, we want a lovely beach as this is our first trip to any island– much less on in Asia! 🙂 I’m pretty sure I know your recommendation, but I wanted to double check.

    Thanks! Paige

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Personally, I would stay at the Anantara as I like being close to restaurants and bars (and it’s steps to a wide choice of both). The Tongsai does have a better beach and is more secluded and private. Directly in front of the Anantara the beach is nice but the sand is coarse. A short walk (in the opposite direction of town) and you’ll find great sand – it just gets better as you walk west. The Anantara does have more kids and families.

  64. Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi

    hi,

    Firstly what a great informative site- many thanks 🙂

    I’m travelling to Thailand at the end of January for about 3 weeks with my fiance. We plan on spending 2/3 days in Bangkok then making our way to the islands, Koh Tao/Koh Samui, then Koh Phi Phi.
    Firstly – which is the best island to get to from Bangkok? Koh Tao or Koh Samui?
    Secondly – which hotel would you recommend in Koh Samui in Chewang near Ark Bar? We are late 20s couple and don’t want backpacker style but can’t afford the real luxury – something between on the beach.

    Thanks in advance,
    Julie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Koh Samui is the easiest to get to if you fly (it has an airport and Koh Tao doesn’t). If you get a good deal (which could be hard for January as it’s high season and not far away) then it’s not much more than train/bus/ferry and well worth it. The second best choice is train/ferry and though Koh Tao is closer the connections work better for Koh Samui (recommended to do the overnight train with sleeper). If you have to do bus/ferry then Koh Tao is the quickest.

      For a nice hotel with good rates near the Ark Bar (but not too close) try P&P Resort.

  65. Best Town for Older Travelers

    We are a family of 4 (2 seniors). Visiting Ko Samui for the first time in January, Where should be the best place to stay for 4 nights, near to places of interests other than the night life frequented by youngsters?

    Susan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Bophut if you want some night activity and lots of good restaurants, Choeng Mon or Mae Nam if you’re looking for something even slower.

  66. Moonrakers Koh Samui

    HI,
    Very helpful website.
    I found the Moonrakers Samui House at the beach, it looks amazing but have you heard something about it and how is the area there?
    Thanks for your help
    Ana

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Great location if you want a quiet spot on a nice beach. A few good beach restaurants within walking distance and shops and restaurants of Bophut about 10 minutes away by taxi.

  67. How Long is the Bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani

    Hi Dave,
    Another question…how long does it take the bus to travel, on average, from Bangkok to Surat Thani? Thank-you.
    Narelle Aston

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Bus takes about 10 to 12 hours. Most people do it as an overnight. If you do it during the day you’ll arrive at night and there won’t be any ferries (to Koh Samui) until the next morning.

  68. Family Holiday to Chiang Mai and Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,
    I am planning a family holiday, husband + two boys aged 9 & 13 to Thailand. Was considering going to Chiang Mai for say 5 days, then Koh Samui for 7-8 nights. We want to go to the elephant sanctuary, zip-line, ride bikes to villages etc whilst in Chiang Mai. I think I read somewhere that the smoke hazard can be bad during March, so should we still consider Chiang Mai at that time of the year, or leave it for another trip? Thanks for your wonderful blog. Narelle.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes, March can be bad for air quality – but some years it’s not so bad. I wouldn’t call it a hazard (unless you have related health issues) more of a nuisance. Chiang Mai is definitely a better destination for those active outdoor pursuits you’re looking for. Koh Samui does have zip lining but the elephant camps are pretty lame. If you think you’ll be back to Thailand soon that put off the visit. If not then probably worth taking a chance on a few days. Another option is Kanchanaburi which has some of the attributes of Chiang Mai but smaller and closer to Bangkok.

  69. Laem Set Beach

    Hi Dave,

    Congrats on the website. I’ve found myself coming here now and again for information! I’m travelling to Thailand in February with my girlfriend where I’ll be popping the question in Chiang Mai. The 1st 7-10 days will be quite busy so at the end of the holiday (in Koh Samui) I’ve booked one of the ‘Sitara Residences’ near Laem Set beach. I’ve booked this place as it looks amazing and peaceful however on further investigation (should have done this prior to booking) I’ve read that these residences are pretty secluded and away from any of the better beaches or nightlife (Chaweng Beach etc). I’ve booked it as a peaceful retreat and it’s all been arranged but was wondering if you thought that where we’re staying will be a problem with what we want to do or is it still pretty accessible? We won’t mind getting the odd taxi etc within reason as long as our residence isn’t a complete pain to get from and to.

    Thanks
    Nicky Reid

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      It’s definitely a little isolated. You’re looking at 15 minutes to Lamai Beach (not my favorite town on Koh Samui), 30 minutes to Chaweng, 40 to Bophut. When you stay in the quieter areas you get great value for the money so I’m sure your place will be wonderful. So, depends what you’re priorities are. Personally I would stay within walking distance of the main beach towns.

  70. Beach For Honeymoon

    Hi Dave,

    I am planning a trip to koh samui in early/mid december for 4 days. Since I will have limited time, I want to be near a beach has guaranteed white sand and crystal clear water? (taking into account the weather and month) I do not prefer complete isolation but neither the hustle and bustle of overcrowded beaches since its a honeymoon trip.

    We won’t mind a shallow beach as long as we can do some decent swimming (not expert swimmers here) 4-5 ft deep water. Also we want some nightlife / restaurants etc. and decent clubs without the sleaziness associated with thailand.

    any suggestions?

    Ahmad R

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The south end of Chaweng Beach (for example at Poppies Hotel), the west end of Bophut Beach (Zazen Hotel), or anywhere on Choeng Mon (though this might be too quiet for you).

  71. Koh Samui in December

    Hi, firstly i love your blog,
    I hope you can help me a little bit, due to the Egypt crisis and left looking and panicking for another holiday with my husband &amp. We are travelling to Koh Samui (Chaweng) 1st-20th December. I would like a beach front hotel or bungalow/villa and as we are staying for a while I would like something very reasonable, I would also like your advice about maybe staying somewhere else for maybe 5 days or so (instead of being at the same place incase its not nice) and i noticed you mentioned Koh Phangan to someone. I hope you can help its a very important holiday many thanks, Julie.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Chaweng Beachcomber Hotel is very nice and one of the cheaper hotels on Chaweng Beach. Yes, Koh Phanang is wonderful and I highly recommend it. 5 days minimum to really get into the vibe and relax over there. The boat trip from Samui is short and there are many every day. Head north for the best beaches on Koh Phangan.

  72. Accommodation with Kitchen

    Dave,

    My husband and I will be on Koh Samui at the end of February. We are looking for nice moderately priced accommodation with a kitchen (three weeks into our trip, we will be tired of eating out every day – and we love cooking in other countries). From the great information on this site I think Bophut or Choeng Mon would suit us best. Would you have any recommendations?
    Maureen

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Thais eat a majority of their meals out (usually at a street stall) so kitchens are surprisingly rare in Thailand. But certainly there are some rentals with kitchens. Go to booking.com and with the filters on the left select kitchen – you’ll get several reasonable choices but they will not be on the beach.

  73. Luxury Hotel with Kids on Koh Samui

    Dear Dave,

    I am going to Koh Samui in Feb with my 3 kids (aged 11, 14 and 18) and partner, we are looking for a lovely hotel on a gorgeous beach. peaceful with not much around, but where we can walk along the beach to bars or to get a taxi into town. I last went to Koh Samui 20 years ago!! I have looked at Anantara Bo Phut, Vana Belle, Zazen, Sala Samui or the Conrad, where would you recommend or do you know anywhere else?? thank you, your website is fab!

    Sara

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      All are great hotels. Anantara is the best for close proximity to bars and restaurants of Bophut (nothing too happening like in Chaweng but still plenty of fun to be had). Zazen is on the same beach but another 10 or 15 minute walk along the sand. From both the Vana Belle and Sala Samui you’d need a short taxi ride. The Conrad is a long way from any nightlife – go here only if you’re looking for quiet and seclusion (but great place).

    2. Low Tide on Koh Samui

      Hi dave, i was in Samui and KPG in May and experienced very low tides, versus the east coast at Kata Beach where I enjoyed deeper water and good swiiming. Is this a issue year round on the east?

      1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

        No, it’s not year round and only a problem from late April to late May – just a handful of weeks and only on some beaches. Chaweng, for example, almost never has this problem.

  74. Beach at Nora Buri Resort and Spa

    We are heading to Koh Samui in March 2016. I was wondering what your opinion is about Nora Buri Resort and Spa? I noticed you said that the beach turns marshy as you head north. Does that include this far north?

    Justin Bahrie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The beach at Nora Buri Resort is not great for swimming – too rocky and shallow – but it does make a nice view. The pools are wonderful at Nora Buri. Chaweng is a 30 minute walk along the beach (there is a portion where you have to walk in the water) or a 5 minute taxi ride.

  75. Koh Samui and Koh Phangan

    Dave,

    Thank you very much for all of the information and time you have spent on this blog. Very informative! My brother (24 y/o) and I (31 y/o) will be traveling to Koh Samui either on 12/29 or 12/30 for about 6 nights. We would like to be centrally located near restaurants and bars, but also have beach access during the day. Ideally we would prefer to stay within 2000 and ~5000 Baht price range. Any recommendations would be much appreciated. Also would you recommend that we split our time in the South and maybe stay 2/3 nights on Koh Samui and the other 2/3 nights on Koh Phangan?

    Thank you, in advance, for your input. Very much appreciated.

    – Jon

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I love Koh Phangan but I don’t think it’s worth it for just 2 or 3 nights. It’s a place you want to stay for 5 to 10 or more days. On Koh Samui, Chaweng is where you want to stay to be close to the nightlife (lots of hotels listed above).

  76. Surat Thani to Koh Samui

    Hi .. I’ll be landing at the Surat Thani airport. How can I get from Surat Thani to Koh Samui?

    Iffa

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      You walk out the doors of the Surat Thani airport and to the left you’ll see the bus that will take you to the ferry port (buy bus/ferry combo tickets inside the airport). From there you’ll get a ferry to Koh Samui. The whole journey from airport to Koh Samui takes about 2.5 hours (not including waiting time). Be sure that your flight lands in Surat Thani before 3pm – or you won’t have time to catch the last ferry to Koh Samui. It’s much easier/better to fly directly to Koh Samui if possible – but the cheapest flights to Koh Samui are to Surat Thani.

  77. Good Hotel near to Nightlife

    Hi

    I am coming to Ko Samui on November 28th for my 10th anniversary.

    Budget not being a constraint; which hotel shall I book.

    I want to enjoy the resort during daytime and also the night life at nights.

    Thanks
    Harshit Shah

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Look for something in Chaweng as that’s where most of the nightlife is. Poppies and the Library are both very nice hotels walking distance to the clubs along the beach (Library is 5 minute walk, Poppies 15).

  78. Bhundhari Spa and Resort on Koh Samui

    Dear Dave,

    Fantastic website! We all are very thankful to you.

    Can you please give us some idea about the Bhundhari Spa and Resort? Many people from my country are highly recommending it.

    Many thanks,
    Don

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      It’s a nice place and very good value for what you get. Very nice villas. But it is off on it’s own and not really within walking distance of Chaweng (about 30 minute walk, 5 minutes by taxi). The beach here is not great so you’ll mainly be at the pool. If that’s what you’re looking for then it’s a good choice.

  79. Sarann or Mantra Samui, Close to Nightlife

    Hi there,

    I would like to ask between the Sarann resorts & Mantra Samui resorts, which one is better for shopping and nightlife? Or is there any other choice near the nightlife? Im looking for jacuzzi with ocean views. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Liqi

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Neither are walking distance to nightlife but they are a short taxi ride from the nearest town. Mantra is close to Bophut (trendy, quiet nightlife) and Sarann is close to Chaweng with more of a party scene.

  80. Good, Intimate Hotel on Koh Samui

    Hi Dave, what a great blog thanks. We visited Koh Samui for the first time this year with a group of 6. My partner and I loved it so much we have booked again for 10 nights in July, 2016. We stayed at Nora Beach resort which we really enjoyed. The travel agent suggested Centra Grand, but I think it is too big and has too many kids (going on what others have said).

    Can you recommend somewhere that is a little more intimate for a couple but also close enough to everything. We don’t mind Chaweng or otherwise. Thanks for your help

    Geenz

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Poppies is a great hotel and much smaller than the Centara, but still in the same area – close to everything and a great beach.

  81. Hotels in Koh Phangan and Koh Samui

    Dear Dave
    Your blogg is top notch 😉
    I am going to Thailand together with my girlfriend this Autumn, and I have some questiones
    We have more or less decided to og too Koh Samui 6 days and Koh Phangan 6 days
    The hotel we have chosen the first 6 days are Santhaya Koh Phangang, I feel quite comfy with this Choice 🙂
    Litle bit more unsure which hotel we shall choose in Koh Samui, we have landed on three options:
    1 Peace Resort Bophut
    2 The Scent Hotel Bang Rak
    3 Samui Paradise Chaweng Beach
    Which one do you recomend for a grown romantic couple with young minds?
    We have 3 possible dates when we can travel 21/11 or 28/11 or 5/12 our stay will toatly be 14 days
    will there be big changes in the weather during this period? Since we live in Norway we realy
    need as nice weahter as possible, he he.

    Looking forward to hear Your reply, and we are open for tip and suggestions.

    BR
    Rune and Cathrine

    Hope you can

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Peace Resort would be my first choice but it largely depends whether you want to be in Chaweng (more nightlife and shopping) or Bophut (trendier and quieter). The Scent is not in Bophut and feels a little isolated but is still within a 20 minute walk.

      The weather gets better the from early December onwards so the later dates would (probably) be better.

      1. Rune

        Hi David
        Thanks for your answer 😉

        Finally we are arriving the 29/11 and booked the fist 6 days at Shantaya in Koh Phangan.
        The last week, we followed your advice and booked the Peace Resort, Bophut.

        Hoping on good weather and a fantastic holiday.

        Keep up the good work with this page 🙂

        Rune and Chatrine

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

          There has been rain but lots of sun too throughout November. The weather usually turns for the better by early December so with a little luck you should have a great holiday. And if there are some rain storms … don’t let it get you down. It will pass.

  82. Escape Beach Resort or Coco Palm

    Dave,

    Fantastic website. Thank you for the helpful information.

    I am looking at 9 romantic nights in Koh Samui 24 December to 2 January. Eden House and Smile House are both Sold out for those dates. Now looking at Escape Beach Resort and Coco Palm Beach Resort.

    Any suggestions. Budget of THB of 5000 per night. Looking for Calm waters. Pubs and eateries but not crazy party.
    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,

    David Maestri

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Escape Resort is slightly nicer than Coco Palm – but is more remote and does not have as nice a beach as Coco Palm. Coco Palm is still in a quiet area of Mae Nam but does have a handful of restaurants within walking distance.

  83. Mid-range Hotel on Beach close to Restaurants

    Hi Dave!

    Great blog and informative!

    My boyfriend and I are thinking of going to Koh Samui end of October for 12 nights. Can you recommend a mid range beach front hotel with nice sandy beach and close to shops and restaurants. We don’t want to walk too much to shops and restaurants as my boyfriend is recovering from a leg injury. We’ll be spending most of our time on the beach. Is Chaweng the most suitable for our needs?

    Thanks.
    Jo

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both the Chaweng Buri and the Baan Samui have nice beaches out in front and are a short walk to both restaurants and beach nightlife. Chaweng is where you want to be (the most walkable to the widest variety of places).

  84. Vana Belle or Hansar

    Dear Dave
    Can’t decide between Vana Belle or Hansar. I’m heading to Koh Samui for a week. First staying in Kamalaya on my own and then meeting with some friends. Vana Belle’s pricing is high, but I like the idea that its close to night life. Any thoughts?

    Thanks
    H

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Vana Belle has a nicer beach directly in front of the property but is in a quieter area than the Hansar. From Hansar you can walk out the door to many low-key bars (but no clubs), not so for Vanna Belle. Both hotels are a taxi ride away from the real nightlife in Chaweng.

