Where To Stay in Koh Samui: All You Need to Know About the AreasEverything you need to know about the best places to stay in Koh Samui with specific recommendations + tips for a wonderful holiday
Something for everyone
Koh Samui is a very popular destination in Thailand – and for good reason!
Apart from having great weather and tons of activities, all kinds of travellers can find a place to stay within their budget here.
For an island in Southeast Asia, it’s quite developed and it’s relatively easy and cheap to get to and from Koh Samui.
You can also expect to fast wifi in most hotels and cafés.
When we visited in January 2019, it was actually our second time on the island together and Victoria’s third time.
But this time we stayed for a month and a half while working on our documentary film about coffee.
And during that time, we really got to explore the different areas and beaches on the island.
In this guide, you can read all about the best areas and the best places to stay in Koh Samui.
Table of contents
- What to know before booking
- Where to stay in Chaweng
- Where to stay in Lamai
- Where to stay at Silver Beach
- Where to stay in Bophut
- Where to stay at Maenam Beach
- Where to stay at Choeng Mon Beach
- Where to stay at Lipa Noi Beach
- Where to stay in Taling Ngam
- Yoga retreats in Koh Samui
What to know before booking
Koh Samui orientation and map
Before deciding where to stay in Koh Samui, it might be helpful to understand the geography a little bit.
Koh Samui is quite big. In fact it’s the second largest island in Thailand.
Driving around the 50-kilometre long ring road of the island takes about 1.5 hours so it’s definitely possible to go on day trips to other parts of the island.
However, where you base yourself will have a huge impact on your vacation in Koh Samui.
That’s why we will cover the different areas and beaches in this guide.
Study the map here to get a better understanding of the island.
Click the icon in the top left corner of the map to find the beaches, activities, best restaurants etc.
How long to stay in Koh Samui
As mentioned, we made Koh Samui our work base for a month and a half, but for a vacation, we wouldn’t stay that long.
Depending on your travel mood, you can spend three to five days seeing the highlights or you can spend one or two weeks beach bumming, exploring the hidden coves and eating your way through all of the delicious food.
Many choose to combine Koh Samui with the neighbouring islands of Koh Phangan and/or Koh Tao if they have two or three weeks of vacation.
If you travel with your family or like to travel at a slow pace, you can easily spend all of your vacation time in Koh Samui.
It really is a matter of preference!
When to book in advance
Koh Samui is packed with accommodation options for all types and budgets and you can always find available hotels and rooms.
But, as it really is a popular destination, many of the best hotels and resorts get fully booked months ahead.
Be sure to book your accommodation well in advance if you’re travelling in the high season (July and August as well as from December to March).
How to choose the best place to stay in Koh Samui
The beaches are plentiful and you can be sure that you will meet friendly people and have amazing Thai restaurants nearby everywhere in Koh Samui.
With that said, each area and beach has its own pros and cons.
Some are awesome if you want nightlife, some are more peaceful if you want a calm place to chill out.
Some are good for families and some are better for honeymooners.
There are so many choices!
Read along to find out where you should stay.
Where to stay in Chaweng
Chaweng Beach on the east coast of the island is a very developed beach.
It has clear water, white sand and if you like watersports, you will not be bored.
It’s easily the most popular (and crowded) area on the island and the many accommodation choices reflect that.
Here you can find everything from cheap backpacker hostels to luxury beach resorts lining the beach avenue.
Both the beach and the area is filled with resorts, restaurants, snack bars, souvenir shops and all kinds of activities.
The nightlife is buzzing in northern Chaweng, so if you’re looking for a party, this is the place.
Moving from the north end to the south end, you’ll get fewer parties and more of a relaxed and quiet vibe.
South Chaweng is renowned for its nice sand and has great water for swimming and playing.
Be aware that rooms situated close to the road might pick up noise from nightlife and especially from the cars driving around blasting audio messages about Thai boxing matches and other activities.
Who should stay here?
Because of its many bars and nightclubs, Chaweng is where party animals should base themselves.
