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All you need to know to visit Koh Samui

Southern Thailand
668 km from Bangkok
Province of Surat Thani


Recomm. stay
3 jours minimum


Practical guide to go and visit Koh Samui

Koh Samui island is probably one of the busiest in Thailand. It is also the only one with an airport with Phuket airport. Known for its nightlife, it also offers visitors a beatifuk coastline with white sand beaches and turquoise waters. The sea is sometimes a little rough. This is the ideal destination for people who love to party, love hot weather, the beach and nightlife (especially at Chaweng Beach). But Samuiisland is also a nice destination for family vacation, it offers many water activities and tours, massage parlors or spas. To discover a more authentic Samui, go inside the land in the mountain. You will fruit trees and cooc trees and some nice viewpoints. There is anyway a few temples and a huge Buddha that you can see from the window of the plane when you land or take off. On the beach, you will mainly be between tourists and expats. You will also find almost every type of cuisine: European, Asian, American... in restaurants.
Each beach has its peculiarities and its adepts. The most popular because it is close to all entertainment including bars and nightclubs is Chaweng Beach. Lamai a little further is calmer even the churning of the ocean is more shy and swimming more enjoyable. Favorite of backpackers, the island has become over the years a little more upscale destination . The prices are still reasonable compared to our Western standards but no longer as attractive for backpackers. Anyway during low season you can get very good deals with prices cut by a half or more.
Generally, November and December are particularly rainy in Samui, it is better to come here on other months if you can. But weather is lesser and lesser predicatble.
koh samui

Accommodations in Koh Samui

In Koh Samui, the liveliest and busiest area is Chaweng Beach. It is also where the hotels are the most expensive and guesthouses the rarest. If you want to sleep it is better book your room in advance. Then you have Lamai, a little further in the South. This beach is the backpackers' favorite. The accommodation rates are lower and there is a lot of guesthouses and small complex of bungalows with a friendly atmosphere. Otherwise, Hat Bophut and Mae Nam, less attractive except for Bophut Fishing Village, which is not really a fishing village anymore but is quite popular with tourists. There you will also find a few reasonably priced accommodation and luxurious complex options. Nathon is like the capital of the island with the piers. It is not not the most pleasant area in Koh Samui but there are few hotels or guesthouses.

Find accommodation in Koh Samui

My recommandations

People often ask me what accommodations I recommend in Thailand, here are my recommandations in Koh Samui.

Hotel in Koh Samui

Lamai Beach

Hotel in Koh Samui

Mae Nam

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Practical information about Koh Samui

Koh Samui has an airport but flights are quite expensive compared to other destinations in Thailand. To save money, man travelers prefer to go to Surat Thani by plane and take the ferry from there or buy a bus + ferry ticket (online booking HERE).

How to go to Koh Samui ?

Koh Samui has its own airport. It belongs to Bangkok Airways, which intends to make it profitable and has the monopoly on the flights to Samui. A monopoly that allows them to charge much higher prices than on routes with competition. Bangkok Airways offers direct flights to Samui from the 2 Bangkok airports (Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang), Krabi, Pattaya, Chiang Mai or Phuket. The prices are quite expensive compared to the average price of domestic flights in Thailand. However, the more you book in advance, the lower the price is. Except for exceptional promotions which would allow you to have an even better price. Otherwise, you can get to Samui island by boat from Surat Thani (actually, Donsak which is 1h30 drive from Surat Thani) accessible by plane, train (from Bangkok, I recommend a sleeper train because the journey is long, you can book your train tickets to Surat Thani here< /a>) or bus. There are bus + boat packages from Bangkok, like the ones offered by Lomprayah that leave from the Khao San Road district (online booking HERE) and get you on the ferry near Chumphon. But these are quite long journeys. Nok Air and Air Asia offer flight + bus + ferry packages to Ko Samui via Chumphon, Surat Thani or Nakhon Si Thammarat. A good compromise to go to Samui island without a too long trip (allow 5-6 hours of journey) while escaping the high price of direct Bangkok Airways flights. When you buy a Surat Thani - Koh Samui ticket, the bus or van ride to the pier is included. There are bus departures from Surat Thani Railway Station, Surat Thani Town or Surat Thani Airport. The trip to Donsak Pier is about 1h30. Keep your valuables on you, there are thefts in the bus during the ferry crossing or night bus journeys.

From the neighboring islands Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, between the different ferry companies, you have almost a boat to Samui every hour. Lomprayah, Seatran and Phantip offer bus + boat packages from Krabi, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta or Khao Lak in particular.

Note that Air Asia's direct Chiang Mai - Surat Thani flight is once again on a schedule which allows you to continue with a ferry to Koh Samui.

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My selection of tours & activities in Koh Samui

Angthong Marine Park by Speed ​​Boat Koh Samui

Angthong Marine Park by Speed ​​Boat

Offered in Englishenglish guide
The Ang Thong Marine Park near Koh Samui island is one of the most beautiful of its kind in Thailand. It is definitely a must visit if you are in Samui or Koh Phangan.

