Where should you stay on Koh Samui? With over 700 hotels and resorts, and hundreds (if not thousands) more private villas and beach bungalows – Koh Samui’s 228.7 square kilometres are nothing but choices. Trying to pluck somewhere great to stay out of thin air is a recipe for brain melt-down (not to mention browser crashes). We’re going to make this very, very easy. Let’s get started!
#1. Find out which Koh Samui beach is best? Every Samui beach has a character of its own. Which is best? Well, you get to decide. Learn the character of each beach (pros, cons, sand texture and suitability) in The Koh Samui Guide, and find out which is the best beach for you. You’ll also find out what’s walkable and when you’ll need other forms of transport to get around, not to mention where to eat! An Amazon reviewer loved that the guide has “[r]eally helping information regarding all the things I want to know and lots of things I didn’t even think about”.
#2. Decide whether you want to be on the beach or near it? As a very hilly island, some of Koh Samui’s best views are to be found off the beach. Do you prefer a pool + ocean-view combination to the sand itself? If so, many of Koh Samui’s higher end hillside properties near a beach might be just the ticket. Booking mid-range places, you’re likely to enjoy a savings if you’re happy to walk, drive or scoot from your holiday home to the beach.
#3. What’s your budget? Once you’ve chosen your perfect beach and your preferred location – it’s simply a matter of deciding between a handful of great options in your desired price range. In the cheap-and-cheerful bracket, it’s just a bed, right? On Samui, 1- and 2-star hotels often come with tons of Thai charm and perfectly chilled Singha.
#4. Get it booked! Imagine that – in no time at all, with absolutely no stress or “it all looks the same” confusion – you’ve narrowed your top choices for where to stay on Koh Samui from over 1,000 to just 3 or 4. We said this would be painless! Once you’ve read the first chapter of The Koh Samui Guide and have a preferred beach or an area of Koh Samui in mind, use our following suggestions to whittle your top-notch short list and get your trip booked (whether you’re coming on honeymoon, with children or just a wing and a prayer).
Where to stay in Bophut
Bophut reader favourites
#2 Eden Beach Bungalows (☆☆☆, on the beach)
Bophut with children
Where to stay on Bophut Beach
Where to stay in Fisherman’s Village
- ☆☆☆☆ Grand Villa La Perla
- ☆☆☆ Elysia Boutique Resort, Samui Diving Resort and Enjoy Beach Hotel
- ☆☆ Pelegrin Hotel Samui
Near-the-beach options in Bophut
- ☆☆☆☆☆ Mantra Samui Resort (hillside, great views)
- ☆☆☆☆ Arisara Place Hotel (self catering)
- ☆☆☆ Samui Heritage Resort and Citin Urbana Samui
- ☆☆ Natural Samui Hotel
Private villas in Bophut
- Apartments (various sizes): Pema Djougne Apartment
- Various configurations: Crystal Villas (aka Crystal Luxury Villa/Villa Crystal Blue)
- 5 bedrooms: Baan Kuno
- 4 bedrooms: Baan Ling Noi Villa
- 3 bedrooms: Yupa Villa 2
- 2 bedrooms: Villa Barbossa
Bang Rak and Plai Laem
Bang Rak reader favourite
#1 The Scent Hotel (☆☆☆☆, boutique on the beach)
Our top choice in Bang Rak
Technically on Plai Laem Beach (just to the east of Bang Rak, with Big Buddha in between), our top choice in this area – for couples especially – is Tango Luxe Beach Villa (☆☆☆☆). This Instagram piece-of-perfection sums up the hammock-based, bacon-rich experience …
Where to stay on the beach in Bang Rak
Near-the-beach options in Bang Rak
Private villas in Bang Rak
- 7 bedrooms: Baan Haad Sai
- 6 bedrooms: Villa Melitta
- 4 bedrooms: Peerapat Villa
- 3 bedrooms: Villa Maeve
- 2 bedrooms: Samui Pier Apartment
- Various villa sizes: Villa Labaron
Where to stay in Chaweng
Chaweng reader favourites
Chaweng with children
#4 Centara Grand Beach Resort (☆☆☆☆☆, on the beach) Tons of facilities including an enormous pool and 9 restaurants
Our top choice in Chaweng
Poppies (☆☆☆☆, on the beach). It’s small and sweet, with every chance that your favourite staff will know your name (and drink) by your second day. Poppies ticks a number of boxes – it has gorgeous gardens, a gem of a pool, and sits on a quieter stretch of Chaweng (Chaweng Noi – see map above). Rooms are discrete little bungalows, giving you a great sense of “home”. Poppies is 22 years old in 2016 and for a little guy to remain #1 in Chaweng (according to TripAdvisor and many others) – with hundreds of competitors – they’re clearly doing ‘boutique’ justice. See for yourself! A romantic little spot that’s just as suitable for honeymooners and a family happy to entertain itself (no kids club but children are very welcome) … *see full details on this resort for families
Where to stay on Chaweng Beach
- ☆☆☆☆☆ Vana Belle (on the beach, *see full details on staying at Vana Belle)
- ☆☆☆☆ Nora Buri Resort & Spa and Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort
- ☆☆☆ OZO Chaweng Samui and Baan Chaweng Beach Resort & Spa
For a party in Chaweng
- Ark Bar Beach Resort (☆☆☆) Daytime pool parties, nighttime fire shows.