  85. Inexpensive Hotel for Family

    Hi Dave, what a great website! I was wondering if you could recommend a good place to stay for us in April. We will be travelling with our 6 year old daughter, and I can see you recommended Centara Grand to other family in your comments, but it looks quite expensive for us. Is there anywhere you know that is still good for kids, walking distance to everything and not as expensive? Many thanks, Tanya.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Beach Front Villa at Chaweng Beachcomber Hotel is great and not nearly as expensive as the Centara. This is not a luxury hotel, of course, but has a great location, nice pool, and is walking distance from many restaurants.

  86. Taxi from Airport to Bophut

    Hi Dave,
    Great Website…
    We arriving on Monday and just want to know the best option for arranging transport/taxi from airport to BoPhut.
    Is it best to just hail cab outside or pre-arrange something in advance?

    Thanks

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      No need to prearrange a ride from the airport. You hire a car right from the airport arrivals area. They’re not taxis (usually SUVs) and there are plenty of them.

  87. Hotel near Indian Restaurant

    Hi Dave

    We are group of 8 adults and 5 children travelling to Koh Samui from 17th to 20 September. Which areas do u suggest keeping in mind we are from India, we would want Indian resturants close to the property. I have shortlisted couple of properties, it would very kind of you to keep your valuable thoughts regarding the same.
    1) Samui Beach Village Resort
    2) Briza Beach Resort

    Or any other hotels you can suggest?

    Regards
    Manu Agarwal

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There are several Indian restaurants around the island (Briza is closer to the ones I know). The best on the island is Noori in Chaweng but there also 2 in Bophut area and 1 in Mae Nam.

  88. Banyan Tree on Koh Samui

    Hi Dave, what a great website!
    Me and my husband are spending 10 nights in Samui after 6 nights in Bangkok and Chang Mai, but I can’t decide where to stay. There seem to be so many good hotels. I’m looking for luxury on a nice beach, I don’t want to be hassled on the beach or walking to restaurants. We want peace and quiet but like eating out and happy to get a taxi if needs be. I’ve looked at The Banyan Tree and although it looks great the prices we have been quoted make it very very expensive. Can you recommend something? If the Banyan Tree hits the mark then I don’t mind paying, but if there is a slightly cheaper alternative?
    Thanks.
    Nadine McCarthy-Jones

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Banyan Tree is wonderful, and yes, it’s worth the money. Only caveat is that you will be taking a taxi to have dining choices or nightlife. There are many great hotels on Samui though – I’ve listed my favorites above, let me know if you have questions about any specific property.

  89. Banana Fan Sea Resort or Buri Rasa Village in Chaweng

    We are going to Bangkok for 3 nights then on to Koh Samui for 10 nights, first 2 weeks in June 2016, we cannot decide weather to stay at Banana Fan Sea Resort or Buri Rasa Village in Koh Samui. Are they both within walking distance to restaurants and do both have nice beaches? Please let me know your opinion. Denise

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both have wonderful beaches and are an easy walk to lots of restaurants and beach nightlife (Buri Rasa is slightly closer to the action but no great difference). Buri Rasa is a little smaller, Banana Fan Sea slightly more resort-like and has a larger pool.

  90. Hotel with Kids Club and Great Beach

    Hi Dave, thanks for your great site, it’s my one stop shop. My wife and I and our 5 year old daughter are travelling to Ko Samui January 7, 2016 – January 17, 2016 and are confused where to stay also. We have narrowed it to either Bophut or Chewang. We dont mind it being busy as long as it’s not like Patong. We would like a resort close to beach and restaurants, shops and ideally a really good kids club. Are you able to assist?
    many thanks, Troy.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Centara Grand on Chaweng has one of the best kids club on Koh Samui, a great beach, large pool, and is an easy walk to lots of restaurants. (Chaweng is nothing like Patong. Lively nightlife, but no seediness unless you’re really looking for it.)

  91. Day Trip to Full Moon Party

    Hi Dave,

    First of all, excellent job an an excellent website. Thank you for all the information.

    I will be traveling with friends to Thailand for the Full Moon Party in January 2016. We are thinking of staying in Koh Samui and taking the ferry over on the day of the party. However, I see nothing but horror stories of unorganized, unsafe trips. Is there any carrier that you recommend and don’t see an issue with for travelling from Koh Samui to Haad Rin on the day of the Full Moon Party?

    Thank you!

    Chris

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I would only use ferries (the most handy leave from Mae Nam) to get to Koh Phangan one day and return the next. I would not use any private services or speed boats (even though I’m sure some are fine but you’ll never know which until you take them).

  92. Quiet Beautiful Beach in Thailand

    Hi Dave planning on trip to thailand 8th to 19th november. after a couple of nights in bangkok want to go to beach for 7 days chill out. Which beach is quiet, pretty, nice weather, with beach access from hotel?
    Julie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Choeng Mon is exactly what you’re looking for. (But can’t promise the weather will be great in November.)

  93. Stay in Chaweng or Bophut

    Hi Dave

    Fabulous website, been really helpful in narrowing down where to stay. Can you help me though as I’m stuck. I love the sound of the beaches at Chawang and dining on beach in the evening, but think I prefer the sound of fisherman’s village as don’t like mad busy towns. Should I stay in a quiet part of Chawang or stay in Fisherman’s Village and Bophut?

    Thanks in advance, Kate

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      In Chaweng you’ll tend to spend a majority of your time on the beach (beach restaurants and bars) and the town is easy to avoid if you want to. In Bophut you’ll probably spend more time on the streets and alleys of Fisherman’s Village (when you’re not around the pool or suntanning) as that’s where the bars and restaurants are. So, that’s the big difference.

  94. Hansar, Tongsai Bay, and Poppies

    Hi Dave,

    My partner and I really can’t decide between Hansar, Tongsai Bay and Poppies. Last time in Samui we stayed in Chaweng and loved the beach. But after your comments about Hansar, we are curious to try. And then there’s Tongsai Bay which has amazing reviews on TripAdvisor and it’s own private beach and in a good location between Fisherman’s Village and Chaweng.

    What do you suggest? Is Poppies a bit tired now? The reviews are positive but the Bungalows look small and old.
    James

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I love all 3 hotels. I recently took a look at Poppies and it’s still looking great. Tongsai Bay is isolated in comparison to the others but is the most luxurious. Hansar has a great location and trendy vibe.

  95. Bhoput, Choeng Mon, or Chaweng with Baby

    Hi Dave,
    My wife & I plus our 10-month old baby are going to Samui in mid-September for 5 days. Can’t decide between Bhoput / Choeng Mon / Chaweng (either south or north, a little far away from the noisy area). We plan to take it easy mostly, and with a very young baby, I think we will be spending most of the time in the hotel / resort. Of course, we would go walk on the beach, go out to restaurants, maybe walk around a little bit, etc. Hotel / resort that is right on the beach would be great, sea view room is a plus. With around 2,500 THB budget, where can we stay at which the hotel / resort itself is great to stay in, not near the noisy area at night, and at the same time quite easy to walk or short taxi ride to establishments.

    Really appreciate your inputs! Thanks!

    Shah

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Bophut is the best of the 3 (by far) for taking a stroller out for dinner. Choeng Mon has the most kid-friendly beach – very shallow calm water. Chaweng has the most dining options and casual beach restaurants to relax at.

      1. Shah

        Hi Dave,
        Thanks for your comment. With budget of not more than 3,000 THB, Peace Resort or Eden Bungalow seems nice to us, just wished we could have sea view as well. If we go with Bophut it will be either of these options.

        Is the section between south of Chaweng Noi and Lamai (where Banyan Tree is) completely isolated? Seems like it is also known as Coral Cove/Crystal Bay. Sarann seems nice but I want to be able to still walk to say a simple restaurant or Family Mart, and short taxi ride to the Chaweng or nearest concentration of establishments.

        Seems like we can get better rooms (bigger, even sometime with sea view) somewhere in Lamai or further down in section called Maret or Bangrak/Big Buddha section. What are you thoughts on these areas?

        Shah

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

          The area south of Chaweng down to Lamai is somewhat isolated (I wouldn’t say completely). There is stuff scattered along that road like the odd restaurant and Family Mart but for the most part plan on taking a taxi anytime you want to do something. I am not fond of Lamai but the beaches south of there are nice. Of course, that makes Lamai the closest town and the most likely spot to go for dinner – much better to be close to Chaweng or Bophut.

  96. Where To Stay on Koh Samui with 3 Kids

    Hi Dave,
    I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog! So much info! I’m heading to Koh Samui for a work holiday in October and we’re staying at Centara Grand for 7 days. I’m looking into flying my family over (husband and 3 kids, 12,10,8) at the end of my trip so we can have a family holiday together. This will be our first ever asian holiday so I want to make sure I get it right. Hubby is reluctant to go overseas after a bad experience in Bali when her was 19 so we want to be somewhere that is clean, not too crazy busy and just somewhere where we can experience another culture without it being too overwhelming.
    Would you recommend we stay on at Chaweng or somewhere else? Not interested in nightlife, some water sports would be good, and hopeflly we will just get out and do a few day trips. Also, I’m tossing up whether to just book Centara seeing as I’m already there or look into somewhere different…. What can you recommend for a family with kids between 8-12?
    Michelle

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Centara is wonderful for families. Nice location – quiet yet walking distance along the beach to many places to eat. There’s a water park (floating play structures that you climb upon and jump off) that is along the beach just north of the Centara. There are also places to do other water sport activities. Obviously, lots of other good hotels too, but can’t go wrong with the Centara – especially if you’re priorities lie with safe, clean hotel with western-standards.

  97. Best Luxury Beach Hotel on Koh Samui

    Dear Dave,

    Thank you so much for this blog. Very informative.

    What is the best luxury beach front hotel in Koh Saumui? My husband and I are traveling end of August unitl Sep 6th. I am concerned about the Four Seasons beach at this time of the year. Does the Banyan Tree have a better beach? I am hesitant on both hotels actually as I prefer more traditional Thai style boutique hotels but unfortunately was not able to find the best one in Koh Samui. Any suggestions for a super luxury hotel with great beach access would be very helpful. Looking for great views, beaches, food. If it is close enough to a good part of town for shopping and a night out to eat in a restaurant would be a huge plus. Not interested in clubs/bars etc. Are there beaches we should avoid at this time of the year (end of August/ beginning?

    Thanks for your input.

    Tina

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Banyan Tree has a nicer beach and better swimming than the Four Seasons. The Four Seasons has better views and one of the best restaurants on Koh Samui (and sunset views from the restaurant, but not the villas). The Banyan Tree is closer to Chaweng and nightlife but not walking distance (15 minutes by taxi to Chaweng). The Vana Belle is also very nice and on an even better stretch of beach with a few restaurants within walking distance. The Hansar is one of my favorites on Koh Samui with many restaurants and low-key bars within a very short walk. Good beach in front of the hotel but for really nice sand you need to walk west for 5 to 10 minutes along the beach. The Centara and Poppies in Chaweng are 2 more very nice hotels that are in south Chaweng: great beach and easy walk to many restaurants. The Four Seasons and Banyan Tree are true 5 star hotels. Vana Belle, Hansar, and Centara are 4.5 stars (in my mind). Poppies is a 4 star.

  98. Hotels in Bophut and Chaweng

    Hi Dave,
    Very informative Blog..
    I’m another confused soul..

    Travelling to Koh Samui for the first time with my parents, husband, and a child (age 4). I’m unable to choose a hotel. I’ve been researching a lot on Chewang and Bophut. Ideally I would like to stay in a nice beach front hotel that has some restaurants at walking distance, or just outside the hotel, since we wont be eating at the hotel all the time. Which area would you suggest Bophut or Chewang? I understand Hansar, Anantara at Bophut are good hotels, but are there restaruants nearby or just outside the hotel? Centara and Anantara at Chewang also looks like good options. Please suggest which one to go for.

    Secondly, Sheraton, I understand that the renovation is over but does it have restaurant’s nearby or is it very quite area?

    Thanks in Advance…

    Ritu

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Chaweng has more nightlife and more restaurants on the beach. Bophut has a more upscale feel and bars/restaurants are more on streets (near the beach but not on the beach). Hansar and Bophut Anantara have many restaurants within a 5 minute walk. Centara has some (but not as many) restaurants within 5 minutes. Anantara Chaweng and Sheraton have very few restaurants within a short walk.

      1. Ritu

        Thanks a lot for your reply..

        So which hotel would you suggest in Chewang, apart from Lawana. It looks like a nice resort but nothing close nearby is kind of a deal breaker. Honestly speaking. Centara looks bit old.

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

          I like the Centara a lot. It never feels old to me. It does feel a bit too “resort-like” for my tastes (at times). The beach is great. Poppies is nearby and also nice (not quite as luxurious). The Library is another great hotel on Chaweng beach. The sand isn’t quite as nice there (though still good) but there is a lot more nightlife and restaurants just out the door.

  99. How To Get from Koh Samui to Bangkok by Boat

    We want to take a boat from Koh Samui all the way to Bangkok and avoid switching from ferry to bus/train/plane.

    Any advice for us?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Buy a boat.

  100. Where To Change Money on Koh Samui

    Hi Dave – thanks for the informative site, it helped me no end in finding accommodation ( Kings Garden ) at a great locality. Well that is yet to be established as we are in Koh Samui for the first time 25 Sept-3 Oct, but feel confident we have made a good decision. ONE QUERY – we have some us$100 bills which we wish to convert to baht – which is the best bank or other? There appears to be quite a disparity between advertised/indicative rates so some advice would be appreciated. Cheers Max

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Here’s how it works with money changers: There are basically 2 kinds. One kind advertises the best rates but then charges high fees. The other kind advertises “no fees” but has lower rates. The best you can do is take your money to the desk and ask them to show (usually on a calculator) exactly how much you’ll receive back. That’s the best way to get the best rate – just get them to commit to a certain final rate. As for actual banks or businesses there won’t be much difference (as long as you’re getting the best rate). But whatever you do, don’t change in retail stores or at your hotel – they have absolutely terrible exchange rates. Good luck.

  101. Chaweng or Bophut

    This site is absolutely brilliant……thanks so much for all the really helpful tips and details.
    So my question is….3 couples (50’s) travelling to Samui later this month……we were last in Samui about 10 years ago but have been told that Chewang has become a lot more commercialised. Given that we want to be able to sit on the beach at night just enjoying chill out music without loads of youngsters around would you recommend that we go to Bophut instead of Chewang this time?
    Your advise will be much appreciated!
    Regards
    Lisa Maynard

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I still think Chaweng is the better choice for nightlife along the beach. Bophut has some cool bars but most are in Fisherman’s Village, not on the sand. In Chaweng all the best nightlife is along the beach. It centers around ARK Bar but if that’s too loud, young, or obnoxious all you do is walk north or south (usually north) from there and find something more lowkey. There’s a wide range of places and so many that you’re bound to find something you like. And even ARK Bar isn’t that crazy. I was there playing pool with my kids until 9 or 10 at night a few months back and it was fun (as long as you like loud music).

  102. Private Villa with Pool on Chaweng

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the blog it is very helpful as this is my first time travelling to Koh Samui and it has been very useful in gaining information! I am still however trying to decide where to stay! I am travelling with my boyfriend and from what you have written in your blog i think Chaweng would be ideal for us. Im looking for a beautiful beach front apartment, possibly a private villa with a pool where we can relax but also be near the bars and restaurants. I dont want to spend more than $300AU a night with breakfast. Any recommendations?

    Thanks in advance!
    Jessica Miglis

  103. Nice, Romantic Hotel

    Hi Dave! Congrats for your site! IT’s very useful!!

    I’ve been searching for a hotel in Koh Samui for a long time, and still feel I havent found the perfect one for me.

    I’ll be traveling around Hong Kong, Singapore and then Bangkok so I wish my days in Koh Samui to be perfect. I’ll only stay there for 4 nights. And my max budget is 300€/4 nights, 11.500 THB for the all stay (bed and breakfast).

