A tropical paradise off the coast of Thailand: Our Koh Samui travel guide

Published

31 October, 2022

Edited

3 November, 2022

Enveloped by the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is a true island paradise off the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. Beautiful beaches are bountiful here, each lined with swaying palms and crystal-clear shores that beckon you to take a dip. Head a little further inland, and you’ll find lush jungle forests. Satisfy your inner adventurer and spend a day exploring some of their winding trails, hidden among the verdant tropical flora. Along the way, you’ll discover magnificent waterfalls and natural pools - the best way to cool off after a good hike.

Gloriously golden beaches and wonderfully wild jungles

Up until the late 20th century, Koh Samui was a relatively isolated community relying on its coconut and fishing trade. Now, the island is brimming with beach bars, boutiques, and fine dining restaurants - the perfect combination for a laidback summer break in one of our exquisite rental villas. For those who prefer to stray from the beaten track, there are still plenty of breathtaking landmarks and secret spots just waiting to be discovered.

Over 40 brilliant beaches to discover

With endless sandy shores to choose from, relaxing beach days are always on the cards here at Koh Samui. Thongson Bay and Choeng Mon are among the most popular on the island, but those craving the privacy of a secluded bay will find plenty of hidden coves to spend a serene afternoon.

Ban Tai Beach

Ban Tai Beach provides the perfect location for a day of uninterrupted bathing with no need to compete for space with others. Tucked away on the north of the island between Bang Po and Maenam, it's somewhat tricky to find - but when you do, you’ll be rewarded with pristine sands and shallow turquoise waters, great for paddling.

Chaweng Beach

Looking to explore what's under the water? The sugary sands of Chaweng Beach are ideal for an afternoon of sunbathing, but it's the thriving coral reef beneath its waves that will take your breath away. The water is particularly clear here, so you’ll be able to catch a good glimpse of the marine life below - lionfish, seahorses, and green turtles are a regular sight here in Koh Samui.

Lipa Noi Beach

Nestled on the west coast of the island, Lipa Noi Beach is an excellent choice for those who prefer their beaches without another visitor in sight. It’s a little wilder and further off the beaten track than the island’s busier beaches, but the beach is well worth the detour. With shallow, crystal-clear waters and powdery sands, it’s a lovely place for families: the children can play and paddle safely while the adults enjoy a picnic on the sands.

Incredible attractions and unforgettable experiences await in Koh Samui

From giant buddhas to elephant encounters, there’s plenty to pack into your stay in Koh Samui. While it might be tempting to spend your afternoons luxuriating on the powdery sands of the island’s best beaches, these top attractions are well worth taking some time out for.

The Big Buddha

Sat on a small rocky island just off Koh Samui’s north-eastern coast, The Big Buddha keeps watch over the island. At 12-metres tall, this huge gilded statue is hard to miss. While it’s very much a popular tourist attraction, it remains a place of worship for practising Buddhists on the island. Head there early enough from your villa, and you’ll be able to hear the monks performing their morning chants.

Samui Elephant Sanctuary

Less than four miles from Koh Samui Airport, the award-winning Samui Elephant Sanctuary provides a forever home for rescued elephants. Here, you’ll get the opportunity to walk with and feed the resident elephants while seeing them in a spacious, safe, and natural environment - being able to spend a day with these magnificent creatures is a truly unforgettable experience.

Wat Plai Laem

Just a 15-minute walk from the statue is the modern Buddhist temple of Wat Plai Laem. A blend of Chinese and Thai elements, it pays homage to Avalokiteśvara - the Buddha of compassion and mercy. The temple itself is a vibrant display of reds, golds, and greens, surrounded by a peaceful lake.

Uncover the secrets of the island

It’s worth heading outside of Koh Samui’s hotspots and exploring some of the wilder corners of the island. From steep mountain hikes to secluded bays, we’ve picked our favourite spots.

Pom Mountain

Searching for solitude? Head towards the heart of the island, where you’ll find plenty of interesting hikes along Pom Mountain. Nestled on the mountain’s steep peak is a tranquil sculpture park - a wonderful place to spend an afternoon. Wander through the winding paths of Namtok Tar Nim & Magic Garden, and discover the statues and miniature waterfalls hidden within

Mae Nam Beach

Stretching just over four miles on the north of the island, Mae Nam Beach is easily one of Koh Samui’s quietest bays. Lined by swathes of palms and with little chance of bumping into anyone else, it’s a particularly lovely spot for romantic strolls as the sun sets over the coast.

Where to eat in Koh Samui

From fragrant curries to steaming Tom Yum soups, Thai cuisine is a celebration of flavour. Whether you already have your favourites or perhaps are looking to try something new, there are so many excellent restaurants to be found along the bustling streets of Koh Samui.

Tree Tops Sky Dining & Bar

Nestled in an ancient tree canopy, the Tree Tops Sky Dining & Bar offers a unique dining experience. With only eight private salas to sit at, it’s a fabulous location for those who prefer total privacy while dining. Enjoy a fusion of European and Thai cuisine as you gaze at the glittering coast of Koh Samui far below.

Salefino

Less than a ten-minute walk from The Big Buddha, Salefino is a Mediterranean restaurant boasting spectacular views across the Gulf of Thailand. Book your table just before sunset and you’ll be treated to a phenomenal display as the sky is set ablaze.

Crafty Cocktail Company

Keep the evening going with a stop at the Crafty Cocktail Company. Serving inventive drinks in a laid-back setting, it’s just a quick stroll from Bophut Beach. Made with fresh ingredients from the island, each cocktail offers a zesty taste of the tropics.

SEEN Beach Club

If you’re searching for a stylish place to while away the afternoon, then SEEN Beach Club is just the ticket. Nestled on the silky white sands of Chaweng Beach, this retro-themed beach club is bursting with flamboyant character. Transporting you straight back to the 50s, the atmosphere here is elegant yet exuberant - visit for an afternoon drink and you may well end up spending the whole evening at this enticing, effervescent spot.

The onefinestay experience

At onefinestay, we provide much more than just a beautiful villa retreat for our guests. How about a private chef to cook up delicious Thai meals once you arrive back at your villa? We can arrange for talented local chefs to prepare authentic dishes night after night, or for a one-off special occasion. From at-home massages and spa treatments to arranging a host of exciting activities, our Travel Advisors are on hand to make sure your luxury Koh Samui getaway is as carefree as it should be.

Captivated by Koh Samui?

SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR TRAVEL ADVISORS TO BEGIN PLANNING YOUR KOH SAMUI GETAWAY TODAY. WE’LL FIND THE PERFECT VILLA FOR YOU AND CRAFT THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME.