The beaches of Koh Samui are amongst some of the most beautiful in the world, and act as a major attraction for many of the islands foreign visitors. With over 90% of the island’s resorts being directly located on a beach, it is little wonder why people return year after year to experience the finest points of this unique paradise island.
As recently as 2009, Koh Samui’s Mae Nam beach was actually voted voted the 9th best beach in Asia by a leading Australian newspaper.
Many of the islands beaches provide the perfect swimming conditions for children as the water tends to be relatively calm and shallow. A particularly popular area for swimmers is on the islands North Coast.
Some of the quieter beaches that are on the north coast include Bang Rak, Bo Phut, Mae Nam and Choeng Mon. These beaches are perfect for taking it easy during the day but at night time they can be a little bit quite and for anyone who is looking for a piece of the action then they might be better heading off to Chaweng or Lamai.
Both Chaweng and Lamai are considered to be the tourist hubs of the island and although the nightlife can sometimes be busy, chaotic and above all very touristy, there is no doubt that these are the places to be for anyone who is looking for a good night out. There is plenty to choose from in these locations from girl bars, beer bars and restaurants to fine dining experiences and traditional Thai shows.
Koh Samui beaches is what the visiting the island is all about, from the bustling vibrancy of Lamai and Chaweng to the more relaxed, quieter atmosphere of Mae Nam and Bo Phut, Samui has something for everyone, regardless of tastes or budgets.
Chaweng beach and the area that surrounds it is probably the most popular on the island. Apart from boasting the longest beach on Koh Samui, it is also home to the biggest local and international shopping and entertainment zone that can be found on the island. Many first time visitors to Chaweng might think that it is just the same as any other tourist hotspot, and it is often talked about being a little similar to Patong in Phuket, with its hundreds of restaurants, hotels and bars scattered throughout the area.
From the beach at Chaweng there are a variety of different accommodation options that are available, which range from luxury five star resorts and boutique spas to a handful of budget Thai style bungalows. When it comes to grabbing a bite to eat there is a wide choice available from gourmet international fare to burgers, pizzas and other fast food. There are also a few excellent Thai restaurants that are well worth visiting.
Chaweng is very much the party central of Koh Samui. Despite recent attempts to try and make it more appealing to families or those travelling with young children, it is still the area on the island that has the largest number and selection of bars, nightclubs and restaurants. If you are looking for peace and serenity and want to get away from it all, you might want to consider visiting one of Koh Samui’s other beaches. However, if you want to party and revel in some of the islands famous nightlife then a trip to Chaweng should certainly not be missed.
Over the past couple of years, Chaweng has developed into 3 main areas, North, Central and South. It is fair to say that the North is probably the quietest area of Chaweng and it is home to a number luxury resorts and boutique spas, as well as having several different fine dining options. At the North end of Chaweng beach the water is often very shallow and can sometimes make swimming difficult, because of this many of the hotels and resorts in this area will normally have their own swimming pool.
Even though North Chaweng has undergone a significant amount of upmarket development in recent years, it still maintains much of its natural beauty. This end of the beach is home to white sands and a shallow channel that separates the beach from the small, yet picturesque Koh Matlang.
The central part of the beach at Chaweng is certainly the most crowded and it is where you will find the majority of sunbathers, accommodation, parties and nightlife. During the day expect this part of the beach to be packed with sun loungers and its fair share of beach vendors who are on hand to sell a variety of different fruits and drinks. Jet skis can also be hired on this area of the beach.
At night, this area of the beach sees the sun loungers replaced with large cushions that are put out by many of the local beachside bars and provide the opportunity for people to enjoy the beach at the night time, in between having a good drink and dancing the night away until the small hours. All this helps to create a lively party atmosphere, for which Chaweng has become renowned for amongst younger visitors to the island.
If parties on the beach and loud music are not really your thing then many of the larger resorts that are based in Central Chaweng provide live music that is a little easier on the ear. There are also some places that show traditional Thai dance performances too.
