Sports on Koh Samui

The great thing about Koh Samui is that you are never short of options when it comes to looking for something that will keep you active. For people who don’t want to spend all of their time on the beach, there are a plethora of sporting activities to be found on Koh Samui.

From Thai boxing and first class golf courses, to water sports and badminton, Koh Samui has something for everyone and you will certainly have no problems filling you spare time.

Water Sports

When it comes to waters sports the island offers an abundance of opportunities. The waters off Koh Samui and the neighbouring islands of Koh Tao and Koh Phangan are great for scuba diving and snorkelling offer the perfect location for you to obtain a PADI diving certificate.

For those who prefer to stay on top of the water, rather than in it, you can also learn to kite surf or go kayaking, big game fishing or sailing. You can even hire a speedboat and go off exploring around the islands of the nearby Ang Thong National Marine Park.

If you would prefer to leave your sea legs at home, fear not as there are still plenty of sporting and outdoor activities you can do on Samui that doesn’t involve going anywhere near the sea!

Golf

One of the most popular sporting activities on the island is golf. In recent years Koh Samui has started to develop a reputation as a golfing destination and now boasts several high quality courses and driving ranges.

Arguably the best course on the island can be found at the Santiburi Counry Club, which is home to an international standard 18 hole course, located in the hills of Maenam. Such is the reputation of the course that it attracts golfers from all over the world.

sports-on-koh-samuiAnother popular course on the island is the Royal Samui Golf Course and Country Club, which is a 9 hole course built into the mountainside between Chaweng and Lamai. Suitable for golfers of all levels, the course offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.

If you take your golf a little less seriously then you might want to check out Mini Golf International, which is located out at Choeng Mon and offers eighteen 12 metre golf tracks set in a tropical jungle. For Crazy golf, head over to Gringos Cantina in Chaweng. Behind there you will find a 9 hole crazy golf course that is suitable for all ages.

For a different take on the game altogether why not try Samui’s famous Football Golf, which combines two of the most popular sports and is great fun for all the family. Located in Choeng Mon, Samui Football Golf has previously been recommended in the Lonely Planet travel guide.

Muay Thai Boxing and Fitness Centres

Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport and Koh Samui is considered to be somewhat of a hub when it comes to Thai boxing. As well as being able to watch live fights at the Petchbancha Stadium in Chaweng, Samui is also home to a number of Muay Thai and mixed martial art gyms and training camps that provide you with the opportunity to learn and try your hand at this traditional Thai sport.

The largest selection of Muay Thai gyms can be found in Chaweng and Lamai. Many of these gyms have people travelling from all over the world to learn the art of Muay Thai. Often the gyms will cater for all levels of ability, from people who want to use this training to get fit and into shape to experience fighters to want to take their training to the next level.

Some of the most renowned Muay Thai gyms on Koh Samui include Lamai Muay Thai Camp, which is sanctioned by the World Muay Thai Council and Superpro Samui, which is located in Chaweng Beach.

For people who like to work out or who want to get fit during their stay on the island, there are a number of good quality gyms that can be found throughout Koh Samui. World Gym, which is located near Chaweng, has a good selection of free weights and machines and is popular with body builders and other serious gym-goers.

Also, many of the islands leading resorts and hotels now have gym or fitness centres, which will be free to use for people who are staying in the hotel. Some hotels and resorts will also let non residents use their gym or fitness facilities for a fee.

Tennis and Badminton

Koh Samui also has a number of places to play tennis. One of the best places to play on the island is at Samui Tennis club, which is located just 2 minute from Bangrak beach. There are also courts at a number of hotels on the island, most notably at the Imperial Hotel, Chaweng and at the Centara Grand Beach Resort, located in Chaweng Beach.

If you want to play badminton then look no further than the sports club at the Samui 99 Hotel, which is located in Bophut.

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Full Moon Party

If you are young, energetic, like partying until sunrise, getting drunk on cheap booze and dancing to incredibly loud music, then the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan will definitely be for you!

During every full moon, thousands of young, party loving backpackers travel from, not just Koh Samui but all over the world, to the town of Haad Rin on the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan for a night of chaotic partying and hedonism at the world famous Full Moon Party.

full-moon-partyThe origins of The Full Moon Party are somewhat unclear but the event is thought to have started when a group of friends wanted to celebrate the natural beauty of the full moon with a small party on Haad Rin beach. In the early 1990’s, Sunrise Bungalows, which are located right on the beach at Haad Rin, started to host the party as a monthly event. Nearly twenty years later the Full Moon Party has grown into in a mile long beach party, which is one of the largest and most legendary on the whole planet.

Over the years, as the Full Moon Party has evolved, the event has changed. Today, it is not so much a party but more like a big rave, similar to other dance events around the world such as Creamfields, Global Gathering or Glade; the main difference being the Full Moon Party happens for one night only, right on the beach.

The music played at the Full Moon Party is also similar to these other events so expect hard house, dance, drum and bass, plenty of electronic beats and a bit of hip-hop thrown in for good measure; all of which are played at ear splitting levels.

On top of the banging music and masses of people, also thrown into the mix are fire shows, jugglers and plenty of booze. For some this helps to create the most amazing party atmosphere, but be warned, things are nothing short of chaotic!

As for the booze, the Full Moon Party is home to the famous drinks known as ‘buckets’. These basically consist of a bottle of cheap Thai whisky, a bottle of Thai Red Bull or another energy drink, a can of Coke or Sprite and plenty of ice, which are all then poured into the small bucket to create one pretty powerful drink.

Health and Safety

Generally the atmosphere at the Full Moon Party is fun and friendly, despite being chaotic at times. However, going to the Full Moon Party, as with any other large music event or festival, isn’t without its dangers.

Unfortunately, instances of theft, drug taking and irresponsible drinking are all too common. Therefore, it is advisable not to take anything of any value to the Full Moon Party and care should also be taken when drinking ‘buckets’ due to the alcohol and caffeine content of these types of drinks.

Because Thai Red Bull is so much stronger (sometimes up to 20 times as strong) than similar drinks which are available in other countries; people are often not aware of the stress this can put their body under. This can cause the body to react badly and at worse, can even cause a heart attack.

Also, if you visit the Full Moon Party it is important that you never accept drinks from strangers as you have no idea what might be in it. Also, NEVER take illegal drugs at the Full Moon Party or anywhere else in Thailand, as the authorities here have very strict laws when it comes to illegal drugs and if you are caught taking or selling them, you could be looking at a lengthy prison sentence.

Finally, if you do intend to drink buckets at the Full Moon Party, then make sure you drink plenty of water as dehydration amongst party goers is also another major problem.

Travelling to the Full Moon Party from Koh Samui

Many young people, who visit the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan, stay on Koh Samui and travel over to the party on the evening of the event itself. Travelling to Koh Phangan from Koh Samui is fairly straightforward, with the journey taking about 45 minutes by boat.

On the night of the Full Moon Party there are extra boat services put to on to transport people between the two islands. Most of these boats tend to leave Samui from the pier at Bang Rak (Big Buddha Beach) or from Maenam.

To purchase a ticket for one of these boats, the easiest option is to visit one of the islands many tour operators who will be able to sell you a ticket. However, you should be aware that sometimes, more tickets are sold for these boats than there are actual seats available. This can lead to long queues forming as people wait to board a boat. On some occasions, it has even led to the boats being dangerously overcrowded.

