Photo: Wreck on the beach, Nathon.


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Located on the island's northwest coast, Nathon is Ko Samui's administrative and business centre along with its primary ferry port. A bustling, typical mid-sized Thai town, visitors are most likely to find themselves here on a transit basis, for a spot of shopping, or, in the past, to perhaps to visit the immigration office (which has now moved to Mae Nam) – it does not otherwise offer much in the way of recreation.

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This said, if you're looking for a reason to peel yourself off the beach for a day but are stuck for a destination, Nathon is a good candidate, due to its abundance of shops offering goods at far cheaper prices than in Samui's tourist centres.

Beach running south from Nathon. Photo taken in or around Nathon, Ko Samui, Thailand by Stuart McDonald.

Beach running south from Nathon. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Wooden Chinese shophouses dot the main road, and sell clothing, wood carvings, silk items, arts and crafts and other tourist paraphernalia. Nathon's walking street market is held at the main ferry pier every Saturday night, and is popular with locals and offers cheap street food among other bits and pieces.

The centre of town is dominated by a clockwise-running one way road that loops through the southern part of town and along the beachfront. At the southern corner, overlooking the water you'll find a bunch of restaurants and bars ideal for sunset. North of town (not walking distance) are a second strong of bars and restaurants, some with live entertainment in the evening.

One plate Thai dish for breakfast at Nathon. Photo taken in or around Nathon, Ko Samui, Thailand by Stuart McDonald.

One plate Thai dish for breakfast at Nathon. Photo: Stuart McDonald

While we wouldn't suggest swimming in the ocean out from the centre of town to be a particularly great move, to the south of town, perhaps a hundred metres past the sunset bars and restaurants, the water is fine for a paddle. It is very shallow though, so while ideal for laying around in, you'll not get much swimming done. Also in this area are a few wrecked fishing boats which make for ... Travelfish members only (Around 300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Location map for Nathon

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Popular attractions in Ko Samui

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Ko Samui.

Best places to stay in Ko Samui

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Ko Samui.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ko Samui.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ko Samui.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ko Samui.
 Read up on how to get to Ko Samui, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ko Samui? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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Where to next?

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