Much like the north end of the beach, South Chaweng is starting to become a little more upmarket, thanks to the development of a number of high end and exclusive resorts. The beach at this side of Chaweng is very wide and as a result the sea can become considerably rough and choppy between November and March, which are Samui’s winter months. On a couple of rare occasions, the seas have become so dangerous in this area that a couple of people have died, so it is worth taking extra care when swimming in this area, especially if you are with young children.
The islands largest hotel is also found in South Chaweng. The Central Samui Beach Resort is the hub of the major of activities and events in this area and also acts as venue for some of Samui’s large and internationally popular events, which includes the Samui Regatta, which is held every year.
In many respects, visitors to Central Chaweng could easily think that this part of the beach is different part of a different island altogether as it is not really in keeping with the vibe or style of the rest of Koh Samui. The 5 kilometre road that makes up Chawengs central strip is lined with shops and stalls galore that sell just about every holiday souvenir and accessory you could ever wish to purchase. In set in amongst the shops and stalls are a large number of restaurants, bars, tailors, supermarkets, opticians, pharmacies and fast food restaurants.
The north end of the strip is home to the modern and trendy Lyara Shopping Plaza, whereas the centre of the strip is where you will find more of the smaller, independent and family run shops outlets. If you are looking for a more exclusive or boutique shopping experience then you should head to South Chaweng.
One thing you can be certain of is that Chaweng has many different things for many different tastes and interests. From fine dining Western style food to traditional style street food to bars, nightclubs, international DJ’s and bar girls, this area of Samui has it all. There is little doubt that Chaweng can occasionally be chaotic, sometimes be manic and is often very loud; but one thing is for sure, it is always fun!
After Chaweng, the second most popular beach on Koh Samui is Lamai Beach. Even though Lamai is half the size of its bigger brother, Chaweng, it doesn’t get nearly as crowded and although, at times it can be a little lively, its beach acts as a much better option for families, especially those with young children.
The beach itself is situated in a beautiful sweeping bay, with its golden sands stretching nearly as far as the Hin Ta Hin Yai rock formations that are visible in the distance and are located just beyond a small headland. Slightly to the north of Lamai is Tong Takian Bay, which is an incredible rocky headland which is thriving with luscious jungle that covers the nearby sweeping mountains.
Various parts of the beach are separated at irregular intervals by large rocky outcrops that are present right up to the shore line. This helps to create several smaller areas of beach and coastline that all have their own unique character. The central part of Lamai beach is predominantly sandy and very flat and also provides the best conditions for swimming. The further south you go along the bay, the rockiness of Lamai Beach increases, where visitors will find a nice mix of rock pools and sandy coves that are well worth exploring.
During the day there are a wide variety of beach activities that can keep people occupied including scuba diving, jet skiing, sea kayaking, water skiing and windsurfing.
The town of Lamai is no more than 100 metres from the beach front and stretches right along the islands main beach road. The main road that connects the two, actually weaves its way a little wide of the town itself. In between is a whole network of small roads and side streets that connect the town the beach.
By day, Lamai can resemble nothing more than a sleepy fishing village; even so, it is still home to large selection of shops and services that every modern traveller would come to expect, such as banks, supermarkets and travel agents.
The night time is when Lamai Beach really comes alive, with the main form of evening entertainment involving bars and plenty of bar girls, which are located in the middle of the main street. If these types of bars are not your sort of thing then fear not as there plenty of other restaurants and watering holes to choose from in right along the beach.
Away from the bars and restaurants there are also a couple of nightclubs in Lamai that play dance and hard house music from some of the Islands leading DJ’s, until the early morning.
Like Chaweng, Lamai has a number of beach restaurants and bars where people can sit and relax on cushions on the beach at night, although the whole atmosphere is much more relaxed that Samui’s more popular beach resort. Lamai is also home to a popular weekly beach party but again, this is a more relaxed affair than compared to some of the similar parties that are held in Chaweng.
Many people comment that Lamai is a much nicer area in terms of development and construction than Chaweng and in many respects this is true, even though Chaweng is located only 15 minutes away by motorbike.
