Koh Samui, Thailand – How to Arrive ? Where to Stay ? What to Visit ? – Page 1

Maps – Orientation

Map 1 : Transport to the islands

Map 2 : Koh Samui

Map 3 : Interactive Map

How is Koh Samui ?

The biggest island between the 3 islands in this zone (Samui, Phangan and Tao). See the Maps above.  (“Koh” means “island” in the Thai language, in case you don’t know).

Koh Samui is about 20 Km long. Unlike the 2 other islands, in Koh Samui there is a circular road around the island and it takes more than 1 hour to make a tour in motorbike on this road.

Note that the circular road doesn’t include the top right and the bottom (there are smaller roads there). The circular road is about 50 Km long.

Koh Samui is the most developed island between the 3. There are many hotels, many beaches, a huge commercial center and even an airport.

Between the 3 islands, Koh Samui may be titled “the island for families.” There is a good nightlife in Koh Samui but there are more night parties in Koh Phangan.
There are many good restaurants in Koh Samui and many of them are owned by foreigners. There are Italian restaurants, French bakeries and even Middle Eastern restaurants with good Hummus.
Koh Samui is a comfortable place with all the services. Many expatriates choose to live here (some of them open a restaurant). There is even an immigration office in order to extend the Visa (see location of the immigration office on Google Maps or on the Maps above).
There are several huge supermarkets on the island And endless grocery stores (like 7 Eleven).

There are some nice viewpoints to visit and waterfalls. See the second page about Koh Samui, for the attractions).
Koh Samui is beautiful but most people will rate Koh Phangan and Koh Tao as more beautiful. Still, there are some very nice beaches in Koh Samui and when you want a wild party, you can take a short boat ride to Koh Phangan (for the full moon parties). See later about the potential zones to stay in Koh Samui.

Chaweng Beach – The “center” of Koh Samui

Chaweng is the center of gravity of the island. It is the main town of Koh Samui. See Location on Google Maps or on the Maps above.
There is a huge commercial center  called “Central Samui”.

See Location of the commercial center on Google Maps or on the Maps above.
You can pass an entire life inside this mall.

There is an animated street at night, that passes beside the mall.

The beach of Chaweng is fine, but there are more beautiful beaches on the island (see about the beaches on the island).

The airport of Koh Samui is cute.

There are some cafés outside and it is worth arriving here even if you are not taking a flight.

See Location of the Airport on Google Maps or on the Maps above. You can have a nice view over the airport from the attraction : Pagoda Khao Hua Jook.

There is also a lake in Chaweng, near the main street. It is nice to walk beside it (or do some sports).

Lamai Beach – The second most animated zone in Koh Samui

Lamai beach is located about 12 Km south of Chaweng beach. Also here there is a long animated street at night with a lot of restaurants and movement of people, but there is not a big mall.

See Location on Google Maps or on the Maps above.

How to Arrive to Koh Samui ?

There is a dedicated page about how to arrive to this group of islands, with maps and location of the stations and piers + Info about the transit cities Surat-Thani and Chumphon + the boats between the islands.

Location of the Airport in Koh Samui

See location of the Airport on Google Maps or on the Maps above.

Location of the Piers in Koh Samui

The main pier of Koh Samui is Nathon pier. Located on the left side of the island.
See location of Nathon pier on Google Maps or on the Maps above.

Taxis are waiting for passengers on this pier in order to arrive to different parts of the island. There are private taxi rides and shared rides. A common route is towards Chaweng Beach. The ride is about 40 minutes.

There are smaller piers on the north of the island, especially for speed boats towards Koh-Phangan. The pier you need, will depend on the ticket of the boat you buy. You can buy a boat ticket between the islands with 12GoAsia.

You can book Flights, Trains, Buses and Taxis inside Thailand with the site 12GoAsia Choose the Origin city and Destination city and it will show you All the available Transports to destination.

