the Beaches in Koh Samui: 2024 Guide +Map

If you want to know which of the beaches in Koh Samui, you should visit on your next vacation, you have come to the right place. We asked our local writer Richard to share his insight and then spent a week checking them out for ourselves.

Koh Samui has a bit of everything – sun, sea, shopping, and sand. There’s lots of sand. As Thailand’s second largest island, Samui has plenty of shorelines to explore and is home to some truly idyllic and popular beaches.

For many a year, Koh Samui has been calling sun-seekers to its golden shores. It’s among the most well known of all the Thai islands and, whether you are looking for an activity-filled family break or a hedonistic odyssey with friends, Samui delivers. 

As you travel around the island’s beaches, you may notice a shift in their character: the eastern beaches are more tourist-oriented. The other difference you may notice is the change in the sand. The beaches on Samui’s east coast have the finest sand, with the north coast beaches having coarser sand.

There’s plenty to see and do on Koh Samui, but central to any Samui getaway is the beach, so let’s have a look at what each of the beautiful beaches of Samui offers…

Chaweng Beach

On the eastern coast of Koh Samui, Chaweng is the bustling epicenter of the island for visitors. Built up around a stunning, long arc of white sand and close to the airport, Chaweng, the island’s main beach, is a hub of activity.

Chewang Beaches in Koh Samui
Chaweng Beach just outside Avani Hotel

Chaweng Beach is family-friendly with a gently sloping waterline, making it a brilliant spot for a dip in the cooling turquoise waters.

At almost 7km long this is one of the longest beaches in Koh Samui. The beach is thronged with bars and restaurants and there is a buzzy vibe. The road just behind the beach is home to a myriad of hotels, shops, and stalls. Post pandemic it’s a bit of a construction zone as new shops and cafes take shape. It looks like it should be in much better shape by the end of 2022.

If lying still in the sand is not your thing, Chaweng Beach has the greatest choice of beach activities to keep you occupied.

For thrill-seekers, there’s the option of parasailing, and for those who prefer to blow last night’s cobwebs away whilst remaining closer to the earth’s surface, there are plenty of jet skis and sea kayaks for hire.

After sunset, Chaweng Beach comes alive—if you want to party on one of the beaches in Koh Samui, Chaweng is the place to be. We recently visited the brand new Seen Beach Club, and this is a must for music lovers.

Chaweng Beaches in Koh Samui
Seen Beach Club on Chaweng is a great place to party

If you are an early riser or an extremely late sleeper, then this east-facing beach is also a brilliant spot to take in the sunrise. 

Silver Beach

A local favorite, Silver Beach, is located south of Chaweng, en route to Lamai. Situated on a small promontory between Chaweng and Lamai beaches, Silver Beach juts out to offer arguably the best beach in Koh Samui for snorkeling.

Silver Beach on Koh Samui island
Silver Beach on Koh Samui island

Tip: Look for signs for Silver Beach Resort as you approach the area. Silver Beach is sometimes known as Crystal Bay.

With Samui’s signature sea-smoothed boulders at each end of this peaceful beach, the gin-clear water in between teeming with tropical fish, and gradually deepening water, Silver Beach is an excellent spot to while away a few hours. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Koh Samui.

Coral Cove Beach

Positioned on the same headland as Silver Beach, Coral Cove is a superb, tranquil spot. This is the beach in Koh Samui that you will come across on YouTube most often. It really is very picturesque.

Approximately 200 meters long and also bookended by large, rounded boulders, Coral Cove is the ideal spot to lose yourself in a book and enjoy the peace that surrounds this secluded bay.

Coral Cove beach, Coral Cove Koh Samui Island
Coral Cove beach, Coral Cove Koh Samui Island

Limited accommodation options help preserve this peaceful environment, and if you want a little extra hustle and bustle, Chaweng is only a short taxi ride away. 

Lamai Beach

A short hop to the south from Silver Beach, and you will hit Lamai Beach. It’s a perfect beach for the family and is Samui’s second most popular beach. 