Chaweng Beach is also the obvious choice if you want a beautiful beach and lots of restaurants and shops within walking distance and don’t mind sharing them with other tourists.
Families can enjoy this area as well, but we will recommend that you choose one of the places in the south.
Buri Rasa Village Samui
We stayed at this 4-star luxury boutique resort for a couple of days and we loved it.
The beachfront hotel is on the more quiet side of Chaweng Beach, there’s a pool and the room we stayed in even had a private garden with a dip pool.
Buri Rasa truly has a village vibe and the wonderful staff treated every guest with attention and great care.
It’s one of the best places to stay in Chaweng Beach.
If you want a different hotel experience while staying on Chaweng, The Library looks like an enticing option.
The hotel holds a near perfect score on most review aggregators, with people especially praising the personalized service and stylish design.
Samui Paradise Chaweng Beach Resort & Spa
Located in the far south end of Chaweng, you’ll be far away from the action at Samui Paradise – but still have access to the beach.
With the hotel’s 4-stars, you get two outdoor pools, two restaurants, a front desk open 24/7, free parking as well as air conditioning and wifi in the villas.
Samui Green Hotel
If you don’t expect any kind of luxury, Samui Green Hotel might just be the place for you.
Samui Green Hotel’s rooms include the modern necessities of air conditioning, free wifi and a private bathroom at a very affordable price.
It’s located in the calmer part of Chaweng.
Where to stay in Lamai
Lamai Beach is the second most popular beach.
It’s less crowded than Chaweng Beach but you can still find lots of hotels, restaurants and bars lined next to each other on the beach.
In other words; it’s a great option if you don’t need that many party and shopping options, but still prefer to have a wide variety of restaurants, massage parlours and big supermarkets to choose from.
The beach is lovely and long enough to never feel completely packed.
It can be a bit difficult to access the beach if you don’t stay at a beachside hotel though.
Staying near Lamai makes day trips to the waterfalls of the south a breeze and also offers you a quick getaway to the less developed parts of Koh Samui.
Who should stay here?
Families looking for a beach holiday with many activities and food options nearby will love it here.
It’s also a great choice for couples and groups of friends who don’t necessarily come for the parties but still like some action.
Lamai is highlighted as a great place for honeymooners but as the beach isn’t that private, we guess it really depends on which resort you choose to stay at.
Le Meridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa
Le Meridien is situated in the northern end of the Lamai area, nestled between the mountains.
This means you’ll be about a 20-minute walk away from most of the tourist options, but if you’re staying at La Meridien, they probably won’t be needed.
The private beachfront location has stunning ocean views and the resort offers great facilities, including a beautiful seaside pool, full-service spa and a gym.
If your budget allows it, the resort is amazing for a honeymoon or romantic vacation.
For visiting Koh Samui’s other beaches and towns, Le Meridien offers complimentary shuttle services.
Samui Jasmine Resort
Check out Samui Jasmine Resort if you’re looking for a good value 4-star hotel in Lamai.
Situated on the northern end of the beach’ action, you’ll have access to plenty of restaurant options while still being away from some of the noise.
Choose between garden view or sea view, and then hop between the pool and the beach.
Samui Sense Beach Resort
For staying centrally in Lamai by the beach on a budget, Samui Sense Beach Resort is a great choice.
With free wifi, a private bathroom and air conditioning you have your bases covered.
Choose between lounging by the pool or on the beach – and then use the money you’ve saved on accommodation at Lamai’s many restaurants or by getting a relaxing massage.
Where to stay at Silver Beach
Between the beaches of Chaweng and Lamai, you’ll find this little gem surrounded by large rocks.
Silver Beach, or Crystal Bay as it’s called as well, has pure white sand and clear water.
It probably had the prettiest, most saturated turquoise water of all the beaches we visited in Koh Samui. A real treat for beach lovers.
Here you can avoid most crowds while still being just a short drive away from the many options of Lamai or Chaweng.
Who should stay here?
Beach lovers who value privacy will love it here.
Families with small children wanting a quiet and peaceful vacation will find this beach great too.
