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Lamai Beach

Travel Guide

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Lamai Beach is Samui's second largest after Chaweng, and lies on the southeast coast, with Chaweng Noi to its north, and Hua Thanon to its south. Driving from Chaweng to Lamai offers spectacular scenery along the 4169 Ring Road, as the route takes one over steep hills and around giant boulders high above the bay. At the lookout point between Chaweng Noi and Lamai a mobile kiosk sells delicious coconut ice cream. A little way further on the bend, a large decorative spirit house guards the road, and locals hoot three times when passing.

Just to the north of Lamai are two beautiful bays. First off is Coral Cove, one of Samui's best snorkelling spots with fish taking advantage of the bay protected by huge granite boulders. Many fishing boats take refuge in this bay when there is news of a storm brewing. Coral Cove offers some good accommodation alternatives for those not wanting to be in the main tourist areas, but only a short drive away. Right before you reach Lamai you'll find Thong Ta Kien Bay. The waters are crystal clear, surrounded by limestone rocks, and fringed with soft white sand palms and shady trees.

The central part of Lamai beach is good for swimming, but the northern part is prone to mud flats at low tide. A large part of the beach is still recovering from Samui's floods in November 2010 and March 2011, as the river completely changed course and sand banks were washed away. The resorts have done a good job in rehabilitating the beach, with the middle section in front of the larger resorts such as the Pavilion being in good condition. Jet skis are in abundance along this beach, as are bars pumping out music, so if peace and quiet is what you are after, then perhaps Lamai is not your best option, but rather quieter Thong Ta Kien or Coral Cove.

Many of Samui's expats, especially the French and Brits, reside in Lamai and the beach also boasts some of the island's top spas such as Tamarind Springs, a long-time favourite, and the hippie-style yoga and detox retreat, Spa Samui Resort, where one can detox and umm, wash away all those toxins.

Lamai's walking street market is hosted on Sunday evenings along the road between the fresh market and the bridge. As with Samui's other walking street markets, this one offers good cheap street food, cocktails, clothing stalls and music. Frequented by locals, expats and tourists alike, it is worth a visit. Coco Splash, Samui's only water park, is located in Lamai and is guaranteed to keep the kids busy for a while, but not particularly fun for adult thrill seekers as the slides are designed for a younger market. Turn left at the McDonalds sign, and follow the Coco Splash signs from there.

Lamai offers everything that Chaweng does, but it's more low-key, generally cheaper but also quite a bit sleazier. Budget accommodation on Lamai Beach is in abundance, as are the hostess bars that line the streets and alleys and just about every corner in between.

Party-loving backpackers tend to head to Lamai because of its cheaper prices, clubs and bars. The Swing Bar on the beach is a favourite hangout, and cheap street cafes are easy to find, as are the vendors selling fruit and grilled corn and chicken on the beach. Backpackers preferring a quieter scene would do better heading towards Mae Nam or Bophut.

One of Samui's natural wonders is found just south of Lamai. Hin-Ta and Hin-Yai, Grandfather and Grandmother rock respectively, have been naturally formed by the elements to resemble male and female genitalia, and are sometimes referred to as the "rude rocks". This is a popular tourist location for photo opportunities, as well as being popular with local Thais on the weekends. The road leading to the rocks is lined with some good gift shops and street food.

This is one of the few places to buy garamear, Samui's own coconut candy, a strange-textured sweet made from sticky rice, coconut and palm sugar. Stands also sell virgin coconut oil, good as a hair conditioner, body oil, for scar treatment as well as for cooking. Leave Lamai on the Ring Road, and travel south. The entrance to the rocks is well signposted on the left.

The best places to stay on Lamai beach, Ko Samui

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Text and/or map last updated on 20th February, 2014.

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