Photo: A bit of kitesurfing on Laem Set beach.

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.

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Samui's southern coast consists of several small villages. The largest of these, Hua Thanon, lies 10 minutes' drive south of Lamai Beach on the Ring Road, just past Hin Ta and Hin Yai (Grandfather and Grandmother rocks).

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Hua Thanon is a Muslim fishing village and arguably the best place to buy fresh fish on the island. It is also a good spot for photos, as colourful longtail boats line the shores, fishers untangle fishing nets and fish is sold to restaurants and locals. Needless to say, a few excellent beachfront seafood restaurants can be found along this coast, and are easily spotted as the Ring Road lies close to the shore at this point.

At the entrance to Hua Thanon, you will find the turn off to the Overlap Stone, a rock that is precariously perched atop a sheer cliff overlooking Lamai beach. Although not easy to get to, as the road can only be reached by dirt bike or a strenuous walk, the views are spectacular.

Laem Set lies in the far south of the island, along the 4170 road, which branches off the 4169 Ring Road at Hua Thanon. Just west of Laem Set is Bang Kao and Laem Sor. These southern bays and beaches are generally undeveloped, and make for great exploration. If you are on a scooter or jeep, don't hesitate to drive down overgrown tracks or dirt paths, and you may just come out at a secluded beach, reminiscent of what Samui's northern shores looked like 30 years ago.

This area is within easy reach to attractions such at the Butterfly Garden, several temples and viewpoints, as well as the aquarium and tiger zoo (not recommended). There are a few high-end resorts, spas and restaurants in the area, but life is definitely quieter than the northern coast, so for anyone wanting a bit more action, this is not the place to be.

Those looking for a taste of the old Samui will do well visiting this side, if only for day trips, as one sees old wooden houses, monkeys picking coconuts, buffalo grazing, and laidback locals going about their daily routines. A visit to the Magic Alambic Rum distillery makes for a pleasant outing if you are this side of the island.

Songthaews and taxis do come here, but generally they are more frequent along the Ring Road, so having your own transport would be a better option. Contrary to what one might expect, accommodation does not seem cheaper along the quieter south coast.

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