Whether you’re comparing Bophut to other Koh Samui beaches or are neck-deep in hotel selection, just breathe: We’ve got this.
Finally – get answers everything you’re wondering about Bophut Beach – and a total end to your overwhelm. Ready? Here are your top twenty-two Bophut questions – answered with fifteen years of Koh Samui expertise.
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1. Which is better – Bophut or Chaweng?
Let me artfully dodge this question with five of my own:
- Are you picky about beaches?
- Does a beach have to be white with sugary sand?
- Do you like a late night out?
- Should it include DJs and dancing?
- Hooters and Hard Rock – positive additions to the neighbourhood?
Answered yes to all of the above? Chaweng is the beach for you. Otherwise, whether with kids or as a couple, Bophut has an atmosphere that many (myself included) consider just right. While its price points are higher than average for Samui, Bophut’s hotel and restaurant offerings are amongst our favourites on the island. For a total beach-by-beach comparison, The Koh Samui Guide goes into great detail about every option you’ve got.
2. How far is it between Bophut and Chaweng?
From Hansar or Smile House (both fairly central Bophut right on the edge of Fisherman’s Village) it’s about a fifteen-minute drive to central Chaweng (by car). It takes between twenty or twenty-five minutes in rush hour or if the traffic lights aren’t in your favour, and longer still in bad weather. By songthaew? Anywhere in the 15- to 25-minute ballpark, depending on the number of stops.
3. Which is better – Bophut or Lamai?
To make a decision you’re confident with, we refer you again to the comprehensive beach and hotel coverage in The Koh Samui Guide. As a brief comparison, you’re likelier to find budget options in Lamai as well as comparable boutique options with less in walking distance. If Zazen has your attention on Bophut Beach, Rocky’s is roughly its Lamai equivalent.
4. Is there good Thai food in Bophut?
Yes! Quite literally from east to west your options for the best Thai food in Bophut go from street food to fine dining. Whether it’s mango sticky rice from a food cart, the sit-on-plastic-stools cheapy-cheapy Thai food of your dreams, or silk-clad hotel staff serving you king tiger prawns and fine wine – it’s all here. All three options – and everything in between – are available in Bophut (see The Koh Samui Guide for our absolute favourites).
5. Is Bophut good for families?
Again, yes! Bophut’s quiet pace and range of restaurant options makes it ideal for families. A number of Bophut hotels offer kids clubs as well. Two things to note about Bophut Beach with kids? First, the sand is soft-packed and ‘sinky’, so you’ll get nowhere with a stroller. Similarly, it’s not the best beach for sand castles (try Choeng Mon). Recommended Bophut hotels with family rooms include:
- Peace Resort – Two-Bedroom Beachfront Pool Villa
- Smile House – Two-Bedroom Family Villa
- Eden Beach Villas – Two-Bedroom Villa
- Samui Mekkala Resort – Family Suite with Sea View
- Lanna – Two-Bedroom Penthouse Suite
- Hotel Ibis – Family Room (queen bed and bunk beds)
- Samui Family – Two-Bedroom Apartment with Pool View
- The Waterfront Boutique Hotel – Deluxe Beachfront Family Suite
- Pema Djougne – Apartment with Pool and Sea View
- Pelegrin Hotel Samui – Deluxe Quadruple Room (queen bed and bunk beds)
6. Does Bophut have good nightlife?
If you ardently ‘love your local’, you’ll love Bophut’s nightlife – it will take just a few days’ dedicated drinking to get fully adopted by the bar staff of your choosing. Options include beach bars for a casual beer, and lots of choice for cocktails, too. If you want buckets and mayhem – look elsewhere. Bophut’s biggest nightlife destination (the only place Baby Boomers might possibly complain about the ‘young people music’) offers gourmet, wood-fired pizzas alongside its nightly fire-show.
Rather than rowdy, Bophut at night is beloved for its balmy evenings, mojito menus and quiz nights. The most regrettable action you’ll make at the end of the night is eating an entire portion of mango sticky rice. Drinking to excess? We refer you to Chaweng. Indeed, if glow-sticks (or selfie-sticks) indicate good nightlife you might prefer Chaweng – right around Ark Bar.
7. What are the best hotels in Bophut?
‘Best’ as in best-reviewed? Three beachfront Bophut resorts with consistent 9+/10 reviews are:
‘Best’ as in most awards won? Bophut winners in in this year’s Travellers’ Choice Awards include:
- Bo Phut Resort & Spa (#11 – Top Hotels for Romance in Thailand and #13 – Top Hotels in Thailand)
- Lanna Samui (#7 – Top Hotels for Romance in Thailand, #20 – Top Hotels in Thailand and #10 – Top Value for Money Hotels in Thailand),
8. How to get from Bophut to Koh Phangan?
Very easily. The ferry journey itself (from Bang Rak) is about thirty minutes from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan (slightly less in good weather and a good boat). Door to door with an all-inclusive ferry + hotel transfer ticket will take two-three hours. Your best options are:
- Lomprayah catamaran booking from Maenam (8 am and 12:30 pm departures)
- Seatran ferry booking from Bang Rak (8 am, 1 pm and 4:30 pm departures)
You can choose to book just the ferry itself (and get to the pier yourself by taxi or songthaew) or book an inclusive Koh Samui hotel transfer + ferry ticket. See timetables and booking options for your dates. Prices are typically ≤US$10 for a ferry ticket and ≤US$14 for a combined ferry ticket with Koh Samui hotel transfer (including all taxes and fees). Easy!