Lamai Beach in Koh Samui
Lamai Beach Koh Samui

White sand, palm trees offering shade, and inviting water for a swim and a cool-off all make Lamai a perennial favorite for visitors to Samui. There are some excellent restaurants dotted along the edge of the beach and the road, and if you fancy a massage and a nap on the beach after lunch, Lamai is the beach for you.

Lamai Beach Koh Samui
The rocks at the end of Lamai – make your way around to the next cove to find Hin Yai

Whilst visiting Lamai Beach, you should also take the time to visit Hin Rai and Hin Ta. These two naturally occurring rock formations, which resemble male and female genitalia, are a popular tourist attraction on the island.

You will find these unique rock formations close to the southern end of Lamai Beach.

Grandfather Rock Koh Samui
Early morning at Grandfather Rock

Tip: If you’re in ‘culture mode’, Wat Khunaram is a short drive away. This temple, with its famous mummified monk, offers a unique insight into Thai Buddhism. 

Taling Ngam Beach

Towards the south of Samui’s west coast is where you will find Taling Ngam Beach. Far from the madding crowds of Chaweng, Taling Ngam is another great beach to bring the kids.

 Taling Ngam Beach
A sunny day at Taling Ngam Beach

With soft sand and a small reef to explore with a snorkel set, Taling Ngam is a lovely, tranquil spot for some afternoon sun-worshipping. And if you wait around long enough, you may be rewarded with a stunning tropical sunset.

Tip: On the way to, or from, Taling Ngam, there is also an interesting museum showcasing Samui’s famed export – the coconut. 

Lipa Noi Beach

Just to the north of Taling Ngam, also on the west coast of Samui, you will find Lipa Noi Beach. Lipa Noi is one of Samui’s best family-friendly beaches. The inviting water is free from rocks and reefs and stays shallow for a distance offshore.

The beach stretches out for 3 kilometers, and you will be able to find a nice quiet spot along the white sand to relax as the kids play in the sun.

If you are in the area and looking for that Instagram moment, why not drive a few kilometers inland from Lipa Noi and take in Hin Lad Waterfall? Shaded by the surrounding jungle, Hin Lad can offer respite from the midday sun with a short jungle hike along an easy path to the waterfall.

Hin Lad Waterfall, Koh Samui.
Hin Lad Waterfall, Koh Samui.

To the north of Lipa Noi is Samui’s main town of Nathon. There are some great food options along the waterfront, and some excellent shopping opportunities, but it’s best to avoid melting in the midday sun — earlier in the morning, or later in the afternoon, will be much more comfortable. 

Bang Po Beach

If you continue north from Lipa Noi, past Nathon Town, you will hit Bang Po Beach. Another of Samui’s quieter beaches, it’s a great spot to relax and take in the views across the water to Koh Pha-Ngan.

Bang Po Beach Koh Samui
Bang Po Beach

A small reef offers snorkeling options, and if seafood is your thing, Bang Po should be on your list for lunch. Haad Bang Po Beach restaurant is a definite crowd-pleaser and has appeared on many lists of the best beach restaurants in the world. 

Ban Tai Beach

If getting away from the crowds is part of your beach plan, then Ban Tai Beach is worth a look. It’s a small ‘secret’ beach at the eastern end of Bang Po Beach.

Ban Tai Beach on Koh Samui
Ban Tai Beach on Koh Samui in Thailand

Also affording views across to Koh Pha-Ngan, Ban Tai is sometimes also called Mimosa Beach, and you need to keep your eyes peeled to find it.

Tip: Look for signs for Mimosa Resort and follow the small road down to the water to find this quiet beach. 

Maenam Beach

To the east of Ban Tai, we find Maenam Beach. Fringed with palm trees, Maenam Beach really gives you a tropical feel as you enjoy the soft sands on this 5-kilometer-long beach.