Crystal Bay Yacht Club
Nestled behind the rocks on Silver Beach’ south end, Crystal Bay Yacht Club holds amazing views over the bay.
There’s a pool, the rooms look very nice and according to our research, this is the best value accommodation on Silver Beach.
Where to stay in Bophut
Bophut town is a fishing village by the beach and it’s a bit more authentic than other towns in Koh Samui.
Fisherman’s Village is the historic area of Bophut and it’s home to a bunch of eateries, tourist shops, galleries and accommodation in rustic-style buildings.
On Friday evenings, there’s a huge night market called Elephant Walk on the walking street between the Fisherman’s Village and The Wharf Samui.
Bophut Beach is a quiet beach with a calm atmosphere, although it’s not one of the most isolated beaches.
The stretch of sand is wide and the western part is a good swimming beach with an up-market feeling.
In the east, the sand and water aren’t as good, but it’s a better option if you want to stay close to Fisherman’s Village.
Staying at an Airbnb near Bophut Beach
While staying in Koh Samui, we actually lived very close to Bophut area for some time and we really liked being close to Fisherman’s Village with its many dining options.
We found a lovely little house on Airbnb with our own kitchen and two small swimming pools shared with five other houses.
First time trying Airbnb? Sign up through this link and get up to $52 USD towards your first trip.
Who should stay here?
Bophut is a perfect area for families.
The area is not too busy and noisy but definitely not boring or quiet either.
Children of all ages will probably enjoy playing on the beach, walking around Fisherman’s Village and exploring the weekly night market.
Couples searching for a calm place to stay with different food options in walking distance will like it here as well.
Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort
For a perfect holiday on Bophut, look no further than Anantara.
At an international 5-star standard, the resort caters to couples looking for privacy and romance with its boutique take on Thai decor.
The highest level of service and amazing facilities are guaranteed.
Anantara is in walking distance to the shops and restaurants of Fisherman’s Village but just west of the walking street.
Bandara Resort & Spa
Like most hotels and resorts in Thailand, you get a lot for your money’s worth at Bandara Resort & Spa.
Direct beach access, clean and spacious rooms, gym, spa, swimming pools (in plural) and a huge breakfast all make Bandara a 4-star resort worth considering if you want to stay comfortably in Bophut.
The White Cottage
Staying in one of The White Cottage’s 11 bungalows is a good budget option in Bophut.
Each bungalow features a private bathroom, air conditioning and free wifi. The family bungalow sleeping up to four people looks like it’s outstanding value.
There’s a bit of a walk to the main action of Bophut, but this part of town also houses great local thai restaurants, the usual 7-Elevens and Family Marts, basic shops and massage places.
Where to stay at Maenam Beach
Maenam is a really long beach on the north side of Koh Samui.
Most of the development is on the eastern part. The western half is a lot more secluded and only features scattered resorts and restaurants.
For better or for worse, there isn’t much to do here.
Beach vendors are few and far between, just like other people in general, and compared to the rest of the beaches of Koh Samui, Maenam Beach is very quiet.
You won’t have any problems finding your own spot in the shade of the gently swaying palm trees.
The street leading down to the beach has charming wooden Chinese shop houses built side by side with lots of cafés, restaurants and shops.
Who should stay here?
Maenam has both budget and luxury accommodations.
Backpackers looking for cheap bungalows and eateries will like it here, and couples longing for a romantic place to listen to the sound of the waves will enjoy the high-end luxury resorts.
Several of the hotels on the beach are for adults only.
For a luxurious stay right on Maenam Beach, Santiburi is sure to meet your vacation needs.
With a jogging track, tennis courts, soccer, Muay Thai lessons and more, you won’t get bored – and for relaxing, your biggest problem will be choosing between the pools or the beach.
Four Seasons Resort
The Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui isn’t technically on Maenam Beach but rather on their own private tip on the northwestern corner of the island.
It’s expensive, there’s no way around it, but if you want the top resort in Koh Samui, this is it.
Four Seasons Samui is about as good as a romantic getaway can get.
