Koh Samui is Thailand's second-largest island, known for its equally famous beaches as those in Phuket. Visitors often describe the scenery here as some of the best in the entire country: nearly untouched natural beauty, pristine white sands, the azure waters of the Gulf of Thailand, and endless rows of coconut palm trees. The island boasts numerous beaches, each with its unique character, ranging from bustling and entertainment-filled to tranquil and secluded. Explore our list of the top 10 beaches on Koh Samui that are truly worth a visit during your trip.
This is the largest beach on Koh Samui, known for its azure waters and soft white sand. It is particularly popular among surfers due to the large waves that are often present here.
Chaweng is one of the most popular beaches on Koh Samui, thanks in part to its well-developed infrastructure. The island's largest shopping centre, Ark 7, is located here, and fire shows are frequently held nearby.
Due to its popularity, Chaweng can get quite crowded. Additionally, ocean debris is sometimes washed ashore by the tide. However, this drawback can be easily overlooked if you visit the sections of the beach that are managed by hotels, as their staff also takes care of the water's cleanliness.
To fully appreciate the beauty of Chaweng Beach, it's best to visit early in the morning when there are fewer people. Alternatively, you can head to the southern part of Chaweng for a more private experience, as most of the shops and rentals are concentrated in the central part of the beach. In the evening, you can return to the livelier section for dinner with a view of the gulf.
Silver Beach or Thong Takhian Beach
This beach is known for its tranquillity, crystal-clear waters, and relatively low population even during the peak season. It is often regarded as the most beautiful beach on Koh Samui, attracting many tourists for photoshoots due to its picturesque scenery that lends itself to truly magical pictures.
One of the undeniable advantages of this beach is its well-developed infrastructure. You'll find hotels and restaurants nearby, along with plenty of palm trees to seek shade from the sun. During certain months, such as June, the sea can be quite shallow. To access deeper waters, you may need to walk a fair distance, which can be a good thing if you're swimming with children.
If you're seeking aesthetic pleasure, visit early in the morning to witness the breathtaking sunrise from the eastern part of the island.
While this might not be the most popular beach on Koh Samui, it is undoubtedly one of the most secluded. Its shallow, warm waters make it appealing to families with young children. Located in the northern part of the island, Thongson is set in a less developed area and is not very frequented by tourists, making it perfect for those seeking a tranquil getaway away from the crowds. Nevertheless, it's not a completely untouched beach, as it offers basic amenities such as massages, lounge chairs, and cafes. The presence of numerous trees provides ample shade for those looking to escape the sun.
However, there is one drawback to keep in mind: when entering the sea, you may encounter powdery broken corals and stones that can be uncomfortable or even hurt your feet. It's advisable to wear protective footwear when swimming here.
This is a charming beach with a relatively narrow strip of sand, surrounded by the pristine natural beauty of Thailand, including lush grass and shady trees. It's a secluded spot perfect for those who seek a private and peaceful getaway. Despite its isolation, Lipa Noi offers convenience and services, as there's a small village nearby with authentic restaurants serving delicious food.
This beach is not for party-goers, as you won't find any clubs, disco venues, or bars here. Entertainment options are quite limited, making it an ideal spot for relaxation and tranquillity. Plus, it boasts one of the best sunset views on the entire island.
Choeng Mon is one of the most popular and bustling beaches on the island, stretching approximately one kilometre in length. The sand at Choeng Mon has a greyish hue and is exceptionally fine and compact near the water's edge, ideal for leisurely strolls. You won't often encounter large waves here, making it a fantastic choice for a family holiday, though not suited for surfing enthusiasts.
While lounge chairs at Choeng Mon aren't complimentary, there are plenty of trees providing natural shade from the scorching sun. Some of these trees even feature swings or hammocks, adding to the charm. For enthusiasts of Thai culture, this place is a must-visit, offering numerous small restaurants, massage parlours, and rental services. You can easily rent a hydro scooter or a volleyball net for added fun and entertainment.
One of the primary drawbacks is the issue of waste, a common problem on Thai beaches. Typically, the areas within hotels are relatively clean because the staff takes responsibility for collecting garbage. However, in public spaces, you may encounter plastic and paper litter. Additionally, this beach is known for its challenging entry into the sea, featuring stones and chunks of coral. Therefore, visitors are advised to wear appropriate swimming footwear and opt for areas in proximity to hotels.
This is a sizable seven-kilometre beach located in the northern part of Koh Samui. Its yellow, coarse sand, calm sea, and absence of corals make it a comfortable destination for a family holiday with children.
This beach can be divided into three sections: the eastern, the central, and the western. The eastern part offers a few entertainment options, but not so many as to disrupt a calm and leisurely holiday. The central part is situated near a pedestrian street with numerous bars and restaurants where you can relax. In the western part, you'll find the Pralarn pier, which serves as a departure point for ferries to Pha-ngan. Some tourists might find this presence of the pier a bit uncomfortable.