Tip: Check your preferred dates against Full Moon Party dates. If either your outbound or return journey (or both) is around a Full Moon Party, you’ll definitely want to pre-book your ferry ticket.
Feel like your backpacking days are behind you? To get a taste of both islands – in the comfort to which you are rightfully accustomed – look at staying at Anantara Bophut on Koh Samui and then Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan. A hotel shuttle (air-conditioned to perfection) delivers you at the Bang Rak pier, where you wait for your fancy-pants boat in a private beachfront waiting lounge. Buri Rasa Koh Phangan also offers similar services. Full Moon Party this is not (and this ‘elder Millennial’ is just fine with that).
9. How far is it from Koh Samui Airport to Bophut?
Not far at all. Note that Bophut is a fairly wide area so hotels on the eastern edge of Fisherman’s Village (such as utterly adorable Elysia Resort) are a zippy ten-minute drive from Koh Samui Airport, whereas the western edge of Bophut Beach (Zazen Boutique Resort and vicinity) will take about fifteen to twenty minutes. Not much in it – but definitely not a distance you’d want to walk.
10. Are there good luxury hotels in Bophut?
Yes! An easy mnemonic to distinguish Bo-phut? Bo-utique.
At the four-star level, Bo Phut Resort and Spa and Zazen are superb boutique choices, (with Lanna Samui available as a view-y, hillside choice). Bo Phut Resort and Spa’s credentials are backed up with its membership in Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
11. Does Bophut have good sunsets?
If there’s a sunset to be had, you’ll find yourself sitting pretty on Bophut Beach. Although you won’t see the sun sinking to the horizon, you’ll enjoy any correlated cotton candy skies – and the accompanying cocktails. It’s boozy, it’s beautiful – highly recommend.
12. Is Bophut a good beach for a honeymoon?
Yes, yes, yes. For the many reasons we outline in The Koh Samui Guide, Bophut offers you choices not found on other Samui beaches. Best of all? With so many walkable options for food and drink you will avoid any ‘married couple fights’ if either of you is susceptible to outrageous hanger.
13. Do any hotels in Bophut have outdoor baths?
Yes! Pack your waterproof Kindle and plan to take the best bath of your life at Charming Fox, a new boutique hotel in the Bophut Hills. Its location means great privacy and even better ocean views. Bo Phut Resort and Spa offers ‘Spa Bath’ rooms with giant soaker tubs set into your outdoor terrace.
No such thing as too hot? Is your ideal body temperature “hot car left in the sun”? At Panu Luxury Apartment you pair your ocean view with an outdoor hot tub – one of very few we’ve ever seen on Samui.
14. What are some of the best places to stay in Bophut?
In Koh Samui’s approaching rainy season, given the probability of rain, I suggest basing yourselves on the eastern side of Bophut Beach in easy walking proximity to Fisherman’s Village. This way, even if – worst case – it’s absolutely tipping down – you can still do all sorts of stuff: eat pretty much every food on earth, hang-out in a dozen or more cafés and coffee shops, enjoy drop-in yoga, window-shop and more.
In rainy season, my top recommendation in Bophut is Hansar Samui because (1) it’s a minute’s walk to Fisherman’s Village on paved road, (2) every room has a large covered balcony with an ocean view to enjoy when you need shade or shelter and (3) Hansar’s enormous pool is salt water – so no chemicals. Hansar is quite modern and minimalist-y in design, so, if that’s not your thing, consider its next-door neighbour Anantara Bophut. Here, swap minimalism for lush, tropical gardens but enjoy a similarly quick walk into Fisherman’s Village, about a minute or two.
15. Should we choose Anantara Bophut or Anantara Lawana?
For its location – you can walk along a paved road into Fisherman’s Village in about three minutes – Anantara Bophut is our pick. Anantara Lawana, on the northern edge of Chaweng, isn’t quite so walkable (but offers beautiful sunrises).
16. Should we choose Anantara Bophut or Hansar Samui?
- if you’ll appreciate having your own covered, ocean-view balcony (Anantara also has beautiful balconies but many are garden view).
- if you love to swim – and would love to do so in a salt-water pool.
- if you love to be in the sun. Of the two, Hansar is more exposed to the sun through the day and you have either pool umbrellas or your room’s covered balcony to seek shade. Anantara, however, owing to its leafy gardens has a variety of lounging options in the shade.
- if you love plants and will appreciate the jungle-y, tropical paradise they offer.
- if you’d prefer the pool to be directly beachfront (Hansar has a quiet road between the pool and the beach, though it’s below the pool’s infinity edge and is not visible from the pool beds).
- if you want a swim-up pool bar. (Hansar’s pool bar is first-rate but you’ll drink your drinks on dry land).
- if you want a direct beachfront room or villa. Amongst its rooms offerings are a few Beach Front Pool Suites with private plunge pools, your own sundeck and a small garden area.
Still can’t decide? Choose the one with a better deal? Or the higher rating? At time of writing, Hansar’s rates are fractionally more per night and it has a 9.0 out of 10.0 (to Anantara’s 8.7). Our suggestion – they’re both superb. Skim through the photos and make a gut decision on which better suits your aesthetic. Like red and clean lines? It’s Hansar. Prefer blue and love plants? Anantara for you.
17. Where can we have a private pool on Bophut Beach?
Champagne tastes? Bophut’s the beach for you. If you can find available dates (and seven willing friends), Villa M is just plain good sense. Its pool is directly beachfront and it’s all yours. If you’d prefer a hotel, the following offer rooms and villas with private pools:
- Anantara Bophut
- Bandara Resort & Spa
- Bo Phut Resort and Spa
- CELES Beachfront Resort
- Eden Beach Villas
- Peace Resort
18. Do we need water-shoes for Bophut Beach?
If you’re a wimp. If a beach is a beach and you’re an easygoing sort – barefoot will be fine. If you notice texture variations and like to be worst-case prepared, bring the water-shoes already sitting in your Amazon cart. If not on Bophut they’ll be useful on some of Samui’s grittier beaches.
Tip: It’s easier to walk barefoot than wear flip-flops as on Bophut as the sand is quite ‘sinky’ and you’ll feel as though your wading in sandals (surprise benefit – Bophut walks are great for toning your legs!). If you’re lazy and abhor physical exertion of any kind, Chaweng and Choeng Mon are flatter, sturdier experiences.
19. Can you snorkel on Bophut?
You snorkel your little heart out on any beach you like. The less-good news? You won’t see much. Koh Samui isn’t known for its snorkelling (and doesn’t sell itself as such). Its dumbed-down geology is “palm trees on top of sloping sandbar” so snorkelling conditions tend to be murkier than you’d like for good Fish Vision. While some island beaches are better than others, Bophut excels at ‘above-the-water’ activities: stand-up paddling and inflatables are popular.
20. Which hotels in Bophut have the best pools?
A few superlative choices for the best pools in Bophut:
- Longest pool: Hansar’s pool is not only the longest – it’s salt-water as well.
- Glass-walled pools (great for Instagram and really popular with kids): CELES Beachfront Resort and Eden Beach Bungalows
- Most resort pools: Bandara Resort & Spa gives you choice of four pools including two beachfront and a children’s pool.
21. Are there any adults-only resorts on Bophut?
There are a few on Samui (Sensimar on Maenam and Akyra on Chaweng was but seems to have recently changed its mind), but none on Bophut itself. However, many Bophut resorts are particular honeymoon favourites that tend to have a near-majority of adult guests. Zazen’s cave-sized wine cellar, an acclaimed spa, afternoon tea offerings and promises of ‘inner peace’ make it a safe bet for those avoiding Marco Polo (and zombie iPad kids at dinner).
22. Any feedback for CELES Beachfront Resort?
While the flashy entrance at CELES Beachfront Resort seems at odds with its casual comfort/Scandi interior, you must see inside before discarding it to the ‘too glittery’ pile (as I had planned to do). As a new-ish arrival to Bophut Beach, CELES has maintained an impressive 9+ rating since opening in 2016. Is it the glass-walled gym, the in-room espresso or the California King-sized beds? My guess is its ‘quiet end of Bophut’ beachfront with a majority of private pool villas.
Though the room inventory at CELES is comparable to Hansar’s (sixty-eight and seventy-four rooms respectively), it has a smaller, more tucked-away feel than other Bophut resorts at the same price point. (Zazen offers a similar ambience with a very different aesthetic – CELES is bright and white, Zazen goes for deep reds and a Moroccan vibe). Of the seven room categories, six offer you a private pool – this tends to keep people occupied in their own kingdoms, making for a very quiet hotel. The CELES magic kicks in on Bophut Beach itself – in their super-special Beachfront Pool Villas.
Ready to start planning?
Assuming you’re as click-happy as me, you might have as many as 2,984 browser tabs open – ready to start planning the Thailand trip of your dreams? Better plan: start with The Koh Samui Guide. It’s packed with every scrap of expertise I’ve gathered in my fifteen years of Samui exploration – and a nice place to sleep in Bophut is just the start. From adapters and airlines to yoga and zip-lining, it’s your total guide to Koh Samui – in one easy download. Enjoy!