Koh Samui is an island off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand.
The best time to visit… february – april.
Visited in february 2012. It was hot everyday, but not unbearable. Chaweng was packed with tourists, but Boput not so much, yet it was lively all day and all night. The only crowded beach was in Chaweng, but the beach is so long it did not matter.
Read my Koh Samui destination review!
Where to stay in Koh Samui
If you want to stay where the action is then choose an accommodation close to Chaweng. IMO Chaweng beach is the best beach in Koh Samui because of its clear water. The beach is also shallow so well suited for children. If you’re staying for a longer holiday you will probably end up in Chaweng because of its shopping opportunities and many restaurants. It takes a few hours to walk the entire “walking street” of Chaweng, where you will find street side stalls selling clothing, electronics, books, and more on both sides of the road.
This is a cosy and relaxing place to stay. The Fisherman’s Village in Bophut is one of the top attractions in Koh Samui and has several shops and restaurants to choose from. It is smaller than Chaweng, less crowded, less noisy, and more authentic. The place has character and many shops, restaurants, bars, and tourist agents. The beach is clean, but not clear. It’s good for swimming, but not suited for children as it gets steep right away.
If you like being by yourself then this is a good choice. IMO too remote if you intend to explore other parts of the island during your stay.
Where to eat in Koh Samui
Read my post about the restaurants I visited in Koh Samui. Most restaurants are located in Chaweng, but since this is the biggest (and probably most visited) town of Koh Samui many of the restaurants do not really need top ratings or seem to be striving for good reviews as people will stumble in anyways. This is especially true for the restaurants loocated by the main road, although there are great exceptions. My best advice is to choose either a Thai restaurant or make your decision based on if anyone else in the restaurant seems excited about the food. In Bophut there is also a good choice of restaurants; mostly Thai; and mostly good ones!
Of course you don’t need to eat out every day. If you are lucky enough to have cooking skills you can make the most amazing (I don’t write this lightly) food made up of ingredients, meat, and vegetables bought at the supermarket in Tesco (located between Bophut and Chaweng) or at Tops (Chaweng). Buy a book with Thai recipes at the bookshop Bookazine in Chaweng. Just go easy on the curry!
Beaches of Koh Samui
Read my post about the beaches of Koh Samui. I think I nearly visited them all, as I am a true calm-clear-beach-hunter. I was surprised when I decided that for me Chaweng was the best beach; clearest, calmest, and longest. Lipa Noi was the worst one, but only because I kept getting stung in the water. If I was visiting Thailand for scuba diving I would pick another island; like Koh Tao (because the waters are clear). From there you can catch a speedboat that takes about 15 minutes to the truly wonderful island Koh Nang Yuan.