Mae Nam beach is an excellent spot for swimming, as the water entry is not too shallow, and the water is clear. It offers opportunities for water sports, and if you prefer a more isolated experience, you can find quiet areas. However, if you're seeking noisy bars and restaurants, you might be disappointed. On the other hand, if you prefer a peaceful vacation, you can easily find a bungalow with cuisine to your liking. You can also purchase groceries at the morning market, where prices for fish, seafood, vegetables, and fruits (including exotic ones) are quite reasonable. Additionally, one of Thailand's main tourist attractions, the Big Buddha statue, is located on the nearby island of Fan, just a 10 to 15-minute drive from Mae Nam.
This beach is relatively wild by Thai standards, with only a few hotels and restaurants in the vicinity. However, this seclusion can be seen as an advantage for those who prefer unspoiled natural beauty. With reasonably priced bungalows and hostels, this beach is an excellent choice for budget-conscious travellers. Lounge chairs are typically only available near hotels, so it's advisable to bring your own mat. You can always seek shade beneath the tall palm trees, which have large leaves. Additionally, its proximity to the Ang Thong marine national park contributes to making this beach one of the cleanest and most picturesque on Koh Samui. If you seek a holiday away from civilization, this is the ideal destination Samui has to offer.
However, it's important to note its remote location: the nearest town is a 20-minute drive away, and the nearest shop is approximately 20 km from Taling Ngam. Therefore, if you choose to stay here, it's advisable to rent a moped to enhance your mobility. You can also consider renting a boat to access the deeper and more scenic waters, as well as explore the archipelagos of the Ang Thong Marine National Park.
This is not the largest beach on the island, spanning just three kilometres in length, but it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and vibrant. With its gentle waves, crystal-clear sea, and rows of palm trees, it's an excellent place for relaxation and picturesque photoshoots. The Fisherman's Village, located in the central part of the beach, is one of the main tourist attractions. This area is brimming with shops, nightclubs, and markets.
The sand here is coarse, and the infrastructure is well-developed, with numerous tourist agencies offering trips to Koh Tao and the Ang Thong marine park. Bophut shares its borders with Bang Rak, which is also known as Big Buddha Beach.
This is one of the most famous beaches of Koh Samui and the second largest one. Among its distinctive features, this beach is notably non-homogeneous, with three distinct sections along its 5-kilometre coastline.
Southern Lamai is one of the least crowded beaches, characterised by its narrow (40 metres wide) and 600-metre-long strip situated at the base of a rocky mountain. The sand here is loose and coarse, ranging from light yellow to almost white. This area often experiences significant waves, which can be hazardous during strong winds. The water entry is challenging due to the presence of stones and corals, requiring holidaymakers to wear appropriate footwear. Additionally, there are very few trees, making it nearly impossible to find natural shade here.
The central part of the beach offers a perfect sandy entry into the sea, providing a completely different experience. Its well-developed infrastructure also appeals to tourists, offering everything for a comfortable holiday, including a hypermarket, as well as coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, rental agencies, and massage parlours. Families with children can enjoy a visit to the water park, while some adults may be interested in the nearby red-light district.
Northern Lamai stretches for about two kilometres, and unlike the other parts, it features a shallow shoreline. Similar to the southern part, entering the water in the northern section can be challenging due to the presence of stones and pieces of broken coral. Keep in mind that there are very few trees along the entire beach, so you may need to rent or bring a parasol to find shade from the sun.
Not far from the beach, you can find the famous Grandfather and Grandmother Hin Yai / Hin Ta rocks, one of the most popular attractions on the island. Local guides organise numerous excursions to these unique formations from all over the island. The Grandfather rock is visible from various points on the beach, while the Grandmother rock can only be seen when you approach the shoreline.
This beach, adorned with beautiful white sand, is secluded from the rest of the island by a dense tropical forest, making it an excellent spot for a tranquil getaway. Stretching nearly four kilometres, Bang Po boasts picturesque settings perfect for photography. Here, you won't find upscale restaurants; instead, small fisherman's bungalows with thatched roofs serve simple menus.
As Bang Po is situated away from the main tourist hubs, the entertainment infrastructure in the area is limited. However, the local establishments can provide traditional Thai services if needed. You can enjoy a massage with a view of the azure waters of the gulf.
In a Nutshell
The beaches on Samui are diverse and certainly worth your attention. Whether you are seeking a place for swimming, sunbathing, or entertainment, you will undoubtedly find it at one of the local resorts. It's difficult to determine which of the Koh Samui beaches is the best, as each of them has unique advantages that cater to specific types of tourists.
Cover photo: Raimond Klavins (Unsplash)