For an offbeat choice
- The Library (☆☆☆☆☆). Its pool is blood red.
Where to stay near Chaweng Beach
- ☆☆☆☆ Le Murraya Resort and The Sarann Hotel
- ☆☆☆ Pandora Lifestyle Hotel
- ☆ Superpro Samui Resort (+ Muay Thai gym)
Private villas in Chaweng
- 5 bedrooms: Villa Mia
Where to stay in Lamai
Lamai reader favourites
Lamai with children
Our top choice in Lamai
The Kala (☆☆☆☆, on the water with its own beach nearby*). The Kala isn’t fussy, it’s not pretentious and it’s not walking distance to anything – except its own beach. Its location, on a winding hillside (plus steep steps within the resort), deters many. This is your gain: You, Happy Couple, won’t believe its view. Daily happy hours and a big pool provide every reason to stay put for your whole stay. *How to get to the beach? (Pictured, below left) Two choices: hop into a kayak or stroll the garden boardwalk. Fantastic.
Where to stay on Lamai Beach
Lamai Beach, pictured above, is a long and relatively straight stretch of beach with hotels, resorts and bungalows for all tastes. If you like what you see, consider the following….
- ☆☆☆☆☆ Le Meridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa and Ammatara Pura Pool Villa
- ☆☆☆☆ Samui Jasmine Resort and Beach Republic
- ☆☆☆ Beluga Boutique Hotel
- ☆☆ Sarocha Villa
- ☆ Sunrise Bungalow and Rich Resort Beachside Hotel
Where to stay near Lamai Beach
The Lamai area has lots of small coves and little bays – many of which feature prominently on Koh Samui travel brochures. It’s very pretty down this way! For higher end hotel choices, “near, not on” Lamai locations likely mean much quieter beaches than the main stretch of Lamai, shared with just your hotel or a few others. In other cases, it puts you cliff-top for incredible views. To stretch your budget, choose more basic digs in Lamai town and plan for just a short walk or scoot to the beach.
- ☆☆☆☆(+) Silavadee Pool Spa Resort and Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa
- ☆☆☆☆ Manathai Resort Koh Samui and Montra Hotel
- ☆☆☆ Laem Sila Resort and Samui Beach Resort
- ☆☆ Bonny Hotel and Chaulty Towers
For an offbeat choice
Calling all Kiwis! The Memories Hotel and Sheep Farm (☆☆☆) might have the strangest “unique sales proposition” on Koh Samui. Inside, everything is sheep-themed. Outside? Yep, sheep. Real live sheep.