Tickets can cost anywhere in the region of 500 and 1000 Baht, with prices varying depending on the type of boat you travel on or if you buy the ticket as part of a package deal.

Sweeney Todd’s Tour and Travel Agency, in Bophut are a well run and reliable agency who should be able to help you with your travel arrangements to Koh Phangan. Here are their contact details:

Sweeney Todd’s Tour and Travel Agency
Address: 33/2 Moot Bophut, Koh Samui, 84320
Tel: 088 4480546

Other ‘Moon’ Parties

Due to the popularity of the Full Moon Party, recent years has seen the emergence of other ‘moon’ themed parties on both Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. The Half Moon Party and Black Moon Party are now regular fixtures in the party calendar.

Samui’s Black Moon Party, are held when there is an absence of the moon in the lunar calendar. The party itself is held at Chaweng Lake View, which has a capacity for approximately 4000 people. Some of the world’s leading DJ’s have played at the Black Moon Party, including Brandon Block, Judge Jules and Timo Maas.

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Ladyboy Cabaret Shows

The thought of going to a cabaret show where the main performers are ladyboys might not be everyone’s idea of a good night out. However, the truth is that these types of shows can be great entertainment and a really fun way to spend an evening.  As for ladyboy shows on Koh Samui, you should look no further than Chaweng Beach, which is home to some of the best ladyboy cabaret shows outside of Bangkok.

Thailand’s ladyboy scene is famous throughout the world for a number of reasons. First of all, in Thailand you will find more ladyboy’s than in any other country in the world. They are a mainstay of Thai society and culture, which considers them to be the ‘third sex’ and as integral to normal life as men or women.

ladyboy-cabaret-showsThe other reason why Thai ladyboys are so renowned is because that so many of them look so feminine and it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between a ladyboy and a regular Thai woman! This is something which many unprepared male tourists might end up finding all about!

Whether you visit one of Koh Samui’s ladyboy shows out of curiosity or for nothing more than a good laugh, one thing for sure is that these kinds of shows are always entertaining and will almost certainly make for a fun and memorable night out.

The majority of the ladyboy shows in Chaweng can be found along the Chaweng Beach Road, in the area not too far from the Centara Grand Beach Resort and also next to the Soi Green Mango.

Here is a selection of some of the ladyboy shows that can be found on Koh Samui:

Starz Cabaret
Starz is one of the leading cabaret shows on the island. Here you will find a more comical show than at other ladyboy clubs. Expect the ladyboys to poke fun at each other or to pick on an unsuspecting member of the audience, all of which makes for an absolutely hilarious night. Drinks are reasonably priced and shows are at 8pm and 10pm, daily, apart from Sunday.

Open: 7pm to late
Where: Chaweng Beach Road, next to Khun Chaweng Hotel
Web: www.starzsamui.co.th

Christy’s Cabaret
Christy’s Cabaret is one of the oldest and most popular cabarets on the island. The show itself is very professional and the girls are great at singing (or lip syncing!) and performing on stage. As recommended on the Lonely Planet website, you won’t be disappointed if you choose to visit Christy’s Cabaret. Shows start from 10pm.

Open:  8.30pm to late
Where: Chaweng Beach Road, central Chaweng
Tel: 081 894 0356
Email: christycabaret@hotmail.com

Moulin Rouge Cabaret
The Moulin Rouge Cabaret is Koh Samui’s only free ladyboy cabaret show – you don’t even have to pay an entrance fee to get in! However, drinks are pricier than at the other shows on the island. The show itself is excellent and even though the drinks might cost you a little bit more, overall Moulin Rouge offers good value for money. There are 3 shows every night at 8pm, 9.30pm and 11pm.

Open: 7pm to late
Where: Close to Burger King on Chaweng Beach Road, opposite Khao San Resort
Tel: 982 815 4843

Labyboys on Koh Samui
As with anywhere in Thailand, wherever you go on Koh Samui there is a good chance that you will see or come into contact with a ladyboy. They are in fact a common part of Thai everyday life and many ladyboys hold down regular jobs such as teachers, shop assistants or hairdressers.

However, it is fair to say that you will probably find the largest amount of ladyboys in areas which are popular with foreign tourists; this is because they are likely to get a lot more attention than if they were anywhere else in Thailand.

A lot of the ladyboys on Samui work in bars or cabaret shows were ladyboys perform most evenings. Some will work in these places in the hope of being picked up by a foreign tourist, whereas others will work in restaurants or hotels on the island.

Some of Koh Samui’s ladyboys are so convincing that you would struggle to tell the difference between them and a normal woman. Generally speaking, many Thais are very slightly built and when this is combined with natural good looks and more than an air of femininity, some Thai men can actually pass themselves off as stunning women quite easily.

Although some ladyboys can be quite convincing, generally speaking, spotting them on Koh Samui isn’t that difficult. Indeed, it is true that a lot of ladyboys are very glamorous, wearing fancy dresses and plenty of makeup. However, this in itself can be a dead giveaway, as the majority of Thai women tend not to wear that much make up and normally dress quite conservatively. It is almost the case that a lot of ladyboys almost try too hard to look like a woman and this is another characteristic which causes them to stand out from other Thai women.

Also, many ladyboys in Thailand can be very tall. Often, they are not just taller than Thai women, who are on average about 5ft 3in, but they can also be much taller than many Thai men. This has been suggested that it is something to do with their hormones. Whatever the reason behind this, just remember that ladyboys are tall! You have been warned!!

How To Spot a Ladyboy on Koh Samui

If you do go for a night out in Chaweng or Lamai, how can you be sure that the beautiful girl that ends up chatting to you all night, isn’t actually a man? What should you be looking out for?

To ensure that you aren’t in for any unexpected surprises, here are a few pointers that will able to help you determine if she is really a he:

Ladyboys are tall
As mentioned, ladyboys tend to be much taller than Thai women, and are often taller than Thai men too. If a leggy 5ft 9in Thai girl, wearing high heels and mini skirt approaches you in a bar or club, chances are she will be a ladyboy.

Deep Voice
This might not be as easy to spot as you might think, particularly when you consider you might be speaking to someone in a different language or whose first language isn’t English. Also, some of the regional accents in Thailand have a slightly harsher sounding tone, which can come across as sounding quite deep to unfamiliar ears. However, generally speaking, look out for Thai girls with deep voices!

Trying too hard to be feminine
Like we said above, many ladyboys just try too hard to be female. They are often very flamboyant, and will really go overboard with what they wear and how much make up they put on. If you see a girl like matching these characteristics don’t bet against her being a bloke.

Overly flamboyant gestures
Another thing to remember is that Thai girls are usually quite shy and reserved. However, ladyboys are not. Expect lots of hand gestures, plenty of waving and batting of the eyelashes, all of which will probably seem just a little over the top.

The Adams Apple
This is a fairly obvious one guys. If a ‘girl’ has an Adams Apple then steer well clear! However, this isn’t always straightforward as some ladyboys undergo a medical procedure to have their Adams Apple removed.

Broad Shoulders
Thai women usually have very slim, narrow figures, with particularly narrow hips. Ladyboys tend to have wider shoulders, with even narrower hips, that can result in the body almost looking ‘V’ shaped. If you girl has wide shoulders, you could be in for the shock of your life!

Big Feet
Again, Thai women are generally pretty small and will often have really dainty feet. If the girl chatting you up is wearing shoes that look big enough for you to wear, then she is almost certainly a he!

Big Hands
Thai women normally have small hands. Ladyboys do not. Enough said!

