Samui Wining & Dining
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Samui's Towns & Beaches

 

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The island of Koh Samui has been a hidden treasure for paradise seekers over the past 40 years. Today,the beaches remain to be the passion of the island, with resorts and hide-away bungalows spilling out onto the white sands. Each beach on Samui has maintained its own personality, relating to the area that it lies within. Featured here are some of the highlights of each of these areas for the holiday traveller to enjoy.

 

CHAWENG

Chaweng is the longest and most popular beach on Samui. It is also the largest tourist centre with more than 1.5 million travellers visiting annually. Five-Star luxury resorts share the space with more economical accommodation choices, along with a five-kilometre street of stalls and shops that sell everything Thailand is famous for. Prices are a little higher here than in other areas of the island, but the range of choices in food, accommodation and entertainment is impressive, making this beach and its surroundings, the centre of activity for many visitors.

 

LAMAI

Lamai has often been referred to as Samui’s second beach, but there are many who believe it has a greater beauty than that of Chaweng. The waters are excellent for swimming and the beaches and streets are less crowded. The southern end of the bay features elegant granite boulders, while the beach itself seems endless. The nightlife in Lamai hosts some excellent restaurants and bars scattered along its strip. The surrounding area notably hosts some of the island’s best spas and health resorts available. If you wander off the beaten track here, you will get a glimpse of some true Thai culture.

 

BIG BUDDHA BEACH

If your stay is brief, the Big Buddha Beach area offers convenience due to its close proximity to the airport, as well as to boats chartered for Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao. Prices for accommodation and provisions remain reasonable and there is a growing number of fine dining options to complement the local Thai restaurants and beach bungalow cuisine. Facilities and services are abundant along the main road, making this one of the best locations for a vibrant night-life. The Big Buddha itself can be seen overlooking the entire area and remains to be the main focal attraction.

 

MAE NAM

This beach is in the shape of a huge horseshoe, featuring soft sand that offers a spectacular view of the neighbouring island of Koh Pha-Ngan. There is a number of good local restaurants and businesses along the beach, as well as on the main ring road. Mae Nam is home to many of the island’s residential developments with a growing quantity of long-term visitors and expats, giving the area a strong sense of community. The hills behind Mae Nam provide the location for the island’s spectacular world-class golf resort.

 

BO PHUT

Bo Phut stands out as one of the few villages on Samui that exudes authentic island charm. It consists of a single street lined with traditional shop-houses, many of which have been converted into restaurants, modern shops and guesthouses. The distinct designs of the beachside dining sector, as well as the chosen cuisine that is available, have created an exceptional international and Thai atmosphere. Bo Phut is expanding constantly, generating new wining and dining options every year. Despite its growth, the essential seaside appeal remains, making it one of the island’s most attractive locations.

 

LIPA NOI AND TALING NGAM

The unspoiled south-west coast of Taling Ngam and Lipa Noi has seen the least change of any area on the island. The romantic coastline here overlooks the spectacular Five Islands and Angthong National Marine Park. Several excellent beachside seafood restaurants, bungalows and resorts can be found scattered along the coast, offering the most idyllic locations to watch the sun setting into the sea. Palms come right down to the water’s edge, dense greenery right up to the sands, providing an incredible swimming experience. Out to sea lie the mountains of the mainland; distant and hazy, fading to violet as evening approaches.

 

BANG RAK

This area has become home to some of the most driven entrepreneurs, leaders of business, and tourism operators that have ever inhabited the island. The preservation of the ancient village character has been kept a priority and, as the name of Bang Rak translates into ‘The Village of Love’ in the Thai language, so has the charm been reserved that this village resonates. Harbour and home for many of the island’s yachting members, including the speedboat charters and touring vessels that make their way to the neighbouring islands and the Angthong National Marine Park, this is where you can find day charters to all-inclusive excursions around Samui and beyond. This area is also home to the island’s optimist sailing club for children, The Yacht Club, where young sailors are taught, in true sailing spirit, the art of mastering not only the sea but themselves, competing in national championships with the best of the best in Thailand and from around the globe.

 

NATHON

This is the island’s main administrative centre. All government offices, banks, as well as the main ferry pier are located in Nathon, making it the most important place for communication with the mainland. Nathon also boasts a number of original teak shop-houses lining the quiet middle roads, showing the more traditional Chinese influenced Samui life. Any major local events, ceremonies, or celebrations are held in the car park in front of the main pier in Nathon. Visitors tend to pass straight through this beautiful village on their way to either Chaweng or Lamai without stopping, often missing some of the least expensive shopping on the island. A nightly food market establishes itself here, giving visitors their first taste of the delights available on Samui.

 

Choeng Mon

Choeng Mon is made up of a series of bays speckled with white sandy beaches upon its coastline. Despite its close proximity to Chaweng, about 15 minutes north and 5 minutes from Big Buddha, the beaches have remained quiet and the waters clean. Choeng Mon’s wide sandy beaches feature a rock formation on one side, and an island, which you can easily paddle out to, on the other. This is a very family-friendly area, with exclusive resorts abundantly situated along the water’s edge. Relatively upmarket, inexpensive accommodation is virtually non-existent in this area. This lesser-known beach is located in a very secluded part of Koh Samui, on the northeast corner of the island, where most of the bays have been given over to private residential developments.

 

Hua Thanon

The Muslim fishing village of Hua Thanon offers a handful of seafood restaurants, but its main attraction lies in the ancient cultures of the local fishermen. Intricately painted wooden boats are still used to this day to catch and deliver fish directly to the local markets. Take a stroll through its market and capture a glimpse into the lives of one of the island’s original communities. Beyond Hua Thanon, the southern coast offers some of the most unspoiled natural scenery on Samui. You will find quaint local villages and coconut plantations that have endured the test of time.

 


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