Where to Stay in Koh Samui ? – Hotels

Let’s look at this Map :

Option 1 : Chaweng Beach

This is the most central place in Koh Samui. There is an animated street in the evening with many restaurants, including many western food restaurants.
There is a huge commercial center called ” Central Samui”.

The airport is very close. Relatively close to some of the best attractions, like the Big Buddha.
The beach itself is regular (there are more beautiful beaches on the island).

Overall, a very convenient zone to stay.

See Hotels in Chaweng Beach – Koh Samui. After you Click, use the Map to find the desired location. Read opinion of travelers for each hotel.

I have stayed in this zone, in the economic hotel Samui Verticolor. I was satisfied. The room was spacious and clean with a balcony to hang laundry.

A nice swimming pool

And a lot of space to park the motorbike

Option 2 : Lamai Beach

The second most animated zone in Koh Samui. There is a long street with many restaurants. Very live in the evening. The zone of Lamai is beautiful, it is close to some of the best viewpoints of the island. If you want to arrive to Chaweng beach from here, it is about 25 minutes by motorbikes (12 Km).

See Hotels in Lamai Beach – Koh Samui. After you Click, use the Map to find the desired location. Read opinion of travelers for each hotel.

Option 3 : North of the island

The upper right corner of the island is a developed zone and it is relatively close to Chaweng beach and the airport.
Chengmon beach, is a long beach with many types of hotels.

The inner road, beside the beach is full of restaurants and other services

There is even self laundry.

See Hotels in Chengmon Beach – Koh Samui. After you Click, use the Map to find the desired location. Read opinion of travelers for each hotel.

Thongson Beach is adjacent to Chengmon beach. It is a smaller beach in form of a bay. Living here is more special.

See Hotels in Thongson Beach – Koh Samui. After you Click, use the Map to find the desired location. Read opinion of travelers for each hotel.

The upper left corner of the island is more distant from the main activity (which is Chaweng beach) but there are some good hotels and the internal road has restaurants, Among the beaches in the north :

  1. See Hotels in Mae Nam
  2. See Hotels in Bo-phut
  3. See Hotels in Ban Bang Po

Option 4 : East of the island – Around Nathon pier

There are 2 reasons that you may want to stay here :

1 . The boat from the mainland (Surat Thani), will bring you to this port. So, you may decide that you don’t want to travel half an hour to the other side of the island.

2. The beach, south of the port, is beautiful.

See Hotels around Nathon pier – Koh Samui. After you Click, use the Map to find the desired location. Read opinion of travelers for each hotel.

There are of course many other beautiful beaches on the east side of the island.

Option 5 : South of the island

This zone is beautiful and more isolated. You need around 45 minutes in order to arrive to Chaweng beach (which is the center of gravity of the island).

An attractive zone in the south is around Thong Krut Pier.

It is nice, to sit here in a café that is located between the road and the sea.

There are less hotels here. One hotel is : The Beach Samui. (After you click, use the Map to see more hotels in the south zone).

See Hotels in Koh Samui. After you Click, use the Map to find the desired location. Read opinion of travelers for each hotel.

How to Move in Koh-Samui ?

Option 1 : By Foot

The island is big. You can go by foot only in your nearby zone.

Option 2 : By Motorbike (or rented car)

The best way to move on a Thai island. There are plenty of shops in Koh Samui that are renting motorbikes. Also hotels are renting motorbikes. The most common engine size is 125 cc (and also 160 cc).
As always, you will be asked to leave your passport or cash as a deposit.
It is advisable to take photos of scratches and defects on the motorbike at the renting moment.

Option 3 : By Taxi

There are not many regular Taxis in Koh Samui (vehicles that look like a car and have a Taximeter inside). There are pickup trucks (Tuk-Tuk, Songthaew) that move on the roads.

These cars can take you on a private ride or shared with other people. You need to make a signal to the driver and negotiate the price. There are usually fixed prices on popular segments, for example between Chaweng beach and Lamai Beach, but it depends on the time of the day. At night the driver will ask for a higher price. It is a question of demand and supply.

