The best beaches in Koh Samui are the main reason why the island appears on the bucket list of so many travelers. With over 50 km of coastline hosting around 40 beaches, bays, and small coves, there’s no shortage of choices. Add a tropical climate that offers a yearly temperature of about 30°C, as well as all the infrastructure necessary to accommodate, feed, and entertain visitors, and it’s no wonder Koh Samui is one of the most popular destinations in Southern Thailand.

    The most popular beaches in Koh Samui could not be more different from each other. From the long and busy Chaweng to the short and secluded Choeng Mon, there’s a strip of sand for a wide variety of tastes in Samui. Check out our list of the best to make sure that you pick a beach that’s right for you.

    Chaweng Beach is a popular stretch of powdery white sand in Koh Samui. The wide bay is the focal point for the development of the island's tourism industry. Its majestic 5-km-long crescent of shoreline is bordered by rocky headlands on either end, with an offshore reef and the tiny island of Koh Matlam to the north.

    Chaweng offers more accommodations options than elsewhere on Koh Samui. The beach is also the island's main nightlife hub, with bars and restaurants catering to every taste. On the downside, it has a very “touristy” feel, so it lacks the distinctive Thai identity you'd find in other neighborhoods of Koh Samui.

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    Lamai is Koh Samui's second-largest resort town after Chaweng. Lamai Beach itself is lovely – a stunning crescent of palm-fringed powdery white sand that's great for whiling away the day sunbathing. There’s even a deep central stretch of water that’s great for bathing and water sports. Large granite boulders are the landmarks of Lamai Beach – the most famous of them being Hin Ta and Hin Yai, at the southern end of the beach.

    Lamai is quieter and less bustling than its big sister, but has plenty of accommodations, dining and shopping options, as well as some great spas and tourist sites to explore. It’s considered the better option for families and older travelers.

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    Location: Lamai Beach, Maret, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84310, Thailand

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    Bophut

    Bophut is really 2 places: Bophut Beach, which sweeps down several kilometers between Bangrak and Maenam beaches, and the charming Fisherman’s Village. The latter is perhaps one of the oldest places on the island and takes up the eastern section of the beach. It has a reputation that stretches way beyond Samui for being the most elegant and well-preserved place on the island. A fantastic street market takes place here on Fridays.

    Bophut Beach itself is a 3-km-long strip lined with resorts for all budget levels. You can enjoy a great view of Koh Phangan, located some 12 km north of the beach.

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    Maenam

    Maenam is a peaceful beach with excellent views of Koh Phangan. Many of its resorts are located at the end of long, rambling pathways, affording a degree of privacy unavailable elsewhere. 

    While it was originally a genuine backpacker area, Maenam now hosts a great range of beachfront accommodations options. The beach itself offers a great playground for long strolls around sunset, with the possibility to stop and have a refreshing drink at one of the bars along the shore.

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    Choeng Mon

    Choeng Mon is a series of bays on the northeastern tip of Samui Island. More upmarket than its neighbor Bangrak, it’s dominated by a handful of 3- to 5-star resorts. Even so, it’s still a quiet beach, not yet known by the majority of visitors.

    Choeng Mon Beach is rather small, about 700 meters long and nestled in a beautiful bay. It’s wide and sandy, with a rock formation on one side offering good snorkeling and an islet that can be easily reached by sea kayak on the other side.

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    Lipa Noi

    Lipa Noi is a convenient choice for anyone driving to Koh Samui from the mainland. The beach has fine white sand, and there are no rocks or coral in the water, making it one of the best beaches for kids on the island. The water is also very shallow for up to 100 meters out.

    There are a few well-spaced bungalow operations, as well as more upscale resorts. Apart from the beach and a few cool beach bars, there's little else to do in the area – its very remoteness is what makes it most attractive to many visitors.

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    Taling Ngam

    Taling Ngam consists of pristine beaches shrouded by jungle and stunning views of the Ang Thong National Marine Park. The west-facing beach also offers stunning sunset views in one of the most picturesque parts of the island.

    Accommodations ranges from cheap bungalows to upscale resorts. The beach is at least a 20-minute drive even from Nathon, the nearest town of any significance, and almost an hour away from Chaweng. That said, if you're after a relaxing, lazy, tropical vacation in Samui above all else, Taling Ngam is hard to beat.

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    Silver Beach is a 250-metre-long tropical beach paradise set in a charming little bay facing northeast of Koh Samui. Also known as Haad Thong Ta-khian (‘the beach of the Ta-khian Trees’ in Thai), the beach hosts 4 long-established hotels and restaurants, which occupy the full length of the beach.

    You can still access Silver Beach for free, even if you’re not a hotel guest. Located just north of Lamai Beach, it’s a tranquil strip of sand and well worth the visit. You can enjoy very good sunbathing, bathing and snorkeling opportunities.

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    Samrong Beach and Thongson Bay

    Samrong Beach and Thongson Bay are the northernmost destinations in Koh Samui. Lying side by side on the small cape between Bangrak and Choeng Mon beaches, they offer splendid views of Koh Phangan. Both of these coves are easily accessible as they host a good choice of hotels.

    These 2 coves (3, if you count the self-explanatory ‘Naturism Beach’, which is 100 meters east of Thongson Bay) are simply beautiful. They offer crystal-clear waters, powdery white sand, and the feeling like you have your very own private beach.

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    Bang Por

    Bang Por is arguably the most laidback beach in the north of Koh Samui. It’s rated as one of the island’s best backpacker beaches, though you can still find a few top-notch resorts on this beach.

    With a total length of almost 11 km, interrupted only by the mouth of the Phong Phae River and a tiny rocky cape, Bang Por has the longest shoreline in Koh Samui. Even lined with bars, restaurants, and a range of accommodations choices, it still has a genuine tropical touch. Located just west of Maenam, this beach offers an off-the-beaten-track destination.

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    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveler

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