Hua Thanon Beach
Hua Thanon is a relatively quiet beach located in Koh Samui’s southcoast, free from the usual noise and wild excitement experienced in other beaches on the island, a character it appears to share with its neighbors, Hin Tin and Hin Yai. There are a few backpackers who have stayed on the beach for long in some of the oldest resorts not only on the beach but the island in general.
The beach also still retains some of the oldest and ancient fishing fleets on the island.
Most of the inhabitants of Hua Thanon village originated from China and settled as Muslim fishermen. The beach has a relatively busy market and a number of restaurants where you can sample local sea foods. The village still retains its traditional way of life with little traces of modernization. You can sample Samui cuisines from a few restaurants located at the sea side. The foods here are reasonably priced and the seafood is some of the best quality cuisine that can be found on Koh Samui.
There is a charming atmosphere at this Muslim village, best suited to those who prefer to discover and explore nature at its best. There are photogenic, elegantly painted Kor Lae boats that have a rich history, and so does the fish market that attracts many shoppers. If you are vacationing with kids, you can keep them busy by visiting the neighboring Natien beach’s butterfly garden. This makes it an ideal destination for those with families.
Different people look for different things when searching for a place to holiday. Hua Thanon is the perfect place for those who prefer a quiet authenticity, and a touch of escapism at the beach. Most accommodation extends past Centara to some smaller places, where standards are also high.
Coral Cove Bay
Coral Cove bay a quiet and peaceful beach destination even though it is sandwiched between two popular beaches, its crowded and noisy neighbors of Chaweng to the north and Lamai to the South. It is one of Thailand’s favorite tranquil destinations, and those who understand its magic and seclusion will find this an ideal place to spend a weekend.
The beach at Coral Cove bay is sandy and the waters are loved by swimmers as well as visitors who enjoy other marine pursuits. In fact, Coral Cove Bay is much better than its neighbors for snorkeling. There are many giant boulders off the coast, which favor coral formation; the perfect spots for snorkeling are just a short swim away from the beach, and a colorful profusion of corals and fish awaits.
The beach here is a bit short, measuring only 200 meters long, so the number of beach fronts where one can stay is limited. However, you can find lovely accommodation at the beach’s edges that are strategically set on spectacular locations on the cliffs. Most of the resorts, hotels and bungalows offer guests free fishing equipment, which non-residents can also rent for use. Other equipment that you can find are kayaks and snorkeling equipment.
The calm waters, the seclusion and ambience makes Coral Cove bay one of the best beach getaways, especially if crowds and noise are the last things you look out for in a beach destination. Furthermore, most facilities here are within the financial reach of many people. If you happen to end up in Coral Cove bay by accident, as some visitors do instead of Chaweng as you might have assumed while booking your hotel, don’t be disappointed, as there is a lot you can do here.
Choeng Mon Beach
Choeng Mon beach encompasses the northeastern corner of the Koh Samui Island, carpeting a two kilometers stretch of the shore front. It is one of the quietest beaches in Koh Samui despite its proximity to the ever busy and noisy Big Buddha (Bang Rak) and Chaweng, neighboring Bophut Beach, and Buddha temple.
This feature makes it an attractive destination for those tourists who aren’t in search of secluded spots far away from the main tourist destinations, but who still prefer a bit of distance from developed facilities like shopping malls, health clinics or schools.
Choeng Mon is in a sheltered bay, lined by pearl white sand, and is ideal for swimming. Just off the beach, at Koh Fan Noi, is a giant seated Buddha, which you can reach on foot at a low tide, making it ideal for exploration with kids. The sand is superb for sunbathing and the clean water ideal for water sports like diving and jet skiing. The only problem is that it can be a bit of a hassle to find and hire the most convenient jets skiing equipment.
Unlike other villages, Choeng Mon village is relatively small, with only a few shops, restaurants and bars lining the area behind the main beach. The beach is even more family-friendly in that hostess bars are barred from the beach. Most of the restaurants and resorts on Choeng Mon beach offer sun beds, which are available in abundance.
A broad range of accommodation is available, to suit liberal spenders as well as those travelling on budget. There are five-star hotels, resorts and bungalow-type villages that can be rented for as little as a day, or for months at a time—the choice is yours. Most of the food served here is European in style, because the beach attracts many German and French tourists, but local Thai cuisine can nevertheless be found. Choeng Mon beach can be visited almost all through the year, so long as you desire to experience the tranquility of a stunning beach.
