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.
Some of the best-value resorts on Ko Samui are great in most departments, but lacking a swimming pool. Should they be located on a beach, this may not be a problem, but sometimes a splash in a pool, decked with sun loungers and an attentive barman on call, is just what the day needs. Don’t despair if your resort doesn’t have watery relief from the heat; several resorts with swimming pools welcome day visitors around the island.
Fair House Villas & Spa at Mae Nam
Fair House Villas is quite a fancy place, but pretty relaxed about the use of their pool. In fact, walk in to reception and they will even summon a golf cart to drive you to the pool area. Their pool is quite exceptional too, offering a swim-up bar, loungers in the pool with Jacuzzi jets, a basketball hoop and several levels and depths. Their poolside menu serves fair-priced lunches, such as burgers and Caesar salads or should you want something more substantial, order from the main restaurant menu. Drinks are more expensive than at roadside cafes, but still reasonable when one factors in the use of a lovely pool, with towels provided.
Ark Bar at Chaweng
Ark Bar is the happening spot for a party on the beach. Here Deejays blast out tunes, sun loungers are in abundance and free barbecues are the order of the day on a Wednesday afternoon. Their food is good and reasonable, and use of the pool is free. Don’t expect to read your book in a serene setting, however this is a great place to people-watch.
Samui Yacht Club, Buddy Oriental or Coco Splash water park at Lamai
Samui Yacht Club has nothing to do with what the name suggests. In fact, you probably won’t see more than a kayak or fishing boat in the bay, as most yachts are moored in Chaweng or Bang Rak. The rooms at this resort are not particularly good which is why we haven’t listed them in our accommodation guide, but their beachfront area is great. The resort lies on Crystal Bay, also known as Silver Beach, which is a small bay of white, powdery sand and clear water, just past Coral Cove, and just before Lamai. Sun loungers face both the pool and the beach, a shower is available to rinse off the salt and sand before cooling in the pool and the restaurant serves good food at reasonable prices. The snorkelling is not bad, with a few large boulders offering protection and creating a calm bay. Be careful of sharp coral along the beachfront.
Buddy Oriental lies on Lamai’s ring road and has two pools, with the one on the beach side of the road open to the public. It’s a large pool, with an attached restaurant with a Caribbean look serving good Thai and Western food. A huge swing hangs from a palm and brings squeals of delight as it sends one flying from the pool deck over the sea.
Those with children may wish to try out Coco Splash water park. They only charge those that go into the water, with a you don’t swim, you don’t pay policy.
Honey Cottages at Choeng Mon
The pool at Honey Cottages is small but perfectly positioned next to a bar that arguably makes the best coconut shakes on the island. Plenty of loungers and decks both in the sun and under huge trees offer a great spot to read a book, or listen to lounge music played from the bar. Their Western food is not particularly good, but they do good curries. The sea right in front of Honey Cottages is quite rocky, but walk only 50 metres to hit a good swimming spot.
Am Samui at Taling Nam
Am Samui is situated along the Virgin Coast — Samui’s quieter southwestern shores — just south of the Intercontinental Hotel. The pool and beach are both great for swimming, and a large wooden swing hangs from a tree overlooking the beach. This is not a party spot; come chill here for an hour or two when exploring Samui’s more undeveloped areas.
Generally speaking, most resorts will allow use of their swimming pool to outside visitors, as long as a meal, or at least a few drinks are ordered. Don’t try saunter up to a sun lounger covered in a plush super-sized towel, with your 7-Eleven bag slung over your arm, filled to the brim with drinks and take away noodle soup in hand, and expect to be welcomed to the resort. Some resorts have signs listing outside visitor rates ranging from 200 to 500 baht per person, but are prepared to waiver this fee if a meal is ordered.
By Rosanne Turner
Last updated on 4th June, 2015.