What are the best places and hotels to stay in Koh Samui, Thailand? Chaweng is the perfect place to party and hang out. However, it is not in Chaweng that you will see the most beautiful sunsets of Koh Samui, but in Lipa Noi and the east of the island. If you want a quieter place than Chaweng, choose Lamai, Maenam, or the Fisherman’s Village in Bo Phut. Here is our selection of the best areas and towns to stay in Koh Samui as a couple, with family or friends to party.
Our favorites in Koh Samui, Thailand
- For a first trip: Hyatt Regency
- To rest: Conrad
- For a romantic trip: The Hive
- For families: Cielo Boutique Hotel
- Luxury Hotel: Cape Fahn
- For sunsets: Four Seasons
In which area or beach to stay in Koh Samui
Koh Samui is an island with several towns and villages. Every city has an atmosphere and vibe. The island is quite large. You will need at least 1 hour to go from one end to the other.
Chaweng is the most touristy beach on Koh Samui. It is located in the northeast of the island. There are many hotels and resorts and every activity imaginable, such as Thai boxing matches.
Located just above Chaweng, on the point, is Choengmon. It is a more upscale area, with mainly luxury hotels and resorts. The beaches are smaller and more intimate.
To the west, we find Bo Phut with Fisherman’s Village in the heart. It is a quieter place but still has good entertainment in the evening with fire shows.
Even further west and still north is Maenam. It’s off the beaten track and very quiet. If you want to hang out in the evening, go to Bo Phut or Chaweng.
Lamai is located on the east side, south of Chaweng. It is a magnificent beach with a more traditional town and a night market to try all the Thai culinary specialties.
The east of the island is ideal for seeing sunsets. However, it is also a less developed place for tourism. On the other hand, the island’s largest and most beautiful resorts are on the east side, with the Four Seasons, the Conrad, and the InterContinental.
Best areas to stay in Koh Samui
Chaweng is located in the north of the island of Koh Samui, on the west coast. It is the most developed area of Koh Samui for tourism. Everything is close! Starting with the airport. You will also see planes landing from Chaweng Beach.
The beach is very large, and quite wide. Allow 1 hour to go from the north end to the south end. The beach is clean and covered with fine sand. It is not always the case in Koh Samui. Many water activities are offered on the beach, such as jet skiing or parasailing. There are always people on Chaweng Beach. It’s always busy and noisy.
Hotels occupy the entire waterfront. You can still access them via small alleys from the street. Beachfront resorts are much more expensive, but you have direct access. Other cheaper hotels are located inland. Beachfront resort hotels are a great choice for accommodation in Koh Samui.
Inland, there are all the shops for tourists. There are many bars and restaurants but also massage parlors and hairdressers. Trucks with loud music promoting shows or evenings pass by in the street regularly. One of the trucks promotes Thai boxing (Muay Thai) fights.
There are 2 Thai boxing gyms with fights almost every night. The Phetchbuncha Boxing Stadium gets much better reviews than the Samui International Muay Thai Stadium, so be careful when choosing. The two rooms are 5 minutes from each other and 10 minutes from the beach.
Chaweng is home to Central Samui, a large shopping center with all the usual clothing brands like Uniqlo and H&M. There is also a large food court, like in all shopping centers in Thailand.
Traffic is terrible generally in Koh Samui, and especially in Chaweng. Walking the streets of Chaweng is possible, but the interest is very limited. It is possible if you are going somewhere specific, not too far away, like a restaurant or the shopping center.
Advantages and Drawbacks of Chaweng
- The most activity in Koh Samui
- Clean sandy beach
Best hotels in Chaweng:
- Malibu Koh Samui Resort & Beach Club: a superb place to enjoy your vacation as a couple or with friends! The cottages are nice and quite spacious. An outdoor swimming pool and a private beach are also available on-site.
- Montien House: This hotel is very well located. It offers rooms, but also villas with private swimming pools. It’s a very good place!