There are quite a few small beach resorts that are in this area and nearly all of them have pretty good restaurants that are well worth sampling. There are also many more family or independently owned resorts, bars and restaurants than you can expect to find in Chaweng. Many of these restaurants are made from bamboo and thatched wood and help to add to the all round more traditional and laid back vibe of Lamai, much like Chaweng was around 10 years ago.
Accommodation in Lamai tends to be a little more moderately priced than Chaweng, but as you get closer to Lamai town, prices are likely to increase. There are also a couple of more upmarket options when it comes to accommodation in Lamai, most notably the Pavilion Resort, which is popular with visitors to the area.
Due to Lamai’s close promiximiety to the southern, predominetly Muslim area of Koh Samui, this part of the island is usually a little quieter. This area still retains many of the authentic traditions that were more prevalent on Samui in years gone by, such as coconut farming and fishing.
Several popular attractions are within easy reach of Lamai including a number of temples, a small zoo an many quaint and interesting local fishing villages. It should also be noted that the routes to the islands popular waterfalls and viewpoints are much more accessible from Lamai. However, it is the beach that is furthest from the islands ferry terminals and airport.
Bang Rak Beach
Bang Rak Beach is located on the north east coast of Koh Samui and is about 15 minutes from Chaweng Beach, by road. It is also very close to the islands airport and provides the perfect opportunity to watch the low flying aircraft coasting towards the island, for those that are interested in that kind of thing. Luckily air traffic is fairly minimal so people staying near to Bang Rak Beach will not be too disturbed by the sound of airplanes flying overhead.
Bang Rak Beach is also known locally as the Big Buddha Beach due to the fact that there is a twelve metre high Buddha statue that is the areas main attraction. This remarkable statue is certainly a spectacular site and is definitely one the of the islands most popular tourist attractions. The construction of the statue took more than two years to complete and is even visible from the air upon arrival to the island by plane.
The upper section of the statue is magnificently decorated. It is from up here that you can see some truly stunning views of the rest of the island and is a great place to watch the sun go down of an evening. The area around the statue also acts as a venue during important cultural and religious festivals, when the area can quickly become one of the liveliest places to be on the whole island.
The beach at Bang Rak is often overlooked partly due to the amount of other gorgeous beaches that can be found on the island. If the beach was in another location, elsewhere in the world, more people might be eager to comment on how nice it is. As it is, visitors to Koh Samui don’t even bother visiting this pleasant and picturesque beach because of the number of other stunning beaches that are located around the island.
The sand here is smooth, flat and provides the perfect swimming conditions for families with young children as there are no strong or unexpected currents. However, there are not many of the shaded areas that are provided by palm trees, as is the case with the islands other beaches and this is one of the Bang Rak’s downfalls.
The beach itself stretches for the nearby Temple and huge Buddha Statue in the east to the adjoining beach of Bo Phut, which is a total distance of about 3 kilometres. All along the beach is where you will find the majority of the areas resorts, bars and restaurants and even though this area of Samui is a little quieter than other areas, it still has a relatively good nightlife all of its own. Many of the bars and restaurants in the area also tend to be cheaper than in other areas too.
There is even quite a wide range of beach activities that people can participate in when they visit Bang Rak; these include snorkelling, scuba diving and water skiing. There are also a number specialist dive shops in the area that will organise trips to some of the most popular dive sites around Koh Samui and the Ang Thong National Marine Park.
As mentioned, the beach at Bang Rak offers good conditions for swimming but it should be noted that the water is not as crystal clear as it is on other beaches around the island. This is partly because of the amount of sea traffic there is around this part of the island. Bang Rak also acts as the most convenient location where people can board the boats that travel to Hat Rin on Koh Pha Ngan for the popular full moon party.
There is also a wide range of options when it comes to accommodation in Bang Rak that range from guesthouses, many of which relatively inexpensive, right through to up market villas and resorts. As Bang Rak is quieter than other areas of Koh Samui, you can expect to find that accommodation is available all year round, even during the high season.