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Koh Samui Go-Go Bars

Go-Go bars, girlie bars, beer bars, ‘hello, welcome’ bars or whatever else you want to call them, are a well known and often popular part of the tourism industry in many areas of Thailand, particularly in those frequented by foreigners. Koh Samui is certainly no exception to this, and in the popular destinations of Chaweng and Lamai, girlie bars are a prominent fixture.

For many, being able to visit a bar of this kind is one of the main attractions of Thailand and is generally, much more harmless than people would otherwise think. Even for none customers, curiosity can often get the better of them and it can be somewhat of an interesting experience to visit a girlie bar in order to see what goes, rather than to participate in anything that could be deemed as sleazy. In fact, some people just prefer the flirtatious and lively atmosphere that can be found in these types of bars, which is the main reason why they choose to drink there.

“Hello, Handsome Man”

The vast majority of the girlie bars in Chaweng and Lamai are nothing more than a small, open fronted room with a few chairs or bar stools, a bar, a pool table and lots of scantily clad women, who try to grab the attention of passing men by shouting a range of different phrases such as “hello, welcome”, “hello, handsome man” or “hello, massage”.

koh-samui-go-go-barsAt first this can be quite comical to hear; just as you walk past a bar you have a cacophony of Thai girls, wearing next to nothing, shouting “hello, welcome” at the top of their voices, almost perfectly in sync!  However, after a while, you could be forgiven for thinking that you have changed your name to “welcome” or “massage” due to the number of times you here these shouted at you during the night.

Also, bar girls on Samui, and throughout Thailand, will shout “handsome man” to just about any bloke who walks past their bar. Whether the guy looks like David Beckham or not is irrelevant (let’s face it, he often doesn’t!). To the bar girls, he is seen as a potential customer and by calling him ‘handsome’, the girls think that this is the perfect way of getting his attention.

Throughout Chaweng you will find girlie bars, although the main concentration of these can be found around Soi Green Mango and Soi Reggae. In Chaweng you will also find a couple of more upmarket and trendier girlie or Go-Go bars, most notably Dream Girls and GB Lounge.

Generally speaking, the girls in the more upmarket Go-Go bars tend to be a little sexier and classier and in some of these places there is even European or ‘farang’ women working. Inside, rather than being an open bar, you will have girls dancing and putting on a show, instead of challenging to you to game of pool. The drinks here are generally more expensive but then again, this is a relatively higher class of venue.

In Lamai, you will find arguably the largest selection of girlie and go-go bars on the island, just head for the centre of the main street and it is here where you will find most of the action.

Girlie Bar Etiquette

Many of the bar girls that work on Koh Samui will be readily available for you to take back to your hotel or bungalow for the evening. Some of the bars, and even some of the girls themselves, will have an often pleasant and comfortable room available upstairs, which can be used for short term use. The whole arrangement is very casual and nothing at all like the famous ‘windowed women’ of the Amsterdam Red Light district.

However, for first time visitors to a girlie bar on Koh Samui, the whole experience might seem a little strange and you might well wonder how it all works.

The first thing to remember with bar girls is that they are working and they are there to make money. Therefore, when you enter the bar, you won’t have to wait around too long before one of the bar girls come over to you. However, if you would rather be left alone then just say and that is fine too, just make sure that you buy a drink.

If you do decide to sit with a girl, make sure you buy them a drink too, there’s a good boy. Whilst sitting with the girl, she will probably ask you all the usual ‘bar girl chat’ such as “where you from”, “what your name”, “where you go”, “how you like Samui?” that sort of thing. A nice ice breaker, it gives you the chance to chat away whilst sinking a couple of beers. After the idle chit chat is out of the way, the chances are the girl will ask you about anything she can do for you or if you want to take her back to your hotel.

If you do decide to take the girl back to your hotel for the evening then you will be expected to pay what is known as a ‘bar fine’. This is paid to the bar owner or supervisor, who is known as a ‘Mamasan’, and is usually in the region of about 500 Baht. On top of the bar fine, you will then also need to negotiate a price with the Mamasan for the girl you want to take back with you. This can be anywhere in the region of 1500 to 3000 Baht, depending on several different factors.

First off, if the girl is really hot and the Mamasan considers here to be one of her ‘best’ girls, chances are she won’t want to see her leave the bar as it is likely that she will be able to attract other punters in for a drink or two. Secondly, the price will also depend on how long you want the girl for, either a couple of hours (short-time) or all night. Thirdly, the Mamasan will also be thinking about how busy bar is and probably won’t want to see one of her girls leaving for the night. Therefore, the busier the bar, the more you are likely to pay.

When discussing a price for the girl, it is usually the case, as bad as this may sound, that the younger, better looking guys tend to have more look when it comes to negotiating. However, don’t pay too much attention to this and whatever you do, do not be tempted to offer a ridiculously low price for the bar girl in question. If you do this, it is likely to cause great offence and could be seen as something which makes the girl lose face (or cause embarrassment), something which is a big deal in Thai culture.

Once you have agreed a price you are ready to go.

One final thing to consider is with regards to taking the girl into your actual hotel. Some places do not mind you bringing a girl back to your room, as long as you keep it discreet; whereas others will point blankly refuse to even entertain the suggestion! Some may allow it but you might have to pay an extra charge on top of your bill. Either way, you might want to check first with the hotel, in order to save you any embarrassment.

When the morning arrives and if the girl has shown you a good time and lived up to all you expectations then it is very much bar girl etiquette to tip them accordingly.

Girlie/Go-Go Bars on Koh Samui

If you are looking to visit a girlie/Go-Go bar on Koh Samui then head to Chaweng or Lamai and it won’t take you very long to find one! Failing that, here is a selection of some of the many girl bars that can be found on the island:

Nida Massage and Bar
Nida Massage actually has 3 sites in central Chaweng but two of them are only massage shops. Nida’s beer bar is located on the road opposite the branch of Kasikorn Bank, just off Chaweng Beach Road in central Chaweng. Just walking past the bar you’ll hear no doubt hear “handsome, man” being shouted over to you!  Inside, you’ll find the music blaring, lots pretty girls and a pool table.

Open: 10am to 2am
Where: 191/8-9 Moo 2, just off Chaweng Beach Road, Chaweng, Koh Samui, 84320
Tel: 089 053 6034
Web: www.nidamassagesamui.com

GB Lounge
GB lounge is probably the oldest Go-Go bar on the island and certainly one of the most popular. The bar itself is very comfortable with air conditioning, comfy seating and a good selection of drinks available. The girls here are considered by many to be some of the most attractive on the island and will definitely be able to keep you entertained until the small hours.

Open: 6pm to 2am
Where: Soi Green Mango, Central Chaweng, Ko Samui
Web: www.gogo-samui.com

Dream Girls
Also located on Soi Green Mango, Dream Girls is another popular Go-Go bar and considered by some to be a little smarter than GB Lounge. Also offering comfy seating and air conditioning, Dream Girls claim to have the finest dancers on the island. Why don’t you go and see for yourself?

Open: 6pm to 2am
Where: Soi Green Mango, Chaweng

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Bar Girls on Koh Samui

Thailand is renowned throughout the world as a destination for sex tourism where Go-Go or ‘girlie’ bars, bar girls and massage parlours are at its very centre. In every popular tourist destination and even in quieter areas of the country, there will some sort of Go-Go or bar girl scene.