    I want a perfect beach (swimmable), clean bungalows with AC, wifi free, beachfront prefer, with cheap motorbike rental (I heard that it would cost 5€ or 200 THB) romantic mood, because I’ve always dreamed travelling to an island like this. I dont need anything too fancy, more typical and not too big resort with good and cheap services inside the resort.
    I think Bo Phut is better for me or even Lamai. I don’t want Chaweng since i think it’s more messy for what i’m looking for.
    This is what i saw better for me:

    – Eden Beach Bungallows although it’s more expensive than what i was searching, but it’s so cute the style of the whole hotel…maybe this is what I thought when i chose to go to Samui.
    – Saboey Resort, better for my budget, without a doubt
    – Eden Bungallows
    – Smile House
    – Fisherman’s Village

    I’m going crazy on choosing one among so many different resorts and reviews, some people are also telling me to choose koh phangan instead of koh samui but i don’t want that because for me to return it’s going to be very exhausting. I’ll have to travel to Surat Thani (ferry+bus), take the flight to Bangkok and then to Hong Kong. then the next day i’ll fly to Madrid (Spain) 16 hours total time onyl for this flight.
    I’m afraid i’ll take too long when i’ll exit the hotel and miss the flight from surat thani to bangkok. Also because i’ve had the best reviews from Koh Samui.

    Do you think you can help this crazy woman? 🙂

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I would go with Eden House (right on the beach) or Smile House (across the road from the beach but a nicer property than Eden).

  104. Mantra Samui Resort

    Hi mate,

    Staying in Koh Samui for 9 days after Bangkok and looking at Mantra Samui Resort. Is this far from the main nightlife in Chaweng as will be wanting to go out several nights? It offers free shuttle buses and possibly renting a scooter. Also what is the hotel like?
    Thanks
    Karl Carney

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Great place and good-value luxury – but you’re not walking distance to any beach or nightlife. You’ll need to take a taxi (or the free shuttle) wherever you go. Chaweng (where most of the nightlife is located) is a 15-20 minute drive away.

  105. Renting a Villa in Koh Samui

    Hi Dave!

    Thanks for all the great info on your blog! We are planning a holiday with our two young children, and would like to rent a villa in Koh Samui, or in Phuket at the beginning of January 2016.

    Do you recommend any websites ?

    Thanks !!

    Severine Odoni

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I’d use Booking.com for finding villas. Good maps, usually lots of pictures, and the best rates. You’ll also find reviews from verified guests (unlike some sites where anyone can leave a review).

  106. 6 Weeks in Thailand

    Hi, I am going to Thailand for 6 weeks on the 6th April 2016. I am hoping to go into Cambodia/Vietnam and possibly fly to Hong Kong. Then return to do a bit of island hopping. I am looking at Chaing Mai, Krabi, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tao, Ko Poda, Ko Chang, Ko Pha Ngan. Is 6 weeks enough time for this? I am hoping to possibly root myself someehwre for the last 5-7 days, which island or place would you recommend……not to noisy, not to quite. Not been to Thailand before and trying to fit as much in as possible.

    Thanks

    Lisa Lee

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      That is a very busy itinerary – but doable. Some people like keeping on the move, some don’t. Many choices for a quiet island. I love Koh Samui so will recommend it wholeheartedly. Some busy spots, but very easy to get away from the action and have a beach nearly to yourself – especially in April or May.

  107. Chiang Mai to Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,
    I am planning on visiting koh samui in early september and will be coming down from Chiang Mai. Is the simplest way to do this journey to fly? I plan on vegging out on a nice beach and relaxing for a few days (weather permitting) and doing some trips to ko ang thong, and general exploring around the island. I am not interested in a huge party scene, although a night out or two would be ok. I am a sole female traveller on a low – medium budget, do you have any suggestions for a good base for me? i am currently looking at a beach side hostel just outside of Lamai.
    Many thanks!
    Katherine

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes, flying is definitely the quickest easiest way to Koh Samui from Chiang Mai. There are a few direct flights to Samui from C.M. but you need to book very early to get them. I am not very fond of the Lamai area and even though you’ll be outside of it, if you’re nearby you end up there a lot whether you like it or not. I’d recommend Mae Nam or Chaweng for good quality budget/moderate hotels.

  108. Luxury Hotel with View, Private Pool, Nice Beach, and Walkable to Restaurants

    Hi Dave!

    My new husband and I are planning to hit Koh Samui for a week in September. We originally were interested in Six Senses because of the views and private pools, but now we are worried it may be a little too remote. Would love a place with gorgeous views, private pool, nice beach, and walkable to other restaurants bars. Is there anything you can suggest that will fit the bill? Would love to hear your thoughts!

    Thanks in advance!
    Vanessa

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Vana Belle on Chaweng Noi beach.

  109. Trendy Up Market Hotel in Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    I am thinking of planning a trip to Kho Samui. Can you please let me know the best place to stay. I’m not interested in a night life or hawkers on the beach. I am interested in good restaurants, trendy up market areas and a nice beach.

    There is a good deal on at Infinity Villas in Maenam however I am not sure if Maenam is what I am after or what the reputation of Infinity is like? Can you please let me know which area would suit best. I might be mistaken about Maenam?

    Cheers Dave!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I would recommend Bophut. Great restaurants and cool bars/clubs (but nothing crazy). Would recommend the Hansar for a great hotel but need to walk a little along the beach for the best sand or Zazen, great beach but need to walk a little to get into town. Also many places in between that are wonderful. Mae Nam is also nice but much quieter.

    2. The Sheraton After Renovation

      Thanks for the great site. I was wondering if you have had a chance to check out the “new” Sheraton and if they have really finished their renovation. How is their beach and would you recommend it for a family who wants fun for the kids but luxury for the adults? How does it compare with either Vana Belle or the Anantara in Bophut?

      Nina

      1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

        The Sheraton has reopened but is not totally done with renovation. The kids club, for example, is running but still waiting for some of its equipment. The Sheraton has a quiet location and is not in Chaweng proper. It’s a taxi ride to the main strip of shops and restaurants in Chaweng. The Vana Belle is on the same beach and is more luxurious but less kid friendly. The Anantara has a much more central location than the others and is also very kid-friendly. I would go with the Anantara Bophut myself.

  110. Anantara Bophut or the Hansar

    Dave,

    Thank you for all your helpful information. My wife, two daughter (13 and 11) are going to Koh Samui in early September. Based on what I have read on your site, I am leaning toward staying at the Anantara Boput or the Hansar. We were offered a pool suite at the Anantara. Any thoughts on these rooms? Any preference between the two hotels? Or any other hotels you might recommend. Ideally we would like to stay in the same room. Looking for nice hotel within walking distance of restaurants, pubs, etc. I hate eating in a hotel where I am staying. It is my kids first time in Thailand and I want to make sure they have a great experience. Thanks for your help.

    Ben

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The pool suites at the Anantara are a better choice for a family of 4. Both hotels are very close to shops and restaurants (steps, really). The restaurant at the Hansar is great and worth a visit even if you don’t stay. I also prefer the pool at the Hansar but there is a more family-friendly vibe at the Anantara.

  111. Hotels near Fisherman's Village in Koh Samui

    Hi Dave…

    Great blog, so informative!!
    Myself and my girlfriend will be travelling from Koh Tao to Surat Thani and think that we will stop in Koh Samui for a night or two to break up the trip. We want to treat ourselves a little bit so we are thinking about the higher-end resorts in Fishermans Village.
    Can you recommend a resort? Also, do you think we should do one or two nights and will there be much effort in getting from the ferry to Fishermans Village?

    Thanks
    Brian

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I’m not sure where you’re arriving at in Koh Samui (probably Mae Nam) but getting around the island is easy in any case. Two of my favorite hotels in Bophut are the Hansar and Zazen (depending on whether you want to be closer to Fisherman’s Village or on a better stretch of beach).

  112. Which Luxury Hotel in Koh Samui?

    Hi Dave. Who are you? You are the best resource for information all over the globe. Do you have a book deal yet? 😀

    Thanks for all of this valuable information (and for Bangkok!)! You really are a treasured knowledge source and is a perfect summary for people like me who are completely indecisive. It’s our first time traveling to Thailand and we chose Koh Samui to visit in September. I noticed in your comments that Sala, although a 5 star resort, doesn’t have the 5 star feel as compared to a place like Tongsai. Either option would require a cab to Chaweng, as would Hansar, but has one of your favorite restaurants. Why do you say Sala is not as private as Tongsai? And is the only drawback to Hansar the coarse sand?

    I love infinity pools with the sea in the background, a room with a view, close to restaurants by foot or by bike (strolling along the beach to get a cocktail and food is most appealing of Sala), and really awesome service, and not geared towards families. Tall order? We plan on exploring during our four night stay, so don’t want to be totally isolated like some of the other resorts

    What say you oh wise one? Should I think about a different hotel altogether? I think the Library isn’t the best value, but would be great to visit for the bar and restaurant you mention above. So looking forward to your input. Thanks so much!

    Tiffany

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      From what you describe I would definitely say the Hansar. It has a great location and lots of restaurants and trendy clubs just out your door. The beach with finer sand is a short walk in the other direction. Though it does allow kids, it has the most adult vibe of any hotel in that area. If you’re looking to be walk distance to the action then Sala or Tongsai aren’t the answer.

  113. Koh Tao to Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,

    My girlfriend and I are going to Koh Samui for one night to break up the trip back to Surat Thani from Koh Tao.
    Can you recommend where we should go to chill out for one day? Probably not very far away from the ferry as we don’t want to use up too much time, but we would still like a nice beach..

    Thanks
    Brian

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Ferries from Koh Tao to Koh Samui stop in 3 different ports: Bangrak, Mae Nam, and Nathon. Mae Nam is the only one with a good beach. Samui Buri is the best resort on the western stretch of Mae Nam (where the ferry docks). Nice beach and beautiful pool. (For better and cheaper food leave the resort and walk along the back roads behind the resort – there are several good places within a few minutes walk.) As you’re leaving the ferry turn left on the beach and the Samui Buri is a short walk along the beach (though not so short if you have a lot of luggage – taxis are available if needed). If you want a hotel that’s a little cheaper Cocopalm Beach Resort is a very short walk in the opposite direction.

  114. Silavadee Resort near Lamai

    Hi Dave,
    Coming to Samui and looking at staying at Silavadee Pool and Spa resort but have a couple of questions:
    1) what is the private beach there like (sand quality and swimming)?
    2) how feasible is walking out to a selection of places for dinner (presumably Lamai) in an evening?
    3) if answer to 2 is not very, how much should I budget for taxis to/from dinner each evening?
    Thanks, and compliments on a great site!
    Andrew R

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Beach is ok/good but better beaches are a short walk away. Walking to Lamai is not practical but you can get a taxi for 200 to 300 baht. It’s also cheaper if you walk to the main road (that runs from Chaweng to Lamai) and hop on a songthaew.

  115. Banyan Tree or Tongsai Bay

    I’m glad that I’ve found this site. Very helpful! Dave, can you compare Banyan Tree and Tongsai Bay? I will be travelling at the end of July – early August with two active, sportive daughters (11 and 9 y.o.) and a husband who has worked very hard, what he wants to do on holiday is laying on the beach with a nice book. Thank you in advance for your advice.
    Anastasia

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Tongsai Bay has a more traditional Thai feel with a eco/nature vibe. The beach is a little nicer. Neither resort are great for walking to much of anything (sort of isolated) but I do prefer the location of Tongsai Bay as it’s close to Chaweng and Bophut whereas Banyan Tree is between Chaweng and Lamai (and Lamai is my least favorite town on Samui). That said, Banyan Tree is the more luxurious of the 2 resorts and has a higher level of service.

  116. Zazen or Tongsai Bay

    Thank you so much for this site. My wife and I are planning a honeymoon to Samui (among other places) in early July. We are spending a few days in Lamai and then want to try another location for a few days. We are between Zazen and Tongsai Bay. We are not looking for super luxury (spas, private villa etc.), but would definitely want a nicer place with an interesting atmosphere. I like the proximity of Zazen to Bophut, but my wife is concerned about mosquitoes in the outdoor showers (based on reviews we read). We would appreciate any advice you could give! Thanks in advance!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Tongsai Bay is the more luxurious hotel but Zazen has a more interesting location (Fisherman’s Village is great). I stayed nearby recently and did not notice the mosquitoes.

  117. How To Get Around Koh Samui

    Hi Dave

    How would you recommend getting around Koh Samui? (I know people like to hire mopeds, but I don’t find that the most appealing option), as for instance i would like to visit ‘Wat plai laem’ and we’re staying in Boput.

    Many thanks
    Justine

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Taxis are easy to get and go all over the island (not as cheap as Bangkok but still pretty reasonable). Songthaews (converted pickup trucks with seating in back) are all over the place and a nice change of pace but for 2 people not a whole lot cheaper than a taxi.

  118. Quiet Hotel on Chaweng Beach

    Hi Dave,

    Wonderful Blog! .. Been reading all your comments and suggestions. Yet , we are unable to decide on a location and Beachfront Resort. We want to be close to lots of restaurants and some decent shopping . Do we choose Chaweng or Bophut.

    We have been considering Chaweng untill now and have narrowed it down to Baan Talay or the Chaweng Cove Resort to fit our budget. However Chaweng sounds like it can get noisy at night and we want a bit of peace n quiet but within walking distance to nearby restaurants. Travelling in September 2015 as a couple! .. Awaiting your suggestions!
    Jisha

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both Baan Talay and Chaweng Cove are on a quiet section of Chaweng Beach – about a 10 to 15 minute walk along the beach to the busier area. There are also lots of quieter dining options that are much closer.

  119. Where To Stay on Koh Samui for SITCA and Ang Thong

    Hi Dave,
    Your site is a blessing for understanding the Bangkok to Koh Samui travel route! We are a group of three friends traveling from Bangkok to Koh Samui (after a one-night stay at Khao Sok, from where we depart for Koh Samui).
    How far are the beaches from the pier where we arrive from Surat Thani?
    We initially decided on Chaweng for our accomodation, but just for one reason (and it may not be the best reason, which is why your opinion would help a great deal). Since two of us plan to take cooking lessons at SITCA, and the base for Ang Thong is Chaweng, we thought that it might be more convenient. None of us into partying hard or bother too much about the nightlife. We don’t mind it, but it’s not a deal-breaker either.
    So do you recommend another resort or beach or recommend that we stick to Chaweng? Is it a hassle getting to SITCA and the other spots in Chaweng (like the market) if we book accomodation on other beaches? We won’t be renting two wheelers.

    Thanks for all the wonderful work that you do, posting about Samui!
    Dhenuka

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Chaweng does sound like the best base for what you’re doing. Lots of inexpensive hotels near SITCA (not on the beach) or quiet hotels (on the beach). SITCA is located in south Chaweng and is not an area of wild parties or clubs. Both Poppies and Centara are very close and great hotels. Getting from Bophut, for example, to SITCA would take about 30 minutes.

  120. Hotel for Single Traveler on Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,

    Very infromative site, I’m travelling to Thailand in exactly a month but only for 11 days spending 5 days in Bangkok and hoping to spend 6 in Koh Samui. You’ve already probably answered this but I wanted to find out if was better to visit Bangkok longer or Koh Samui longer.

    What hotel would you also recommend in Koh Samui with amazing views, beaches, food, relaxation. Bare in mind I’m a 22 year old female solo traveller and intend to do a lot of relaxing in Koh Samui and visit other nearby Islands. My budget is roughly £450 for the 5/6 days I’d be spending in Koh Samui. Also would it be safe for me alone to travel to Koh Samui, how is the crime like there?

    Theresa

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      You’d probably be most happy on Chaweng which has a lot of solo and younger travelers. Montien House has a great location (close to nightlife and beach restaurants) and a fair number of solo travelers (though still more couples, of course). Bophut is also great – but quieter and more couples. I consider Koh Samui to be safe but I wouldn’t recommend a single female walk off down a deserted beach on her own. Stay where the people are and you’ll be fine.

    2. Imperial Boathouse vs Paradise Beach Resort

      Imperial Boathouse vs Paradise Beach Resort

      Hi Dave,
      Like all before me, huge kudos for a fantastic site. We’re 4 guys and gals (40s), currently enjoying Koh Tao, soon off to Koh Phangan, then looking to hit Koh Samui for 6 days before heading to Hong Kong. Looking for great beaches, fantastic dining on the beach, shopping, and close to fun, but not in its epicenter. Your site (and availability) helped us narrow it down to Imperial Boathouse and Paradise Beach Resort. Any thoughts, preferences, or suggestions? Thanks in advance.