Bo Phut Beach
The beach at Bo Phut is situated on Koh Samui’s northern coast and sits between Bang Rak Beach and Mae Nam Beach. Bang Rak tends to be more popular with people who are looking for a somewhat more sedate Koh Samui experience or that do necessarily want to get involved the islands hedonistic lifestyle. There is certainly a much more laid back feel to Bo Phut when compared to Samui’s other popular areas, most notably Chaweng and Lamai.
Bo Phut is considered by many to be the most well preserved and traditional location on the island. Known locally as nothing more than a small fisherman’s village, Bo Phut provides a welcome change to many of the more developed and commercial areas of the island. The central part of Bo Phut is where the majority of the fishing village lies and here you will find many Chinese style traditional wooden shops and houses. The modern buildings that are in this part of Bo Phut blend in nicely with the traditional architecture and certainly don’t help to damage the traditional vibe of the place.
The beach itself is full of powdery soft sand and it is also free from any large rocks that seem to appear from nowhere, unlike at Lamai or Chaweng.
Bo phut is easily one of the most idyllic and picturesque spots on the whole island.
Approximately 3 kilometres in length, you can see coconut palms dotted right along the white sandy beach. This is definitely the beach to come to if you want to get away from it all. What better way to spend your holiday than relaxing on Bo Phut with your head buried in a good book?
You can always relax on the beach and take in some of the excellent views of one of Koh Samui’s neighbouring islands, Koh Pha Ngan. Unlike other beaches on Samui, Bo Phut is free from row after row of sun loungers and umbrellas and there are only a handful of beach vendors too.
The beach here is also much narrower than other beaches on the island as there is not that much distance between the sea and the sand. The water tends to be very shallow here and might not be suitable for very keen swimmers. However, it is perfect for the little ones and for people who want a dip in the seas just to cool off.
Bo Phut also has plenty to offer the adrenaline junkies or people who are looking to get a little active during their visit to the beach. Jet Ski hire, snorkelling, yachting and kayaking are all available on the beach.
There are also a number of different options when it comes to eating out in Bo Phut ranging from pizzas and fine dining cuisine to international fare and traditional Thai food. The restaurants that can be found directly on the beach are a good choice for visitors to Bo Phut and it can be most enjoyable sitting on this narrow beach, eating at one of the nice beachside restaurants with the sound of the waves and sea only a couple of metres away.
Every Friday night the Bo Phut village hosts a small outdoor shopping market where you can buy a range of clothes, food and jewellery. There are also live music performances that can entertain you as you walk around the market.
Bo Phut is the perfect location for anyone who wants to enjoy a little of the entertainment that Koh Samui is now so famous for, but also likes to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.
Mae Nam Beach
Quite simply the beach at Mae Nam is one of, if not the most stunning beaches on Koh Samui. The reputation of its stunning natural beauty has not gone unnoticed by others around the world and as recently as 2009 if was voted the 9th Best Beach In Asia by Australia’s Herald Sun Newspaper.
Today, the beach can still live up to this accolade, as visitors to the beach are presented with an incredibly tranquil spot that is surrounded by rows of palm trees. The sand, although not as white as other beaches on the island, is still a lovely golden colour and the surrounding sea is a clear turquoise colour that looks like something out of a holiday brochure.
At almost 6 kilometres in length, the beach is often quiet and on some occasions it can seem as if it is almost empty. What also helps to make Mae Nam so attractive to visitors to Koh Samui is that is probably offers the best swimming conditions on the island. The water is clear, clean and becomes deep very quickly.
By just sitting and relaxing on the beach you can, you can see the island of Koh Pha Ngan, not too far in the distance. Very much thought of as Samui’s little sister, Koh Pha Ngan is the home of the famous Full Moon Party. On a really clear day you may even be able to see the island of Koh Tao, which is considered to be not only Thailand’s premier dive site, but is now thought of as one of the best dive sites in the world.
Mae Nam Beach is probably the closest thing that Koh Samui has to a totally unspoilt, picture perfect beach and thankfully, visitors to Mae Nam will be hard pressed to actually spot what development there has been in this part of the island. This area does have quite a lot of small and privately owned villas and bungalows. However, they do not intrude too much onto the beach itself, certainly not in the sense that they are that noticeable.