Maenam Beach Koh Samui
The northern end of Maenam Beach near the climb to the viewpoint

The area has limited accommodation options, but if you are looking for a quiet spot, then the affordable options right on the beach could be a great choice for you.

At the northern end of Maenam Beach, there is a great viewpoint, too. Either a short hike or an even shorter scooter ride will take you up to some great ocean vistas.

The view of Maenam Beach for the Maenam viewpoint
Maenam Beach from the viewpoint

Tip: If you are in the area and looking for other activities, the Samui Elephant Sanctuary is also nearby. 

Bophut Beach

The area of Bophut, to the east of Maenam, is a favorite amongst tourists and ex-pats alike. Bophut Beach itself is not Samui’s best beach for swimming, but the Fisherman’s Village in Bophut is a must-visit for some simply amazing Thai street food and the Friday evening market.

Boput Beach Koh Samui
Bophut Beach Koh Samui

Grab some lunch from the hawkers’ stalls, then take a stroll along the beach to aid digestion, or visit in the evening. Bophut has some great, yet chilled vibes after dark.

There are some great restaurants, such as The Shack, where you can enjoy a great steak whilst listening to the blues and watching the world trundle by in the quaint streets. 

Samrong Beach

Close to the airport and the Big Buddha statue in Samui’s northeast corner, you can find the small bay known as Samrong Beach.

It’s a small beach with an air of exclusivity. Tucked away from the mass tourism of Chaweng and Samui’s larger beaches, you get the feeling of being on a private beach. The few tourists here are usually staying in the nearby resorts, so if you are looking for a place to chill after a night out in Chaweng, hire a scooter and take the short drive up to Samrong Beach. 

Thongson Beach

The next bay over from Samrong is home to the delightful Thongson Beach. The shallow water is not deep enough to call Thongson a swimming beach, but it’s a secluded little beach and a beautiful place to chill with a book while gazing out over the Gulf of Thailand. 

Choeng Mon Beach

If you take the scenic coastal road from Chaweng to visit the Big Buddha statue and temple, you will pass by Choeng Mon Beach. Quieter than its more boisterous neighbor, Choeng Mon Beach is another of Samui’s top family-friendly beaches.

Choeng Mon Beach outside Kimpton Kitalay Samui
Choeng Mon Beach near Kimpton Kitalay Samui

The center of the beach is the best place for swimming. The ends of the beach are a little rockier, especially at low tide. The fine sand is also great for sunbathing and lovely underfoot as you stroll along the water’s edge. There are a number of local bars and restaurants along the beach and some of the hotels allow day use of their facilities.

All-in-all, Koh Samui is a great destination if you are a beach lover.

Getting around Koh Samui Beaches

The island itself is shaped like a square, with the main tourist area being on the east coast. It’s easy to travel around Samui as the island boasts a fifty-two-kilometer ring road circling the island.

The well-maintained ring road and the island’s infrastructure make moving around Samui pretty easy. Driving a car is easy if you are used to driving on the left, just watch out for motorbikes.

Koh Samui Beaches Map

You can complete a full circuit of the island in under two hours, and if you factor in a few beach stops along the way, you can have a great day out exploring this tropical paradise. Make sure you pack plenty of drinking water, and pay attention to the sun’s rays, especially if you are riding a scooter. 

Getting to Koh Samui

Samui sits in the Gulf of Thailand, just off the country’s east coast. Getting to Samui is relatively easy—you can travel by ferry from either Donsak on the mainland or from neighboring Koh Pha-Ngan.

You can also fly to the Bangkok Airways-owned Samui International Airport from Bangkok or a few other domestic airports. Samui Airport also receives flights from Hong Kong, Singapore, and Phnom Penh.

About the author: Richard (Rich) Reardon is a freelance writer and scuba diving instructor from England and now lives in Southern Thailand. “I have spent the last twenty years travelling and working throughout South East Asia. For around half of that time, I’ve been based in Thailand. Thailand stole my heart, and I hope my writing will encourage you to find out why!”