Category Archives: Samui

Coral Cove SUP Tour

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Coral Cove is known as one of the best swimming spots on the island, especially during the summer months (May-September) when it’s protected from the wind.  The water is clear and the sand is white – which also makes it a great spot for stand up paddle (SUP) boarding.

Coral Cove SUP Tour

 

Our Coral Cove SUP tour is a lovely paddle along the south-east corner of the island.  It’s part of the coastline between Chaweng and Lamai, and surprisingly Coral Cove it’s a quiet stretch to explore.  We usually paddle around out of Coral Cover towards Crystal Bay, where we stop for a swim.  And then we paddle onto the secluded bay in front the Banyan Tree Resort.  If we’re out on the water early enough we can paddle around towards Chaweng Noi, just making sure we’re away from the jetskis.

Tour cost

1500 Baht per person, includes paddle boarding equipment and bottled drinking water.  Transfers are included if you are staying in the Choeng Mon, Bangrak or Bophut areas.  Other areas by arrangement (and possible extra cost).

Includes:

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

Book your Coral Cove SUP Tour now

Click here to book your Coral Cove SUP tour.

Island Hopping: Getting from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan on a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP).

Paddling out from Choeng Mon

The islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are located in the Gulf of Thailand, about 700km south of Bangkok.  There’s a regular ferry that takes about 50 minutes to cross from one island to the next, costing just 200 Baht each way.  Last month a group of adventurous paddlers decided to ignore this cheap and easy option and paddle across from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan on their Stand Up Paddle boards instead.

Ian Wade, owner and SUP Instructor at iSUP SamuI, has been dreaming of paddling from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan for the past few years.  He can see the outline of Koh Phangan from the balcony in Samui, and often wondered what it would be like to cover the 10 kilometre crossing by paddle board.  He was just waiting for suitable weather conditions and a group of like-minded adventurous paddle boarders to join him.

Despite being the hottest time of the year in Thailand, the conditions on the water in May were ideal for an island crossing.  After researching the winds, tides and currents a date was decided upon.  A group of 4 experienced paddlers planned to paddle from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan on 12 May 2016.

With several years of paddling around the east coast of Australia and around the islands of south-east Thailand the group had the experience to take on such a challenge.  They also had access to premium Starboard paddle board equipment from iSUP Samui, a mobile SUP school based in Koh Samui with extensive experience of SUP conditions around the island.

The group left Koh Samui at 6:30am on Tuesday 12th of May.  They paddled out out from the calm waters of Choeng Mon beach and headed north towards Koh Phangan.  Conditions were great with calm waters and a light breeze for the duration of the paddle.

Paddling out from Koh Samui, just after sunrise

 

“It was motivating to see Koh Phangan getting closer and closer as we paddled past the halfway mark.  We kept a steady pace of 4.2 km/hour and stopped every 30 minutes for breaks, so it took us 3 hours to paddle the 12.9km distance across to Koh Phangan” said Tammy Wade, owner and SUP Instructor at iSUP Samui.

“We were excited to join Ian and Tammy on their first paddle across from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan.  Highlights included paddling past traditional Thai fishing boats that were making their way back to Samui with their overnight catch.  I don’t think the fishermen expected to see us out there” said Traci Dostalek.

The group of four hungry paddlers arrived at Leela Beach (on the south west corner of Koh Phangan) around 9:30am, just in time for a well-earned buffet breakfast.  It’s just too hot in Thailand to consider paddling back to Koh Samui in the midday sun, so a 27’ catamaran was waiting at Leela Beach to take the group and the paddle boards back to Samui.  Perhaps next time we’ll stay overnight and explore more of the Koh Phangan coastline.

Happy and hungry paddlers arriving at Koh Phangan: Traci Dostalek, Rod Dostalek, Tammy Wade, Ian Wade.

 

Taking a break somewhere halfway between the two islands.

TRIP NOTES:

  • Departure point:  Choeng Mon beach, Koh Samui, Thailand
  • Arrival point: Leela beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand
  • Distance paddled: 12.9km
  • SUP Equipment:
    • 1 x Starboard Allstar 14’x27″ Hybrid Carbon race board
    • 3 x Starboard Astro 12’6×31″ Inflatable touring boards

 

 

A guide to the beaches in Koh Samui

Bangrak Beach, 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 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:

 

Tong Son Bay

Tong Son Bay is a quiet beach in the Plai Laem area.  Depending on the weather we can easily paddle from Tong Son 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:

 

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 – i’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.

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 info@isupsamui.com.

For more information visit the Samui Social SUP Facebook page.

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 info@isupsamui.com

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

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.

Paddle Board FUN-day in Samui

Stand Up Paddling (SUP) is a fun and easy to learn water sport that can be enjoyed by all the family and is a great way to improve core fitness.

Come down to Choeng Mon beach on Sunday morning for a free trial on our stand up paddle boards.

When:  Sunday 26th July, between 8-9am

Where:  Choeng Mon beach, in front of Crystal restaurant.

For more information, call Tammy on 092 737 9705.

Paddle Boarding at Choeng Mon beach

You’ve probably seen people paddle boarding at the beach, and wondered what it’s like?  Well, why don’t you come down to Choeng Mon beach next Tuesday morning and join in our weekly iSUPtastic! session.

For just 100 Baht you can have a 15 minute trial on one of our Starboard SUP’s.  If you like it, then we can easily arrange another session.  During our lessons, you will learn paddling techniques from our ASI accredited instructors, take in the view of the coastline, and jump in for a swim too!

When:  Every Tuesday morning from 10am
Where: Choeng Mon beach, we meet in front of Crystal Restaurant
More information: Call 092 737 9705 or email info@isupsamui.com