Despite these developments, the natural beauty of the beach is not compromised. In fact, the one and only development that you might be able to see near to the beach is the Santiburi Resort, which is one of Samui’s oldest luxury resorts and still popular with visitors today.
Mae Nam is certainly a little remote when compared to other beaches on the island and for this reason it might not be to everyone’s liking.
However, for many people, this is exactly the reason why they choose to visit Mae Nam and stay in the local area, as it provides the perfect escape from the busy tourist hotspots and nightlife of Chaweng and Lamai. Many of the people who stay in Mae Nam often rent motorcycles or bicycles in order to go off an explore the rest of the island.
One of the biggest attractions that can be found at Mae Nam Beach is a Temple, known as Wat Na Parlarm. This is definitely a must see and the temple makes for some fantastic photo opportunities. Just before sundown is arguably the best time to visit. Not too far from the temple and the beach are a selection of food stalls that serve traditional Thai food and are popular with the locals.
A bit further on from the Temple and the various food stalls is the Lomprayah Pier, which is where a number of speed boats depart for tours of Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan.
Mae Nam Beach also has some the cheapest accommodation options that are available anywhere on the island and as you walk further along from the pier you will come to the popular Harry’s Bungalows, which provide a very good standard of accommodation at a reasonable price.
Even further along the beach you will see the public road that provides people with access to the islands main ring road. It is along the public road that you can find another Temple, Wat Pukhao Tong, which again, is well worth visiting, if only to take a few photos. Around this area you will also find a number of dive shops and schools for those that are interested in scuba diving.
On or around the beach there are a number of different eateries and beachside restaurants that provide the perfect location to enjoy some great food or drink an ice cold beer. One particular favourite is Cafe Talay.
Towards the far end of Mae Nam beach you will find the very comfortable and stylish, yet reasonably priced Paradise Beach Resort that not only boasts two swimming pools but is also home to one of the best and most exclusive restaurants on the island, which is called Roma and serves some great Italian food.
Mae Nam is somewhat of a large jewel in the crown of Koh Samui’s beaches and even though it is fairly quiet compared to other areas, no trip to the island would be complete without visiting this spectacular beach.
Choeng Mon Beach
Choeng Mon Beach is located in furthest northeast corner of Koh Samui. The area of Choeng Mon almost seems to stick out somewhat when compared to the geography of the rest of the island. The beach at Choeng Mon is fairly quiet and because of this it is popular with families and people who are looking to get away from the hectic nightlife of Samui’s other destinations.
The beach itself is separated into a number of beautiful, small, secluded bays that help to make up some of the most stunning stretches of beach that can be found anywhere on Koh Samui.
After visiting Choeng Mon Beach it is easy to see why many people come to the area to relax on this beautiful beach. Even so, there are still plenty of things to do on the beach, particularly water sports that can help to keep people occupied during their stay.
One thing that is definitely worth doing is hiring a kayak and visiting the nearby small island of Koh Fan Yai. Even though the island can be reached on foot during a low tide, visiting the island by kayak is still popular with many who visit Choeng Mon Beach.
Much of the surrounding area of Choeng Mon has actually been taken up by private villas and residences. However, there are still plenty of choices when it comes to luxury resorts and hotel, a lot of which are aimed more at the higher end of the market than on other parts of the island.
There are a number of splendid 5 star resorts that are available for people who are wishing to stay in Choeng Mon. One of the islands finest spa resorts is located here. The Samui Peninsula Resort and Spa provides luxury rooms, villas and fitness spa, as well as having its own private beach.
The Sala Samui Resort and Spa is another luxury resort that also offers villa and luxury bungalows, man of which are complete with their own swimming pools. The final 5 star resort of note is the Thongsai Bay which also has its own private beach. All of these resorts are well known for the quality of food that is available in their excellent restaurants.
Unlike the other beach resorts on Koh Samui, Choeng Mon has no real village or town to speak of. There are a few restaurants on the beach but it is fair to say that most people who stay in the area will normally eat at their hotel or resort.
