Where to 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 choose a hotel 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!
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#1. Find out which Koh Samui beach is best?
Where to stay on Koh Samui? 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!
#2. Decide: do 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).
My favourite beach:
3 most popular beaches:
More Koh Samui beaches (alphabetically)
Private villas on Koh Samui
Where to stay in Choeng Mon?
The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui (☆☆☆☆☆)
The Ritz-Carlton just opened on Koh Samui (October, 2017) and is the island’s most sparkling-brand-new luxury offering, set on its own bay (a beach that we used to run along ten years ago, thinking we had our own ‘secret beach’!)
Our top pick in Choeng Mon
SALA Samui Resort & Spa (☆☆☆☆☆)
Five-star everything, without a hint of pretension. Just. Utter. Magic. Rooms are private villas and many have their own plunge pools. A serene adults-only pool offers canopied day beds, while sofas surround the family pool. SALA is comfy. Breakfast is spectacular; sunset Happy Hour more so.
Choeng Mon with children
Most romantic spot in Choeng Mon?
The Tongsai Bay (☆☆☆☆☆)
Tongsai has many aspects to its ‘secret sauce’ – but its serenity and seclusion are chief amongst them. For thirty years, Tongsai has blended into natural surroundings in its own bay – a bay in which all motorised watersports are banned to ensure your total peace and quiet. Tongsai just was renovated for its big birthday and is beautiful, secluded, with great food and facilities. We especially love the Tongsai Bay for its environmental aspects (and animal-loving ethos in particular). It’s located a minute’s drive to Choeng Mon, but you’re unlikely to want to leave the resort. Stay here for: “Fantastic staff, amazing wildlife, tennis and an enormous beach-front pool” … *see full details on staying at Tongsai Bay
Readers’ favourite hotels on Choeng Mon Beach
- #1. Imperial Boat House Beach Resort (☆☆☆☆)
- #2. Deva Beach Resort & Spa (☆☆☆☆)
- #3. White House Beach Resort and Spa (☆☆☆)
- #4. PS Thana Resort (☆☆☆)
- #5. Six Senses Samui (☆☆☆☆☆ – nearby)
Where to stay near Choeng Mon Beach
- #1. Samui Blue Orchid (☆☆☆☆ – hillside)
- #2. Baywater Resort (☆☆☆☆ – near the beach)
- #3. Outrigger Koh Samui (☆☆☆☆☆ – on a small beach)
- #4. Sea Dance Resort (☆☆☆☆ – on a small beach)
- #3. Relax Hotel Samui (☆☆ – short drive)
In the general Choeng Mon vicinity, both your high- and low-end options widen considerably. To go five-star, 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. For near-beach proximity at attractive rates, Baywater Resort is less than 5 minutes’ walk to the beach, opposite SALA Samui. A short drive or approximately thirty minutes’ walk from Choeng Mon is Outrigger – on a small, very quiet beach with just a few other hotels.
The best budget options on Choeng Mon Beach
Where to stay in Chaweng?
Our top choice in Chaweng
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 southern Chaweng Beach. Rooms are discrete little bungalows, giving you a great sense of “home”.
Poppies turns 24 years old in 2018 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
Readers’ favourite hotels in Chaweng
- #1. Casa De Mar (☆☆☆☆)
- #2. Amari Koh Samui (☆☆☆☆)
- #3. OZO Chaweng Samui (☆☆☆)
- #4. Chaweng Buri Resort (☆☆☆)
- #5. Chaweng Cove Beach Resort (☆☆☆)
Most romantic hotels in Chaweng/Chaweng Noi?
Chaweng with children
#2. Centara Grand Beach Resort (☆☆☆☆☆)
Tons of facilities including an enormous pool and 9 restaurants
For a party in Chaweng
Ark Bar Beach Resort (☆☆☆)
Daytime pool parties, nighttime fire shows.
The most unique pool in Chaweng
The Library (☆☆☆☆☆). Its pool is blood red.
The best views of Chaweng
The Jungle Club (☆☆, way up in the hills)
Where to stay in Bophut?
Our top pick in Bophut
Hansar Samui (☆☆☆☆☆)
Hansar’s location on Bophut beach and in immediate walking distance to Fisherman’s Village cannot be topped. Stay here for: “Incredible food and an enormous, salt water ocean-view pool. A romantic spot with lots to offer families” … *see full details on staying at Hansar
Readers’ favourite hotels on Bophut Beach
- #1. Bandara Resort & Spa (☆☆☆☆)
- #2. Smile House (☆☆☆)
- #3. The Waterfront Boutique Hotel (☆☆☆)
- #4. Eden Beach Bungalows (☆☆☆)
Bophut with children
Most romantic spot on Bophut?
Zazen Boutique Resort (☆☆☆☆)
Stay here for: “Boutique bliss, with incredible food”
Best views in Bophut
Mantra Samui Resort (☆☆☆☆☆ )
Where to stay in Fisherman’s Village
Where to stay in Lamai?
Our top choice in Lamai
The Kala (☆☆☆☆)
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 its beach? (pictured, below) Two choices: hop into a kayak or stroll the garden boardwalk. Fantastic.
Readers’ favourite hotels in Lamai
- #1. Royal Beach Boutique Resort & Spa (☆☆☆☆)
- #2. Thai House Beach Resort (☆☆☆)
- #3. Ammatara Pura Pool Villa (☆☆☆☆☆)
- #4. Le Meridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa (☆☆☆☆☆)
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 options above.