      Trevor

      1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

        I would go with the Boathouse: the beach is nicer, more restaurants within walking distance, and a huge pool right by the sea (though the Paradise pools are nice too). That said, Mae Nam (Paradise Beach Resort) has a cooler, more backpacker vibe if that’s what you’re looking for. The Boathouse can feel a bit too much like a resort – especially at breakfast.

  121. Good Value Hotel in Chaweng

    Hi Dave

    Love your website, been so informative. Looking to stay in Koh Samui with 2 daughters in their twenties and my husband. Looking for a hotel with good value for money, a nice beach stretch and not too far from the main bars and restaurants on Chaweng beach. Have narrowed down the search to Al’s Beach Resort, Chaba Samui Resort, Mercure Samui Chaweng Tana Hotel and Le Murraya Resort. Not sure which one amongst these would be best for us and was hoping you would shed some light on recommendations. Also, what activities do you recommend are best to do in Samui?

    Thanks a lot

    Sally

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I would go with Chaba Samui Resort. I love the relaxing vibe of north Samui. The beach gets a little narrow as you get to the end (around Chaba) but it’s still inviting and wonderful. It’s a beautiful 10 to 15 minute walk along the beach to get to the clubs and restaurants around Ark Bar but there are many restaurants closer. Even though the beach is wider at Al’s I much prefer the vibe around Chaba. Neither Mercure Tana or Le Murraya are on the beach – but both are in central locations and an easy walk from the water. You will get better value for money in terms of room quality when you stay off the beach.

  122. Anantara Bophut vs Bo Phut Resort & Spa

    Hi Dave, great informative site!
    Little question.. Can you compare Anantara Bophut with Bophut Resort & Spa? Both have similar prices (expensive 😉 ) Similar locationts and both look good on the pictures. You mention Anantara being one of your recomandations. We are a couple with 3 kids; 10, 8 en 1. Can you describe them a little? Thanks!
    Michiel

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both resorts are wonderful. Anantara a little more luxurious and lots of families there. Steps from the pedestrian street that runs through Bophut. (The menu at the pool and the restaurant overlooking the pool is strangely very limited which I always find annoying.) Bo Phut Resort & Spa is smaller and a little more boutiquish. The beach is a little better here (softer finer sand). You’re still close to Fisherman’s Village but there is a little walk along the beach to get to the pedestrian street.

  123. Chaweng or Bophut

    Hi Dave,

    We’re going also to koh samui, but I was thinking to stay only 2 nights.
    This is because we are also visiting Bangkok, Koh Phangan, Khao Sok National Park & Koh Phi Phi in 2.5 weeks.
    However I was wondering if you would recommend staying longer on koh samui? (meaning 3 nights instead of 2)
    Or if the other places are worth the more days?
    Next to this which one would you say is best located on Koh Samui, Chaweng or Bophut?
    Reading this helped narrowing down some options for me, so thanks!

    Kind regards.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both are great locations. A bit more partying and shopping on Chaweng. A bit more relaxed with a nice walking street in Bophut.

  124. Belmond Napasai

    Hi Dave,
    Great website! I stumbled upon it a bit late though. We are booked to stay at the Belmond Napasai for 4 nights from May 23. Stayed at the Belmond in Bali and it was fantastic, so we stuck to it.
    A couple of questions:
    What is the weather like? Is it too hot to be by the beach?
    Also, what is the Belmond beach like? If not so good, do you recommend anywhere else we should go to enjoy a good beach for the day? We were planning a day excursion to Ang Thong National Park maybe, any advice?
    Generally, we are a young couple, coming to Koh Samui to relax and enjoy beautiful, white sand beaches where we can swim a little and also maybe sample a few bars at night. Given the weather and our accommodation, if you have any general advice, it would be most welcome.

    Thanks!

    Rishab

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Belmond is great but somewhat isolated – very few restaurants nearby so you’ll be taking a taxi if you don’t want to eat at the Napasai restaurants. Bophut, Chaweng, and Chong Mon all have great beaches that are easy to spend a day at. For Ang Thong book your tickets after you arrive and can scope out which schedule and tour works best for you.

  125. Koh Samui with Baby

    Koh Samui with a baby

    Excellent site Dave, one of the most useful I’ve found about Samui.

    Apologies if this question is too similar to ones you’ve already answered. We’re traveling to Koh Samui in early Sept with our then 8 month old and are wondering whether to stay in Chaweng (access to western baby supplies like nappies and formula, good choice of restaurants if she turns out to be a fussy eater as she’ll be weaning at that point and I hear there’s a big Tescos!) or Bophut (quieter, maybe more authentic, but maybe less in the way of facilities?). People have recommended the Centara Grand Beach Resort in Chaweng, or the Bo Phut Resort or Anantara Bo Phut in Bo Phut.

    Also, I hear that car seats are practically unheard of in Thailand so are we essentially trapped in the resort we choose, confined to anything within walking distance? Does this have a bearing on our choice?

    Finally any other advice for traveling with a youngish baby?

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance
    Kate Marks

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Anantara Bophut would be the best for being easy walking distance to shops and restaurants. You’re literally steps from the start of Fisherman’s Village which is also very stroller friendly. The Bo Phut resort is a little farther along the beach from Fisherman’s Village so though it’s just a short distance if you wanted to use a stroller it would be a bit more of a hassle to get to and from the shopping/restaurant area. Chaweng is not nearly as stroller friendly as Bophut. There is a Family Mart directly across the street from the Centara. The beach is softer and has fluffier sand here than in front of the Anantara. The Tesco is on the outside of Chaweng and nearly as easy to reach from Bophut as from the Centara – plus I doubt you’d go more than once or twice so don’t think this should place a big role in your decision. Baby supplies are easy to find all over the island. Lots of good kid-friendly restaurants in both Bophut and Chaweng so no worries there either.

  126. Anantara vs Sala Samui

    Dave – Great site! Heading to Koh Samui for 6 days in a couple weeks. Currently booked at Anantara in a pool villa, but saw your description and am concerned about the families/kids. This is a delayed honeymoon for my wife and me. The other option would be Sala which I saw you specifically mention is good for honeymooners. As we are in town for a week, we thought being close to town was better than just staying at the resort – no matter how good a resort eventually you need some change of pace. Would you recommend staying put or going for Sala? How difficult are taxis? Or are we essentially choosing between a Porsche and a Lamborghini? Appreciate the guidance and keep up the good work on this site!
    Eric

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      You don’t mention which Anantara you’re booked at. The Anantara Lawana is in north Chaweng and a little isolated from the business and activity of central Chaweng. The beach is not as good here as in central and south Chaweng. The Anantara in Bophut is on a very nice beach (with coarse sand) in Bophut, steps from Fisherman’s Village and lots of shops and restaurants. I love the Anantara Bophut but not quite so fond of the Lawana – though the grounds are beautiful. The Sala Samui is in Choeng Mon which is quieter still but the beach is wonderful. If I could only choose one of the 3 it would be the Anantara Bophut.

  127. Bo Phut Resort & Spa or Zazen

    Hi Dave,
    Thank you for an informative website.
    I’m traveling in 10 days with family of three generations so we are an age group from 12 to 75! We have a mix of interests from water activities which means good beach, pool and sea, some night life and relaxing with easy walking within the resort.
    I have shortlisted the hotel to Zazen and Bo Phut Resort and Spa. How would you rate the two against each other?
    Poppies was an option too but decided staying on Bophut beach.
    Preeti

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both are great hotels – Zazen slightly more luxurious and boutiquish, but you’ll be happy at both. The beach is wider at Bo Phut Resort, narrower and maybe a little calmer in front of Zazen. The sun chairs are focused into a small area in front of Zazen and neighboring resorts which sounds not so nice but actually makes for a more intimate setting in some ways. Bo Phut resort is about a 10 minute walk from Fisherman’s Village, Zazen is an additional 10. The walk is beautiful but on the coarser sand that you find closer to the village it can be surprisingly taxing so if you have young and old being closer to town is something to consider.

  128. Cheap Hut on Beach

    Hi Dave! I’m not the usual American traveler, maybe because I’m Dutch (not frugal, but adverturous! ) LOL I’ve been to Thailand 3 times, but that was in the early 90-ies, I am sure a lot has changed. I never stayed on Samui, because it was too developed for my taste. Phangan and Koh Tao I liked better. Never went to a full moon party and do not intend to this time either since I am traveling with my 13 yr old daughter. I loved the remote beaches of Phangan where I just had a little simple hut on the beach for 300 bath a night. Just a few trips into town, the night market, the waterfalls and we were happy. I really want to make good use of my budget and time. Do you know of similar beaches closer to Bangkok so we don’t have to fly to Samui? Are there similar beaches on Samui, so I don’t have to boat to Phangan? Don’t like beaches with pool beds and parasols. Don’t need a pool either. It’s already paradise! Just a clean bed, mosquito net, shower and veranda with hammock and chair on a pristine beach and I’m happy! Hope this still exists! Kob kun kaa, Mo
    Forgot: traveling end June-end July.
    Monique

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Take a look at the east coast beaches of Ko Samet and the towns to the west of Mae Nam on Koh Samui – but Koh Pha Ngan remains your best bet.

  129. Moderate Kid-Friendly Hotels in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui

    Hi Dave

    We are going to Thailand for 2 weeks starting August 1. We have two kids 9 and 14. We are planning on Bangkok, Chang Mai and then Koh Samui. We like adventure, kayaking, snorkeling, and moderate hotels that are great for the kids. Shopping and nightlife are not big on our list however quiet beach time we love and exploring. Can you please give us your recommendations on where to stay in all three places? We are thinking 2 days in Bangkok, 4 days in Chiang Mai, and the rest at Koh Samui. If you have different recommendations on that let us know as well. Thanks in advance for your help. Your blog is awesome.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui are 3 great kid-friendly places and give a provide a wide range of experiences. Good choices. For good value hotels my favorites in those places would be the Viengtai near Khao San Road in Bangkok (Riva Surya if you wanted something a little quieter, fancier, and on the river), Yaang Come in Chiang Mai (a 4 star hotel but worth the added expense for its large rooms and great pool), and Smile Resort in Bophut or the Imperial Boat House in Choeng Mon on Koh Samui.

  130. Chaweng Regent Beach Resort – Too Noisy?

    Hi Dave,
    My partner and I are in Koh Samui in a few weeks time and just cannot decide where to stay! It is our first time.
    Our travel agent suggested the Chaweng Regent Beach Resort but we are not sure whether to stay in this area because it sounds like it could be fairly rowdy? Is it comparable to Patong?
    After reading through some of the other comments left here, Bophut sounds like it could be ideal. We like nice beaches (nothing narrow and ideally able to find a spot to sit on our own), good pools, variety of restaurants and we are walkers – so ideally we can get around to enough places (shopping, eating) on foot. We’d like the option of going to bars, but aren’t really interested in extreme partying.
    Any recommendations will be great!
    Thanks 🙂
    Kim

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Pro Tip: Don’t book with travel agents. They (usually) don’t know what they’re talking about and are simply trying to direct you towards hotels that they have pre-arranged packages with. Booking flight and hotel separately is the way to go.

      There are nicer hotels and nicer beaches than Chaweng Regent but no, it’s nothing like Patong. The beach is better all along Chaweng than Patong and the atmosphere much less seedy, more relaxed, family-friendly, and fun. That said, it can be loud late into the evening anywhere close to the Ark Bar (which includes the Regent). If you’re sensitive to late night music you might want to pick a hotel farther north of there or in the south end of Chaweng. Bophut is also great and doesn’t have issues with late night music. Bo Phut Resort and Spa is a good mix of great beach and still close to town but really any where along the beach is an easy walk to the shops and restaurants of Fisherman’s Village.

  131. Tongsai Bay, Sareeraya, Anantara Lawana

    Hi Dave, Thanks for the helpful info.
    We intend to spend our honey moon at Samui next September, we have filtered our hotel searches to (Tongsai Bay, Sareeraya Villas & Suites and Anantara Lawana Resort)
    It will be much appreciated, if you can advise us back from the expert point of view in term of beach quality and hotel luxury and views.

    Thanks in advance,
    Peter Wagih

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The beach quality of the 3 would be Sareeraya the best (very good sand), then Tongsai Bay (very good but coarse sand), then Anantara (good but coarse sand with some seaweed and coral). Both Tongsai and Anantara have good views but Tongai’s are more lush with a denser sense of green around the rooms and proberty. Sareeraya doesn’t have much of a view to speak of as its rooms aren’t much above beach level. For luxury I would choose Tongsai Bay, for a beach vibe that’s walking distance to many beach restaurants and clubs (but not so close as to be heard from your room) go with Sareeraya.

  132. Beach at Hansar/Best Beach in Bophut

    How are you, hope great. Congratulations o the wonderful information. Spending part of my honeymoon at Koh Samui. Sept 12 – 16. From What I’ve read, I think Bo Phut is the town for us. Was really excited with the Hansar but got a little disappointed when I read reviews about the beach and sand. Which Bo Phut hotel would you consider has the best beach and sand? Which hotel would you consider the best combining the best beach and best location for a honeyooom.

    Thank you and have a good one.
    Raul

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I love the Hansar – the setting of the pool is great. It and the pool bar overlook the beach and you can wander down to the sea for a swim with just a few steps. You’re right, the beach is not soft fine sand but it is beautiful and clean. The sand gets progressively finer as you move to the east. The Bo Phut Resort & Spa probably has the best mix of nearness to Fisherman’s Village and soft beautiful sand. That said, my favorite hotel on Bophut is still the Hansar.

  133. Sala Samui vs Tongsai Bay

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for your great article, I am planning to spend my honeymoon on one of two hotels either Sala Samui or Tongsai Bay. It is really confusing as both are great. Can you give my your advice 🙂
    Ramez Salama

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Tongsai Bay is more luxurious, more private, better views, and has much larger villas. Sala Samui is still very nice but is not the 5 star luxury resort than Tongsai Bay is. That said, Sala has a much better location if you want to eat at a variety of restaurants or stroll along the beach at night and get a drink. The beach at both is great with a slight advantage to the softer sand at Choeng Mon (where Sala is located).

  134. Private Luxury Villas on Koh Samui

    Hi Dave. Wow! You re quite the expert. Makes it a lot easy for first timers to Samui like me.
    I m planning a 50th birthday celebration with my extended family- roughly 20 of us, ages 15-52. Interested in good beach – nightlife not that important, diving, water sports. Can you recommend private luxury villas and nice beach? Many thanks. Sandy.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The nicest villas on Koh Samui are at the Four Seasons. Incredible views, restaurant, and service. The beach is good here but not huge. The Tongsai Bay Resort is also wonderful, not quite the Four Seasons but with a nicer beach.

      1. Large Private Villa

        Dave can you recommend private luxury villas preferably 5-6 bedrooms? Then I can book 2 villas to accomodate my party of 20.
        Sandy

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

          Check out Horizon Villas (walking distance to Choeng Mon beach) and Rockwater Residences (near Chaweng but you’ll need a taxi to get to the beach).

          There are not many villas directly on the beach as this property is mostly owned by hotels.

  135. Weather in May

    Hi Dave

    We are due in Koh Samui on the 19 of May and I’m having a bit of a panic about the weather! When it says rain and cloud does that mean hot with showers? What should we expect? Thanks!!
    Jo

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The weather in May is usually hot and sunny – though can have some rain too. Ignore the daily forecasts that you see online, they just about always show cloudy and hot and it will more than likely be sunny and hot.

  136. Hansar Location

    Hi Dave, i love this blog and have been returning to it numerous times while planning our Koh Samui holiday in June 2015.

