Where to stay in Koh Samui – our guide to this city-like island
Both an island and a city, Koh Samui is an attractive travel destination in Thailand. It is well-known for numerous sandy beaches, palm trees, and crystal clear sea. Once a Thai fishing community, Thailand’s second-largest island has quickly developed and now has to offer something for every type of tourist.
Whether you are interested in snorkeling, fishing, diving, visiting cultural and historical landmarks, or just laying on the beach and enjoying the sun, Koh Samui is the perfect island paradise for any of those activities. On your arrival to this stunning island, the first, and the most prominent, landmark you will see from the plane is the gigantic gilded statue of Buddha at Wat Phra Yai. This is not the only site worth visiting during your stay on Koh Samui since this island-city has many landmarks and activities to engage yourself in and make your visit to this heaven on earth an unforgettable one.
Image source: pocastreet
Like in other cities in Thailand, the greatest concert of the visitors to Koh Samui are the scams. Whenever you decide to take a cab to drive you somewhere, make sure that the taximeter is turned on from the very start of the ride, and if possible, discuss the fare beforehand with the driver. Also, think twice before you rent a jet ski as the owners like to trick you into paying large amount of money to fix the supposed damage that you have done to the vehicle during your ride. To prevent this from happening, simply resist your urge and don’t rent the jet ski in the first place.
Five fantastic neighborhoods to stay in Koh Samui
Koh Samui has plenty to offer to thousands of tourists from all over the world. However, you should always carefully select the area for your base according to your interests. You don’t want to come to Koh Samui for wild parties and then accidentally base yourself in a family-oriented area and ruin your long-awaited holiday.
Image source: adenrehan
No matter what your interests may be, Koh Samui has got you covered. Every area offers something different and unique whether you are looking for wild nightlife, complete isolation and relaxation on the beach, or exciting adventure. Also, there is no need for you to worry about accommodation either since there are plenty of options available for every budget. We recommend the following neighborhoods:
- Big Buddha
Although these areas contain plenty of activities, they may not suit everyone’s taste so we have prepared a list organized according to the general interests of the tourists who visit Koh Samui:
|Big Buddha||First-timers||Close to main attractions and activities|
|Chaweng||Nightlife||Most lively area with wild nightlife, restaurants, shops, and bars|
|Maenam||On a budget||A cheerful atmosphere with cheap accommodation and activities|
|Lamai||Bohemians||Less crowded with many things to do and see|
|Bophut||Long-term stay||Village community feel|
Where to stay in Koh Samui for the first time – Big Buddha
If you are visiting Koh Samui for the very first time, then you should consider finding a place to stay in the Big Buddha area. It is conveniently located near the Koh Samui Airport and the ferry to Koh Phangan. Many cultural and historical landmarks, as well as restaurants and shops, are situated in this area so if you decide to stay here then you will experience the best Koh Samui has to offer. The beach is usually less crowded than the others, and the water is very clean.
Things to see and do in Big Buddha
This area is rather a peaceful one and not as hectic as Chaweng Beach. Still, there are some activities and attractions you should visit such as:
- Wat Phra Yai temple/Big Buddha statue
- Wat Plai Laem temple
- Big Buddha Pier
- Ang Thong Marine National Park
This beautiful Buddhist temple is home to the largest statue on the island, and its main symbol as well, the Big Buddha. This 12 meters high statue is the favorite sight of the tourists so the steps leading to it are usually crowded.
Image source: bambii._x
Image source: bambii._x
Wat Plai Laem
This temple was built in 2004 and today represents one of the most majestic temples in Koh Samui. It is widely popular among tourists who like to take pictures of the temple’s most iconic statues ‘’fat’’ Chinese Buddha and Kuan Yin with 18 arms. A huge lake with fish and turtles is surrounding this temple complex.
Image source: hallal.ramon
Image source: dutko_mariana
Big Buddha Pier
Although most tourists visit this pier to catch a ferry to nearby islands, it is the perfect spot for watching the sunset over Koh Samui.
Image source: pong_pongsiri11
The tour of the Ang Thong Marine National Park starts at the Big Buddha Pier. A day trip to this park will allow you to discover the other side of Koh Samui, with amazing beaches and great diving spots.
Image source: nxnxnx1570
Where to stay in Big Buddha
Big Buddha area offers plenty of accommodation options since this area is the typical choice of the tourists who visit Koh Samui for the first time.
Our top recommendations are:
Affordable option – This simple hostel
Moderate price – This Serviced apartment with beautiful sea view
Luxury option – This high-end heavenly hotel
Where to stay in Koh Samui for nightlife – Chaweng
Chaweng is Koh Samui’s the place to go for nightlife. The most prominent place is Chaweng Beach where most tourists seek relaxation during the day, and as the night falls, they are moving to the streets along the Beach Road in search of the ideal bar or pub to party. Aside from many beach bars and modern clubs, this area is also home to various restaurants and the huge shopping complex on the whole island.
Image source: jrmhui
Things to see and do in Chaweng
As Koh Samui’s Party Central, Chaweng has numerous restaurants and bars to suit every tourist’s taste. Whether you prefer some relaxing beach bar or a modern dance club, Chaweng has plenty of options to choose from.
Here are our recommendations:
- Soi Green Mango
- Soi Reggae
- Ark Bar
- Bar Solo
- Cha Cha Moon Beach Club
Soi Green Mango
This is the most prominent street in Chaweng and home to the city’s nightlife symbol The Green Mango Club, the most iconic club of Koh Samui.
Image source: road.to.knowhere
Image source: vishalzala1
Similarly to Soi Green Mango, Soi Reggae is a place where many pubs and bars are aligned one after another with Reggae Pub as the highlight.
Image source: ms.viktorrriya
An energetic beach bar/restaurant has been one of the coolest places for partying on the beach for a couple of years now.
Image source: barkoviz
A quite modern place for starting the night out or watching major sporting events shown on the six plasma screens.
Image source: kaew_kapi
Cha Cha Moon Beach Club
Located at Chaweng Beach, this multifunctional place will leave you speechless since it is a great combination of the sandy beach and disco party.
Image source: matthiasseibert
Where to stay in Chaweng
Although Chaweng offers a wide range of accommodation options, it can be hard finding the perfect place to stay since the area can be quite crowded and packed with tourists.
The most popular are:
Affordable option – This Stylish and modern hostel with the private beach
Moderate price – This Corner Lake View Room
Luxury option – This lux hotel