Part of the attraction of the sex scene in Thailand is that it is all rather a low key affair and very different to say, Amsterdam’s Red Light District. This is certainly the case on Koh Samui, even though many of these types of bars are a prominent addition to the night time scene in areas such as Chaweng and Lamai.

For example, sex and bar girls on Samui are sold or promoted to anywhere near the levels that you might find in other places in Thailand, such as in Pattaya and Patong in Phuket.

bar-girls-on-koh-samuiHowever, throughout Chaweng and Lamai you will still find scores of pretty young ladies standing outside bars, wearing next to nothing, trying to attract the attention of a male passersby, in the hope of  tempting them into the bar to buy drinks or to have some ‘fun’ and earn some extra cash for themselves.

The vast majority of Koh Samui bar girls are from Isaan, in the north east of the country, which is amongst some of the poorest areas in Thailand. These girls travel to Samui to work in the islands bars in order to earn money and support their families back home. Sometimes several generations of one family could be dependent on this money. Whilst the financial rewards for working as a bar girl are not great, they are certainly much better than many of the employment opportunities than can be found at their home.

The social and economic reasons as to why girls end up working in girlie or Go-Go bars are often overlooked by many foreigners who visit Koh Samui. No matter if you agree with the concept of bar girls and girlie bars or not, before make judgement on these girls it is important to remember that many of them did not choose to be bar girls and if they could earn enough money to support their families by another way, then they almost certainly would.

Sex Tourism on Koh Samui

One of the first things that will probably be hard not to notice when visiting places such as Chaweng and Lamai, is that sex tourism is a fairly prominent part of the nightlife in both of these areas. That’s not to say that it is the only nightlife here, but it does play a large part and goes a long way to explain why there are a large number of bar girls in Chaweng and Lamai.

However, as mentioned above, sex tourism on Koh Samui is not nearly promoted or sold to the same levels as is it in say, Pattaya, which has built up a reputation for being a destination aimed solely at sexual tourism. Many of the girlie bars on Samui aren’t nearly as aggressive in their tactics of enticing men in to establishments and to date there are none of the large brothels that you can also find in Pattaya.

When it comes to sex tourism, things on Samui are just a bit friendlier and low key than in other areas of Thailand, with many of the bar girls in Chaweng and Lamai adopting a more personal  approach rather than the aggressive ‘hard sell’ tactics that are employed by some bar girls.

One thing that is quite common amongst the sex tourism scene on Koh Samui is the practice of ‘holiday’ or temporary girlfriends. This is when a foreign guy will spend his entire holiday on the island with the same Thai girl, often buying her presents and giving her money. In return she will spend all of her time with him, showing him around the island and no doubt providing him with other ‘services or ‘entertainment’. At the end of the holiday it is quite common for the guy to give his ‘girlfriend’ a lump sum payment as a way of saying thank you. It is probably the case that the girl will then use this money to send home to her family.

Before you start passing judgement on every foreign guy and Thai girl you see together on Samui, you should also be aware that not every girl you will see is a bar girl. There are many long term Thai/foreigner couples that live on the island, which probably wouldn’t take too kindly to being referred to as anything that might be to do with bar girls etc.

The reverse of this is that many men can often get into a tricky situation with a Thai girl they think they ‘pulled’ or got lucky with the night before at one of the islands bars of clubs. Problems can arise, when in the morning the girl asks for payment for her services from the previous evening.

It can be very flattering when a beautiful Thai girl approaches you but the truth is that the majority of Thai women would rarely approach a foreign guy, unless they were a bar girl or had some other sort of financial reasoning behind being so forward.

If you are unsure as to whether or not you are in fact in a girlie bar, a good rule of thumb can be to look out for girls challenging you to a game of pool or Connect Four.

The Attraction of the Samui Bar Girl Scene

For some people, Samui bar girls are something they choose to ignore, for others they are one of the main reasons they visit the island. For the girls working in the bars it offers them a way to be able to support their families financially and offer them a better way life than if they had chosen to work in a rice field or factory.

The bar girls and the whole scene in general is tolerated by the authorities, not just on Koh Samui but throughout Thailand, who take a different view to what is essentially, prostitution.

Whichever way you look at it, Koh Samui’s bar girls are an important part of Samui’s tourism industry. Many just see their work as a way to help support their family just like and other job. Generally speaking, many of the islands bar girls are not treated poorly or subjected to harsh or unpleasant conditions by their employers.

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Koh Samui Nightlife

Koh Samui has built up a worldwide reputation for its vibrant and exciting nightlife. With Samui being an island that mainly caters towards hospitality, entertainment and having fun, the abundance of activities and things to do that can be found here, certainly doesn’t end once it goes dark.

From sophisticated fine dining restaurants to incredible beach parties and Go-Go bars, Koh Samui proudly boasts some of the best nightlife in all of Thailand.

After spending a day on one of the islands stunning beaches or taking part in one of the many activities the island has to offer, the night time offers just as much entertainment as anything you can wish to do during the day. There really is something from everyone including nightclubs, beer bars, traditional Thai dancing, live music venues, Muay Thai boxing and even mud wrestling! That’s before you even consider the huge choice of superb restaurants and eateries that can be found all over the island.

For those who are intent on having a few drinks and really letting their hair down then, then there is no need to worry about finding your way back to your hotel as there are always plenty of taxis on hand ready to take you take you to your hotel once your evening out has finished. If you are really worse for wear then you could always spend the night sleeping in the beach, although isn’t recommended!

Koh Samui’s Vibrant Party Scene

The atmosphere on Koh Samui at night is vibrant, festive and generally good natured, with a good mix of different people seeking out the islands wide range of different night time options. From refined bars and cocktail lounges to raucous nightclubs and just about everything in between, everyone is there for a good time and to experience the islands fabulous nightlife.

koh-samui-nightlifeAll over the island you will find bars, pubs and other watering holes but it is in the islands popular tourist areas of Chaweng and to a lesser degree, Lamai, where the party really gets going, usually to the wee small hours.

Chaweng often attracts internationally renowned DJ’s to its crowded and popular nightclubs and beach side parties, many of which will last well past the supposed mandatory 2am closing time. The Green Mango, for example, which is probably Samui’s largest and most popular bar and disco can often remain open well past 2am.

Chaweng is also the location of Samui’s oldest nightclub and bar, The Reggae Pub, which is still popular with revellers today. Playing an eclectic mix of chilled out reggae music, before the funky house beats take over as the crowds pile in, whilst the clock gets closer to midnight.

For a more relaxed setting to enjoy some music without the fear of having change into your dancing shoes, then head over to the Sweet n Soul Bar or to many of the bars that are located around the area of the Green Mango. For a less raucous evening, but certainly not lacking in any flair, give Zico’s a try and witness some of their authentic Brazilian samba dancers in action.

Outside of Chaweng, Lamai offers the next best option in terms of night time entertainment. It also tends to be cheaper, with a little more of a relaxed and less hectic vide. As well as nightclubs and a wide variety of beer bars, Lamai is also famous for its raunchy ladies mud wrestling contests and lady boy shows! The main hub for nightlife in Lamai can be found in and around the areas of the Round Bars and the Night Plaza. If you are looking for live music venues then head over to the Bikers and Rockers Pub, which is famous throughout the island for live rock shows.

The evening entertainment that can be found in the other areas of island, most notably in Nathon, Thong Krut and Bang Kao is generally much quieter than Chaweng and Lamai and tends to be limited to bars and restaurants.