    We really like Hansar, seems reasonably priced for the location/rooms etc. What are your thoughts? I will be traveling with my hubby and 10 month old daughter. We have 10 days in Koh Samui.
    We want to swim at the beach, is it no good there? Where would you suggest we could go swimming apart from the pool? We have been to Phi Phi and LOVED IT. Would you suggest staying at another hotel with a nice beach or staying at Hansar and getting a tuk tuk to another beach? (Not sure how long it takes to get from place to place).
    Also how far would it take to go to Chaweng? I went there about 10 years ago and i remember it being very full on and busy and that’s not the family vibe we want this time around. Am hoping Bophut is a bit more laid back from what you have said.
    Thanks 🙂
    Sally

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I love the Hansar. The pool is great, restaurant and breakfast incredible, rooms beautiful, location perfect for restaurant and relaxing pubs. The beach is between OK and good depending on your tastes. It’s great for swimming and always clean and picturesque but it is quite coarse. You can walk 5 to 10 minutes to the west along the beach and the sand gets nicer and softer as you go. The tradeoff with these hotels is that at night you have to walk along the sand to get to the restaurants, shops, and pubs. The pedestrian street starts at the Hansar and continues into town from there so you can walk out of your hotel and use a stroller without interruption. Anywhere to the west you’ll have to walk along the sand in order to get into town. From Bophut to Chaweng takes about 15 minutes by taxi.

  137. Which Town for 4 Adults

    Hi Dave, great site by the way – very informative! Have based our travel options Bangkok-Koh Samui around what you’ve had to say and we’re looking forward to the overnight train experience. We (my husband and I – we are both in our mid-40’s) are travelling with my Dad (mid-60’s) and step-mum (mid-50’s) but we’re having a little trouble deciding where to stay. Sounds like Chaweng is a little busy for us and we’re a bit put off Lamai with it’s range of drunken nationalities! We’d like accommodation on a nice quiet (ie. not wall to wall people) beach with calm, clear water swimming water, don’t want to be completely remote as would like the choice of a few nice restaurants and don’t mind a short drive to other locations for entertainment. We don’t have children so prefer not to end up in a spot most popular with families and young kids. Am thinking Mae Nam, Choeng Mon and possibly Bophut may be good options – recommendations? Rachel

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I’d recommend Bophut: great beach, walkable active town, good restaurants, wonderful hotels. It’s my favorite town on Koh Samui.

  138. Luxury Hotel for Couple (Pregnant Wife)

    Dave,

    This is by far the best site and blog (knowledgeably and info) on Koh Samui.
    Must have gone through the site so many times to narrow it down but failing so many times.
    Looking at a hotel for 4 nights this mid May (between 10-20th) to spend with my pregant wife…luxury hotel but within 5000-6500 THB or 160-200$.

    Great breakfast, Good restaurant food
    Trendy resort and rooms with good service…
    Beach front location with good beach area without too much crowds (may be a quieter area of Chaweng) and good pool scene?
    But should not be too far off (within a 7-10 min taxi ride to Chaweng or Bo Phut)
    Don’t want a kid friendly resort like Centara.
    The Sala Samui is too expensive.

    Getting a great deal on Le mMridien within 4500 thb.
    Or should I drop the idea as the beach sucks there?
    Or is the beach fine during the half moon phase between the no moon and full moon tide effect

    Any other luxury place which can fit my budget for a place like Choeng Mon?
    Or should I consider the Renaissance over Le Meridien.
    Anmor

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      3 hotels that I love and should fit your requirements are the Hansar (Bophut), Zazen (Bophut), and Poppies (Chaweng). All are great hotels with a good beach (Poppies has the best), good restaurant (Hansar and Zazen both have great restaurants), and near to restaurants and shopping (Poppies and Hansar are easy walks to plenty of stuff, Zazen would likely require a short taxi ride seeing as the walk along the beach might be too far for your pregnant wife).

  139. Koh Samui Best Beach

    Hi Dave,

    Great information above. Went to Phuket few years ago,and to be honest I wasn’t impressed. I said ill never go back. But after reading your blog i think I’m willing to give Thailand one more chance 🙂 We are family with one child (1.5 year old) and the most important thing for us is the beach to be amazing (clean,sandy and clear water).

    From your blog I think Kog Samui is a great choice because we are planning to go end of June. From the hotels above I like the Zara Beach Resort (Lamai Beach), just not sure that the beach is what we are looking for. Could you please advice about this beach or what is the best beach in Koh Samui?

    Thanks a million 🙂

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I love Zara (stayed there just a few weeks ago). The villas with private pool are just wonderful. The grounds and pool are in a garden setting and you feel like you never have to leave the resort. The beach here is good but I wouldn’t call it great or particularly kid-friendly. There are often a lot of waves too. Choeng Mon, on the other hand, has a beautiful beach and very calm shallow weather. It’s the best beach on Koh Samui for young kids.

      And yes, Koh Samui is way better than Phuket. No comparison.

  140. Honeymoon Hotel in Koh Samui

    Hi this site is amazing… I am wandering if you can suggest a resort for us. We are honeymooning in first 2 weeks may 2016 flying to Bangkok stay there for a day or 2 then a nice resort in Koh Samui for a week maybe longer. ..I love the rooms with small pools in the boutique resorts. And really like the sound of Chaweng but not the main party bit. We want to be able to walk to fun things and nice restaurants as well as enjoy a lovely suite as it is our honeymoon. Thanks in advance. Kelly Williams

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Chaweng is great and as long as you’re not in the central area of Chaweng (around Ark Bar) it’s easy to avoid the party and late night music. Hotels with private pools in Chaweng include the Centara (great beach in a quiet area) and Samui Resotel in south Chaweng (great beach in a quiet area) and Sareeraya, Casa de Mar, and the Anantara Lawana in north Chaweng (the beach is a little less nice here but the area has more character with trees and greenery much closer to the beach). There’s also more going on at night in the north Chaweng beach area with a funner vibe. The south Chaweng beach area can feel a little lame at night, the northern area has little restaurants along the beach that have that idyllic beach-hut look.

  141. Koh Samui with 3 and 5 Year Olds

    Hi Dave

    This is a great site! We are traveling to koh samui in May with our 3 and 5 year old boys and staying in bophut. Can you recommend any must dos to keep our little ones entertained and maybe any particular child friendly places? Feeling a little apprehensive as this is our first long haul holiday with the boys.
    Thanks Johanna kemp

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Koh Samui is great for kids so can’t foresee any problems. Just have fun. Bophut (like all Samui beaches) has lots of kid-friendly restaurants along the beach. If you need a kid-related activity there’s Coco Splash water park in Lamai (about 30 minutes by taxi from Bophut). It’s a small water park with mini-golf, tree to tree climbing, air bag jumping, and a few other things. It’s nothing grand or elaborate but if you find yourself needing an activity beyond the swimming pool it’s a good option. (We were there 2 weeks ago and had a fun afternoon.)

  142. Sand Quality at Bophut

    We’ve heard great things about Bophut and really want to stay there (honeymoon) for our 5 days in Samui. You mention that some areas have coarse sand and some areas have soft sand. Can you tell me the best hotels in the area with the soft sand? How coarse is the sand in the non-soft area? Thanks, Andi.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The best sand is between the Samui Palm Resort and Zazen (where it’s great – though the beach is narrow). The beach is more coarse in the section closer to Fisherman’s Village, for example, in front of Hansar and the Anantara. As I’ve said above, I don’t mind the coarse sand, it falls off your feet easily when you walk back from the water (to the pool) where I spend most of my time. But some don’t like it.

  143. Snorkeling with Kids on Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks so much for such an informative site!
    We are planning to travel to Thailand with our children (6 and 10) in the next month or so. The kids are keen to do some snorkeling and the older one some introductory scuba diving. With a 6 year old in tow we are after some snorkeling off the beach for him. Can you recommend a beach / area that would have snorkeling off the beach and be great for kids?
    Much thanks
    Lisa

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Koh Samui is not known for its snorkeling as it has mainly sandy coasts. There is a rocky area in the south part of Lamai that might be interesting. That said, kids often enjoying snorkeling pretty much anywhere. A day trip with snorkeling to Ang Thong National Marine Park would probably be a lot of fun.

  144. Villa Close to Beach and Restaurants

    Hi Dave,

    Im going with my extended family to Koh Samui in December and are looking to rent a villa for 2 weeks (found two nice villas but im not sure about which one has the best location.
    The first is close to Tesco in Chaweng.
    The other villa is up on the hill side (with a stunning view) close to the golf course.

    Which location do you recommend for a combo of relaxing at the villa but still be able to go to the a nice beach and restaurants (night life) some of the days?

    Many thanks!
    Martin

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There are 2 golf courses: one near Mae Nam, and one between Lamai and Chaweng. In any case the villa near Tesco will be closer to the beach and not far from all the restaurants of Chaweng (though probably not walking distance).

  145. Kirakayan vs Synergy in Chaweng

    Hi Dave, first off compliments for your amazingly informative blog! So very grateful for all the information I’ve found already! On your recommendation we have already booked our first hotel Smile House in Bophut. We are however also planning six more nights in Chaweng, preferably south Chaweng, however Poppies is just too expensive for us unfortunately, cause it looks fantastic. Could you recommend any other resorts there? Looking at Kirakyan and Synergy, are they any good? Thank you so much again! Greetings from Holland!
    Annamaria

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I am writing this answer from one of the bungalows at Smile House – the hotel is currently looking beautiful (the grounds are so green) so you made a good choice.

      Both Kirakayan and Synergy are good hotels and on the best stretch of beach in Chaweng. Kirakayan is slightly nicer. Synergy is 8 minutes walk closer to the fun bars and nightlife on the beach (to the north). It’s pretty quiet down around Kirakayan at night.

      1. Annamaria

        Hi Dave, thanks so much we’ve booked the Kirakayan. We’re visiting samui from May 11-27 can we bring you anything from Europe? You’ve helped us so much, would love to say thanks! Kind regards, Annamaria

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

          Thanks Annamaria, but will be in Seattle by then. Have a great trip.

  146. Quiet, Calm Beach Hotel for Special Vacation

    Hi Dave great site, me and my partner arrive on sumui 14th may. It’s his 50th birthday on 16th may so looking for a special hotel in a special location with a nice beach and calm warm clear sea without young kids on their gap year on the lash and larging it up so to speak, been there done that lol. Any advice appreciated. thx

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Look at the hotels in Bophut which will be exactly what you’re looking for: nice beach, some nightlife but nothing crazy, very calm sea.

  147. Thailand at End of April

    Hi Dave,
    Very helpful site!
    My husband and I will be in Bangkok for business the end of April and have 2 days that we are able to enjoy the beach. It looks as if there are daily flights to and from Bangkok. I am a bit overwhelmed with the choices between Phuket, Krabi, and Ko Samui – I keep getting different opinions. I want to make sure we make the most of our trip considerig our limited time.

    What would you suggest for a couple in their early 40’s that want to enjoy a beautiful beach experience (swimming, paddle board, etc) but also don’t want to be too secluded? We enjoy exploring town & meeting people, partying isn’t important, we do like nice restaurants and fun local bars.
    The weather forecast looks a bit better for Koh Samui – I know it’s impossible to predict … but what is your experience with the weather in the late part of April?
    I also looked at photos and the beaches/water look more beautiful in Phuket & Krabi … is that the case?
    I apologize for all the questions but as you can tell I’m a bit overwhelmed with choices.
    Thank you!!
    Jen

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The weather in Koh Samui is usually good. Hot but clear and sunny most days and occasional thunderstorms with heavy rain. Beaches are great in both Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Samui but yes, they might be a bit more picturesque on the west coast with cliffs and jungly backdrops. Chaweng or Bophut on Koh Samui would be the towns I would recommend for a mix of shopping, lively restaurants, and great beach (softer sand on Chaweng, coarser sand on Bophut).

  148. Anantara Lawana vs Anantara Bophut

    Hi, Just wanted to know for honeymoon resort I have short listed Anantara Lawana & Bhoput.
    My to be wife likes site seeing, shopping, street shopping…more shopping, and adventurous things like water sports , massages etc…
    I am looking for a more massages beach access swimming pool and access to all the local restaurants and pubs in the market.
    What is the best option to go for: Anantara Bhoput or Lawana?
    Vivian Saldanha

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I much prefer the Anantara Bophut location. Even though the Lawana is located on the beach you can’t walk directly to the Chaweng beach restaurants and clubs – as it’s both a pretty long distance and the beach is interrupted along the way. The Anantara Bophut is a very short walk along the beach to shops, restaurants, and some low-key pubs. From the Lawana it’s a 15 minute walk along the road to central Chaweng (where admittedly there is more shopping than Bophut). Both are lovely properties but I’d go with Bophut.

  149. Is the Hansar near Fisherman's Village

    Hello.

    Is The Hansar located near to Fisherman’s Village? Are there restaurants nearby? Do you like the Hansar? Are the beach front rooms worth the extra cost?

    Thanks,
    Wan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Hansar has a great location right at the end of Fisherman’s Village and connected by a pedestrian street with loads of shops and restaurants. I recently stayed at the Hansar and loved it (their restaurant, H Bistro, is one of the best in Bophut). The beach front rooms are idyllic and worth the money.

  150. Location of Vana Belle on Koh Samui

    We are looking at booking a suite at the Vana Belle and have a few questions?

    1. What is the location of the Vana Belle? Is it walking distance to Chaweng?
    2. Do all suites at the Vana Belle have a private pool?
    3. Are there stores, shops, restaurants nearby?
    4. What is the difference between the Classic Pool Suite and the Deluxe Pool Suite at the Vana Belle?

    Vin

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      1. The Vana Belle is south of Chaweng on Chaweng Noi Beach and while its listed address is Chaweng, for practical purposes do not consider it as part of the town. It’s a 30 minute walk to central Chaweng. Of course, taxis are easy to get to and from Chaweng and you’ll be in central Chaweng in 5 minutes. The beach is very nice here and has 2 or 3 independent restaurants. (It’s not a big deal but one slightly annoying feature of the resort is that they have a narrow one way drive into and out of the property so taxis often end up coming upon each other and one needs to back up out of the way to allow the other to pass.)

      2. All suites at the Vana Belle have private pools. The suites are great and the resort is very luxurious.

      3. There are businesses on the main road outside of the resort but very few restaurants. There is a Family Mart and 7-Eleven directly across the road from the Vana Belle for snacks, drinks, and alcohol.

      4. The Classic Pool and Deluxe Pool Suites are the same size and layout but the Deluxe Suites have a better (more direct) view of the ocean.

  151. Honeymoon Hotel on Chaweng

    Hi Dave,

    Your website is great! We are planning a trip to Kos Samui (2 nights) for our honeymoon in September but do not know where to stay. We’ve heard that Chaweng Beach from close friends and have been looking at Anantara and Akyra but we are really not sure about these hotels. We are looking for a luxury accommodation, beach, food and some nightlife. Do you have any recommendations on a couple of hotels we could consider for our trip.

    Thank you so much!
    Juliana

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes, Chaweng is the best beach on Koh Samui – wonderful sand and fun nightlife. The best hotels on Chaweng are The Library (trendy), Centara (luxury resort), and Poppies (leafy, romantic grounds). The Library has 2 cool bars (one on the beach and one on the main street). It’s also a 5 to 10 minute walk to the most happening stretch of beach at night (the area around Ark Bar). The Centara and Poppies are farther south and located a pleasant 15 to 20 minute walk along the beach to Ark Bar. All 3 hotels have great beaches.

      1. Sareeraya or Centara?

        Thank you for the recommendation. What would you say about Sareeraya? Or just go with Centara?
        Juliana

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

          They are in very different locations. Centara has the great beach, Sareeraya an OK beach, though in some ways with more character, especially at night when there’s more activity in the northern section of beach, and the southern section (around Centara) is quieter. (I’m also of the opinion that the Sareeraya page on TripAdvisor is loaded with fake reviews which should be ignored, but I can’t prove that.)

          1. Juliana

            Thank you so much! I think that I will go with Centara the hotel looks very nice and has good prices.

  152. Koh Samui Weather in Late September

    I am planning to visit Thailand between 20th- 27th Sept. Have been seeing forecasts of thunderstorms and heavy rains on most blogs for this time of the year in Samui. Confused about whether to go ahead with visit to Samui or cancel it. Please advice. Is the weather pattern same throughout Thailand same for that time of the year.
    Karthik

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Weather on Koh Samui should still be good in late September. Heavy rains don’t usually begin until mid-October. There can be some Thunderstorms but they usually clear in a few hours. Phuket and the west coast is in the middle of its rainy period and will have more rain and storms in September.