Sensimar Resort and Spa (adult only)
With most of the rooms featuring plunge pools, private balconies and/or jacuzzis, a splendid private experience is all but guaranteed at Sensimar.
The design is rather minimalistic and unobtrusive, making room for romance and relaxation.
Where to stay at Choeng Mon Beach
Choeng Mon Beach at the northeastern tip of Koh Samui feels like a secluded hideaway far from the hustle and bustle.
The public access to the beach is limited so it’s mainly frequented by holidaymakers staying at the resorts.
There are few restaurants at the beach but it’s only a 15-minute drive away to the many restaurants in Chaweng.
Who should stay here?
The beach is popular with couples and families who like the undisturbed vibe.
The water is suitable for swimming and the sand is fine and white.
Both accommodation and dining options are more pricey here than on the rest of the island.
Cape Fahn Hotel Samui
Cape Fahn is simply too stunning to miss.
Situated on a private island (!) accessible from land at low tide from Choeng Mon, the 22 villas all have mesmerizing views over the ocean and a truly unique location in Koh Samui.
P.S. Thana Resort
At a fair price, you get a spacious villa at P.S. Thana Resort right on Choeng Mon beach with access to the pool area, lush surroundings and breakfast with sea views.
Each villa has a bathtub as well as free wifi and air conditioning.
The Tongsai Bay
Long standing champ of green accommodation in Koh Samui, The Tongsai Bay is renowned for its eco-friendliness and relaxing environment.
Where to start… Leftover food is donated to an animal shelter, pesticide use is non-existent, there’s a ton of wildlife on the premises, no trees have been cut building the resort, there’s an organic garden…
All in all, The Tongsai Bay is a great choice if you want to minimize your planetary footprint while visiting Koh Samui.
And of course actually staying here looks wonderful. The rooms are beautiful, as are the pool and beach, and there’s a huge array of great activities for enjoying your holidays (guilt-free!)
The Tongsai Bay is located just north of Choeng Mon Beach.
Where to stay at Lipa Noi Beach
On the west coast of the island, you can find a quiet place to stay on Lipa Noi Beach.
It’s definitely one of the island’s less visited beaches and here you’ll probably meet more dogs and local people than tourists.
The sunsets are amazing here.
Who should stay here?
Couples or families wanting to have their own quiet slice of paradise.
Restaurants and activities in the area are limited, but so are the number of people.
Lipa Lodge Beach Resort
We stayed at Lipa Lodge and thoroughly enjoyed the peaceful garden and private beach.
From the beautiful beachfront room, we could admire the ocean from sunrise to sunset and fall asleep to the sound of the calming waves.
You can see lots of pictures and read more about Lipa Lodge Beach Resort in our review or you can check prices and availability here.
Where to stay in Taling Ngam
Escape the clubs and bars by staying in the unspoilt southwest coast near Taling Ngam Beach.
The area is about as remote as you can get in Koh Samui.
The beach is pretty but rather narrow and it’s not the best place to swim as the water is quite shallow with rocks at the bottom.
Who should stay here?
Couples and families looking for a tranquil atmosphere without the need for a good swimming beach.
InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort
This 5-star luxury resort is built on a mountain overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.
Ocean vistas, none other than 7 swimming pools and romantic sunsets are just some of the many advantages of staying here.
The resort even has a 5-star kids’ club offering InterContinental’s signature blend of fun and games with traditional Thai culture for a unique experience.
It’s relatively close to the Elephant Gate, Wat Kiri Wong Karam and the most delicious smoothie bowls at the vegan café Futurehippie, but you’ll most likely have a difficult time pulling yourself away from the enchanting resort.
Yoga retreats in Koh Samui
Though nearby Koh Phangan’s fame is more exclusively attained from its huge array of yoga schools, Koh Samui also offers enough options of detoxing and stretching for a lifetime.
Though it is, of course, possible to sign up for single yoga classes or weekly memberships, the best value will usually be attending a dedicated yoga retreat or buying a package including accommodation.
Thanks for reading
We hope you have an idea of where to stay in Koh Samui now and what will be the best place for you.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us anything. We’re glad to help.