Koh Samui out f the beaten tracks in 4×4 Koh Samui

Koh Samui out f the beaten tracks in 4×4

Offered in Englishenglish guide
Explore the inner beauty of Koh Samui island far from the regular tourist sites in a small group with a English guide. Discover Samui local life and the hidden places that most tourists never see.

How to get around in Koh Samui ?

Taxis in Koh Samui are still reluctant to use their meter and the prices they even offer even after negotiations are often very high. The motorcycle taxis are cheaper but less safe. Otherwise, there are songthaews (shared taxis) touring on the main roads of the island You can get on and off at any time. Negotiate the price with the driver before getting in. They do not go everywhere, they follow fixed routes but connect at least the main beaches of Koh Samui. Count 20 baht for a short ride to several hundred baht for a long drive.
You can rent a scooter (about 200 THB per day) or a car (800THB per day) in Koh Samui but check their condition and don't hesitate to take pictures. And be careful on the roads especially with scooter. Tourists accidents make aKoh Samui hospitals very rich. We also remind you that wearing a helmet is mandatory. You can also use GRAB app (similar to UBER but UBER does not operate in Southestern Asia any more) or Navigo to order a transportation in Samui.

Festivals in Koh Samui ?

Here is a list of the main festivals taking place every year in Koh Samui. I mention their dates as soon as they are official on Thai Festivals page.
samui festival

Samui Festival

This festival generally takes place in the month of September

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Other places to see in Koh Samui

Wat Khunaram Koh Samui
Wat Khunaram
and its mummified monk with sunglasses. The building is modest but seing this well-preserved mummified monk in meditation position with his sunglasses is pretty funny.
Khao Hua Jook Pagoda Koh Samui
Khao Hua Jook Pagoda
and its golden chedi temple close to Chaweng Beach. Perched on a hill, Kho Hua Jook pagoda offers a beautiful view on the airport runway and the lake
Wat Sila Ngu Koh Samui
Wat Sila Ngu
This small temple still little known to tourists has a red hall with magnificent relief sculptures. Located on Hua Thanon beach in the south of Koh Samui, it can be accessed from the main road or from the beach via a staircase.
Khao Chedi Koh Samui
Khao Chedi
This small temple not far from the Laem Sor Pagoda is perched on a little hill in the South of Koh Samui and doesn't lack of charm with its refined white Buddhas. It also offers beautiful views on Koh Taen and Koh Matsum islands and the Bang Kao bay.
Secret Buddha Garden (Tarnim Magic Garden) Koh Samui
Secret Buddha Garden (Tarnim Magic Garden)
This small private garden has earned a reputation in Koh Samui. In a beautiful setting with rocks, trees and waterfalls, there are statues of Buddhas and figures of Buddhism. This garden is a charming place but tis not secret anymore as every day many people visit it. But it is interesting to go there especially if you have the chance to visit it when there is nobody else.
Lamai Viewpoint Koh Samui
Lamai Viewpoint
This small viewpoint offers stunning views over Lamai Beach. Located just above the Grandpa and Grandma rocks, many tourists miss it because its access is a bit hidden.
Laem Sor Pagoda Koh Samui
Laem Sor Pagoda
located at the southern tip of the island, on the rocky coast, it has a golden chedi and was built from thousands of golden tiles.
Samui Elephant Sanctuary Koh Samui
Samui Elephant Sanctuary
This respectful elephant sanctuary opened in early 2018. It is the first elephant sanctuary on an island that had until then only elephants trekking camps. By going there, you will live a beautiful encounter with elephants while being sure to not involuntarily participate in their abuse.
Koh Phangan island Koh Samui
Koh Phangan island
Opposite Koh Samui, Koh Phangan island deserves you to stay there for several days and nights to really discover and enjoy it but it is possible to just go there fore the day and visit the main places and beaches, snorkel ect... either by tours via travel agencies or by yourself but you have to calculate it good with the ferry between Samui and Ko Phangan timetables.

Weather & climate in Koh Samui

Koh Samui has a tropical savanna climate. The island has only one month of true dry season (February). The climate is hot and humid for most of the year but the island is on average less humid than Phuket. The rainiest months are October and especially November. The rest of the year, given the tropical climate, showers are brief.

The best mome,nt to come to Koh Samui is from January to April but Samui is also enjoyable during the months of July and August. At this time of the year Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are the islands of Thailand where the weather is the best. The months of October and especially November (sometimes until mid-December) are not recommended for a stay in Ko Samui.

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When to go to Koh Samui ?

quand partir à Koh Samui

How to ask in Thai to go to Koh Samui ?

I want to go to Koh Samui / Yak paï ti Koh Samui.
Where is Koh Samui ? / Koh Samui you ti naï ?
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