We’ve been visiting Koh Samui for nearly 20 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 the small surrounding islands.
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:
- The Sala Samui (luxury resort) – note, construction on the adjacent site (as at February 2020)
- Baywater Resort – not on the beach, but you can walk through The Sala Samui resort to get to the beach
- The Tongsai Bay – has it’s own private beach, the resort is probably 10-15 mins walk from Choeng Mon beach
- Sea Dance Resort – a really sweet resort, on the east coast. It’s a rocky beach, so not always ideal for paddling.
- Sirin Samui Boutique Hostel (not on the beach)
- O’Soleil Bungalow
- Kirati Beach Resort
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:
- Secret Garden (where we start our paddle tours from October – April)
- The Lanna (luxury, but not on the beach)
- Prana Resort (luxury, on the beach) – just next door to the upmarket Chi Beach Club
- Punpreeda Beach Resort
- Saboey Resort
- Villa Tanamera
- Samui Pier Beach Resort
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:
- Deva Beach Resort
- Arayaburi – note: under renovation (as at November 2017)
- Six Senses Samui (luxury)
- Garden View Apartment – We have a small apartment that we rent out on Airbnb. This is the 1 bedroom listing, but it’s also available as a 2 bedroom. Ideal for independent travellers.
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:
- Hansar Samui Resort – upmarket resort, at the west end of Fisherman’s Village
- Fishermans House – budget friendly accommodation, above a fantastic cafe
- Pelegrin Hotel Samui – in the village, on one of the small side streets
- Villa M, the only luxury villa on Bophut Beach
- Bandara Resort – great for families or groups looking for a bigger resort
- Ibis Resort (about 1km from the village)
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:
- The Treehouse – beachfront, great food and a little bit hippy,
- Escape Beach Resort – budget accom, beach front, access to the W Resort beach
- Saree Samui Resort – a boutique resort on the beach, with fab swimming pool
- Hacienda Beach Resort
- Santiburi Samui Beach Resort (luxury)
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.
For more information on our favourite Thai restaurants around the island, check out our Guide to Thai Restaurants in Koh Samui.