  153. Kid-friendly Beach on Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,
    Really perfect blog. Thank you so much. We have a 4 years old son and we want to go to Koh Samui in late July. We first decided to go to Phuket but we got the information on the internet that the sea is rough in Phuket and could be very dangerous especially for our little boy. Then we decided to go to somewhere else. Our primary concern is to have a safe swimming option (because our son likes to swim so much nearly all the day) and the secondary concern is the food for him. Is Koh Samui appropriate for us in late July and if yes which beach can you suggest. Thank you so much. Best Wishes.
    Faith

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Koh Samui should have good weather in late July. Choeng Mon is the most kid-friendly beach on Koh Samui. (Just swam there a few hours ago: so calm and shallow for a long ways out.)

  154. MicK Jones

    Hi Dave, great site, hope you are good. I am building a site mostly about my life in Isaan with my wife and our son, a window on rural Thai life and my appreciation of Thailand. I am also including a couple of pages with general stuff about Thailand as a great holiday destination and I could really do with some beach photos and a link to a site like yours as my experience is very different and I have spent no time at the beach resorts at all. I would very much like to put a link to your site, would it be possible for me to use some of your photos and add some links to your site with full credits of course?
    Take care and best regards
    Mick Jones

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Go for it. Good luck with your site.

  155. Club Med and Weather in July

    Hi Dave,
    Never been to Thailand and going on Honeymoon from 21 June to roughly 7 July. We initially booked 9 days Club Med Phuket and 5 days Village Island beach resort but now hear of Monsoon season. I love the all inclusive idea of Club med (my fiance has a big appetite and even bigger liquid consumption) so still considering Club Med Phuket even though it might be rainy and since Koh Samui has great weather June July what would you recommend? We don’t drink or party, just want to relax and honeymoon ;). Budget roughly THB10500 per night incl transport to and from Phuket if we still stay at CLub Med otherwise we could spend all 14/15 days in Koh Samui???? Please help
    Natasha

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes, weather in July is usually better on the Koh Samui coast – but there are never any guarantees. I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of Club Med or All Inclusives. I think it’s more fun to stay at a hotel and enjoy all the nearby places to eat and drink. Bophut, for example, is a great town on Koh Samui with lots cool restaurants and bars that is never crazy and pretty laid back.

  156. Rental Agencies on Koh Samui

    Hello Dave,

    I have been enjoying your blog for quite some time now. I am a regular to Samui and find your blog very informative.
    I have the following question: Starting from the beginning of 2016 I am going to move with my wife and 3-years old children (twins) to Samui. We are all Dutch. Can you recommend me some good websites of perhaps brokers for long term rentals?

    Hope to hear from you!
    Best regards,
    Mark Noordhof

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I don’t. But I’ll be on Koh Samui in a few days. If I see any agencies or rental businesses I’ll be sure to jot them down and send them along to you.

  157. Snorkeling in July

    Hi Dave,
    We are intending to stay in Koh Samui for 10 days in late July to snorkel the islands.

    We’d like to know if the waters of Koh Tao, Koh Nangyuan and Ang-Thong National Park are open for snorkeling at this time of year or are the seas too rough?

    Please advise,
    Tanya

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      That should be a good time with clear calm seas. You just want to avoid late September to early December when seas can be rough.

  158. All Inclusive Resorts on Koh Samui/Airport Taxi to South Samui

    Great site- very informative! I’m looking into a resort to stay on Koh Samui in Mid-May, I was humoring the idea of all inclusive so my friends and I wouldn’t need to worry about meals, drinks, Etc. The only place I found was Samui Beach Village. Do you know of any others? Also I can’t find estimated taxi prices from the airport to the southern part of the island, do you have any perspective? Is there any town close by worth visiting if we stay down there?

    Thanks Dave!
    Jason

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There are few All Inclusive Resorts in Thailand. And for good reason: who wants to eat in a resort when there is so much great food just out the door? All-inclusive aren’t a sensible choice for most visitors so you won’t find many. For current transportation and taxi fares from Koh Samui airport go here: Samui Airport. There are towns sprinkled around the south of the island but most of the population is on the north, northwest, and east side of the island.

  159. Renaissance Resort Lamai

    How are you, hope great. Thanks for your page. Seems your really enjoy what you do. We are going to koh samui for our honeymoon from sept 12-16. I had reserved on the Renaissance Lamai beach but am having second toughts. With beach is the best for you on that season.

    Thank you and have a one.
    Raul

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Renaissance is great for quiet and seclusion but you are a taxi ride away from both Lamai and Chaweng. The beach at the Renaissance can be shallow during low tide but it’s not terrible and not one of the ones that turns to mud flats.

  160. Hansar, Melati, or Tongsai

    Sa Wat Dee Krup (hope I got that right)

    Dave, firstly brilliant informative website!
    Secondly your advice would be much appreciated. My wife and I, and another couple are travelling to Thailand in May this year, we are doing Bangkok, then Phuket and finishing off with Samui.

    The hotels we had narrowed it down to were: Hansar Bophut / Melati / Tongsai Bay obviously they all differ in price but the reviews across the board have been positive.

    Main things we want is a nice clean beach, clear water, fairly quiet resort, and to be no more than 15 mins by car to restaurants and bars etc, ideally a few places within walking distance although I know we won’t get that with Tongsai Bay.

    Thank You
    Nirmesh

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Melati is actually more remote than the Tongsai (about an additional 10 minutes walk from Choeng Mon). Hansar has a great location steps from Fishermans Village. Some are not fond of the beach at the Hansar as the sand is coarse (I personally like that style). All 3 are within 15 minutes by taxi to Chaweng and Bophut.

  161. 3 Week Itinerary for Thailand

    Hi Dave,

    My girlfriend and I are looking at going to Thailand for our first time in at the start of February/start of 2nd week of February 2016. I have put together a brief itinerary based on other peoples but keen to run it past someone with good knowledge to tell me if it is too much or if things should be left out.

    We are looking at arriving and spending a few days in Bangkok before flying up to Chiang Mai and spending time there sightseeing, jungle trekking and visiting the elephant nature park. We then are looking at flying back down south island hopping, we want to visit koh phangan for the full moon party as it is on her birthday february 23rd. We also want to visit likes of Ko Tao, Koh Samui, Krabi/Koh Lanta and Phi Phi before spending the last night probably back in Bangkok before flying home again. We are not too fussed with Patong, Phuket etc. Is it possible to fit all this in to the space of 3 weeks and a day or 2? If so how much time would be best to split between each? If not is there any other suggestions based on what I’ve said or what should be left out?

    Thanks 🙂 Nicky

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      That is doable in 3 weeks but it will be a very busy 3 weeks. It’s good to get to Koh Pha Ngan a few days before the full moon party to secure accommodations. If you show up on the 22nd or 23rd and want a place you’ll be lucky to get anything and quite likely it will be a long way from Haad Rin. Koh Tao is great if you want to do snorkeling or scuba diving but you can skip it if you’re just looking for beach time. Koh Phi Phi would be the island to miss on the west coast if you were looking to cut something out.

  162. Imperial Boat House vs Villa Tanamera

    Hi Dave,

    What an amazing, informative site – thanks 🙂
    My husband and I, together with my mother, and two kids (1 and 5) are travelling to Koh Samui in June and are considering the Imperial Boat House, or Villa Tanamera (Bophut Beach). The latter seems a great, moderately priced option with good reviews and 2 bedrooms. It’s hard to find something in the mid-budget range with 2 bedrooms. However, I see so many reviews for alterntive beaches/hotels – like Smile Resort for instance. All we really care about is Thai food, clean accommodations, chilling out and having a bit of an adventure – we’ll hire a jeep or car to do some exploring, but a good base for the kids would be a bonus. Your thoughts graciously appreciated!??

    Thanks in advance

    Kate Campbell

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Imperial Boat House is the better hotel with much more nearby (restaurants and small shops within walking distance). Villa Tanamera is not in Bophut but in Bang Rak (Big Buddha Beach). Both are fine for exploring the island by hired car.

  163. New Sheraton on Chaweng Beach

    What have you heard/seen regarding the new Samui Sheraton opening at the end of the month in Cheweng Noi?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Not much but I’ll be there in 2 weeks so will take a look.

  164. Centara vs Four Seasons and Vana Belle

    Thank you for the great site. We are traveling to Thailand in the beginning of August with an 8 and 10 year old. We would like to stay at a resort on Ko Samui with a nice beach and swimming that time of year that also has nice, clean, updated rooms. It sounds like the location of The Centara is great but how do the rooms compair to either the 4 Seasons or the Vana Bella? My husband definitely likes the newer properties but the kids and I want a great pool and beach. Any advice?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The rooms at the Four Seasons and Vana Belle are more luxurious than at the Centara. The pool is larger and more kid-friendly at the Centara. Beach is best at Centara and Vanna Belle. Centara has the best location (by far) for walking to shops and restaurants.

  165. Good Beach for Family/Good Price

    Hi. I am travelling in September for 3 nights, 2 adults and 2 children aged 11 and 12. Looking for a great beach with average price.
    jennifer

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Choeng Mon is both a great kid-friendly beach and has reasonably priced hotels. Good location too: short taxi ride to the airport and the shops and restaurants of Bophut and Chaweng.

  166. Phuket/Krabi or Koh Samui/Bangkok with Kids

    Hi Dave
    Planning a family trip (with two kids) during Mid May 2015 from India for 5 days. Couple of ideas are floating around 3 days in krabi and 2 days in Phuket (Tiger kingdom,Fantasea show etc) or 3 days in Koh samui and 2 days in Bangkok. Would like to hear your thoughts around which options you think is best and your views on Holiday Inn resort in Krabi.
    Venki

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      They are very different trips – Phuket and Krabi will offer more “activities” than Koh Samui. Samui is more oriented towards relaxing, lying on the beach, wandering out for a good meal. Bangkok, of course, has lots of great stuff to do. In May Bangkok will be very hot.

  167. Luxury Hotel on Samui

    Hi!

    I’ve read your entire site like 12 times and it is very helpful! We cannot decide which hotel to stay at. We are traveling to Koh Samui in June for 6 nights for our honeymoon. We are most attracted to Bophut area because of the access to fisherman’s village, but Hansar, Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa, Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa don’t seem super luxury or special enough for our honeymoon. Is that absurd? Should we spend 3 nights in Bophut and 3 nights somewhere incredible like the W or Intercontinental? Or should we stay somewhere like Rocky’s Boutique Resort or Tongsai Bay Resort ? Thoughts? HELP! Thank you!
    Lindsay

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I think splitting your time between 2 hotels (and 2 towns) is a great idea. People usually never regret getting 2 different perspectives and experiences. All the hotels you mentioned are very good or great. If I wanted to splurge on one hotel in Koh Samui it would be the Four Seasons – though perhaps a little more remote/secluded than you want.

  168. Budget Hotels in Koh Samui

    Hi Dave, we are staying in Koh Samui for two weeks in June and your website has been such a great help. We were wanting to stay at the World Resort during our time in Koh Samui but it’s sadly undergoing renovations, so I was wondering whether you had any other recommendations for cheap hotels in Koh Samui, or hotels costing around 2500 baht or under a night.
    Thanks!
    Lucy

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The closest thing to World Resort is Smile House (also in Bophut): a good-value hotel falling somewhere between the budget and moderate categories.

      Other good hotels that have rooms under 2500 baht:
      Peace Resort (Bophut)
      Hotel Ibis (Bophut)
      Chaweng Garden Beach Resort (Chaweng)
      Samui Buri Beach Resort (Mae Nam)
      Cocopalm Beach Resort (Mae Nam)
      White House Beach Resort (Choeng Mon)
      Lamai Wanta Beach Resort (Lamai)

      1. Lucy

        Great recommendations! We are currently booking The Smile House!

        Many thanks,

        Lucy Pink

  169. Phuket and Koh Samui in June

    Hi, and thank you so much for this great site! we hope you can give us some advice as we are first time Thailand travelers. We are a family of 5,3 children aged 3/8/11, we’re planing to stay for 4 weeks. We’ll arrive in the middle of June in BKK. Planing to spend a few days there before traveling south. Our thoughts (for now) is to visit the Tsunami Memorial and then travel to Phuket to visit the Fantasea. But we are very undecided in where to stay in the Phuket area. Advice is much appreciated. Considering the rough sea conditions at this time of year we are looking in to maybe stay at Ka Yao Yai or Ka yao Noi, do you know if these beaches are better?
    After this we want to go to Koh Samui and stay there for about two weeks,and take day trips from there. Since its a busy time of year there, do you recommend booking in advance? Which sites do recommend? Where is the best place to stay when you want a pretty beach witch is kid friendly and have short distance to most things? If we decide to fly, do you think we need to book flights in advance or have the local flights from Phuket or BKK always available seats?
    The plan is also to end our trip with a day or two in in BKK.

    Any advice would be most appreciated!!

    Tanks again for this great site!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There is not a big difference between the different beaches on Phuket in June. They will likely all be rough and not great for swimming. The water park at the Centara Grand West Resort is great for kids (free unlimited entrance when you stay at the hotel).

      Choeng Mon is probably the most kid friendly beach on Koh Samui. South Chaweng is great too. Definitely book hotels and flights in advance. Use Booking.com for hotels and Kayak for searching for flights. Routes sell out often and I would not assume they’ll be tickets on the flights you need.

  170. SALA Samui, Conrad, Melati, Reanaissance or the Vana Belle Resort?

    Hi Dave,

    Looking for a hotel which is situated on a nice beach and one that you can swim at, and also a hotel that is located close/fairly close to restaurants/water sports ie is not isolated. A standout main pool is also a plus.
    Which one would you recommend out of these hotels: SALA Samui, Conrad, Melati, Reanaissance or the Vana Belle?

    James Lynch

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      None of these hotels are centrally located near lots of restaurants or nightlife but they are excellent hotels that most people select for their slightly isolated and quiet locations. The Vana Belle is on Chaweng Noi beach (south of Chaweng) and has the most around it. But even still it is a good 20 to 30 minute walk to the main area of restaurants in Chaweng (there are a couple of independent restaurants on Chaweng Noi beach). The Conrad is the most isolated (a 45 minute drive to Chaweng). The others are somewhere in between though taxis are easy to get so none of them (besides the Conrad) are more than 10 or 12 minutes by taxi from Chaweng, Lamai, or Bophut. The Vana Belle, Renaissance, and Sala Samui have the best beaches.

  171. Koh Samui with Kids

    Hi Dave,

    We would like to travel end of June for 2 weeks, but are on the fence.

    We have a 12 & 6 year old, where would you recommend we take the family?

    Thank you!

    Warm regards,
    Stephanie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Koh Samui is wonderful for families. Choeng Mon for a quiet kid-friendly beach. Chaweng for lots of restaurants and shopping (and nightlife if your 12 year old is “babysitting”). Or Bophut for something in-between.

  172. Single Traveler in Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,

    I’m looking to come to Koh Samui for 4 days in the middle of April. I’m a solo female traveller. I’m love some guidance on where to stay. I’m looking for a good beach for swimming, somewhere where you can walk to a some tasty but not really expensive restaurants and a few shops would be good. Being a solo traveller I won’t be out partying, but do want to feel safe if I’m out at night. An added bonus would be if it was easy to get to a few attractions. A lot to ask I know! Any suggestions would be great. Thanks.

    Fiona

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Choeng Mon or Mae Nam for a quieter/chilled out beach. Bophut if you wanted something a bit more activity (but nothing crazy).

  173. Koh Samui with A Baby

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for this great and helpful site. We’re a couple traveling to Samui with a one year old baby. We’d ideally like to stay in a hotel on the beach near restaurants, and are struggling to decide between Lamai, Chaweng and Choengmon. What would you suggest?

    Thanks so much

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Really, all are great choices so I wouldn’t stress about choosing the right one. That said, go with Choeng Mon if you want something quieter and Chaweng (preferably the south part around the Centara or Poppies) if you want to have more choice in restaurants, more shopping, and a funkier vibe.

