Sunday Social SUP

Join us for a social paddle at Choeng Mon beach and a cool refreshment afterwards.  Bring your own paddle board, or reserve one of our boards (special rate: 300 Baht for Samui residents).

Sunday Social SUP is for experienced paddlers.  Beginners should book in for a lesson first.

Meeting place: https://goo.gl/maps/nFWP3m2GnTt  (between Crystal Restaurant and Choeng Mon beach resort, near the jetskis).

A guide to the beaches in Koh Samui

We’ve been visiting Koh Samui for the past 15 years, and we moved here in June 2015 to setup iSUP Samui.  We stay in the north-east part of the island, an area called Plai Laem, and we mostly paddle in the areas around Choeng Mon, Bangrak, Bophut and sometimes Maenam.  We also make trips to the south of the island because we love the chilled out feeling at Lipa Noi, Taling Ngam and Tong Krut.

This is a work in process blog post about the beaches where we paddle.  I’ve included some suggestions on accommodation in these areas to help you plan your holiday, and will add some photos of the beaches in the next few days.

Disclaimer: We are not being paid anything by these hotels, and we have not stayed at any of them. It’s just a starting point of a few hotels that are close to the areas where we paddle.  Before booking your accommodation I’d recommend reading the reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and also checking out one of the many hotel deal sites to get the best rate.    Also, you might like to check the location of these hotels on Google Maps, and then research some of the nearby hotels.

Hope to see you in Samui some day.

Choeng Mon Beach

Choeng Mon beach usually has calm and flat waters between April and October (the summer months of Thailand).  During these months, the water is quite clear and inviting.  This beach is a favourite swimming spot for many expats living in Samui.  The water is quite shallow near the shore which makes it ideal for families with young children.  It’s also good for couples, and we enjoy walking along the white sandy shoreline during sunrise and sunset.   There’s quite a few restaurants, bars and shops within walking distance from the beach.  There’s also an ATM, pharmacies and a 7-11 convenience store.

Where to stay in Choeng Mon:

 

Bangrak Beach

We like paddle boarding at Bangrak beach because the water is calm for most of the year, and it’s nearby to Big Buddha and the island of Koh Som.  It’s quite a big bay so there’s plenty of coastline to explore, and it’s a lovely long beach for a morning or afternoon walk.  It’s not the prettiest beach for swimming.  Many of the yachts and speed boats are moored in Bangrak, and you’ll also find the Seatran Ferry Pier which will take you to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.  If you’re looking for a convenient place to stay, you’ll find lots of shops, restaurants, bars and massage shops in the Bangrak area.

Where to stay in Bangrak:

 

Plai Laem

Plai Laem is a little sleepy area on the north eastern point of Koh Samui.  There are many villas in this area, and you can probably find them on sites like AirBNB.  The beach in front of Arayaburi is good for swimming during the summer months (April – October).  It’s a small bay and can be a little rocky so we don’t paddle from this beach.  The other beach is Big Buddha beach, it’s quiet and nice for morning and afternoon walks on the beach, but it’s not great for swimming or paddling.

Where to stay in Plai Laem:

 

Tongson Bay

Tongson Bay is a quiet beach in the Plai Laem area.  Depending on the weather we can easily paddle from Tongson Bay around to Choeng Mon or the island of Koh Som.  There’s only a couple of hotels on the beach.  If you stay here I’d recommend booking a rental car or motorbike so you can drive to the nearby shops, restaurants and bars in Choeng Mon or Bangrak.

Where to stay in Tongson Bay:

 

Bophut Fishermans Village

Bophut Fishermans Village is a sleepy little village during the day, and a lovely spot for dinner and drinks in the evening.  It’s a great spot to stay if you don’t want to bother renting a car or a bike, because you can just stroll along from your hotel to the many bars, restaurants and shops in the village.  There’s a couple of yoga studios in the village and great coffee shops too.  And it’s easy to get a taxis and public transport out of the village to other areas on the island.

Where to stay in Bophut Fishermans Village:

Maenam Beach

Maenam is a big bay with a long stretch of white sand.  Most of the beach is lined with coconut trees which makes it a peaceful and shady place to hang out for a few hours.  The water gets deep quite quickly,  and is usually nice for swimming and paddling.  On the west end of the beach you’ll find the Lomprayah Ferry which will take you to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.  We love the quiet stretch along the east end of the beach near The Treehouse – it’s a favourite spot for our paddle tours, and we often stay for the yummy lunches in their restaurant.

Where to stay in Maenam:

 

Let me know if you have some favourite places to stay in the area that you’d like to share with other travellers, and I’ll add them to the list.