Lamai’s most romantic spot (+ best views)
Sandalwood Luxury Villas (☆☆☆☆)
Stay here for: “A ‘do nothing’, total get-away vacation (hillside, with views, views, views)”
Lamai with children
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.
The best budget options in Lamai
Where to stay in Bang Rak and Plai Laem?
Our top choice in Bang Rak
Tango Luxe Beach Villa (☆☆☆☆)
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. This fairly secret, perfect spot allows you to do all of the following, at once: lie in a hammock, drinking a mango daiquiri, eating bacon, watching planes land over Big Buddha … while the sun sets. It’s the mic drop of Koh Samui’s boutique hotels.
Readers’ favourite hotels in Bang Rak and Plai Laem
- #1. Samui Boat Lagoon (☆☆☆☆)
- #2. Prana Resorts Samui (☆☆☆☆)
- #3. Pause on Samui (☆☆☆☆)
- #4. The Privilege Hotel Ezra Beach Club (☆☆☆☆☆)
- #5. Kinnaree Resort (☆☆)
Most romantic spot in Bang Rak?
The Scent Hotel (☆☆☆☆, boutique on the beach)
Where to stay in Maenam?
Our top pick in Maenam
Belmond Napasai (☆☆☆☆☆)
Napasai is perfect for a ‘escape from the real world’ resort vacation. It offers villa accommodations, an enormous infinity pool (and pool-side pool table) and the chance to try everything from Muay Thai to lychee mojitos. Forgot a beach book? Paperbacks are tucked on driftwood shelves in the sand. Stay here for: “Nonstop relaxation with a bit of quirk, plus lots to do” … *see full details on staying at Napasai
Most romantic spots in Maenam?
Both resorts are adults-only and boast incredible reviews.
Readers’ favourite hotels on Maenam Beach
- #1. Escape Beach Resort (☆☆☆)
- #2. Paradise Beach Resort (☆☆☆☆)
- #3. Coco Palm Beach Resort (☆☆☆)
- #4. The Hammock Samui Beach Resort (☆☆☆)
- #5. Baan Fah Resort (☆☆☆)
Best views in Maenam
The best budget options in Maenam
Where to stay in Bang Po?
*Also spelled Bang Por
Our top pick in Bang Po
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui (☆☆☆☆☆)
Widely considered the best hotel on Koh Samui, naming Four Seasons Resort as our top pick is truly stating the obvious. Time at Four Seasons Koh Samui is – officially – as good as life gets. But you don’t need telling that. Stay here for: “The very best, of the best, of the best – staff, service, kiddie care” … *see full details on staying at Four Seasons
Readers’ favourite hotels in Bang Po
- #1. MAI Samui Beach Resort & Spa (☆☆☆☆☆)
- #2. The Passage Samui Villas & Resort (☆☆☆☆☆)
- #3. By Beach Resort (☆☆)
- #4. Mimosa Resort & Spa (☆☆☆☆)
Best views in Bang Po
Best budget option in Bang Po
King Busch Reggae Beach (☆)
Old-style bamboo beach huts that don’t really exist on Koh Samui anymore. Very basic – very pretty spot!
Near-the-beach options in Bang Po
Where to stay in Lipa Noi and Nathon?
Readers’ favourite hotels in Lipa Noi
- #1. Sea Valley Hotel & Spa (☆☆☆☆)
- #2. Lipa Bay Resort (☆☆☆)
- #3. Kanok Buri Resort (☆☆☆☆)
- #4. The Siam Residence Deluxe (☆☆☆☆)
- #5. Lipa Lodge Beach Resort (☆☆☆☆)
For a party in Lipa Noi
Nikki Beach Resort (☆☆☆☆)
Pool parties, DJs, brunches and dancing
Where to stay in Nathon
If you have an early ferry departure from Nathon, these hotels/hostels would be extremely convenient and allow a bit more sleep.
Where to stay in Taling Ngam?
Our top pick in Taling Ngam
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.
Readers’ favourite hotels in Taling Ngam
Taling Ngam with children
Where to stay in Hua Thanon and Na Muang?
Readers’ favourite hotels in the Laem Set area
- #1. Villa Nalinnadda (☆☆☆☆)
- #2. Banburee Resort & Spa (☆☆☆☆)
- #3. ShaSa Resort (☆☆☆☆☆)
- #4. Satva Samui (☆☆☆)
- #5. Easy Time Resort (☆☆☆)
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).
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.
Koh Samui’s only all-inclusive resort
Shiva Samui (☆☆☆☆)
(Formerly Samui Beach Village Resort)
Compared to Koh Samui’s other beaches, 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….
More questions about where to stay on Koh Samui?
Variety is a wonderful thing, but we understand how stressful choosing where to stay can be! Find detailed beach information, plus accommodation advice (and 14 years of our best island expertise) in The Koh Samui Guide.
Private villas in Bang Rak
- Various villa sizes: Villa Labaron
- 7 bedrooms: Baan Haad Sai
- 6 bedrooms: Villa Melitta
- 4 bedrooms: Peerapat Villa
- 3 bedrooms: Villa Maeve
- 2 bedrooms: Samui Pier Apartment
Private villas in Bophut
Private villas in Choeng Mon
Private villas in Lamai
Private villas in Maenam
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
Private villas in Lipa Noi
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
Private villas in Hua Thanon and Na Muang
TIP! 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 // 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, with further photos used under license from Shutterstock.com