Bo Phut is located in the north of the island of Koh Samui, in the center, with Maenam to the east and Chaweng to the west. You can see the island of Koh Pha Ngan opposite Bo Phut beach.
The liveliest place in Bo Phut is Fisherman’s Village. There are a few clothing stores open during the day. It is at the end of the afternoon that the Village comes alive. There is a local market with Thai food and many bars and restaurants on the beach. The most famous restaurant is Coco Tam’s, with its fire show every evening.
Fisherman’s Village for staying in Bo Phut on Koh Samui in Thailand
Moving away from Fisherman’s Village while remaining in Bo Phut, large resorts occupy the seafront.
The beach is big and wide. It is generally clean, but the sea can sometimes bring a lot of algae and waste.
The only street in Bo Phut, the main road around the island, provides access to the resorts. It’s not a pleasant place to walk around.
Staying in Bo Phut is an excellent choice in Koh Samui to be quieter while remaining close to a center of activity. Avoid hotels that do not have direct access to the beach because the experience will really not be positive.
For families, choosing Bo Phut to stay in Koh Samui is a good choice because the environment is restricted and secure.
Advantages and Drawbacks of Bo Phut
- Fairly quiet while still having access to a nightlife area
- Lower accommodation prices
- Noisy if you are very close to Fisherman’s Village, lost if you are far away.
Maenam is located north of Koh Samui, west of Bo Phut. We can also see the island of Koh Pha Nhan opposite.
Maenam isn’t a lively place. The idea is to stay at your resort to enjoy the beach. To go out during the day or in the evening, you must go to Fisherman’s Village in Bo Phut or Chaweng.
As a result, Maenam is very calm. If you come to Koh Samui to be away from the hustle and bustle, staying in Maenam is a good choice. It’s also off the beaten track.
The beach is less clean than Chaweng, and the sand is coarser.
Advantages and Drawbacks of Maenam
- Fairly quiet while still having access to a nightlife area
- Lower accommodation prices
- Noisy if you’re close to Fisherman’s Village, lost if you’re far away.
Lamai is located on the east coast of Koh Samui, south of Chaweng. Long cliffs separate the two beaches.
Lamai is a developed and quieter town in Chaweng. There are several bars and restaurants and a night market where you can taste all the Thai specialties. Lamai has managed to maintain an element of authenticity. We know we are in Thailand!
The beach is clean and covered with fine sand. It is ideal for enjoying the sun and the sea.
The Thai authenticity, the beautiful beach, and the existing nightlife but much quieter than in Chaweng make Lamai a perfect place to stay with your sweetheart in Koh Samui.
Near Lamai, on the way to Chaweng, there is a small beach called Crystal Beach. The water is shallow, which is magnificent with the translucent water. The beach, being small, is also more intimate. This small beach is worth the detour if you have chosen to stay in Lamai or elsewhere on Koh Samui.
Advantages and Drawbacks of Lamai
- Relaxed atmosphere
- Beautiful beach
- Not as many activities as Chaweng
Choengmon is located on the northeastern tip of Koh Samui.
The beaches are smaller in Choengmon and more intimate. Between the beaches, there are cliffs and rocks. The majority of accommodation in the area is very upscale.
The atmosphere on the beach is very peaceful. The hotels and resorts are more discreet than elsewhere in Koh Samui. The vegetation is more abundant, and the whole is prettier.
There are enough restaurants and massage parlors in Choengmon. Also, if you need more, Chaweng is very close.
It is also in Choengmon that there is a naturism beach. It is isolated, and you will not likely come across it unexpectedly.
Advantages and Drawbacks of Choengmon
- Relaxed atmosphere
- Beautiful beach
- Fairly high accommodation prices
Where to stay in Koh Samui
Where to stay in Koh Samui to visit
All the towns and villages are perfect for staying in Koh Samui and visiting the island. It takes less than an hour to go from one end of the island to the other by car. So it’s quite fast. Most activities also arrange pickup directly from the hotel, so you don’t need to plan for a taxi or transportation.