 

More Information.

For more information on our favourite Thai restaurants around the island, check out our Guide to Thai Restaurants in Koh Samui.

Chilled out Sunset SUP & Cocktails Tour

Bophut Beach Coco Tam's beach bar

Imagine this. You’ve been paddling along the Samui coastline for about an hour, with a light breeze over your shoulder. You can hear the chilled beats coming from a nearby beach bar. There’s oversized bean bags on the beach. And an extensive cocktail menu. Welcome to Coco Tam’s – one of our favourite beach bars.  It’s also the beach where we end our Chilled Out Sunset SUP and Cocktails Tour.

This tour is a destination paddle, which means we start at one beach and finish at another. We start the tour at Bangrak Beach (near Big Buddha) around 4pm. We paddle across the bay for about an hour, and then paddle across to Bophut Fisherman’s Village.  We paddle right onto the beach in front of Coco Tam’s beach bar, claim our bean bags, and order our sunset cocktails.

You’ll be accompanied by one of our qualified SUP Instructors, who will make sure you land at the right beach and also pass on a few tips to improve your paddling.  Our second Instructor drives the car around to meet you in Bophut, so we can pack up the boards and head back after your cocktail.

TOUR NOTES:

  • The Chilled Out Sunset SUP and Cocktails tour starts on Bangrak Beach
  • All equipment is provided – we paddle on high quality Starboard Paddle Boards
  • Tour length: around 2.5 hours
  • Total paddling time: 1-1.5 hours
  • Tour starts: around 4pm
  • Tour Cost: 1500 Baht (includes paddling equipment, drinking water and 1 cocktail).
  • Suitable for experienced paddlers, and those who’ve had a lesson. You should be a confident swimmer if you’re going to join this tour.
  • Complimentary beach transfers provided if you’re staying in the Choeng Mon, Bangrak or Bophut areas.

For more information about our Chilled Out Sunset SUP and Cocktails Tour, email [email protected] or call +66 92 737 9705.

 

Samui Social SUP

Bangrak Beach Social SUP

We love paddle boarding and we want to create a community of SUP’ers in Koh Samui.  So we have just launched the Samui Social SUP page on Facebook.  We hope this will be the start of some good times out on the water.

The next social paddle is on Sunday 10th March.  Experienced paddlers can join us for a social paddle at Bangrak beach on Sunday afternoon. Bring your board and meet us on the beach in Bangrak. Paddling venue TBC, because Yui’s is closed for Songkran holidays. We’ll check the weather and give you an update on the day.

Don’t have a board? No problem, if you’ve paddled before, you can rent one of our paddle boards. Let us know in advance!

  • Date: Sunday 10th April
  • Meeting time: 4:30pm
  • Location: TBC, Bangrak

We’ll paddle for an hour or so, and then have a cold beverage afterwards.

Beginners should book in for an intro lesson with iSUP Samui first.  Email [email protected]

For more information visit the Samui Social SUP Facebook page.

Looking back: 4th Thailand SUP Festival

Thailand SUP Festival Start Elite Race Phuket 2016

A couple of weeks ago we made a trip over to Phuket to participate in the 4th Thailand SUP Festival. The event was held on Saturday 5th March 2016, at Bliss Beach Club on Bang Tao beach. It was such a fun day, and we especially loved hanging out with such a friendly group of paddlers, Local paddlers came from Bangkok, Pattaya, Samui and some participants even made the trip from from Australia, Canada, Hungary, India, Japan, Korea and Singapore. We were even joined by members of the Starboard Dream Team – Daniel and Bruno Hasulyo and Tomo Murabayashi.

Ian and I entered the 6km Elite Race (Distance) which involved 3 laps of the course and a 100m beach run in between each lap. And we also joined in the fun of SUP Polo, Team Relays and 200m Sprint races. Conditions were ideal for racing with crystal clear waters and clear blue skies, and a light breeze coming from the south east.

Make sure you put this event in the diary for 2017.  It doesn’t matter if you’re just a new paddler or if you’ve been racing for years. It’s such a fun day and you’ll be glad you made the trip!

Click on these links for more information about the Thailand SUP Festival.

 

 

SUP Polo Phuket Starboard

Ian and Susan playing SUP Polo.

Phuket Thailand SUP Festival At the end of the race

Ian and Tammy – after the 6km race :-).