The bars in these areas will almost certainly be cheaper than any of the places in Chaweng, which are nearly all aimed at foreign tourists. People often have the idea that drinking and going out in Thailand is very cheap. Whilst it will almost certainly be cheaper than going out in the West, drinking in many of the bars and clubs in Chaweng and Lamai will not be that much different, in terms of price, to what you would normally pay in Europe or the UK, for example.

If you are looking for a really cheap night, where you won’t feel the pinch in your wallet then try Bohput or Maenam. Whilst there is an established night time scene, both of these areas tend to attract are more local crowd, which is predominantly made up of expats who live on the island.

Please visit our individual night life guides on the different areas of Koh Samui.

Lamai Nightlife

Chaweng Nightlife

Maenam Nightlife

Bophut Nightlife

Big Buddha Nightlife

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Big Buddha Nightlife

The area around the Big Buddha Statue, which is located in the north of the island, is probably the one of the quietest in terms of nightlife. There are certainly no girlie bars or nightclubs to be found here.

However, don’t write the night time scene at Big Buddha Beach off just yet. Popular with many expats who live on the island, the area around the Big Buddha statue and Bangrak offers a handful of places that provide great locations to enjoy a couple of beers, whilst taking in wonderful sea views.

If you are looking to escape from Chaweng or maybe and the scene at Lamai isn’t for you, then the area around the Big Buddha Beach can be an appropriate place to take it easy during the evening, whilst still having an enjoyable night out.

Here is a selection of some of the bars, pubs and cafes that can be found not far from the Big Buddha Statue:

Premier Sports Bar
This is Samui’s number one sports bar and one of the best places on the island for watching live Premiership football. The Premier Sports bar in Bangrak has five HD flat-screen TV’s, each showing a different game on Saturday and Sunday evenings. You will also find 2, 3 metre high projector screens, which are perfect for watching those all important games. Inside there is also free pool and free Wi-Fi. During the week there are also regular events such as a pub quiz on a Thursday and a ‘killer’ pool competition on a Friday night. English and Thai food is served all day.

Open: 12pm to late
Where: Big Buddha Beach, just opposite the Samui Mermaid Resort
Tel: 080 145 8060
Email: premiersportsbar@yahoo.com
Web: www.premierbarsamui.com

Big Buddha Cafe (BBC)
The location of the Big Buddha Cafe makes it a perfect location for a cocktail whilst watching the sun go down. Some people even say that this the best place on the island to watch the sunset and they might just be right. Situated next to the entrance to the Big Buddha Statue, the BBC is popular amongst families who visit the area. The menu consists of European and Thai cuisine and they also serve a wide range of seafood dishes.  Complete with its friendly and relaxing atmosphere, you won’t disappointed if you choose to spend an evening here.

Open: 12pm to late
Where: The entrance to the Big Buddha Statue
Tel: 077 425 089
Email: info@bbcsamui.com
Web: www.bbcrestaurant.com

Cat Can Doo
This is very much the bar where the cats come out to play. Or so the promotional flyer says outside! A popular bar in the area and famous for serving up great pizzas and ribs, Cat Can Doo also shows live sporting events and is known locally as a venue that is popular amongst fans of Formula 1. Whether you like F1 or not, the pizzas that are available here are amongst some of the best on the island and well worth trying (they also have a takeaway menu). The drinks are very reasonable indeed with draught beer available from 49 Baht. There is a nice atmosphere here and whilst this is certainly not the trendiest bar on the island, is still a fun and relaxed place to enjoy some good food and a beer or two.

Open: 10am to late
Where: Opposite the Seatran Pier in Bangrak
Tel: 077 448 138
Web: www.catcandoo.com

M&M Bar
A regular haunt amongst many expats on the area the popular M&M Bar serves ice cold beers, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Open: 11am to 2am
Where: Not too far from the Big Buddha, on Route 4171

Cosmic Bar
Located close to M&M Bar, Cosmic Bar is another one of Bangrak’s bars popular with expats. A nice joint, Cosmic is a good place to stop if you are doing a bar crawl of the area.

Open: 12pm to late
Where: Not too far from the Big Buddha, on Route 4171

Ocean 11
The trendy Ocean 11 is one of Samui’s most pleasant venues and is not only a great bar but also serves up really good food too, including fresh seafood, as well as some favourite dishes from Thailand and around the world. The tasteful interior and spectacular surroundings means that Ocean 11 is a place you would be more than happy to spend the evening in.

Open: 2pm to 10:30pm
Where: On the beach at Bangrak
Tel: 077 245 134
Email: info@o11s.com
Web: www.o11s.com

Cafe Uno
Formerly known as The Picnic Basket, Cafe Uno is undergoing somewhat of a second coming and is a popular with both tourists and expats alike. Serving good international food, Cafe Uno is also a beer. The staff re friendly and the service is nothing short of attentive. If you are looking for a good cooked breakfast then this is the place to go.

Open: 8am to 6pm
Where: Not far from the Seatran Pier, close to Big Buddha beach

Tuk Tuk Bar
The newly opened Tuk Tuk Bar looks very inviting from the outside and the inside is just as good. The bars modern and trendy interior is nice and with regular live music and karaoke events, Tuk Tuk Bar looks to have a promising future. Give it a try today

Where: Main road, not far from Big Buddha beach

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Bophut Nightlife

Bophut is perfect for people who want to look for something different than the nightlife in Chaweng and Lamai. In particular, the charming Fisherman’s Village is the ideal place to spend an evening or two.

Rather than girlie bars, neon lights, ear splitting music and sleazy massage parlours, Bophut is home to a rich and varied selection of upmarket bars, pubs, restaurant and boutiques. Whilst Bophut is certainly quieter than Chaweng, it is still a firm favourite amongst many people who visit the island.

bophut-nightlifeAlso, if you were to ask any expats on Samui where to go for a night out, the chances are they would say Bophut as many residents claim that Chaweng is now too busy, too loud and too expensive to really enjoy a good night out. It really all depends on what you are looking for from your evening’s entertainment. Bophut is certainly a bit classier and upmarket than Chaweng and can prove a good option for couples, families and for anyone who isn’t interested in girlie bars or nightclubs.

The other attraction about the nightlife in Bophut is that it is very easy to explore. Once you find your way to the fishing pier, you are within close proximity of the Fisherman’s Village and the bulk of the night time action.

Here is a selection of some of the most popular nightspots in Bophut and the surrounding area:

Emerald Irish Bar & Restaurant
Emerald Bar is arguably the best Irish pub on the island and offers incredible views out to sea. It is the perfect place to relax and chill out during the day, drinking a couple of pints of Guinness or tucking into some fantastic pub grub. The interior of the pub is like stepping inside a traditional pub in Ireland, and for a split second you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in Dublin! That is until you make your way to the rear of the pub and see the beautiful, clear blue ocean in the background. Come the evening, there is live music and things start to get a little livelier. With a great atmosphere and friendly staff, the well run Emerald Bar is a must see if you are visiting Bophut, if only to check out those incredible sea views. As well as being one of the finest bars in the area, Emerald Bar also has two beautiful apartments for rent upstairs.

Open: 11am to 2pm
Where: Central Bophut, located in the Fisherman’s Village
Web: www.emerald-bar.com ; www.facebook.com/emeraldbarsamui

Sweeney Todd’s Cafe and Bar
This place is popular amongst local expats and British tourists. A great place for a beer or two, for many Sweeney Todd’s is also the best place on the island for a traditional English breakfast, with all the trimmings! What better way to start the day?