Where to stay in Koh Samui as a couple for a romantic stay: Lamai
Lamai is the ideal place for a romantic stay in Koh Samui. The beach is splendid with fine sand. The town is also pleasant, with several shops and a night market ideal for trying Thai gastronomy. Staying as a couple in Lamai is a successful stay in Koh Samui.
The Hive Hotel: This hotel is located directly on Lamai Beach. You will love the infinity pool and the view! You have the choice between double rooms or individual villas.
Peace Resort Samui: a magnificent place to recharge your batteries for two! The hotel is located on the seafront in Bo Phut, not far from Fisherman’s Village. The bungalows are spacious and comfortable.
Escape Beach Resort: a perfect hotel in Maenam to see the sunsets in Koh Samui! It is a perfect place to spend 2 or 3 days because the hotel is quite isolated, and you can feel cramped there after a few days. Otherwise, the view and atmosphere are ideal.
Anahata Resort: located in Lipa Noi, far from the hustle and bustle of Chaweng, this hotel offers very reasonable rates and a quiet environment for a successful stay as a couple. It’s a beautiful place to stay in Koh Samui.
If you visit Koh Samui, visit the Elephant Sanctuary and Fisherman’s Village (see prices here) and explore the islands near Koh Samui. These activities are some of the best things to do in Koh Samui (learn more: Best things to do in Koh Samui).
Where to stay in Koh Samui with family with children: Bo Phut and Chaweng
Bo Phut is the perfect place to stay with the family in Koh Samui. Fisherman’s Village is nearby, which allows for some quiet outings at the end of the day. The beach is large and quite clean, without being too crowded.
With teenagers, Chaweng is also a great choice for family accommodation in Koh Samui. More activities are suitable for them, guaranteeing they will not get bored!
Cielo Boutique Hotel. The hotel is a little from Fisherman’s Village but less than 20 minutes from the beach. The 3 bedroom villas are ideal for staying with a large family in Koh Samui.
Ammatara Pura Pool Villa. A superb place in Lamai to enjoy your family vacation in Koh Samui! The hotel offers villas with two bedrooms and a private swimming pool! Breakfast and dinner can be included in the price. It is an ideal hotel for a stay with teenagers.
Pavilion Pool Residence. A villa in Koh Samui, just for you and your family!
Ibis Samui Bophut. A good place with reasonable prices for a stay with children in Koh Samui!
For nightlife: Chaweng
Chaweng is the place to party in Koh Samui. There are places to party until late at night. Staying in Chaweng to enjoy Koh Samui’s nightlife is the best choice.
To see sunsets
The most beautiful sunsets are visible from the west of the island. It is a less developed side of Koh Samui. At the same time, it is also where we find the most beautiful and largest resorts.
For shopping: Chaweng, Bo Phut, Lamai
If you enjoy shopping on vacation, you have several places to stay in Koh Samui.
Chaweng is where there is the most choice, including international boutiques. However, if you are mainly looking for local brands or artisanal boutiques, they will be slightly lost among the other department stores. Staying at the Hyatt Regency in Koh Samui, between Chaweng and Choengmon, is ideal for enjoying a splendid beach and shopping.
Bo Phut and Lamai have a wide selection of local and artisan shops. On the other hand, there are no or few international stores. In Bo Phut, the Riviera provides access to Fisherman’s Village on foot in just a few minutes without needing a shuttle. In Lamai, hotels on the tip, like the Banyan Tree, are too far to walk to the city center and the night market. It is preferable to choose a hotel close to the city, such as the Ammatara Pura, less than 20 minutes from the beach.
To watch Thai boxing fights: Chaweng
There are 2 Thai boxing stadiums in Chaweng with fights almost every night. It is, therefore, ideal to stay in Chaweng if you plan to take advantage of your stay in Koh Samui to see fights. Fights at Phetchbuncha Boxing Stadium are often more popular. The two stadiums are located 10 minutes from the beach. By choosing to stay at Centara Reserve or Banana Fan Sea, you can walk to the boxing stadium.