North Coast Stand Up Paddle Tour

We start the North Coast Stand Up Paddle (SUP) tour early in the morning while it’s still cool and before the speed boats set off on their day trips.   The plan is to paddle along the north coast of Koh Samui, exploring the waters around Bophut and Maenam.  If the conditions are right and we get a good breeze, we can make it all the way to Baan Tai or Bang Po.  NOTE: This tour is reversed in the summer months (May-October) due to the prevailing winds.  So we start at Ban Tai and paddle towards Bophut or Bangrak.

There’s a stretch of coral reef along the coast just after Maenam (near the Napasai Belmond resort), and sometimes we stop to do a little snorkelling.  There’s not much coral to see, but a few fish to take a peek at.

On our last north coast SUP tour we had a lovely 10 knot breeze coming across from the South East, which made it a great day to paddle all the way from Bangrak to Bang Po.  We covered 12.5km in about 2.5 hours, and arrived on the quiet beach of Bang Po in time for an early lunch.  Note, the tour includes a free fruit shake or fresh coconut.  You should bring a little extra money if you’d like to stay for lunch after the paddle.

It’s a one-way paddle, so one of the SUP Instructors gets the fun task of traveling back to the starting point in a Song-Taew (local bus / pick up truck) to collect the car and bring it to the end point (so we can collect the paddle boards) and take everyone back home.  Paddlers are welcome to join us on the song taew, or they may prefer to relax on the beach for an hour or so while we get the car.

Contact us to find out more about the Samui North Coast SUP Tour – call 092 737 9705 or email [email protected]

Tour Notes

  • The Samui North Coast SUP tour starts on the beach in front of The Wharf Shopping Centre, at Bophut Fishermans Village.  Depending on the weather and the paddler’s experience we can also start in Bangrak.  Depending on the wind, this tour may be reversed.
  • Tour length: around 4 hours
  • Total paddling time: 2-3 hours (excludes breaks for swimming and snorkelling)
  • Tour Cost: 1500 Baht (includes paddling equipment, lunch, soft drinks, drinking water).
  • Suitable for experienced paddlers, and those who’ve had a few lessons.  You should be a confident swimmer if you’re going to join this tour.
  • Bring a little extra money if you’d like to stay for lunch after the SUP tour (200-300 Baht will be plenty).

Includes:

  • Starboard paddle board equipment
  • Qualified ASI SUP Instructor
  • Snorkelling equipment
  • Drinking water and a soft drink at the end of the tour
  • Accident insurance

Longtail SUP Tour to Five Islands

Virgin Coast Samui Longtail Tour

Come paddling with us on the Virgin Coast of Samui.  There’s not much here except for long sandy beaches, clear water, sleepy fishing villages, a few private villas and a couple of resorts. Most tourists don’t even realise this peaceful side of Samui exists.

The Five Islands (known as Koh Si Koh Ha in Thai) are about 5km offshore from the South West corner of Koh Samui.  The islands are known for their famous nests which are the main ingredient in birds’ nest soup.  The only inhabitants out here are the Sea Gypsies who live in small wooden homes perched on the rocky islands and protect the birds.

Long Tail SUP Tour to Five Islands

We start the tour with a private Longtail boat out to the Five Islands.  There’s time for snorkelling and maybe a swim with the local turtle.  If the conditions are good we paddle around the islands.  Also on the way back we paddle along one of the most beautiful coastlines of Samui, often referred to as the ‘Virgin Coast’.

Tour cost 

2,200 Baht per person (without transfers), minimum 2 people.  We suggest you bring another 500 Baht per person for lunch and drinks after the Longtail SUP Tour.  Depending on your location, we can also assist with transfers from your villa/resort.

IMG_6626 wp

Includes:

  • Starboard paddle board equipment
  • Qualified ASI SUP Instructor
  • Snorkelling equipment
  • Drinking water
  • Fresh fruit
  • Accident insurance

Schedule

  • 9-9:30am Pick up at your hotel
  • 10:00am Longtail departs Taling Ngam
  • 12:30 Return

There’s time for lunch (at your cost) at the end, before heading back to your hotel.

Click here to book your private SUP Tour to the Five Islands.

Silent Beach SUP Tour

SUP Tour Silent Beach Maenam Samui

Jump on a paddle board and explore the coastline of Koh Samui at your own pace.  You’ll paddle past empty beaches with countless coconut trees.  And there’s hardly any traffic out on the water.  It sure beats sitting on the ring road waiting for the lights to change to green.

Last week we started the Silent Beach SUP Tour in Bophut.  We paddled for about 30 minutes before stopping for a swim at the beach near the W Retreat.  The W Retreat has a lovely white sand bar sticking out into the sea, marking the start of Maenam.  We turned around the corner and paddled another 30 minutes before stopping for lunch and a swim at The Treehouse on Silent Beach, which is at the eastern end of Maenam Beach.