Not far from the Sala Samui Resort is where you will find what is quickly becoming somewhat of a hub for drinking and dining in the area. Here a selection of outlets can be found ranging from dive shops and tailors to small supermarkets, bars and restaurants. For people who are looking for a bit more in terms of nightlife then Chaweng is easily accessible in the south, as is Bo Phut and Bang Rak in the west.
Because Choeng Mon is usually more popular with foreign tourists than it is with Thai people, the restaurant and entertainment options tend to be more geared to western tastes than anything else. The Thai food that is available is generally not as spicy as you would expect to find elsewhere.
If you happen to be staying in another part of Koh Samui then visiting Choeng Mon can be a good option for half a day or even a day trip. The beach is definitely worth visiting and it can be worth taking the time to rent a motorcycle or even a car in order to experience a much more exclusive and quieter beach than what can be found elsewhere on the island.
The main disadvantage of Choeng Mon has to be its location, as transportation to and from the area is not always as convenient as it is on other parts of the island. Even though Songthaews do operate in this area, they are not nearly as regular as they are elsewhere. You can always arrange for your hotel or resort to book you a taxi should you want to head out of Choeng Mon but hiring a motorcycle or car will probably be your best option.
Although Choeng Mon is tucked away in the north of the island and accommodation can be a little bit pricey, it is well worth visiting this beautiful beach, with its secluded bays.
Koh Samui’s other beaches
Taling Ngam Beach
Surrounded by pristine jungle, the beautifully secluded beach at Taling Ngam is one of the most picturesque on the island and provides visitors with some amazing views of the Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Although it can be a little difficult to access by road, the beach is a must see for anyone who is in search of a truly secluded beach paradise where they can spend their days relaxing.
Much of the area around Taling Ngam is fast becoming a hotspot for residential property and it is pretty easy to see why.
In terms of accommodation, probably the best spot on the beach can be found at the 5 star, Royal Meridian Resort that offers some of the most incredible views of the ocean to be found anywhere on Koh Samui.
The luxurious setting of the resort it what makes it so special and it even has one of the those swimming pools that has to be seen to be believed, as it looks out over the Gulf of Thailand. In fact, pictures of the pool and the views that can be seen from it often appear in promotional magazine articles about the island of Koh Samui.
Another point of interest in Taling Ngam is a small temple, known as Wat Kiri Wongkaram. It is at this temple that you can find the mummified remains of Loung Por Ruam , who was a Buddhist monk. This temple is not to be missed and it is located on the main road that heads up from the beach.
If you want nothing but peace and quiet during your stay on Koh Samui or you are just looking to get away from it all then you will definitely not be disappointed by the wonders of Taling Ngam Beach.
Lipa Noi Beach
Lipa Noi is another of Koh Samui’s great beaches and it is a popular choice with many people who choose to drive to the island from the mainland. Located not far from the islands main road it can also provide a great place to stop, relax and have a drink or a bite to eat for anyone who is travelling around the island.
The beach itself is full of fine white sand and the water is nice and clean and very clear. There is not much in the way of rocks or boulders and the water is also extremely shallow. Even as far as 100 metres from the beach the water never really gets very deep, making it a perfect location for children to swim or play around in the water.
It is at the weekends when this beach is at its busiest as this is when many local families and children descend on the beach; during the week it is much quieter. Lipa Noi is also one of the best places on the island to watch one of Koh Samui’s famous sunsets; so make sure you have your camera with you if you visit the beach in the early evening, just as the sun is going down.
In terms of accommodation at Lipa Noi, there are a couple of well spaced and well run bungalow operations that can provide visitors with a spot close to the beach, as well as a few beachside luxury villas that are available for rent and are generally aimed at the higher end of the market. As for eating out, there are a few different options, with Big John Seafood probably being the most popular restaurant in the area.
Lipa Noi is also the location of the Samui Dhama Healing Centre, which is one of Koh Samui’s famous fasting health spas.
