Top areas in Samui
One of Thailand's favorite island getaways, Koh Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand just south of Koh Phang Ngan. Too well-known to have 'hidden gem' status, Samui is loved for its beautiful beaches, relaxed island atmosphere and well-developed infrastructure. Samui is easy to access by virtue of its airport – Samui International Airport – located in the north of the island a short drive from Bo Phut and Chaweng beaches.
Chaweng is Samui's most popular beach. Resorts on Chaweng have direct access to both the shoreline and the island's most happening night scene, with scores of restaurants, bars and clubs lining the main street. Chaweng Noi and North Chaweng bookend the main strip and at night this stretch of coastline transforms into an extended dining area as restaurants and bars spill over on to the sand.
A ten-minute drive South of Chaweng, Lamai beach is geared more towards relaxation than revelry. Samui's second-most developed beach, travelers will find the full range of hotels on Lamai Beach, from backpacker hostels to luxury villas. A handful of bars and clubs in Lamai village cater for the tourist set keep Lamai lively long after darkness falls.
On the northern coast of the island is Bo Phut. Far less developed than Chaweng or Lamai, hotels and resorts in Bo Phut can offer a little more seclusion, though shops and restaurants aren't too far away. Bo Phut is also a popular launching point for dive excursions.
For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Samui, click on the interactive Samui map on the left-hand side of the page.