It’s just a few steps up from the beach into the shady comfort of the restaurant, where we enjoyed drinking fresh coconuts whilst perusing the menu.  There’s lots of Thai food on the menu, along with quite a few western options.  I chose the Larb Gai (spicy chicken salad, Thai style), but next time I’m going to try one of their fresh western style salads.

After a delicious lunch, a swim and some refreshing drinks, it was time to leave the beautiful sands of Silent Beach and cruise back to Bophut on the paddle boards.  Another perfect day exploring the island.

For more information about Stand Up Paddle (SUP) tours and lessons in Koh Samui, contact iSUP Samui on +66 92 737 9705.  Ask us about transfers from your resort/villa -depending on your location, we might be able to pick you up and bring you to the beach for no extra cost.

TOUR NOTES:

  • The Silent Beach SUP tour starts and finishes on the beach in front of The Wharf Shopping Centre, at Bophut Fishermans Village.  Although if there’s a breeze, we will start in Bangrak and paddle one-way to Silent Beach.  After lunch we take a song-thaew (pick up truck / local taxi) back to the starting place.
  • All equipment is provided – we paddle on high quality Starboard Paddle Boards
  • Tour length: around 3.5 hours
  • Total paddling time: 2 hours (excludes breaks for swimming and lunch)
  • Tour Cost: 1500 Baht (includes paddling equipment, lunch, soft drinks, drinking water).
  • Suitable for experienced paddlers, and those who’ve had a few lessons.  You should be a confident swimmer if you’re going to join this tour.

SUP Maenam Samui Starboard Paddle Board Thailand

 

Koh Samui Paddle Tour – Koh Som

SUP Tour Koh Samui Paddle Board Tammy

One of our favourite paddle tours is across to Koh Som (literally translated that means “Orange Island”).  Koh Som is the small island that’s overlooking the north-east corner of Koh Samui.  There’s actually two islands over there, but it looks like one because there’s a small reef joining the two islands (Koh Som and Koh Lum Mu Noi).  Both of these islands are uninhabited.

You’d normally cruise past these islands on the ferry across to Haad Rin, Koh Phangnan.  And a quick Google search tells me could buy the island of Koh Som for a cool $3.8m.  But the good news is we can give you a close up paddle tour around the islands for just 1200 Baht (around US$35).

November is officially rainy season in Samui but we had a glorious sunny day yesterday.  We took advantage of the blue skies and light winds and paddled over to the islands.  We’re having high tides at the moment, which makes it easier to access the the beach in Plai Laem, close to our SUP HQ.  We paddled around 500m across the channel and then went around the north side of the island first.  We found some swell and a little chop, but nothing big enough to make either of us fall in.  Once we got around to the southern side of the islands – facing Koh Samui – it was lovely and flat.  We cruised along the shore and stopped for a water break on the beach of Koh Som, and then kept paddling home.

TOUR NOTES:

  • Koh Samui is just one hour away from Bangkok by plane
  • Paddle Tours operated by iSUP Samui, the only mobile SUP school in Koh Samui
  • Paddle Boards: Starboard Astro 12’6 Touring inflatable paddle boards
  • Paddling distance: 5km

Calm waters to paddle around Koh Som

Koh Samui paddle board tour to Koh Som

The haze creeps up on Samui

Hazy skies paddling in Samui

We have been quite lucky over the past few weeks, and haven’t been affected too badly by the haze caused by the Indonesian fires.  Earlier this month, we had a couple of hazy days where the flights were disrupted, but other than that it’s been mostly blue skies.

Unfortunately the haze has come back to bother us in Koh Samui, and we woke to hazy skies yesterday and again today.  The Air Quality Index (PM10) peaked at 154 this afternoon and fortunately it’s now back down at 72.   Anything over 150 is considered unhealthy, and below 100 is considered moderate with no health concerns.

We were out paddling this morning when it was hazy, but the air quality was still moderate.  It’s quite eery to be out paddling in these conditions, especially when the water is so glassy, like it was today.

Flights in and out of Samui have been affected today.  Some flights were re-directed to Phuket, and others have been delayed and cancelled.

We’ll keep an eye on the conditions over the next few days, and make sure we only take paddlers out when the conditions are right.  Let’s hope we get some rain and wind to clear the skies.

~~~

Note:  Air Quality Index (PM10) readings for Surat Thani, sourced from the Regional Environmental Office website.