There is also a boxing stadium in Lamai. The fights are less professional. It’s mostly for entertainment.
Areas to avoid in Koh Samui
Koh Samui is a paradise island with magnificent beaches and translucent water. There is no particularly dangerous area on the island.
It is a very touristy island. As a result, the warm and welcoming spirit of the locals is a little less present than on the continent. Nevertheless, the service is of outstanding quality.
Almost everywhere on the island, hotels and resorts occupy the seafront. Going to the beach without being in one of the hotels is possible, but it is much more restrictive. So choose a hotel with direct access to the beach. If the budget does not allow accommodation in Choengmon or Chaweng, staying in Maenam rather than being inland is better.
How to get from the airport to the hotel in Koh Samui
To go from Koh Samui airport to your hotel or resort, whether in Chaweng, Bo Phut, Lamai, or another area of the island, there are a few options: the songthaew or the taxi.
Songthaews. A type of public transport passes through the airport: the Songthaews. We talk about it below in public transport in Koh Samui. It’s not practical with luggage and doesn’t go everywhere. Above all, you must discuss the ticket price and the directions with the driver.
Taxi. Directly at the exit of Koh Samui airport, you have a counter that manages taxis. Fares are fixed in advance depending on the distance to be traveled. Generally, the taxi costs much more in Koh Samui than in Bangkok. You give the name of your hotel to the counter, who will then tell you the trip’s price. Then you pay in cash, and a driver loads your suitcases into a minibus. It is simple and efficient.
In advance. You can also book an airport transfer in advance. It is useful if you are arriving from abroad and don’t have cash yet or are arriving early or late. Generally speaking, as everything is planned, it is also more peaceful.
Tips for traveling to Koh Samui in Thailand
How to get around the island of Koh Samui
Public transport. There is public transportation in Koh Samui! These are pickups with bench seats in the back. We find the same elsewhere in Thailand, notably in Pattaya. In Thai, they are called Songthaews (“song-tao”). There isn’t a line. They travel on the island’s circular road and go to the main towns like Chaweng, Lamai, Bo Phut, and the airport. Wave to him in the street when you see him, ask where he is going, and ask the price. You have to pay in cash, so bring change.
Taxi. There are a few taxis in Koh Samui, but finding one is difficult. Order one at the airport or the hotel reception is the most convenient way.
Uber. There is no Uber in Koh Samui, but there is Grab. It is a VTC and food delivery application like Uber. There is also “NaviGo”, a specific application for Koh Samui.
Payments in Thailand
In Thailand, the currency is the Thai Baht. The euro is not accepted. Hotels generally accept credit cards. However, you will need cash for a small service, a drink in a bar, a massage, or even a tip.
Withdrawal. There are a few ATMs in the city, but they are rare. Remember to collect at the airport. Withdrawals from ATMs in Thailand generally cost around €5 per withdrawal. Your bank may also add hefty fees for international transactions.
Best accommodation in Koh Samui
|📍 First trip
|💎 Luxury Hotel
|🏩 For a romantic stay
|👍 With the family
Koh Samui FAQs
Chaweng, Bo Phut, Lamai, and Choengmon are the best places to stay in Koh Samui. Chaweng is ideal for partying, Bo Phut is more for families, Lamai is suitable for romantic stays, and Choengmon is more luxurious.
The most beautiful sunsets are on the west side of the island. Lipa Noi Beach is the best place to see beautiful sunsets.
The dry season is the best season to go to Koh Samui. This period begins in December and ends in March. April and September are also good times, but they are very hot and humid.
Koh Samui is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand, as well as Phuket. The most touristic part of the island is in Chaweng. To discover other quieter places of Koh Samui and enjoy the sunsets, explore the North and West side of the island.