Where: Opposite the entrance to the Fisherman’s Village in Bophut

Billabong Surf Club
The official meeting place of the local rugby club, the Samui Simians, Billabong is unmistakably a traditional Aussie pub. A little rowdy at times, there’s plenty of VB on tap, a wide range of pies on the menu and live sport regularly shown on the TV; what more could you want?! The Billabong also has a couple of rooms for rent upstairs that provide nice views of the sea.

Open: 12pm to late
Where: Bophut Fisherman’s Village
Tel: 077 430 144
Email: bscsamui@hotmail.com

The Pub
This simple, yet popular English pub offers some of the best British pub food on the whole island and their Sunday roast dinners are certainly worth sampling. Inside, you will find a large bar area, a handful of tables and chairs and plenty of happy, regular punters! Despite not being the liveliest of venues, the music is at suitable enough level for you to enjoy it, without having to raise your voice to have a conversation. The friendly owner also enjoys a good chin wag and if you happen to be in The Pub on your own, he will no doubt have a few good stores to tell you!

Open: 11am to late
Where: Bophut Fisherman’s village
Tel: 077 245 091

Karma Sutra
This popular bar and restaurant is just about everything that many of the bars in Chaweng and Lamai are not! It’s quiet, easy going, laid back and the interior is attractively decorated with a traditional wooden finish throughout. The atmosphere is friendly, cool, cosy and very appealing. The cocktails are good and there is a great selection of food served all day; a good place to go for your breakfast.

Open: 7am to 1am
Where: Boput, at the corner of the Fisherman’s Village, opposite the pier.
Tel: 077 425 198
Email: karmasutrasamui@hotmail.com
Web: www.karmasutra.org

The Frog and Gecko
With its friendly and fun atmosphere, The Frog and Gecko offers good food and drink and hosts regular events such as movie screenings and a weekly pub quiz. Busy most nights, there is also a good selection of Thai, European and international food on the menu. Make sure you try one of their Indian curries, they’re really tasty! There is also a pool table and big screen, which is good for watching live football on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. The Frog and Gecko has also been recommended in a number of travel guides including the Lonely Planet, Le Guide Du Routard and Frommer’s.

Open: Noon to 2am
Where: Fisherman’s Village, Bophut
Tel: 089 866 8657
Email: froggeckopub@hotmail.com
Web: www.frogandgecko.com

The Crows Nest
Located next door to The Pub, The Crows Nest is another pub that offers great views out to Koh Phangan and the Gulf of Thailand. With welcoming staff, good beer and delicious cocktails, The Crows Nest is a pleasant enough place to enjoy a drink, as it tends not to get as busy as The Pub, next door.

Open: 4.30pm to 2am
Where: Fisherman’s village, Bophut
Tel: 081 797 1193

The Shack Bar and Grill
A good place to eat a tasty steak and drink an ice cold beer, The Shack is popular amongst visitors to Bophut. The great cuisine, which is combined with soft playing jazz and blues music makes for a relaxing atmosphere. There is also an extensive wine list available which includes wine from all over the world. Other highlights from the menu include The Shack Ribs, Butter Garlic Prawns and Shack Style Crab Cakes.

Open: 3pm to 11pm
Where: Bophut Fisherman’s Village
Tel: 077 246 041
Email: shacksteakhouse@gmail.com
Web: www.theshackgrillsamui.com

The Pier
One of Bophut’s trendiest restaurants, The Pier also has a very stylish bar and can be a good option if you fancy something a little more formal. However, the atmosphere is still relaxed and although it might be a bit more expensive than other bars in the area, they do have a fine selection of cocktails, spirits and fresh juices. With great sea vies, The Pier also offers catering for private events.

Open: 12pm to late
Where: Located in the heart of the Fishing Village, Bophut
Tel: 077 430 681
Email: info@thepier-samui.com
Web: www.thepier-samui.com

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Maenam Nightlife

Many people who visit Koh Samui only ever look as far as Chaweng, Lamai and sometimes Boput for a night out, often deciding that Maenam is almost irrelevant as far as evening entertainment goes. However, this could be somewhat of a mistake. Whilst Maenam might be lacking in thumping music, raucous crowds, trendy nightclubs and girlie bars, the night time scene isn’t completely dead over in this part of the island.

maenam-nightlifeWhat it lacks in terms of bars and clubs is what adds to its appeal for the few people that do decide to visit Maenam. A popular haunt for many expats who live on the island, Maenam still has its fair share of really good pubs, bars and restaurants.

If you are looking to have a quite night out with your partner, friends or family, then Maenam can be the perfect option as there is still plenty to keep you entertained but things are most definitely a little less hectic than what they are in Chaweng or Lamai.

Here is a selection of some of the bars and pubs you can find in and around Maenam:

Rim Talay Beach Bar
The Rim Talay Beach Bar offers one of the best spots on the island to enjoy a quiet drink and watch the sun go down. With tables, sun beds and comfortable seating scattered between coconut palms, the bar provides a quiet, yet comfortable setting. The Rim Talay also serves great snacks and tropical cocktails. With relaxing, ambient music played all night, it is fair to say that this is one of the nicest beachside bars on Koh Samui.

Open: 10am to 10pm
Where: on the beach, part of the Santiburi Dusit Resort.
Tel: 077 425 031

The Pool Bar – Napasai
Part of the Napasai Resort, The Pool Bar overlooks the incredible free from infinity swimming pool, which offers wonderful views of the ocean. A really nice location to enjoy a cocktail or two and take it easy, The Pool Bar also offers snacks and other light food from its bar menu. When the evening comes you can expect live entertainment in some form of another every night of the week.

Open: 9am to midnight
Where: Part of the Napasi Resort, just off route 4169 in Maenam
Tel: 077 429 200
Email: info@napasai.com
Web: http://www.napasai.com/web/psam/pool_bar.jsp

The Lazy Coconut
It is fair to say that The Lazy Coconut is probably the most happening pub in Maenam. The casual, relaxed atmosphere, no frills menu (burgers and all day breakfasts) and good beer is what makes this place popular. The pub itself is pretty large and there is ample seating both inside and out. To keep you entertained during your visit there is a pool table, darts board and a large TV, which regularly shows live sports events. At night, The Lazy (as it known to its regulars) often has live bands or a DJ playing so you can be pretty sure there will be something on when you visit.

Open: 12pm to 1am
Tel: 084 689 0128
Email: thelazycoconut@hotmail.com

Taksin Lounge Bar
Another trendy offering from the Santiburi Dusit Resort, the Taksin Lounge is a very stylish and trendy bar with smart, comfortable seating throughout. Probably at the completely other end of the spectrum from The Lazy Coconut, the Taksin Lounge is nice place to relax after dinner or to have a night cap or two before you retire for the evening. As for entertainment, there is a resident band that plays 6 nights a week.

Open: 10am to Midnight
Where: Part of the Santiburi Resort, central Maenam
Web: www.santiburi.com

Paradise Resort Pool Bar
The Pool Bar at the Paradise Resort offers the perfect location to enjoy a few cocktails, whilst chatting with friends. The relaxed atmosphere of the bar, which offers great views of the beach and ocean, makes for a very pleasant place to spend the evening. You won’t go far wrong if you decide to spend an evening here during your stay on the island.