Private villas in Lamai
Where to stay in Choeng Mon
Choeng Mon reader favourites
#1 White House Beach Resort and Spa (☆☆☆, on the beach)
Choeng Mon with children
Our top choice in Choeng Mon
The Tongsai Bay (☆☆☆☆☆). If we were to stay anywhere in Choeng Mon, we’d choose this resort. It’s beautiful, secluded and has great food and facilities, but we love the Tongsai Bay for its environmental aspects and animal-loving ethos especially. The resort has its own bay, so although it’s a minute’s drive to Choeng Mon Beach – you need never leave the resort to enjoy beach life. An ‘all-round’ resort, suited to couples and families equally. “Stay here for: Fantastic staff, amazing wildlife, tennis and a shady beach-front pool” … *see full details on staying at Tongsai Bay
Where to stay on Choeng Mon Beach
- ☆☆☆ Honey Cottages
Where to stay near Choeng Mon Beach
In the general Choeng Mon vicinity, both your high- and low-end options widen considerably. To go five-star stylie, booking into a resort tucked into one of the area’s many little bays means greater privacy. To stretch your budget in the manner of a 1970s backpacker, just add a scooter or songthaew ride to your Choeng Mon Beach commute.
- ☆☆☆☆☆ Outrigger Koh Samui (formerly AKARYN Resort, on its own small beach near Choeng Mon, *see full details on Outrigger’s location)
- ☆☆☆☆ Bay Water Resort (≤ 5 minute walk to the beach, opposite SALA Samui)
- ☆☆☆ The Park Samui (apartments, 5-minute drive to Choeng Mon)
- ☆ Backpackers Eurohostel
Private villas in Choeng Mon
- 5 bedrooms: Villa Michaela and Baan Talay Sai
- 3 and 4 bedroom villas: Paradise Island Deluxe Private Villas
Where to stay in Maenam
Maenam reader favourites
Maenam with children
Unpretentious, a little rustic, home-made ice cream and a petting zoo with goats. Suffice to say, Belmond Napasai on #KohSamui is great with kids (and greedy adults with animal A.D.H.D.) >> more details, http://www.kohsamuisunset.com/koh-samui-where-to-stay-with-kids-2/ // #thailandtravel #belmondnapasai A photo posted by Alex H. / The Koh Samui Guide (@kohsamuisunset) on
#2 Santiburi Beach Resort, Golf & Spa (☆☆☆☆☆, on the beach, golf course affiliation) “Stay here for: Enjoying a sporty, active vacation together – on the water and off” … *see full details on staying at Santiburi
Where to stay on the beach in Maenam
Not since Lamai on our island tour has there been one long, uninterrupted stretch of beach. Welcome to Maenam Beach – perhaps the longest beach on Koh Samui. The three five-star options on Maenam Beach each suit a different traveller, so you’re certain to find a perfect match. In no particular order, Santiburi is huge and has tremendous family facilities (plus the island’s only 18-hole golf course shares Santiburi ownership). W Retreat is tucked away on its own headland and offers guests a non-stop ice cream supply. Finally, Belmond Napasai is the new name for an Orient-Express resort – did your eyes just light up?
- ☆☆☆☆☆ W Retreat Koh Samui (ideal for couples & cool people)
- ☆☆☆☆ Fair House Villas & Spa and Paradise Beach Resort
- ☆☆☆ Pinnacle Samui, Hacienda Beach Resort
- ☆☆ Moonhut Bungalows and Shangrilah Bungalow
- ☆ Palm Point Village
Where to stay near Maenam Beach
- ☆☆☆☆ Kirikayan Luxury Pool Villas & Spa Hotel and Grand Hill Residence
- ☆☆☆ Ban Tai River Gardens and Florist Resort
- ☆☆ Ampha Place Hotel and Wazzah Resort Bungalows
Private villas in Maenam
Where to stay in Taling Ngam
Taling Ngam reader favourites
Taling Ngam with children
Where to stay on the beach in Taling Ngam
Like the Hua Thanon and Na Muang areas, Taling Ngam is a large area of southwest Samui and the beach is divided in places by rocks, headlands and other topographical barriers. Taling Ngam faces west, so sunsets are the area’s biggest lure. As such, you’ll find the glitziest of branded resorts here. *Find the best places to enjoy a Koh Samui sunset.
- ☆☆☆☆☆ Elements Boutique Resort & Spa Hideaway
- ☆☆☆☆ Centra Coconut Beach Resort
- ☆☆☆ Phangka Paradise Resort
Private villas in Taling Ngam
- 14 bedrooms: Villa Kalyana
- 6 bedrooms: Samui Ridgeway Estate and Baan Chom Tawan Villa
- 4 bedrooms: Villa Beige
- Various villa sizes: Dhevatara Cove
Lipa Noi and Nathon
Lipa Noi reader favourites
For a party in Lipa Noi
- Nikki Beach Resort (☆☆☆☆, pool parties, DJs, brunches and dancing)
Where to stay on the beach in Lipa Noi
Where to stay in Nathon town
If you have an early ferry departure from Nathon, these hotels would be extremely convenient and allow a bit more sleep.