  174. Koh Samui with a Toddler

    Hi Dave, fabulous website, very helpful for Thai addicted! I’m planning 2 weeks holidays in April (around the middle of the month) We’ll travel with our son, 2 years old, and we focused on Samui (it’s easy to arrive from BKK, and it seem safe in case of sanitary urgencies). We are very indecisive about the location: we are looking for wonderful sea (hotel/resort with beach, moderate budget), but very crowded beach is not our cup of tea.
    Poppies is too expensive for us, we have take a look at Chaweng garden beach but it’s in central Chaweng.
    Something to suggest?
    If you ever need any food/stay recommendations in Venice, Italy, please contact me : )
    Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Go with Choeng Mon. Great beach, good choice of restaurants (though not a ton), and good value hotels.

  175. Hotels on Koh Samui During Full Moon Party

    Hi Dave
    I’ll be in Koh Samui for 2 nights on 4 and 5 April (the weekend after the Full Moon party). I’m wondering whether I could get really good discount walk-in rates at the luxury 5 star resorts or would I be better off booking now to get early booking rates? I’ve read a few sites that suggest you can get good walk-in discounts at low and mid-range places but not sure about the luxury resorts. Also would it be risky relying on walk-in given it’s the full moon party weekend?
    Thanks
    Jeff

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      You’re much better off booking in advance for mid-range and luxury hotels. Back in the 90s, yes, you could get good walk-in rates at the better hotels but nowadays they put all their deals online (often selling blocks of rooms to online sites like Booking.com – which then cut the rates so the hotel doesn’t have to discount their “rack rate”). Would it be risky to show up without a room? Probably not risky – you’d be able to find something – but with only 2 days on Samui hunting around for a hotel room doesn’t sound like the best use of your time.

  176. Taling Ngam or Lamai

    I’m solo traveler. Will be on Koh Samui for one month (April) for Muay Thai training. I’ve got two camps in mind but in very different locations. One is near the beach in Lamai and one is near the beach in Taling Ngam (near the intercontinental hotel.) I will be training 6 days/week so I’m not too concerned about other activities but I would like to get to a couple of the outer islands on day and overnight weekend trips for sights and snorkeling.

    I like a nice beach for relaxing and a swim as well as a handful of options for meals and drinks. I like me some beers now and again and I enjoy lively conversation and socializing with some fellow travelers but am not into an all-out party scene either.

    In both cases I will likely be staying at the gym so lodging is not a concern. From cost and quiet standpoint I like the Taling gym but I fear that it might be too quiet and too remote and may not be a beach scene that I desire. My Lamai option is a bigger gym which is not my preference but seems to be in a more lively location. Though I’m not thrilled by the girly bars and that kind of vibe either.

    There is a good gym on Koh Tao but I’d have to find my own lodging for the month. I like the idea of the smaller island but do not care to dive at all. I know I’m a bit scattered here, but if you can offer you opinion and insight that might help me finalize my decision I would greatly appreciate it. Cheers.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I’m not sure there’s a lot I can add to that. You’ve got it exactly right: a choice between quiet but not much around, and more central but not so peaceful. Just have to figure out what you want.

  177. Birthday in Bangkok/ Full Moon Party Tickets

    Hi Dave, loving the site…so informative that after reading we have just booked Bangkok and Ko Samui! It’s my son’s 18th birthday whilst in Bangkok, with a party of 8 that includes 4 youngsters (15-21 year olds), any idea what we could do as family to celebrate? Also how do you book tickets for the Moon parties as believe there is one on 29 August (for the kids of course)? Thanks, Gaynor

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      A river cruise and dinner might be a fun idea for a birthday party. I assume you mean the Full Moon Parties on Koh Phangan – no tickets, just show up. There are speedboats that go across from Koh Samui the night of the party and return the next morning.

  178. Quiet Beach on Koh Samui with Restaurants

    Hi Dave,

    Going to Thailand in June and was just wondering which part would be better to stay in Bophut our Choeng Mon in terms of restaurants/beaches/hotels etc. I do not want to be in the hustle and bustle of it all looking for something a bit quieter but still in distance of the nice restaurants. Also any recommendations for hotels? Thanks 🙂

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      It sounds like Choeng Mon will be more your speed. The sand is nicer than in Bophut (or most think so) and there are 15 to 20 restaurants in the area but not as busy as Bophut – though I wouldn’t call Bophut crazy busy by any stretch.

  179. Rental House on Koh Samui

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for an excellent page – we are a family with two young kids planning a 4-6 week holiday next winter and have been using your page to read up.

    However, we have come across the beach in the north, Bang Por, where there are several houses for rent. Do you have an opinion on this beach?

    And do you have any general advice on renting a little house? We are looking at the more budget end of of beach front houses, around 100 US per night in high season. Looking at aribnb and homeaway, but have never used these sites before and not been to Koh Samui, so it feels slightly uncertain to turn up to a place you’ve never seen with a 4 week booking and two kids.

    Thanks again for all your info on your page. Appreciate any additional advice you might have.

    Best,

    -Erik

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Bang Por is nice. Quiet but still beach restaurants. Cool video here of Bang Por beach.

      I understand your dilemma with booking a house. At some point you just have to jump in and have faith it will work out (though there are no guarantees).

      Flipkey.com/koh-samui-rentals is good as it has a $10,000 guarantee on your payment. Airbnb and Homeway are also good. Personally, I would book a hotel for a few days and have a look around after I arrived to find a local renting their house – but, obviously, there are risks to that approach too (they could all be rented).

  180. Quiet Beach but Close to Some Activity

    Hi Dave, glad I stumbled over this, very informative! The gf and I are going the last week of June and we can’t decide where abouts to stay on the east coast!! We want a nice sandy beach which is relatively quiet but near somewhere with a bit of a buzz at night but not overly crazy!! Would love to get your thoughts!! Thanks Andy.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Choeng Mon would probably be perfect. Beautiful beach, 15 or 20 restaurants, 10/15 minutes to Chaweng (where there are many restaurants and lots of nightlife). Choeng Mon to Chaweng costs 100 baht in the back of a songthew (2 bench seats in the back of a covered pick up) or 300 baht by taxi.

  181. Snorkeling in Koh Samui?

    Great website Dave, very helpful, many thanks! Planning travel to Thailand in early July for 2 weeks with kids aged 9 & 11 who love swimming & snorkeling. At this stage quite keen on a week in Krabi (maybe the Centara) with a few day trips to snorkel, but also a week in another location, we were wondering about Koh Samui. From reading your page it sounds like the Centara at Chaweng is a nice spot. We would like a fairly quiet resort. Can you snorkel and see any sea life straight off the beach here? Or could you recommend anywhere else on Koh Samui with great swimming/snorkeling for kids straight off the beach? Many thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There is no good snorkeling in Koh Samui. For anything good you’ll need to do a day trip to Koh Tao, Koh Nangyuan, or Ang-Thong Marine Park. Try to avoid short trips that take just a little ways off Koh Samui – you really need a full day trip that takes you to one of these 3 destinations.

  182. The Best Hotels on Samui

    Dave,

    Love the site! Planning a trip with a stop in Bangkok and then 2 beach stops. I must travel in late July and early August. My goal is the most scenic beaches with the clearest water. So far I am considering Yao Noi (Six Senses).

    Kata Beach (The Shore)

    Samui (Four seasons or W or Six Senses)

    Are there other beaches I should be considering?

    And will I have major weather issues that time of year?

    Thanks!!!

    Natalie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Those are all great hotels. On Samui The W has the best beach of those 3, with the Four Seasons close behind. On Phuket Kata Beach will have a lot more going on the Yao Noi.

  183. Koh Samui in September

    Going to samui on 5th September for two weeks.
    Do you think this is a wise choice for weather?
    Hoping for sunny blue skies and clear water. What do you think??? Great page Dave!!

    Brian W

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      September is when the rains arrive but you can still get some great weather in the first half of the month. Cross your fingers and adjust your expectations and I’ll be you’ll be fine.

  184. Joy

    Hey Dave,

    Great blog! My partner and I are spending april 13 – may 14 in koh samui. We are staying at the Lanna resort, have you heard of it? Do you know what beach it is closest to // are there restaurants and life nearby?

    Also, we are deciding where to stay from may 14 – june 3. Our options are Koh Lanta (Phutara Lanta Resort on Long Beach) or Surin Beach, Phuket. Which island do you recommend based on overall quality or life, great beach and weather?

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Lanna is somewhat out of the way so I wouldn’t call it close to the action but there is a free shuttle bus to Chaweng. Bophut is nearby.

      Koh Lanta is more low-key than Phuket. Both are great beaches.

  185. Good Hotel in Quiet Area but Close to Restaurants and Nightlife

    Hi Dave, I’m thinking of coming to Koh Samui end of April and was wondering which hotels are quiet and relaxing but also within walking distance to restaurants and nightlife but not in the thick of it.
    Thanks Kerry McKay

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      In Chaweng, the hub of the island’s nightlife, both the Centara and Poppies are wonderful hotels on the best stretch of beach. Restaurants and nightlife are just a short walk away but the hotels are in the south part of Chaweng where it’s relatively quiet and peaceful. In Bophut, less nightlife than Chaweng but still a nice social scene at many restaurants, the Hansar is a great hotel with a central location.

  186. Long Term Accommodation

    Dave,

    Absolutely great blog. Amazingly informative dealing with every aspect of Thailand. About time someone did one of these but more importantly maintains it!
    Question for you, how can a family find a good cheap long term accomodation in Hua Hin or Bangkok without getting ripped off or paying a lot. Coming on a retirement pension for a look see in two weeks with the wife and two kids.
    Any relocation experts or contacts? Any advice?
    Thanks
    Jay

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      For long term accommodations in Bangkok (and to a lesser extent Hua Hin) I’d take a look at AirBnb.

      As for specific places in Bangkok that are good for medium to long term stays both the Chatrium Sathon and Chatrium Riverside have pools and large suites with kitchens.

  187. Koh Samui/Koh Tao in May

    Hi Dave!
    Thanks for posting the incredible site, I am feeling super happy to have found someone who knows their stuff, and appreciate your individual responses, thanks so much in advance for sharing your knowledge 🙂

    2 friends and I are planning on heading to Thailand in May (arriving in Bangkok the 10th, but want to be on the beach from the 11-17), and are torn on which islands to visit! From what I’ve read, it sounds like Ko Samui and Ko Tao make for a better stay during this time than heading over to Krabi/Ko Phi Phi, do you have any idea of where might be better? We have found a few great places to stay in both spots, but since we are there for such a short time we want to make sure we are really taking advantage of our time, and not being rained out. Any advice you have would be great!

    Thanks,
    Maja

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      As far as where to stay in terms of weather, there is no difference (or at least no predicting) what areas on the east coast will be the best. All of the east coast islands and towns should have good weather in May. As for my favorite towns, Bophut, Chaweng, and Mae Nam on Koh Samui are all wonderful.

  188. Honeymoon in August in Thailand

    Hi Dave,
    This is a very helpful website! I am planning a honeymoon to Thailand in early August. We are going to use our Marriott Rewards points so I was looking into staying at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Khao Lak Marriott, and Koh Samui. I’ve also heard that the Phi Phi islands should not be missed as well, so we were going to use our money to stay somewhere there. Out of those places mentioned, is there anything that should be thrown out? We’d potentially like to stay 3 days at each. Is there a place that maybe we should just do a day trip to see? We plan to have some beach R&R days, but also days with excursions and nightlife. Any suggestions you have would be helpful!

    Thanks

    Stephanie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      My first thought is that the weather will probably be better on the east coast (Koh Samui) than the west coast so I might look to spend more of my time on Koh Samui. Now, that’s far from a certainty but it might be something you would want to alter a little. Koh Phi Phi makes for a good day trip – though boat trips can be cancelled at that time of year due to rough seas. Lots to consider I know. The Khao Lak Marriott is wonderful.

  189. Jason Halford

    Hi Dave – finally something useful in a sea of drivel!
    It is my wife’s first visit to Thailand (I am an old hand): I have planned as follows: LHR > KUL > USM > Koh Tao View Point 2nts > Samui Sea Dance 1nt > fly to Krabi > Koh Yao Noi 4nts Hill House > Koh Yao Yai Santhiya 1nt > Khao Lak Moracea 2nts > Elephant Hills, Khao Sok NP > Fly to Samui…then 3nts relaxation before heading home on the first day of Songkran. Do we check back into Sea Dance…is it as good as the reviews suggest as I missed Bophut last time I was on Samui?…or shall we move on to South Chaweng…if the latter, where would you recommend? Also, whilst in Koh Yao Noi…do we bother with a trip to Phi Phi…or just take a long tail to the Islands up that way?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I always regret going back to same place (even when I like it) – you just never get the same feeling the 2nd time around as the first and trying a new place and new experiences is worth the risk of being disappointed. I would recommend the Centara in Chaweng.

      Phi Phi is very busy with day trippers. I think you’d enjoy nearby destinations with less effort.

  190. Chaweng/Choeng Mon/Lamai

    Hi Dave,
    We are a 35 year old couple with a 4 yeR old. Travelling to Koh samui for the first time . Trying to make up our mind between Chaweng and Choeng Mon/Lamai. Night life is not a criteria for us as we can’t leave our daughter behind . But eating places near by us is a must. So far we have chosen Sala Samui because of the private pool villa. Please suggest and also how far is the central area of chaweng from Sala?
    Gaurav Gupta

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Sala Samui is a 15 minute taxi ride from Chaweng. Chaweng and Lamai definitely have more restaurants but there are several around the Sala that are good so it’s not dead by any means. The beach in South Chaweng (near hotels the Centara and Poppies) is better than around the Sala.

  191. Which Beach on Samui?

    Swadee kup Dave,

    My wife (who’s Thai), and I have been coming to Thailand for almost 40 years. We’ve been all over the country, but amazingly, we’re making our first trip to Koh Samui at the end of May. We’re in our 60’s, very good health, and want to enjoy a quiet, relaxing five days (we’ll be in Bangkok and Rayong the preceding week), at a place with a nice beach, multiple good restaurants within walking distance. Nightlife isn’t an issue. Good food (we can easily eat local food as well) with Singha beer is what we like.

    Cheers, Jim and Panit

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Bophut (my favorite combination of good beach with cool town), Chaweng (best beach), or Lamai (good food and beach, a touch seedy) would all work.

  192. The Best Hotel in Bophut

    We want to stay in Bophut (highly recommended by friends) but the hotels you recommend are sold out for our dates. Can you recommend another luxury hotel in Bophut with pool, good location, and beautiful beach?

    Thanks,
    Loreina

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Hansar Samui Resort is wonderful and easily could have made my list. Beautiful pool, great location on the beach, and easy walk to Fisherman’s Village (shopping, lots of restaurants).

  193. Melati or Centara Grand

    Hi Dave, we are contemplating booking an 11 day stay at The Melati Beach resort in Bophut. We are just concerned that there won’t be plenty of restaurants in walking distance of the hotel – can you shed any light on this?! Our other option is the Centara Grand in Chewang but are concerned this one will be too lively!

    Thanks in anticipation of your wisdom!

    Jon

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes, Melati is definitely off on its own. It’s about 400baht and 10/15 minutes to Bophut where you’ll find many good restaurants. There’s one restaurant next door to the resort which is both good and cheap. Other than that it’s Bophut, Chaweng, or the other resorts in the area (still need a taxi for those). Centara is on a beautiful stretch of beach. I’d be surprised if you found it too lively but hard to say of course. It’s an easy walk to lots of restaurants.

  194. 4 Star Hotel on a Nice Beach on Koh Samui

    My husband and I are going to Koh Samui for the first time. We need recommendations for hotels which have nice beaches and easy access to shops, restaurants and markets. Im looking for 4 stars and up hotels/ resorts.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Centara in Chaweng is on a particularly wonderful beach – but pretty much all the hotels I mention above have nice beaches.

  195. Honeymoon in Thailand in November

    Hi Dave,

    Really good website with lots of information. My fiancee and I are looking at going to Thailand for our honeymoon in November this year. We want to have a beach holiday for 8-10 days before we go back to Bangkok for a few more days. We don’t feel the need to go with ultimate luxury and we would like some where that is quiet but has enough to keep us occupied. Do you have any suggestions on possible locations and also hotels.

    Thanks!

    Tom

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      November is a rainy month in much of Thailand so think carefully where you’re going. The west coast will have drier weather than the east coast (so Koh Samui is probably out). Khao Lak (north of Phuket) is a good choice for what you’re looking for. Great beaches and a nice town and area. The closer it is to the end of November the better luck you’ll have with the weather.