Open: 11am to midnight
Where: Part of the Paradisde Beach Resort, Maenam Beach
Tel: 077 247 227
Email: reservation@samuiparadisebeach.com
Web: www.samuiparadisebeach.com

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Chaweng Nightlife

Chaweng is undoubtedly where the party is at on Koh Samui. The main Beach Road that runs through Chaweng has scores of small sois (streets) running off it and it is down these sois is where you will find the largest selection of bars and nightclubs on the island.

The centre of all the fun and shenanigans in Chaweng is usually the area known as Soi Green Mango, which is located just to the left of the Burger King fast food restaurant on the main Chaweng Beach Road. This horseshoe shaped road is packed with bars, pubs and nightclubs of varying popularity and appeal.

chaweng-nightlifeAligning the sides of Soi Green Mango you will find a selection of raucous, full on party bars, all of which seem to compete for who has the loudest sound system. At the northern side of the soi you will find the largest selection of girlie and Go-Go bars in the immediate area. As you work your way further down Soi Green Mango you will find a number of alleys and smaller sois, branching off the main soi, all of which contain even more pubs and bars. This is the perfect area for a good old bar crawl that doesn’t require any other form of transportation, apart from using your legs!

One thing about Chaweng and the Soi Green Mango is that is certainly something for everyone!

A close second to Soi Green Mango in terms of popularity as a party epicentre is Soi Reggae, which is located on a small peninsular not too far from Chaweng Lake. Soi Reggae is home to the one of the oldest nightspots on the island, The Reggae Pub, which is still popular with locals and foreign visitors today. As you travel towards Soi Reggae from the centre of Chaweng, you will find scores of small beer bars and girlie bars complete with pool tables and dodgy music. The later the night gets the more eager the girls are for a bit of ‘male attention’. You have been warned! However, generally speaking this is all good natured.

Officially all bars and clubs in Chaweng are meant to close at 2am, and whilst the evening’s entertainment and hedonism usually peaks close to midnight, very often the party will go on after 2am and well into the early hours.

Here is a selection of just some of the bars, pubs and nightclubs that can be found in Chaweng:

Green Mango
So popular, they even named a road after it! The Green Mango is arguably Chaweng’s most popular nightspot. With one of the largest dance floors of any club on the whole island, Green Mango is large, loud, busy and pretty hard to miss if you plan on heading into the centre of Chaweng for a night out. The music tends to vary between hip hop, techno and house, with a selection of mainstream pop tunes thrown in for good measure. If dancing isn’t your thing, Green Mango also has an abundance of pool tables, a large seating area and a number of big TV screens dotted around the place. Officially closing at 2am, the party can sometimes go on very late here!

Open: 6pm to late
Where: Central Chaweng, at the far end of Soi Green Mango
Tel: 077 422 661
Web: www.thegreenmangoclub.com

Henry Africa’s
Located in Soi Green Mango, at the end closest to the main road, Henry Africa’s started out as a regular haunt for many backpackers but has now grown into one of Samui’s most popular bars and is packed most evenings. Part of the attraction with Henry Africa’s is that there is something for everyone. Whilst to a certain extent this is a girlie bar, it certainly doesn’t look or feel like one and attracts a varied selection of customers. Women are made to feel just as welcome as men and if you aren’t looking for a bar girl to share a few beers with, then you would hardly even know they were working in the bar. The music, as well as the service is good here too. Serving, beers, spirits and buckets, Henry Africa’s also offer buy 5 get 1 free on all shots; well, if you must!

Open: 5pm to 2am
Where: Soi Green Mango, central Chaweng

Mint Bar
It is fair to say that Mint Bar has been at the forefront of helping to establish Koh Samui on the international dance music scene. Famous DJ’s such as Kenny Hawkes, Brandon Block and Lisa Loud have all played here. Inside, Mint Bar is probably one of the smartest clubs in Soi Green Mango, with plenty of comfortable seating areas and air conditioning throughout. With regular 2-4-1 drink deals, Mint Bar can get busy at night, especially if there is an international DJ playing. Admission costs 200 Baht.

Open: 6pm to 2am
Where: Soi Green Mango, central Chaweng

Sweet Soul Cafe
Quite possibly the liveliest place in town, Sweet Soul Cafe is somewhat of an institution on Koh Samui. Attracting both locals and tourists, it’s the place to go to for a real rowdy night out in Chaweng. Don’t expect to relax here; the music is as loud as it can be and with a Jagermiester dispenser serving up shots all night, things inevitably end up very messy most evenings! There is also a wide range of beers, cocktails and other shots available. Be prepared to party hard in Sweet Soul Cafe, this place is about to go off!

Open: 6pm to 2am (often later!)
Where: Soi Green Mango
Tel: 077 423 242

Sound
Sound is one of Samui’s outdoor venues and tends to be more popular with the late night crowd as the party here often doesn’t get started until about 1am. Sound is split into two sections with the front of the bar playing R n’ B and hip hop, whilst on the dance floor at the rear of venue there is a DJ playing hard house and other dance tunes. This place gets packed with revellers who have no intention of going of bed, certainly not before sunrise!

Open: 11pm to 6am
Where: Soi Green Mango
Email: info@soundclubsamui.com
Web: www.soundclubsamui.com

Reggae Pub
The Reggae Pub and the area around it (Soi Reggae) is probably the 2nd busiest night spot in Chaweng, behind Soi Green Mango. Despite its name, this long running bar/club doesn’t play all that much reggae. However, there is plenty of dance music and hip-hop which played around this huge complex at full blast every night. The party really kicks off in here after midnight and if you want to visit the Reggae Pub before 10pm, then don’t bother, as it will be almost empty! The dance floor here is huge and is surrounded by plenty of seating areas and benches. Sometimes there is international DJ’s playing here, as well as a regular live band. The sound system is enormous, the dance floor never ending; this place is jumping most nights of the week.

Open: 6pm to 2am
Where: Soi Reggae, Chaweng
Web: www.reggae-pub.com

Ark Bar
Part of the Ark Beach Resort, Ark Bar is another of Samui’s long established and popular nightspots. In fact, it could be described as Samui’s best known beach bar. Throughout the day Ark Bar makes for a stunning location right on the beach, looking out to sea. At night the large cushions, loungers and candles come out, along with ambient music and fire shows. The atmosphere here is relaxed and is suitable for families, even late at night. The restaurant here is pretty good, if you fancy an early evening bite to eat. Open every day of the week, Ark Bar is at its liveliest every Wednesday night when it hosts its weekly beach party. The area of the beach where Ark Bar is located is home to a number of similar bars, which offer a more chilled night out compared to the bars and clubs at Soi Green Mango or Soi Reggae.

Open: 2pm to 2am
Where: On the beach, just off Chaweng Beach Road at Soi Pizza Hut
Tel: 077 961 333
Email: info@ark-bar.com
Website: www.ark-bar.com

Bondi Aussie Bar and Grill
Located in the centre of Chaweng, this modern Aussie themed bar offers live music, pool tables, international DJ’s, 15 HD flat-screen TV’s, and a menu packed with great and affordable food (you’ve got to check out their pizzas). With air conditioning throughout you will also find Samui’s only shuffleboard on the the 3rd floor. A great place to watch live sporting events on TV, they also have a live band playing five nights a week.

