Koh Samui Beaches: Ultimate Guide to the Best Beaches

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

After having spent almost two weeks in Koh Samui, it’s safe to say, we’ve fully explored almost every nook and cranny of the island. However, being one of the top tourist destinations in Thailand, Koh Samui is no longer that idyllic paradise that it once was. With that being said, there are still laid back sleepy beaches which you can escape to when you grow tired of the touristy sides of the island.

For those of you who don’t know, Koh Samui is HUGE! It takes about an hour to drive around the entire island, and while that doesn’t seem long, familiarizing yourself with the main beaches is crucial. Being that it is such a large island, you will literally be spoiled for choice in terms of accommodations. You will have a wide range of villas, beach bungalows, and hostels to choose from.

Based on experience, here are the best of Koh Samui Beaches which will hopefully guide you when choosing where to stay during your trip to this tropical island paradise.

Chaweng Beach

Distance from Airport: 20-minute drive

Pro: Lots of restaurants and bars; Good nightlife

Con: Busy and very touristy

Chaweng is one of the main tourist hot spot beach destinations and is where all the action happens. Although it is the busiest, it is also one of the prettiest, with a long 7km stretch of white sand. While there are some large resorts in the area, the crowd in Chaweng tends to be younger as a lot of popular beach bars can be found in the area. If you’re looking for something a little bit more private, you can also check out Koh Samui vacation rentals which offer private villas in Chaweng Beach and around other parts of Koh Samui.

Except for early mornings, expect to see a busy beach full of people sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying a variety of watersports. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, we recommend you skip Chaweng and opt to stay in the quieter beaches instead. However, if you’re looking for a good party scene, Ark Bar is a pretty popular place to visit, especially for backpackers and young travelers.

If you can get past the constant barrage of vendors and jet ski offers, Chaweng is a beautiful beach to stay at. However, in my opinion, unless you’re there to specifically meet people and socialize, there are plenty of other areas that are worth staying at.

Related: Want to know the best things to do in Koh Samui? Check out our full article for more inspiration.

✨The 1 Thing We Never Leave Home Without…

Travel Insurance

Coming from someone who has been traveling the world for the last 8 years AND has been in the hospital 2x, travel insurance is something everyone NEEDS to get. Get a quote below!

Lamai Beach

Distance from Airport: 35-minute drive

Pro: Lots of restaurants and bars; Quieter beach compared to Chaweng

Con: Touristy; Sleazy

Next up the list is Lamai Beach which is the second most popular and busiest part of Koh Samui. Located about half an hour from Chaweng, the beach is definitely a lot quieter, with a more affordable range of accommodations. During the day, you can go for a quiet stroll or on a leisurely swim without any hassles. However, despite the tranquility, I found the town of Lamai itself to be too sleazy for my liking. At night, when the town comes alive, you have music blasting from multiple small girly bars.

In fact, right next to the night market in Lamai, you will find dozens of bars with locals girls dancing, right next to where people are eating and drinking. While this may be other people’s cup of tea, it wasn’t ours which is why Lamai Beach scores low on our list of places to stay, especially for those traveling with families.

If you can look past this and opt to stick to the just the beachside resorts without venturing to town, then Lamai is a great place to stay as it is social and lively, yet still relatively relaxed. The famous rocks that Koh Samui is known for “Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks” are located at the very end of Lamai Beach.

If you want to see this beach on a day tour, this jungle safari 4WD tour stops off right by the famous rocks.

Popular Tours in Koh Samui

While we love basking by an empty beach, we also love exploring our surroundings! Here are some of our recommended tours to help you make the most out of your stay in Koh Samui.

Psst...Want in on a Secret? 🤫


We've scoured the internet for the best ALL-AROUND travel shoe and Tropicfeel wins by far. We've taken ours through rivers, jungles, and cities and they're still alive and kickin'. Check them out below.

Bo Phut Beach

Distance from Airport: 20-minute drive

Pro: Quiet beach,  some restaurants, and bars

Con: Few affordable accommodations

Known as the home to the famous Fisherman’s Village, Bo Phut is a 2km long beach that once had a traditional fisherman’s village. Nowadays, you will find a plethora of boutique resorts, restaurants, and watersports activities. The area is very peaceful and is a great place to enjoy the tranquility of Koh Samui.

