Ko Samui is so big, we've split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Ko Samui as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don't know where to start? Read an overview of Ko Samui's different areas.
Central Chaweng Beach is Samui's busiest patch of sand, home to mostly midrange resorts that put you close to the nightlife. Chaweng's southern side is popular with Aussies and includes the long-running Poppies, though the budget options are rather dismal here. South of that stretches Chaweng Noi with its stylish (and pricey) resorts. Quieter Northern Chaweng is home to some elegant beach resorts mainly drawing families and couples.
Chaweng has something for everyone, but the bulk of accommodation is aimed at package tours and mid-range travellers looking to spend around 1,500 to 4,000B a night. A few places are priced at under 500B but they are few and far between, and grotty. It's also easy to spend more than 4,000B.
Be aware that theft is on the rise, especially at the cheaper places. When going out for the day, make sure that all your windows and doors are closed and locked. At night, if your windows are not screened -- rare now -- keep your bags under your bed as crafty thieves have been known to use hooked poles to drag items out while you sleep. Also beware if you check into a room with an open-air bathroom, which have become the latest rage. Make sure that the bathroom door can be locked -- and keep it locked -- as it's easy for thieves to jump walls and get in. If at night you wake up while being robbed, stay where you are and do not make eye contact with the thief. Do not struggle, as robberies do turn violent.
At this end of Chaweng Beach, the water gets a bit rougher and the sand is far grainier -- Australians will feel right at home. The range of hotels and guesthouses are mixed, ranging from a stack of cookie cutter hotels aimed squarely at mid-range, fly-in tourists, to a few lovely top-range choices. For budget travellers, this area of the beach is quite limited, as the rustic stuff is very rustic indeed.
Poppies has been a firm Samui favourite since it opened in 1994, both for its accommodation and its fine-dining restaurant. The restaurant offers both Thai and European fare, and a full vegetarian menu is on offer. Diners experience traditional Thai music and dancing on Saturday evenings, while dining either on the beachfront or under the teak pavilion overlooking the pool. The 24 Thai-style... Read our full review of Poppies.
This is where all the action is. Central Chaweng Beach is often very crowded, as the sand is at its finest and the waters most sparkling in this area. A wide range of guesthouses and hotels are offered, from the budget and mid-range through to top-end, break-your-budget digs. Note that the vast majority of hotels here are affected by noise from the clubs, bars and regular beach parties. Light sleepers will definitely need earplugs, particularly at the cheaper off-the-beach spots.
Buri Rasa offers an element of tranquility and sophistication amid an otherwise chaotic Chaweng. Ochre-coloured villas with aged wooden carved doors are set in tropical gardens, with dedicated quiet zones around massage salas. Common areas such as the large library room, bar and restaurant have features like black and white photos, huge wooden and brass ceiling fans and whitewashed walls and... Read our full review of Buri Rasa Village.
The Ark Bar is known as one of Samui's most happening party spots. At night resident DJs get the crowd going, and tourists and locals puff on hubbly bubblies and sip cocktails on sun loungers converted into chill out platforms, complete with pyramid cushions and fairy lights. From the beach, you will find Ark Bar One and Ark Bar Two, as the property has expanded due to popularity. The... Read our full review of Ark Bar Beach Hotel.
Chaweng Garden Beach Resort offers two styles of accommodation, standard and superior rooms set in a building, and bungalow and villa-style rooms set in a garden under tall shady trees. All rooms have air-con and TV, and rates include breakfast. The bungalows are very smart, with polished wooden floors, silk cushions, stained glass and orchids, and are furnished with beautiful functional pieces... Read our full review of Chaweng Garden Beach Resort.
Everything about Kirikayan's decor is bold and dramatic, from the blood red patios with glass and silver chandeliers, to the black glass headboards, statues and art pieces set in the garden. The black swimming pool with waterfall, massage salas and pool bar are located next to the beach, dotted with red umbrellas creating a sharp contrast against the white sand and turquoise ocean. Guests can... Read our full review of Kirikayan Boutique Resort.
Previously the Tana Boutique Hotel, the Mercure Samui Chaweng Tana is located on the main Chaweng road, set back from the beach by about 100 metres. The hotel houses two eateries, Fuji Japanese Restaurant and Brasserie Tomo, a French cafe. Although the building is four floors high, it is not an imposing structure and visually appealing. The entrance is impressive, with aged hardwood floors,... Read our full review of Mercure Samui Chaweng Tana .
Al's Huts are literally that: small whitewashed bungalows with rustic thatched roofs. This long-time favourite of budget travellers to Chaweng is set under tall trees and its bungalows are simply furnished, but air-con and TV take them a step up from the standard backpacker label. Larger bungalows are available, but if your budget allows for these, then better options are available in this price... Read our full review of Al's Hut.
Baan Samui was designed with a distinctive Mediterranean feel in mind, with stucco walls, arches, iron balustrades and chandeliers. It was originally painted in earthy tones, with splashes of colour, giving it a slight Moroccan feel; then management decided to paint the exterior in every day glo colour imaginable. The buildings housing the rooms are painted cerise, tangerine, indigo and... Read our full review of Baan Samui Resort.
By Chaweng standards, The Island Resort and Spa is reasonably priced. Their bungalows closer to the beach are more attractive, painted in white and pastel hues, with small patios and thatched roofs to give them a vaguely Caribbean vibe. The older bungalows, although not as pretty to look at, are considerably cheaper. Rooms have been tastefully furnished and have all the usual amenities such as... Read our full review of The Island.
The Loft Samui is an excellent choice for the budget traveller. Rooms are clean, serviced daily and spacious considering the price. All rooms have hot showers, and can be either air-con or fan-cooled. Use of the pool table and WiFi is free for guests, and the Don Lay Spa offers cheap massages. The Loft Bar and Cafe, a popular hangout in Chaweng, hosts live music most nights and serves both Thai... Read our full review of The Loft Samui.
The three-storey Queen Boutique Place opened in 2011, and offers 15 rooms with standard, superior and deluxe options, furnished in a contemporary Asian style. The beach is a 300-metre walk away and Samui's famous cooking school, SITCA, is next door. Rooms have air-con, minibar, TV with DVD player, hot water showers and telephone, and are fairly spacious, offering good value at the price. A small... Read our full review of Queen Boutique Place.
Stay at Xin City, and you could be anywhere in the world. There is nothing that gives you the feeling of being in Thailand, until you step out of the building into the heart of Chaweng's party district of Soi Green Mango. This aside, the rooms are clean, very reasonably priced, and have decent facilities, including air-con, WiFi in all rooms, TV, fridge and minibar, hot water shower and safe. The... Read our full review of Xin City Samui.
Chaweng Budget Hotel lacks character and appeal. On a positive note, guests may use all the facilities of their sister establishment, the Chaweng Cove Resotel across the road, making it a good option for budget travellers who would not otherwise have free access to facilities that include a huge swimming pool, beach chairs and umbrellas, fitness centre and internet centre. Rooms at Chaweng Budget... Read our full review of Chaweng Budget Hotel.
Some of Chaweng's top hotels are dotted from the northern tip of the beach down to around O.P. Bungalow opposite Ko Matlang, a stretch of fine sand that's not too noisy at night, though the beach is sheltered by an offshore reef and is very shallow and prone to mudflats at low tide. It's a great spot for families, but a poor choice if you plan to do a lot of swimming.
Akyra opened in mid 2011, and is the epitome of Japanese style. Soft grays and neutral tones, linen, simple artwork, screens, wood and screed floors, bamboo and slanted roofs all add to the Zen feel. The open-air bathrooms are remarkable, and the one-bedroom suites feature enormous granite bathtubs with rain showers, double vanities, bathrobes and body products. The rooms are set in steel, glass... Read our full review of The Akyra.
Baan Haad Ngam is located in the northern end of Chaweng and offers three types of accommodation. The well-priced superior rooms are set into the main building, and the deluxe villas are positioned in the garden. Pool villas are to the side of the main resort, and are of a more modern design with private plunge pools. Water forms a major feature in the resort, with a huge cascading waterfall... Read our full review of Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort.
Banyan House is one of the few bed and breakfast establishments on Ko Samui, where most accommodation is in the form of resorts, bungalows or apartments. The giant coffee cup outside invites you to stop, and what you first notice is a blue windowed conservatory that forms the restaurant. Tables are set in the lush garden under giant trees, with dangling orchids.Who wouldn’t want to go... Read our full review of Banyan House bed & breakfast.
O.P. Bungalow is located towards the northern end of Chaweng beach. The 30 simple bungalows have small verandahs, and are set in well-maintained gardens. The rooms lack style, but are clean and equipped with TVs and air-con as well as free WiFi. Although the resort does not have a swimming pool, it is set on one of the better stretches of beach, shaded by enormous trees. The restaurant and beach... Read our full review of O.P. Bungalow.
Yai Noi Bay, to the north of Chaweng Beach, is reachable by walking along the beach or via taxi or songthaew. It's home to two rather fine hotels suitable for mid-range getaways. Yai Noi Bay a quiet area, but only a short drive away from the hectic mess of Chaweng.
Chaweng Noi (little Chaweng) is a small beach just to the south of Chaweng proper. Home primarily to mid-range and above resorts, it's still worth visiting on a day trip, particularly if you're staying on nearby Chaweng, as the beach is mostly uncrowded and shaded and there is good swimming. The road is a long way back from the beach, so there's little traffic noise. As the resorts take up all the property, however, the only eating choices are at hotels.
At the top of one of Samui's most appalling dirt roads, the Jungle Club is a superb find. With arguably the finest views on the entire island, and a horizon pool straight out of Vogue, once you check-in you won't be going anywhere else (although the bad road contributes to that). The bungalows, while with just basic furnishings, are immaculate, and some of them have spectacular views. The... Read our full review of Jungle Club.
Fair House Beach Resort & Hotel is the sister establishment to Fair House Villas & Spa in Mae Nam. The resort is set on a vast estate, with coconut groves, rolling lawns, hills, established gardens and a path leading to the pristine beach of Chaweng Noi. Accommodation is in the form of either rooms in the main buildings, or traditional pitched roofed Thai-style bungalows. Both types offer... Read our full review of Fair House Beach Resort.
New Star Beach Resort offers several types of accommodation. The Palm rooms are relatively good value for money, whereas the beachfront and pool villas are overpriced compared to similar beachfront accommodation. The Palm rooms are spacious with over-sized bathrooms containing luxurious toiletries. Modern architecture and decor includes curved roofs with skylights, bold artwork, dark wood panels... Read our full review of New Star Beach Resort.
The Kala is perched on top of giant granite boulders overlooking the ocean, on a picturesque section of coastline between Chaweng Noi and Coral Cove (a small bay just before Lamai proper). The interior is an eclectic mix of modern Zen and antiques, blended with comfortable pieces, interesting artwork and all the comforts one would expect. Rates are reasonable for the standard, and the rooms are... Read our full review of The Kala.