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Chaweng Noi Beach
Chaweng Noi beach is the smaller part of the largest and most popular beach in Koh Samui, Chaweng beach, and is located around the headland to the south. Just like its larger cousin, it is a beautiful beach that has caught the eye of developers who are working to clear and restore the natural splendors that set off their projects to best effect.
The sand on Chaweng Noi beach is powdery white and its sun-warmed sea water is clean and emerald-blue.
The ocean waves are broken by flourishing coral formations, a fact that leaves the beach a rather peaceful neighbor to two tiny islands just off the reef. The islands are so close to the beach that you can walk through the shallow water to the nearest one, and snorkel or kayak to its larger and more distant neighbor.
Most visitors are young persons or small families. The most crowded part of the beach is at the center, while the north is rather quieter. You can get basic supplies like food and drinks from vendors that move up and down the beach selling their wares. Also available are various local crafts and Thai souvenirs that you might want to take home with you to remind you of your holiday.
The coconut palm-shaded huts, the white-dust sand and the clean water all work to the favor of the beach. Since there is no road connecting to the beach, the only viable access is through the beachfront hotels. Lying in the middle of the strip and parallel to Chaweng Noi beach are many restaurants, souvenir shops, fast food, bars and convenience stores. As a result, it is a peaceful and relaxing location that attracts a lot of visitors during the high seasons.
The Chaweng beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Samui Island. It is also one of the most heavily populated beaches on the island, dotted with numerous accommodation facilities. It is a beach that is at its most tranquil during the morning hours before the vibrant local commerce overruns it with vendors, deckchairs, noisy jet skis and small massage parlors.
Chaweng beach has a long stretch of white powdery sand that is dotted with beautiful coconut palm trees along its length, providing excellent shade for lovely naps away from the direct glare of the afternoon sun. Beyond the shoreline lies cool, calm, clear blue water that is perfect for swimming, splashing around, or jet skiing on one of the jet skis available for hire.
Chaweng beach is also an entertainment hot spot on the island with numerous domestic and foreign bars together with a host of different nightclubs that dish out popular techno and reggae tunes all night long to the happy guests. The area also features a busy shopping center with numerous art shops and supermarkets filled with plenty of different souvenir ideas. Accommodation at the beach has been built to cater for everyone’s taste, ranging from low cost bungalows to private villas and high-end resorts.
A downside of the Chaweng beach region are the poorly maintained roads and sprawling urban center that is a mélange of different resorts just springing up in different parts without careful planning. The beach has also become overridden with petty thieves, especially in the low income accommodation areas, and visitors are advised to be wary of their personal security, especially during the night. A variety of different fake shoe shops are the most recent addition, dealing in knock-off Adidas and Nike shoes to unsuspecting tourists.
Bophut is a beach village on the northern coast of Ko Samui. Confusingly, Bophut is also an administrative district, so a Bophut address is no guarantee that it is located in or around the village. Nevertheless, Bophut beach covers several kilometers between Maenam beaches and Big Buddha, with a fisherman’s village—the oldest place on the island—taking up the middle section.
Bophut beach is the most elegant and well maintained part of Koh Samui island, despite being the oldest. It is mainly lined by wooden shop-houses in the Chinese style as well as a few modern structures. However, it has a distinctive and well-kept Mediterranean feel, something that owes to the area having been the area’s core French outpost for so many years.
Among the many Chinese shops on the beach, there are several boutiques that sell impeccable quality clothing as well as jewelry. Also available are dive shops that offer scuba lessons or day dive trips to famous sites around Bophut beach like Sail Rock, Koh Tao Island, and—not least—Ang Thong Marine Park.
Hotels and villas here offer jeep rides to hard-to-reach places like Secret Buddha garden, and selected boat tours to some of the most secluded spots on the neighboring islands.
Elephant riding is another activity that newcomers will want to experience. Then there are fishing trips with local fishermen taking their boats to the waters off Koh Samui and Koh Phangan Islands. If your energy permits, you might want to discover the jungle canopy by freely swinging through the trees—not like Tarzan but on a cable. Samui Crocodile Farm is a fascinating place, stocked with Siamese crocodiles, caimans and saltwater crocodiles, as well as an assortment of snakes, lizards and monkeys.
The fisherman’s village is the central hub where you’ll find shopping, drinking, restaurants, and if it pleases you, some body massage in one of the local parlors. There are guesthouses and hotels with modern facilities as well for your accommodation.