Not including the beach, there isn’t all that much to do in the area around Lipa Noi Beach. However, the fact that this area is a little remote is what attracts so many of its regular visitors. In many ways could be considered Koh Samui best kept secret, as it is often overlooked by the vast majority of people who visit the island.
What Lipa Noi may lack in terms of entertainment, it more than makes up for it by providing a relaxing and pleasant location within a tropical paradise.
Nathon Town and Beach
The town of Nathon is very much the administrative and business centre of Koh Samui and it is where the vast majority of the Thai locals live.
For people who arrive on Koh Samui by boat, Nathon also acts as the islands main port and it is from here where you can also catch a boat back to Surat Thani and the mainland or onto the neighbouring islands of Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan.
In order to cater for the large amount of backpackers that arrives on Koh Samui by boat, a small collection of stalls, shops and eateries that sell everything from sarongs, fisherman pants and t-shirts to drinks, sunglasses and cakes is available on the seafront, close to the peer.
Nathon town is also the place on the island that you will need to go should you require a full range of banking services, although there are ATM’s in abundance all over the island. Should you need to make an overseas call from a payphone, rather than using your mobile or the internet, then head over to the islands main Post Office, which is located in the centre Nathon town, as it has a special telecoms centre that provides a service for making overseas calls.
The beach itself is not all that attractive and it doesn’t really offer too much to holiday makers or tourists to the island. However, the town of Nathon is probably worth a look, even if it is just to stop for a short amount of time to check out a few of the local sights and attractions.
One such attraction is the local market that has a great range of exotic fruit and other produce that is commonly found in the south of Thailand. Nathon is also the location of a small catholic church that is called St Anna. Not too far from the church, as you leave Nathon town, on the left hand side of the road you will come across a temple, which is known as Wat Chaeng. The temple and the surrounding park provide a nice peaceful and shaded area where people can escape from the heat of the sun.
A bit further along the road you will start on your way to what is known as the ‘Best Mountain Viewpoint’. From here visitors to Koh Samui can meander up to a height of approximately 470 metres in order to get some truly spectacular views of the island.
Approximately 2km south of Nathon town you will start to see signs for the Hin Lat Waterfall. Upon reaching a turn off on your left hand side, you will then join another road that is about 3 kilometers in length.
At the end of the road you will come to a car park and not too far from here you will be able to see the start of this spectacular waterfall. By walking further away from the car park you will be able to explore probably the most exciting and beautiful part of the waterfall, which is a large freshwater basin that is perfect for taking a swim and cooling off in the refreshing water.
Throughout the town centre there are also a number of Chinese shophouses that also act as a major attraction and which sell a wide variety of exotic goods and merchandise, most notably gold. It is also a good place to buy souvenirs as they tend to be a lot cheaper than at other outlets on the island.
For eating out in Nathon, any of the waterfront seafood restaurants are a good option for anyone who wants a truly authentic taste of traditional Thai food.
Hua Thanon/Bang Kao
The area of Hua Thanon starts just after Hin Yai and Hin Ta and it is fair to say that it is pretty quiet. There isn’t too much in the local area apart from a couple of long stay backpacker resorts. It is also the home of one of Koh Samui’s last remaining fishing fleets.
The local Muslim village provides people with what the island was like before the days of mass tourism. The village itself has a nice relaxed and laid back feel to it and is well worth visiting should you be in the local area.
The local fisherman’s boats can make for a great photograph, with their elegantly painted designs. Not far from where the fishing boats are, there are a few great seafood restaurants that enable you to sample traditional Koh Samui cuisine at rock bottom prices.
Bang Kao is similar to Hua Thanon in as much as that it is very quiet and there is not an awful lot going on.
The beach at Bang Kao is very picturesque indeed and it is here that you will find the upmarket accommodation option for this are, which is called the Centara Villas Samui. There are also a couple of bungalows in the area that you can hire, as well as a hadfull of independently owned restaurants.
Not too far from the beach is Koh Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo and also the nearby Butteryfly Garden, which is has a number of indigenous varieties of butterflies and is a good option for those with young children.