Private villas in Lipa Noi
- 5 bedrooms: Villa Ayundra, Samara Villa and Villa Thai Teak
- 3 bedrooms: Villa Uliana and Sunset Heights Villa
Where to stay in Bang Po
*Also spelled Bang Por
Bang Po reader favourites
Bang Po with children
Where to stay on the beach in Bang Po
Time at Four Seasons Koh Samui is – officially – as good as life gets. But you don’t need telling that. If you need to stick slightly closer to reality, other Bang Po options a few rungs down get rave reviews. Is it eyes-on-the-prize, or can you be persuaded elsewhere?
- ☆☆☆☆☆(+) Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui + Residence
- ☆☆☆☆☆ MAI Samui Beach Resort & Spa
- ☆☆☆☆ Mimosa Resort & Spa
- ☆☆☆ Baan Laem Noi Villas (aka Seaside Cottages)
Near-the-beach options in Bang Po
For an offbeat choice
Natural Wing Health Spa & Resort (☆☆☆) offers such detox delights as a daily chlorophyll sunbath, and sand therapy. We’re guessing that doesn’t mean lying on the sand with a Grisham book….
Private villas in Bang Po
- 8 bedrooms: Villa Riva
- 5 bedrooms: Banyan Beach Villa, Lotus Beach Villa and Villa Maphraaw
- 3 bedrooms: Heliconia Pool Villa, Frangipani Pool Villa, Villa Tawan and Villa Chok
- 2 bedrooms: Gardenia Pool Villa at The Lotus Terraces
- Various villa sizes: The Emerald Residence
Hua Thanon and Na Muang
Hua Thanon/Laem Set reader favourite
#1 Samui Beach Village Resort (☆☆☆☆, on the beach)
Hua Thanon/Laem Set with children
Where to stay on the beach in Hua Thanon and Na Muang
Aside from the small fishing village of Hua Thanon, the areas of Hua Thanon and Na Muang are more administrative regions than specific beach destinations. Consider them broad areas, with the small bays and beaches of Bang Kao and Laem Set within them (to add to the confusion, they’re also spelled Ban Kao and Leam Set). Compared to the beaches above, this is a very quiet part of the island – which has its pros and cons. If you’d like to set down and stay put, it’s a great choice. Minimal development means very few high-end resorts, though many private villas are tucked on quiet beaches. In the cheap and cheerful bracket, you’re encouraged to ditch your iPhone and time-travel to a simpler age….
Near-the-beach options in Hua Thanon and Na Muang
Once off the few main roads, this part of Koh Samui gets very rural, very quickly. If you fancy life as a coconut farmer or a total castaway, this is your chance to try out total peace and quiet.
Private villas in Hua Thanon and Na Muang
More questions about where to stay or finding the perfect beach? Variety is a wonderful thing, but we understand how stressful it can be! Find detailed beach information, plus accommodation advice (and 13 years of our best island expertise) in The Koh Samui Guide – totally updated in April, 2016!
*A note about hotel star ratings. We’ve used the star-ratings supplied by the hotel to the booking site Agoda. Aside from ace-across-the-board five-star Samui resorts, double check what’s included in terms of 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-star services and amenities. In smaller resorts, you’re better off comparing location/age/size as well as photos, as star ratings tend to have less standardisation than in western tourist spots.
Photo credit via Flickr Creative Commons with edits: CHOENG MON: Brian Fagan, Gary Bembridge // CHAWENG: Hajime NAKANO // LAMAI: irumge, N. Jorgensen // HUA THANON + NA MUANG: w00kie // TALING NGAM: Britta Frahm, Richard // LIPA NOI: patrickcam // BANG PO: Sarah_Ackerman 1, 2, 3 // MAENAM: Bastian Stein, V. Yachichurova // BOPHUT: David Rubin // BANG RAK: Aurimas 1, 2, with further photos used under license from Shutterstock.com