Big Buddha Beach
Big Buddha beach is one of the fastest growing areas in Koh Samui Island. Its greatest advantage is its proximity to the airport that makes it easily accessible by numerous tourists arriving for a Thai vacation. Koh Samui is off Thailand’s southern coast, and Big Buddha beach is located at its northern tip, making it the ideal spot for catching a speedboat or ferry to the popular Haad Rin beach on the next island of Koh Phangan.
The beach is named after the twelve meter high statue of Buddha that is strategically placed on the low hill behind it. Big Buddha beach is a sweeping three kilometer stretch of white sand that is ideal for the usual range of activities such as sun bathing under the afternoon sun, or taking an evening stroll as you watch the magical tropical sunset.
Big Buddha beach is lined with a variety of accommodation facilities that range from high end beach resorts and hotels to mid-price family owned bungalows that usually have restaurants attached offering tasty local cuisines. There are also a few spas where holidaymakers can retreat from the beach to relax in the steamy saunas. Another popular attraction at the beach is the temple in town which attracts numerous tourists as well as pilgrims from all over the region.
Big Buddha beach is a popular destination, and hence is not ideal for tourists who prize tranquility above other attractions. The beach also has a thriving nightlife, although not quite as intense as you’ll find at Haad Rin on the neighboring island of Koh Phangan. There are a variety of local bars and night clubs throwing occasional parties as well as some newly established British bars. There are also numerous art and curio shops and supermarkets that make shopping at the beach a thriving activity.
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Bang Po Beach
Bang Po beach is a four kilometer strip located between Nathon and Maenam, whose coastline is lined with palm trees, golden sand and sparkling waters. Bang Po closely resembles Koh Phangan Island, for the sand is soft and pristine while the sea keeps the soft waves rolling pleasantly. Many expats and retirees are settling around this beach location, making it a mainly residential area.
Bang Po beach also presents itself as the cleanest beach in Samui. Despite its proximity to the main road, it maintains its character as a quiet and tranquil beach, with a lot to offer to its visitors. Its residential setting, complemented by the rental villas that surround the beach, presents a homely feeling where you won’t experience irritating noise from neighbors. Most people here love their peace, and they get exactly that.
The sunsets—best experienced at the beach’s far west end—are magnificent.
Swimmers and snorkelers love the warm waters, which are also great for sailing. Also available nearby is a butterfly farm and a Tiger zoo that first time visitors to the beach are generally eager to check out.
If you move further south you find Chaweng, famed for its numerous clubs, discos, pubs, and carefree lifestyle.
Shoppers and style lovers will most especially love Chaweng, and will want to head straight to the designer shops that sell almost anything anyone can think of.
Towards the east of Bang Po beach lies Mae Nam, which has many restaurants and bars. There is a fishing village nearby as well, where the local restaurants select the best fish ready to prepare for their guests. The wide choice of bars and restaurants around here make it easy for visitors to find the place that best suits their individual needs and desires.
Bang Kao Beach
Bang Kao beach is located on the southern part of Koh Samui Island, which is home to some of Thailand’s most magnificent beaches. These southern beaches are small and picturesque, ideal for those who prefer destinations with lots of eye catching natural scenery. Bang Kao beach is also quite secluded as this part of the island is relatively undeveloped. Still, there are a variety of bungalows, beach resorts and hotels offering affordable accommodation and providing quiet and peaceful arenas for tranquil relaxation.
Bang Kao beach is a 2km long stretch of sandy beach that is ideal for taking a morning jog or an evening barefoot stroll as you watch the sunset. The sand near the water is flat, while onshore it is generally very soft—ideal for trekking, or a beach volleyball or soccer game.
The beach is lined with a cordon of tall, beautiful palm trees that provide excellent shade from the hot afternoon sun. Visitors can relax under the palm trees before moving out to the open beach in the evening when the air is cooler. The waters at Bang Kao beach are calm and warm all year round, making it ideal for refreshing swims in the sea.
The Samui aquarium and Tiger zoo are fine local attractions to check out while in the Bang Kao beach area. There is also the delightful butterfly garden, home to numerous different indigenous types of butterflies that are kept in a well controlled environment. For the spiritually inclined, Ban Kao is home to Wat Khunaram temple, one of the most curious and mysterious attractions on the island. Inside the temple is a vault that has the mummified remains of Phra Khru Sammathakittikhun, the revered ex-abbot who died in 1973.