Note that there is a Bus (Taxi) station near the commercial center “Central Samui” in Chaweng beach. They advertise some fixed prices to common destinations like to Nathon pier.
See Location of the tiny bus station on Google Maps or on the Maps above.

When you arrive to Koh Samui (by boat or airplane), there will be Taxis waiting for passengers. Some of the Taxis are for shared rides to the major beaches and some are for private rides.

There are also some regular Taxis in Koh Samui, but not a lot

Option 4 : By Taxi via a Travel Agency

If you need to arrive to a pier or to the airport, ask your hotel or a travel agency. When you buy a boat ticket, you will be proposed to add the pick up with taxi from your hotel.

Option 4 : By Grab Taxi

Unfortunately, Grab is very limited in Koh Samui (at the time that I am writing). It doesn’t work for motorbikes and it is very limited with cars.

Option 5 : By Organized Tour

If you register to an organized tour, they will take you to the destination.

How is the Nightlife in Koh-Samui ?

The most animated zones are in Chaweng beach and in Lamai beach. If you want to feel some movement of people, come to these beaches in the evening. In both places, there is a main street with a lot of restaurants.

In Chaweng beach, there is also a big mall that is open till 22:00.
Also in other areas of the island, there are bars on the main road and on the beaches and hotels.

There is a more “wild” nightlife on the islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. On these islands there are more young tourists and there is is a lot of music (and some dancing) on the beaches. In Koh Phangan there is the famous full moon party, each time the moon is full (every month, on earth).

How is the Climate in Koh-Samui ?

Note : The climate in Koh-Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao is quite similar.


It is hot in this zone, all year round. At day time around 30 degrees Celsius. At night around 25 degrees celsius. You better have air-conditioning in your room.


Like in all Thailand, there is also in this zone a rainy season. The rainy season here is from May to January.

  • The month of November is very rainy, around 400 mm rain.
  • October and  December around 200 mm rain.
  • The rest of the rainy season is moderate : May to October around 120 mm rain.
  • In the dry season, it can also rain. February, March, April : Around 60 mm rain.

What to Eat in Koh-Samui ?

Koh Samui is a big island and there are a lot of restaurants with many types of cuisines. There are a lot of foreigners who chose to live here and some of them have opened a restaurant. In consequence, we get authentic and good western food.

Let’s start with the cakes (and bread). There are several French Boulangerie and patisserie on the island. Two of them are near Lamai beach. They have a French owner

La Fabrique French Bakery Lamai. They are located on the main road, so very convenient to stop the motorbike and eat a Flan or Eclair.

You can also have breakfast here, with a good Baguette.

The second bakery is called French bakery.

They are also on the main road, but it is quiet inside. You can eat here in a sort of hut.

Great breakfast.

Among the foreign cuisine on the island, there are several Middle-Eastern restaurants in Chaweng beach. One of them is Tabula Rasa. They are excellent.

You can have a good Hummus

Or a vegetarian Couscous

This is a Bourekas (from another Middle eastern restaurant).

If you are vegetarian, there is a lot of choice in Koh Samui. For example Pure Vegan Heaven in Lamai beach.

Great vegetarian dishes are served here (this vegetarian chain exists also in Koh Phangan).

If you are not vegetarian, then there is a lot of Seafood on the island.

There are of course a lot of Italian restaurants in Koh Samui. Not only in Chaweng and Lamai beaches but all around the island. Type “italian restaurant” on Google Maps and you will be shown. One of the good Italian restaurants is Duomo, on the main street of Chaweng beach.

Always : When you don’t know what to eat or drink on an island, buy yourself a coconut.

Continue to Page 2 – What to Visit and do in Koh Samui

star More on Bangkok and Thailand :

star Other Stuff :

star  If you find incorrect data on this page, like a restaurant that has closed or a big river that has moved or you want to tell me something, please write me to contact.