  196. Food Allergies When Traveling to Thailand

    Hi Dave – I am looking to go to Thailand next month but am very concerned about being able to eat there safely with my allergies. I am deadly allergic to all nuts (incl. coconut) and also am allergic to papaya. Are restaurants used to dealing with these kinds of severe allergies? How do you suggest I handle this, and is it better not to go at all?
    Thanks!
    Melissa

  197. Lamai, Chaweng, Bophut

    Hi Dave,
    We are going to Koh Samui in March. Really difficult to find out where to stay. Chaweng beach is not an option. We are not sure if we should choose Lamai, Chaweng-North or Bophut beach. Read a lot about all of them, but still unsure where to stay. We like to stay somewhere quiet, but within walking distance to a good choice of restaurants. We would also like to have a nice beach, and the sea should be good for swimming. Read that Bophut is a nice beach, but not so good for swimming?? And Chaweng-North is shallow and also not good for swimming?? Or is this only parts of the year? What about Lamai?
    Hope you can give is some good advices where to stay 🙂

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Bophut is great. The swimming is good but the beach sand can be a bit coarse for some. The sand at Lamai is nicer, the swimming is good. The restaurants at Bophut are a little more upscale than Lamai but both good. The south end of Chaweng has the best beach and is an easy walk to restaurants and not overly busy.

  198. 12 Days in SE Asia

    Hi
    My husband and I are just about to book a special holiday and are looking to go to the following in November
    Bangkok 2 nights
    Cambodia 3 nights
    River Kwai 2 nights
    Bangkok 2 nights
    Hua Hin 3 nights
    Do you think this is a good itinary to see as much as we can. Also is Hua Hin a good
    beach location? Appreciate your advice.

    Ann

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Looks like a great itinerary but if it’s mid to late November I would swap Krabi or Khao Lak for Hua Hin (early November you might be best to stick with Hua Hin area).

    2. Ann

      Thank you for your advice. Makes me more confident in our choice as we are going 1st November. Great site for good information.
      Ann

  199. Hotel Touts at the Airport

    Hi Dave, great blog and really useful!
    I’m looking at taking my 2 sons aged 15 and 12 for a 10 day break in early February to Koh Samui. I like the idea of the south Chaweng Noi area! I have heard that when you arrive at the airport you are approached by hotel representatives selling 4/5 star accommodation in the region of TBH 2,500 to TBH 3,200? Is this true and is this due to unsold room availability by the resorts?

    Thanks in advance – Dean

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      In the low season you can see some hotel touts from 2/3/4 star hotels offering accommodations but I’ve never seen a true luxury or 5 star hotel there.

  200. Weather in March

    Hi Dave,

    I am planning a trip to Bangkok and Phuket early this year and am looking at somewhere between the end of Feb to the end of March. I have been told that the weather in Feb is ok but March gets really hot. Is that correct ? I live in Bangalore, India and am used to temperatures around 28 C – 30 C but I am not a big fan of extreme heat and humidity, especially when I want to visit the beaches. What do you think ?

    Sowmya

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      It’s hot in March but far from unbearable. You notice it much more in Bangkok than on the islands. I’d be surprised if you found it too much. April is hotter than March and even then I never find it too hot on the beach.

  201. Budget Beach Huts on Koh Samui

    I want to go to thailand in May and June. I would have liked to go to less touristy islands but think it is Koh samui and neighbouring islands that are not in monsoon at that time. I will be on a really tight budget (wth my 2 teenage boys) and we r looking for cheap authentic places to stay on the beach preferably – and adventure. Do you have any ideas of a good place to stay? I know on other less touristy islands u can stay very cheaply in little huts on the beach. Is this poss on ko samui/neighbouring isles? Thankyou so much fr your help

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      On Koh Phangan this is still possible but on Koh Samui small rustic beach huts are almost all gone. Mae Nam is your best shot at something like what you’re imagining.

  202. Nicki

    Hi Dave, the site is great, really informative! We are in Samui currently but find Chaweng a little too crowded. We are looking for a more hippy-esque backpacker vibe. Any recommendations? Thanks

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both Mae Nam (expat, flashpacker vibe) or Bophut (upscale, trendy) are great.

  203. Best Island for 5 Days in January

    HELP! just so torn!!! All of our friends have such different reviews and recommendations. We are spending 5 nights in Bangkok, 3 in Chiang Mai which leaves us 5-6 days for the beach…. thinking of just flying into Samui and staying at Koh Tao. It is our honeymoon and since the first leg will be filled with Temple, food adventures and hiking/etc… we want chill beach. Not a big big touristy scene, no foam, nothing too busy with a nice beach for swimming… (high hopes), but going through your blog, am I missing out on Samui or anywhere else by just staying at Koh Tao the entire 5 days??? Anythingggggggg you can advise us on would be greatly appreciated! THANKS SO MUCH! If you ever need any food/stay recommendations in San Diego, CA let me know. ps. traveling Jan 12-26

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I love Koh Samui and Koh Phangan (though Samui is much easier to get to than Phangan so for 5 days it’s a better choice). Would also add that Koh Tao is great but really focused on diving and if you’re not doing diving day trips there are better places to be. (e.g. Hotel owners get a cut if you book tours through them so there can be subtle pressure to go diving and frustration if you don’t.)

  204. Which Ferry Pier for Lamai

    hi dave, I am staying at Lamai Beach early January and wondered which pier on Ko Samui do I need to travel to? Keep getting told different things. thanks, Donna

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There are 3 piers on Koh Samui: Nathon Pier, Mae Nam Pier, and Bangrak Pier. All of them are fine for getting to Lamai – so don’t stress about which one. Bangrak is closest to Lamai, then, Mae Nam, then Nathon. If you’re coming from the mainland (Surat Thani) most ferries will arrive in Nathon. The others primarily serve Koh Phangan but can also have connections with Surat Thani.

  205. Hotel on Koh Samui with the Best Beach?

    Thanks for the tips. Which resort has the best beach would you say? We are also looking for easy access to activities (water sports, boat trip, hiking)…less concerned about nightlife. Thanks for any advice!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      In Chaweng (which is the hub of the island and has the most activity) the beach is best around the Centara and Poppies – both great resorts.

  206. Thailand in December

    My fiance and I are looking to travel to Thailand at the end of December. I would like to spend a few days inland and then end the trip with some time on the Islands (probably Koh Samui with some days trips to other islands), potentially spending a few days in Cambodia or Laos if transportation is easy. Do you have any recommendations?

    Naya

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I’d recommend Chiang Mai as your “inland” destination and Koh Samui for beach time. Both Cambodia and Laos are great countries and easy to get cheap flights to from Bangkok.

  207. Where To Go/ GAdventures Thailand Tours

    Hi Dave, fabulous website! Thailand has been at the top of my bucket list for a number of years. I am at the beginning process in terms of research and am hoping to travel there mid February 2016 for 3 weeks. My plan is travel around for the first 1-2 weeks, along at least one week for R&R near a beach. A friend of mine has been and did a tour with GAdventures and she highly recommended I do this to experience more of the country then just a beach/tourist town. “G” offers many different types of tours for a variety of prices, my friend mentioned Chiang Mai as a must see place. Would you suggest any other areas as being “must see” I love water falls, want to see monkey’s and get a sense of the Thai culture.

    For the beach time it looks like we would need to fly from Bangkok to a different area. Debating on Phuket, Krabi or maybe Bali? Can you give any suggestion our interests will be affordability; places to go snorkelling with the possibility of a beginner scuba dive; town with shopping, restaurants and things possibility within walking distance or a short taxi ride.
    It will be two women travelling, no children.

    Any areas that you would caution us from visiting? Really exccited to be starting to plan this adventure of a life time.

    Debbie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Chiang Mai and Bangkok are my 2 favorite non-beach destinations in Thailand – so I would definitely focus my trip around those 2 cities. They’re wonderful. And February is a good time to visit both. For beaches – this is an oversimplification – but the west coast (Phuket, Krabi) has more to do but is also more touristy and feels less Thai. The east coast (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan) is more relaxing and laid-back. Better local food. But not as many day trips and activities available. Koh Tao (east coast) does have excellent scuba diving and snorkeling and offers many courses and tours. There has been a long term insurgency in the south of Thailand (farther south than Phuket and Koh Samui) that has been violent at times – but few tourists make it down that far and it shouldn’t be an issue in the tourist destinations I mentioned. Thailand is a pretty safe destination.

  208. What Town on Koh Samui for Nightlife?

    Great site dave!

    What’s the best town on Koh Samui for a beach and nightlife vacation. My friend has recommended Bophut but concerned there won’t be enough to do there? Your thoughts appreciated.

    Dan & Jackie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Cheweng is the center of Koh Samui nightlife – clubs, discos, bars. It also has a great beach (if not the best then one of the best 2 or 3 beaches on Samui). So, if partying and beach are your criteria, then Chaweng is where you should stay. Bophut has a nice beach but not much nightlife and you’d be taking a taxi every night to get back and forth to Chaweng (not a big deal but I don’t see the need if Chaweng suits you better).

  209. Koh Samui or Phuket

    Hi, we are planning a trip to Thailand around chrismas.we have 3-4 days to cover either Ko Samui while attending the christmas party or go to Phuket instead. What would you suggest??

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I prefer Koh Samui so would recommend it.

  210. Family-friendly Hotels on Koh Samui

    Hi Dave

    Great Blog! We will be in Koi Samui (2 Adults and 2 kids, 8 and 10 Boys) Which Resort do your recommend and also, which area, will in May. Preference would be away from the so call Hard Core party side.

    Thanks
    Dogan

  211. Beach & Hotel near Bangkok

    HI Dave, I’ve got a weekend before some work in BKK. Looking for a nice beach, reasonable hotel, not too far from Bkk. I’m looking at Novotel Rayong. Any better ideas? Just me, single male.

    Guy

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There are beaches easier to get to from Bangkok (Pattaya and Hua Hin) but this is great choice for a nice beach hotel at a good rate.

  212. Koh Samui or Phuket in June

    Hi,
    Me and my wife are planning to visit Samui in June.Do you have any info regarding weather? And would you reccomend Koh Samui or Phuket for traveling in June?
    Thanks, Marko

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Koh Samui will have better weather than Phuket in June (or anytime from late May until early September).

  213. Koh Samui in November

    Hello,

    Would you suggest going to Ko Samui around 24 Nov ? Or do you suggest some other area to be explored in thailand during that season. My center of stay is near Suvarnbhoomi Bangkok and i have 4 nights to spend in Koh Samui or any other place (with a small kid so dont want to keep running a lot).

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I would go to Phuket or Krabi area instead. The monsoon ends a month earlier on the west coast so the weather in Phuket should be good – especially by the end of the month. On Koh Samui November weather will likely be wet and mostly grey.

      1. Is Phuket Good for Families?

        Is Phuket a good destination for Family outing? Heard that its pretty seedy !!

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

          Patong is the seedy town and it does have its not-so-great side but never “awful”. The beach is nice and there’s lots of shopping. Outside of Patong (Karon and Kata beaches for example) there’s very little seediness and its wonderful for families.

  214. Koh Samui to Phuket

    What is the best way to go from Koh Samui to Phuket via ferry/bus or ferry/car service combo and how much would it cost?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Ferry and car would be much better. The ferry is cheap (200 baht) and car hire for Don Sak pier to Phuket will cost 3000 to 4000 baht. A bus/ferry combo is cheaper but makes for a very long day: in theory it’s 6 hours but in practice can be up to 10 or 12 in a cramped mini-van. (Or for large buses you need to take a bus from the pier into Surat Thani and then another bus to Phuket).

  215. Paradise Beach Resort in Mae Nam

    just booked a stay at Paradise beach resort Mae Nam and my partner is a little concerned at the distance to Bhoput/fishermans village area, how far by foot is the fishermans village from central mae nam?

    and have you any thoughts or info on the actual Paradise beach resort? as we are travelling with a three year old and there is no kids club

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Paradise Beach is a nice resort and there a couple restaurants within a 5/10 minute walk but it is not walking distance to Fisherman’s Village in Bophut. It’s only a 10 minute drive but not a walkable distance with a 3 year old.

  216. Flight to Surat Thani – Then Ferry, but How?

    We’re flying from Bangkok to Surat Thani on Air Asia then plan to take the ferry to Koh Samui. We’re told this is easy but what exactly do we do? Is the ferry terminal close to the airport? Walkable? Taxi? Should we reserve a ferry ticket before getting on our flight?

    Thank you.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      It’s very easy. You’ll see several companies selling tickets to Koh Samui in the Surat Thani airport. Buy the one with the next available sailing to Koh Samui (it will be a bus + ferry combo ticket). You can book these online in advance but then you’ll worry about making that particular connection. I would wait to purchase after your plane lands. (Admittedly there is some small risk they will be sold out but that rarely happens.) Walk out the doors at the Surat Thani airport and there should be a bus waiting there for you (they’re timed with the arrival of flights). The bus will take you to the Don Sak ferry terminal. It’s an 80 minute bus ride to the pier and then an 1.5 hours by ferry to Koh Samui.

  217. Beach Volleyball on Phuket

    Hi-
    Your site is very helpful!
    I am going to Phuket in a couple of weeks and I’m looking for the best place to pick up some recreational volleyball games. I am leaning toward staying in Karon, but I can’t get a sense of where the beach vb nets are located and what level of games are played.

    Do you have any idea?

    Thanks in advance,
    Vanessa

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I do know they play at Karon beach but couldn’t comment on the level of play.

  218. Mosquitoes on Koh Samui

    We will be in Koh Samui in February. I get bitten by mosquitoes everywhere I go – even when they don’t seem to be around. Is Koh Samui bad for mosquitoes? Should I bring repellant? Is it available there?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes, there are mosquitoes on Koh Samui but most people don’t notice them and they aren’t a big problem (though that doesn’t sound like it will apply to you). In your case, definitely bring repellant. There will be some in the stores but the higher deet concentrations can be hard to find. (Many Thais use a lemongrass spray which is widely available.) Mosquitoes seem to be worse in the rainy season of October to early December – but even then not a big nuisance.

  219. Phuket or Koh Samui

    We have a 2 week holiday planned for Thailand in late July and early August. We’ll spend 3 days in Bangkok, 4 days in Chiang Mai and then finish we a week on a beach somewhere. Where would you recommend for a beach in August. We’ve heard great things from friends about Phuket but also that this rainy season on the west coast? Should we go for Koh Samui instead?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      July is when the rains start in earnest all over Thailand. So you’ll likely see some rain wherever you go. That said, the weather and rains are usually more moderate on the Koh Samui side of the country than the Phuket side and they arrive a month or two later (late August and September are the rainiest times in Phuket, late October and November the rainiest on Koh Samui). If you’re really pining for Phuket then go there. You’ll likely get some fine weather will a few downpours. If clear skies are more important then go for Koh Samui. But in reality there probably won’t be a huge difference between the two. One other thing to keep in mind is that August is high season on Koh Samui (owing to the perceived better weather) and low season on Phuket making hotels much cheaper there than in Samui. Hope that helps.

  220. Airport to Chaweng by Taxi

    Do you know how much a taxi from the Samui airport to Chaweng costs. Arriving from Bangkok at 5pm in the evening.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      A private car will costs about 500baht to Chaweng. There are also Private Minivans (if you’re a large group) or Shared Minivans (if you’re traveling solo) that can be cheaper per person. More info and prices here: Samui Airport.

  221. Bus or Train to Koh Samui

    We’ll be in Bangkok and want to go to Koh Samui for a week. Is it better to take the bus or train down to Samui? Is it easy to get tickets?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I much prefer taking the train to taking the bus. You can get a sleeper and have a good nights sleep. The bus is cheaper though. They’re both similar routes. Train to Surat Thani, then a bus takes you to the ferry terminal, and there’s 1 hour ferry across to Samui. With the bus you go straight to the ferry. With bus you can buy a ticket and probably leave within an hour. For train you should book a few days in advance. In high season sleepers can be fully booked weeks in advance – but if you’re flexible with your dates and times you can usually find something within a few days.

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