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Where to Stay in Koh Samui
Koh Samui has more than 60,000 hotel rooms, nearly all of which are located on or near the coastline. The most popular and action-packed beaches are Chaweng Beach and Lamai Beach, both located on the island’s east coast. Chaweng Beach, on the northeast corner, is the epicenter of Koh Samui’s nightlife scene and where you’ll find the densest crowds of tourists. On the southeast corner, Lamai Beach is noticeably less raucous, though there are still dozens of options for late night partying and some of the best cheap hotel deals in Koh Samui.
There are nearly as many hotels along the north coast as there are on the east coast, but there are fewer rowdy bars and nightclubs, so the area is much quieter. The beaches on the north coast are every bit as nice as those to the east, particularly Bo Phut Beach and Mae Nam Beach.
Hotels and resorts are far less common on the west and south coasts, making them good places to get away if you’re looking for peace and quiet. Nathon, the town in the center of the west coast, is the commercial hub for locals and the site of Koh Samui’s main port.
Koh Samui Hotel Tips
As recently as the early 1990s, accommodations on the island largely consisted of cheap, simple beach huts where a traveler’s reward for roughing it was relative isolation on Koh Samui’s incredible beaches. Today, those primitive shelters are almost entirely gone, replaced by luxury resorts, beachfront villas and upscale boutiques. There are still relatively affordable hotels close to nearly every beach, but rather than beach huts, they’re modern chain hotels.
The largest collection of five star accommodations is located in the Tongsai Bay area, on the farthest northeast corner of the island, between Chaweng Beach and Bo Phut Beach. Options are limited to the most expensive accommodations in this exclusive neighborhood, but you’ll find a more diverse mix throughout the rest of the north and east coasts.
Koh Samui Hotel Recommendations
Chaweng Beach is party central in Koh Samui, which can make for noisy nights. If you plan on spending your evenings prowling its hotspots but don’t want to hear the other revelers while you’re trying to sleep, consider the optimally located Amari Palm Reef Resort. It’s within walking distance of every point of interest at Chaweng Beach, but isolated enough to ensure a tranquil escape. Great restaurants, a full health and beauty spa and two separate pools help make this a busy tourist draw.
If you’re looking for a place to splurge, Tongsai Bay’s Evason Hua Hin offers some exceptionally luxurious suites with private infinity pools. A collection of restaurants, intimate bars and soothing spa stations are all marked by the resort’s gracious and personal service.
On the other hand, if you’d rather save, the Coco Palm Samui allows you to do so without sacrificing privacy, space or comfort. Rates are competitive on bungalow-style rentals including beachfront villas and suites with private indoor pools. The Coco Palm Samui is in a quiet area of Mae Nam Beach, a short cab ride from the party atmosphere at Chaweng Beach.
Koh Samui Transportation
Koh Samui is Thailand’s third-largest island at more than 150 square miles, and there are widespread areas worth exploring. The cheapest and most efficient way to see them all is to rent a car and drive yourself, though you should be aware that Koh Samui has several tricky roads and motorcyclists who like to squeeze through tight spots in traffic. If you feel you’re up to the challenge, you can rent a car at the airport after your flight to Koh Samui.
If you’d rather let someone else do the driving, which is a smart idea if you’ll be sticking to the beaches and bars, get a ride from the airport using the airport’s shuttle service or through a shuttle ride arranged with your resort. Taxis patrol the hotel, nightlife and shopping districts, and some of the larger destinations have established taxi stands. You can also catch a songthaew, which is a modified pickup truck with canopy-covered bench seats in the bed. Though it can be bumpy and dusty, a songthaew ride is fast and cheap.
Mae Hong Son