Choosing the area to stay on Koh Samui
When deciding on where to stay on Koh Samui, you need to decide in which area of the island or close to which beach you want to stay.
For somewhere a little quieter, stay close to the Big Buddha or near Maenam. These areas offer enough in the way of entertainment to keep you busy but are quiet enough to get a good night’s sleep.
Bophut, the fisherman’s village, offers a more traditional feel with local markets and restaurants, while still providing plenty of choice in terms of budget and luxury accommodation.
Here we have broken down the options of Koh Samui accommodation into sections based on what type of traveller you are:
Some of the resorts, including Royal Beach Boutique Resort & Spa (438/2 Moo 1, Maret, Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84310) and Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort (124/24 Moo 3 Lamai Beach Maret, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84310) offer kid’s clubs, shaded pools, cuisine tailored to families, babysitting facilities and family suites.
The staff are there to ensure children have a fun and unforgettable stay, while allowing parents to relax and enjoy themselves. With spa facilities on-site, mum or dad can easily enjoy massages or spa treatments one-by-one while the other stays by the pool with the kids.
Romantic stays for couples and honeymooners
For a while now, Koh Samui has been a hotspot for couples looking for a romantic break or honeymoon. The island even hosts weddings so you can tie the knot with the backdrop of Thailand’s pristine beaches and turquoise waters.
Since Koh Samui’s boom in infrastructure, there have been more and more exquisite hotels built on the island. Each luxurious resort seems to boast better facilities, more spectacular views and even more idyllic settings than the last. Choose from romantic resorts, boutique hotels and spa resorts to find your perfect stay.
Romantic Resorts: Sala Samui Resort & Spa (10/9 Moo 5, Baan Plai Lam, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84320) combines privacy, luxury, facilities and eco-tourism perfectly. With 69 villas (many of which feature private pools), crisp décor and unique outdoor bathrooms Sala offers everything you need for an unforgettably romantic stay.
Boutique Breaks: If you’d prefer a more secluded stay, choose from one of Koh Samui’s excellent boutique hotels. Sandalwood Luxury Villas (Moo 4 211/7, T. Maret, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84310) comprise just 10 rooms with sumptuous furnishings, private pools, in-room massage facilities and peaceful garden settings.
Spa Stays: For world-renowned luxury and exemplary spa facilities you can’t beat the Four Seasons Resort (219 Moo 5 Tumbon Angthong, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84140). This hotel boasts spectacular hillside views, infinity pools and its very own private palm-fringed beach. Step into the wooden sala with your loved one for a couple’s massage treatment you’ll never forget!
If you’re a reveller looking to enjoy Koh Samui’s renowned nightlife, you’ll probably want to stay right in the heart of the action. The best locations for nightlife are Chaweng and Lamai.
You may expect accommodation around the party areas to be a bit rough and ready (as they are in some European clubbing resorts), but Koh Samui knows how to do things differently. There are cheap resorts (which we’ll come to later) but there are also some fantastic chic hotels which allow you to relax and unwind during the day before you head out for a hedonistic party at night.
Ark Bar Beach Resort (159/89, Moo 2, Chaweng Beach, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84320) offers the best of both worlds, with air-conditioned rooms, a pool, beach and a nightclub on site!
Samui Tonggad Resort (99 Moo 4, Lamai Beach Road, T.Maret, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84310) in Lamai offers affordable accommodation that is close enough to enjoy the nightlife while having a relaxed atmosphere and spacious rooms.
Many believe that Koh Samui is short on cheap accommodation options and that those with a tight budget should head to Koh Phangan or Koh Tao instead.
However, there are plenty of good options on Samui that allow you to enjoy all that the island has to offer without spending a fortune.
For less than THB1000 per night you can stay at Coco Palm Beach Resort (26/4, Maenam Beach, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84330). This is a simple yet comfortable resort which offers private villa rooms with lovely gardens, a swimming pool and sea views. Situated on Maenam beach, Coco Palm provides budget travellers the sought-after setting of palm-fringed beaches at a fraction of the cost.
For just over THB1000, you can stay at the Samui Heritage Resort (157/43 Moo 1, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84320) in Bophut. This resort is close to the beaches and street markets of Bophut – which are a must-see – and provide simple rooms with Thai décor and communal pool. The rooms also have basic kitchen facilities which is great for those wanting to save money by cooking some meals in-house.
Wherever you decide to stay in Koh Samui you’ll never be far away from some action. Each area has a range of restaurants and street food markets and the transport links around the island are great meaning all attractions are easily accessible.
Koh Samui station guide
Koh Samui - Bus
Koh Samui bus terminal is located to the north of Nathon, Koh Samui’s main port and administrative centre and the place where most people arrive on the island by boat. Its exact location is in the neighbourhood known as Ang Thong on the ring road (4169) that runs around Nathon. Bus services operate from here to Bangkok and other destinations within Thailand.
From this bus station it is possible to catch a range of bus services including standard and VIP buses. Every day there is one standard and a number of VIP bus services to Bangkok’s Southern bus terminal. Journey time is between 13 and 18 hours. Travellers are advised to reserve their seat ahead of time online since, especially in high season (from November through February), buses frequently fill up.
The easiest way to make the long journey is by purchasing a combination bus-ferry ticket. With a bus-ferry ticket, passengers are taken from the bus terminal to the ferry terminal in Nathon to catch the ferry to Donsak on the mainland (one hour, 45 minutes). On the mainland, passengers board the bus again and continue the journey to Bangkok. There is one (overnight) standard bus service to the capital each day that departs at 14:30. There are four VIP services per day, departing at 07:30, 15:30, 16:30 and 17:30.
An additional option for reaching Bangkok is to take the ferry from Koh Samui to Donsak then the shuttle bus to Surat Thani from where there is an overnight train service to Bangkok’s Hua Lumphong station; the train departs at 20:45 each night and offers 1st and 2nd class sleeper services.
In and around the Samui bus terminal travellers can find a range of places to buy food including street vendors selling snacks, eateries, a supermarket and shops.
From the bus station, songthaews tuk-tuks and taxis depart for destinations within Nathon such as the pier, hotels and so on. Public bus services also operate from here to destinations across the island.