Beaches on Koh Samui, Gulf of Thailand

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We recently spent two weeks on Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. The plan was to relax and spend time on the beach. That’s pretty much all we did… and it was fantastic. Here are reviews for the best beaches on Koh Samui.

Most people that visit Koh Samui stay in or around either Lamai or Chaweng, the two most popular beaches and the biggest tourist areas. Both beaches are lovely, but we also wanted to explore the islands “less visited” spots.

Below is a list of the beaches we visited (in order) along with some photos that we took. Keep in mind that the photos were taken at different times of the day, so the water won’t seems as clear or blue in those that are taken early in the morning versus mid-day when the sun is at it’s height.

Lamai Beach

You can understand why Lamai Beach is the second most popular beach on Samui.  The sand is white and powder soft and water is crystal clear. Simply lovely. This is a great place if you want a nice beach that is very close to plenty of restaurants, bars, and hotels. Our photos were taken around lunch time.

Mae Nam Beach

Mae Nam is a stunning beach with beautiful soft golden sand and clear turquoise water.  It’s a surprisingly tranquil and private spot. Loved it. Our photos were taken around 8:00 am.

Lipa Noi Beach

Lipa Noi is utterly charming. Aside from the beach, there isn’t much to do in the area, so if you are looking for a secluded getaway, this may be the beach for you. Two thumbs up! Our photos were taken around 8:00 am.

Chaweng Beach

OK, I get it. I have to say that I was a little bias against the idea of going to Chaweng Beach, because the idea of going to the “most popular beach” didn’t really appeal to me. I wasn’t interested in crowds or thumping music or partying. I was looking for natural beauty and solitude. Surprisingly, that’s exactly what we found. Yes, it was more “built up” than the other beaches, but not in the way that I’d feared. The water was amazingly clear and the sand was heavenly. Still not my favorite on the island, but it has honestly earned it’s accolades. Our photos were taken around lunch time.

Ban Tai Beach

This place is out of the way for sure, but worth the effort. You’ll see a quiet resort or two, but they must be filled with hermits. An absolute must if you are looking for a sleepy “undiscovered spot”. Our photos were taken around 8:00 am.

Taling Ngam Beach

Far away from the tourist hubs, you’ll truly feel that you are on a tropical island as you drive through the jungle to reach this beach. The view is gorgeous. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a litter problem, including broken glass in the water, and it is exceedingly shallow where we were. So much so that it was difficult to find a spot where the water was past our knees. Our photos were taken around 9:00 am.

Bo Phut Beach

We’d read that locally, Bo Phut is known as a small fisherman’s village, so we were surprised to see large resorts and several luxury yachts when we arrived. The sand was soft and the water was deeper than at most of the other beaches we’d visited. Perhaps because of that, it wasn’t as clear either. Worth a visit, but not our favorite. Our photos were taken around 10:00 am.

Choeng Mon Beach

Several resources told us that Choeng Mon Beach would be pristine with calm clear waters and the photos that we saw certainly indicated that was true.  When we visited the beach, the reality did not match the description or the photos. The water was somewhat cloudy, it appeared to have seaweed or algea growing near the beach, and the beach itself was quite small, in bad shape and completely surrounded by developments. We were so uninspired that we didn’t bother to take any photos and we left after 15 minutes. That tells you something, considering we’d spent 20 minutes driving there from the other side of the island and it was a very hot day.