Open: 10am to 2am
Where: Chaweng Beach Road, Central Chaweng
Tel: 077 414 357
Email: jonowilson@bondisamui.com
Web: www.bondisamui.com

Bar Solo
Sleek, uber cool and playing great music, there isn’t much not to like about Bar Solo. A good place to start your evening, make sure you take advantage of their half price cocktails from 2pm to 8pm. As it starts to get later, Bar Solo gets much livelier with DJ’s playing a range of funky house and ambient chill out tunes. A good place for people watching, Bar Solo is quickly becoming one of the most talked about bars on the whole island.

Open: 2pm to 2am
Where: Chaweng Beach, next to Starbucks
Tel: 077 414 012
Email: info@barsolosamui.com
Web: www.barsolosamui.com

Bar Ice
This is literally the coolest bar on Samui! All the interior of the bar including, the walls, seats and bar itself, are all made completely from ice, quite impressive. Bar Ice isn’t small either. Adjoining the main bar area is a room that contains large ice sculptures of elephants and tuk tuks. The temperature inside the bar is kept to -7 degrees but don’t worry, you are given large, warm over coats and hats to wear before you go inside! A worthwhile experience, even if it is just to check out the atmospheric lighting and ice sculptures. Outside you’ll find a beer garden and smoking area.

Open: 4pm to 2am (children welcome before 10pm)
Where:  At the northern end of Chaweng Lake, 10 minute walk from Chaweng centre, opposite Baan Saun Sook Resort
Tel: 077 484 933
Email: info@baricesamui.com
Web: www.baricesamui.com

Tropical Murphy’s
This well run, pub largely succeeds in its quest to being Koh Samui’s favourite traditional Irish owned pub. If you are looking for an evening away from the nightclubs and beach parties then Tropical Murhphy’s is your place. With a large selection of beers on offer, good food, pool and traditional pub quizzes Tropical Murphy’s certainly has a lot going for it. It also has extensive seating throughout and the Thai staff speak English to an excellent standard. Upstairs, you’ll find live music and air con, with the bar downstairs providing a great area to sit and watch the world go by.

Open: 9am to 2am
Where: Opposite McDonalds in Chaweng, next door to Baan Samui Hotel
Web: www.tropicalmurphys.com

Q Bar
Located in the northern end of Chaweng, Q Bar offers stunning views of the whole island, from its regal position high up on the mountainside. Q Bar certainly is the place to be seen in, this kind of bar trendy bar is more commonly found in Bangkok. Various international DJ’s have played here and a host of famous celebs have chosen Q Bar to spend the evening when visiting Koh Samui. With the latest tunes being played inside and with a sleek, stylish drinking area outside, combined with the magnificent views, Q Bar certainly isn’t the cheapest bar on the island but it certainly is one of the most spectacular. Oh and when leaving Q Bar, be careful as you travel down from its lofty location as it is rather steep, to say the least!

Open: 6.30pm to late
Where: On the hillside above Northern Chaweng, near Wat Khao Hua Juk
Tel: 077 962 420
Email: qbarsamui@yahoo.com
Web: www.qbarsamui.com

Admiral Lord Nelson
The Admiral Lord Nelson is a typical British pub, serving a selection of fine beers and traditional pub grub. The pub actually boasts two dining areas, so you can decide if you want a casual bite to eat downstairs or move upstairs to air conditioned comfort for the The Admiral Lord Nelson Dining Experience. Favourites from the menu include fish and chips and fabulous Sunday roast dinners. Downstairs you’ll find large screen projector for all your live sport and stage for live entertainment.

Open: 9am to late
Where: Chaweng Beach Road, C haweng South
Tel: 087 277 7825, 081 079 6803

The Coffee Club
This popular cafe, bar and restaurant serves up modern Australian cafe dining cuisine, great tasting coffee and cakes and is also fully licensed. The all day breakfasts are popular and you can even choose from eggs Benedict and smoked salmon! The Coffee Club in Chaweng is a pleasant place to go to escape the hustle and bustle of the main strip. Spread over three floors, with the first two floors being able to seat up to 100 people. On the third floor is the state of the art kitchen. There is also air conditioning throughout the restaurant. Outside you’ll find a nice terrace where you can sit and watch the comings and goings of people on the main beach road. No matter if you just want a cake and coffee or dinner, a couple of beers and a glass of wine, The Coffee Club can cater for a variety of needs.

Open: 8am to midnight
Where: Chaweng Beach Road, close to Soi Green Mango
Tel: 077 414 616
Web: www.coffeeclub.com.au

Tilac Bar
Located in Soi Green Mango, Tilac’s is another one of the popular beer bars in the area. A good place to party, Tilac Bar has a great atmosphere, hot bar staff and plays good music. There’s is also a pool table and dancing pole. Tilac Bar is a good place to go if you are on a bar crawl around the area. In fact, you might like it so much that you won’t want to leave!

Open: 6pm to late
Where: Soi Green Mango

Hush Bar
One of the smaller bars on the Soi Green Mango strip, what Hush Bar might lack in size, it more than  makes up for it with its party spirit.  This lively and fun place is a good venue to start your evening or to visit before heading onto the larger clubs on the strip.

Open: 6pm to late
Where: Soi Green Mango, central Chaweng
Tel: 082 021 3706

International Bar
Located on Soi Green Mango, International Bar might not be as eye catching as some of the other bars on the main strip but it is still worth visiting nonetheless. There is a definite party vibe here and the drinks are always flowing. Complete with pool table and loud music International is popular with many foreign visitors to the Green Mango strip.

Open: 2pm to late
Where: Soi Green Mango, central Chaweng

Moby Dick’s
Moby Dick’s is a popular Irish pub situated at the heart of Chaweng Beach. The atmosphere an ambience inside Moby Dick’s is very relaxed and welcoming. Pop in for a pint of Guinness or to try one of their fantastic cocktails. Happy hour is between 3pm and 7pm where you can enjoy discounted drinks, whilst playing pool, darts or watching sport on the TV. As well as a pub, Moby Dick’s is also a guesthouse and restaurant and serves traditional Irish, British and Thai food, whilst also providing comfortable and reasonably priced accommodation. Visit Moby Dick’s today, you’ll have a whale of a time!

Open: 9am to late
Where: Central Chaweng, at the end of Soi Green Mango
Tel: 077 413 107
Email: info@mobydick-guesthouse.com
Web: www.mobydick-guesthouse.com

X Bar and Restaurant – Xin City Samui
Xin City is a hotel, shopping plaza and entertainment centre that is situated in the centre of Chaweng Beach. Located on the 1st floor of the ‘B’ Building you will find the X Bar and Restaurant, which is run with the help and cooperation of Black Canyon Coffee and Restaurant, which is also located in the plaza. X Bar provides good quality food and drink and often has live entertainment. It can also provide a nice getaway from the louder, more raucous bars that can be found in Chaweng.

Open: 4pm to late
Where: Entrance to Soi Green Mango, central Chaweng
Tel:  077 914 100
Email: info@xincity-samui.com
Web: www.xincity-samui.com

Coyote Samui
Coyote Samui is a Mexican themed bar and restaurant situated in the centre of Chaweng beach. Not only do they serve great food but Coyote Samui is a great place to go and have a couple of drinks in the evening. With its Latino vibe and welcoming atmosphere, why not choose from one of the menu’s 75 Margaritas. There is also live music every night from 9.30pm, as well as an afternoon happy hour from 2pm to 6pm and Ladies Night every Sunday from 8pm to 10pm.

Open: 11am to late
Where: Chaweng Beach Road, in between Haagen Das and Starbucks, central Chaweng
Tel: 077 414 611
Email: info@coyotesamui.com
Web: www.coyotesamui.com

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