Although the sand is yellowish, the beach area is still lovely and is a good place to swim and relax.  As mentioned, from here, you will find boat tours to Angthong Marine Park, jet ski, wakeboarding, and flyboard rentals, making it a one-stop adventure area. Bo Phut Beach tends to attract a slightly older crowd who prefer some peace and quiet compared to busy beaches like Chaweng and Lamai.


Lipa Noi

Distance from Airport: 1-hour drive

Pro: Quiet and secluded beach

Con: Few affordable accommodations; far from tourist attractions

Located near the car ferry, the sleepy stretch of Lipa Noi is one of my top picks for Koh Samui beaches. While the white sandy shores of Chaweng are a lot more aesthetically pleasing, Lipa Noi is quiet, serene, and is the perfect spot for those looking seclusion.

While the popular Nikki Beach resort dominates the area, there are other smaller places where you can eat, although they are quite limited. One particular favorite place worth visiting is Retro Bar which has a cool laid back vibe and fantastic cocktails. Aside from the peaceful and quiet location, as Lipa Noi faces the West which means sunsets here are rather stunning. Lipa Noi is a great place for families or couples who want a few days of seclusion and relaxation. koh-samui-lipa-noi

Maenam Beach

Distance from Airport: 31-minute drive

Pro: Quiet and secluded beach, variety of restaurants

Con: n/a

A good balance for those looking for a beautiful beach yet with a variety of restaurant is Maenam Beach. This sleepy town area is a mix of both affordable beach bungalows, budget places to stay, as well as a few five-star resorts and villas. The beach itself is a 5km stretch of beige to yellowish sand and lots of suitable swimming areas.

We spent a day driving around the different beaches and enjoyed our time at Maenam Beach the most due to its laid back island feel. In front of some beach bungalows, there were a few hammocks strung to nearby trees offering shade and respite for beach goers. If you’re looking for something in the middle of being convenient yet still quiet, Maenam Beach is a good choice for travelers. koh-samu-maenam

Thong Krut Beach

Distance from Airport: 1-hour drive

Pro: Quiet and secluded beach

Con: Some rocky patches which isn’t the best for swimming

Located in the far southwest of Koh Samui, the quiet and unassuming Thong Krut beach is a great option for those that want to get away. We actually spent a couple of days on this side of the island when we stayed at the stunning Beach Samui Resort.

While the beach area can be rocky at times, if you venture a little bit further, there is a little sandbar to the far left when facing the ocean. During the afternoons, when the tide goes down, this is one of the most picturesque places on the island. Despite its seclusion, there are a number of good restaurants in town that are worth visiting like Hemingway’s on the Beach (order their piña colada, you can thank me later!) samui-sunset

Other Remote Koh Samui Beaches

While the ones listed above are a few of the best Koh Samui beaches, other places like Bang Por, Na Tien and Laem Set, and Taling Ngam beach are also worth looking into for those looking for remote getaways. Taling Ngam, in particular, offers stunning sunsets that are pretty spectacular. If you’re still unsure about which beach to stay at in Koh Samui, you can check out our article on where to stay in Koh Samui to help you find an ideal place to stay.

Transportation Around the Thai Islands and Safety

After Koh Samui, if you’re planning to explore the surrounding islands, we recommend that you book your transport ahead of time-especially if you’re traveling during peak season.
We recommend using Bookaway or 12Go website to view bus, boat, and train schedules ahead of time. We’ve used these websites all over Asia and it saves us the hassle of lining up in travel agencies or bus stations.

Generally speaking, Koh Samui is a pretty safe island. There are no major safety concerns. Regardless if you are planning on doing a lot of adventure activities, we recommend that you get travel insurance.

Looking for more inspiration for traveling Thailand? Check out our other articles below

Inspired? Pin it! Koh Samui, Thailand | Looking for the best beaches in Koh Samui? Here is our guide on the best beaches to help you decide on where to stay and relax while in Koh Samui

Share This!

1 thought on “Koh Samui Beaches: Ultimate Guide to the Best Beaches”

Leave a Comment