The island of Koh Samui is often regarded as “the” vacation destination in Asia. Despite the fact that people from all over the world visit this island, some visitors feel that it is no longer “the same as it used to be,” and hence they have decided never to return.
However, in what other part of the world is that?
Samui has indeed changed significantly since it was first discovered more than two decades ago. There are no longer any beach bungalows that are uncomplicated and lack electricity. These days, there are a lot of trendy resorts and restaurants that serve food from all over the world. The flow of tourists is primarily centred in the region around Chaweng, which means that these idyllic scenes from the past are still around today. Anyone who is familiar with Koh Samui appreciates swimming in peaceful coves, driving through palm groves where the leaves rustle in the breeze, dining at beach restaurants that are partially hidden from view, and also taking in the refined ambiance of the island’s high-end resorts. Even for budget travellers, there are still plenty of stunning locations on Samui that don’t break the bank, complete with rustic wooden bungalows and ceiling fans.
Even in the middle of the beach!
The best tips for holidays in Koh Samui
Arrive at Koh Samui Airport
The airport in Koh Samui is well-known. He ought to be the most handsome person in the entire universe. Everything has been thoughtfully planned to be open, light, and tastefully put out. If you travel here by aeroplane, you will arrive at this terminal. There are multiple flights to Koh Samui every day departing from cities such as Bangkok, Phuket, and Hong Kong, amongst other locations.
Bangkok Air is the sole airline that operates at Samui’s airport because it is the owner of the airport, and Bangkok Air developed it. The pricing of the flights has been adjusted accordingly. Very few flights are less than €100 for each trip (Bangkok – Samui). You should make your flight reservations well in advance if you plan on visiting Samui during the peak travel months of August/September and December/January. It’s not like you’d be the first person to miss their connecting flight in Bangkok due to the lack of last-minute ticket availability.
It is also recommended that the transfer periods not be cut down to an excessively short amount. If the weather is poor, particularly during the monsoon season, no plane will take off from Samui, or there may be a significant delay. There is the possibility of travelling with Bangkok Air on “stand by” even if all other options have been exhausted. However, you should get ready for the possibility that you may have to wait for a few hours or that your flight will be delayed till the following day. However, this does not make it a more affordable option because the total cost must still be paid.
Transportation to and from Samui Airport
There is a tiny lobby located directly behind the baggage claim and immigration desks.
There, you may also acquire a phone card for Thailand in addition to changing your money. In addition to that, you will discover two counters. One for reserving activities and accommodations on Samui, and the other for arranging transportation from Samui International Airport to your final destination on the island. You can select either a limousine or a minibus as your mode of transportation. Considering that the rates are set, everything is laid out clearly, and the organisation is excellent, it is highly recommended that you purchase your transfer ticket here.
It will cost you about one hundred baht to take a minibus to one of the several stations, and you will share the ride with other tourists who have only recently arrived. This is the option with the lowest price.
However, if you visit Samui outside of the peak tourist season, you may find that the minibuses do not travel to all of the stations on the island because there are not enough passengers. After Chaweng or Bophut, there are typically no issues, but Lamai Beach can be a real test of one’s patience. There were times when I had no choice but to shell out a significant amount of money for a limousine service.
The price for the limousine service is approximately 800 Bath (Airport – Lamai Beach). In most cases, the driver of the large pickup truck will be a private individual, and you will be the sole passenger in the vehicle. This will bring you to your goal in the shortest amount of time and with the least amount of discomfort.
Taxis are another option available to you at the airport in Samui, and they may take you to any location you desire within Samui. Having said that, I do not recommend doing so. There is a taxi mafia here as well, just like there is in Phuket. The taxi mafia on Samui is responsible for the low quantity of available taxis and the exorbitant fares. Even though there is a sizable taxi metre inside the cab, the drivers will not switch it on out of natural reluctance. If you really must take a cab, you should always negotiate the fare before getting in. There is a wide range of prices both to and especially from the airport. If you go in late at night, you can end up having to pay a lot more.
You also have the option of fleeing in a rented car. The daily rate for car rentals starts at 700 Thai Baht.
On Samui, it is up to each individual to decide for themselves whether or not it is a good idea to rent a car. Because Samui is so compact, getting around the island by moped or shared cab is a breeze. The traffic on Samui’s roads is notoriously chaotic, particularly in the areas surrounding the island’s airport, Chaweng, and Bophut. The regulations of the road are routinely disregarded, accidents occur regularly, and if you are involved in an accident, you can be assured that you will be held responsible for it, even if it was not your fault. It would make no difference if the other person was to blame or not for whatever happened. If you are a foreigner and get into an accident with a Thai, you will be responsible for the costs! Always!
Arrival by ferry
Ferries departing from the mainland will bring passengers to Koh Samui. From Surat Thani, there are a number of ferries that travel to Samui. Bandung is the name of the city’s harbour’s name, located in Surat Thani. Since the cost of the ferry ride is already included in the pricing for a bus ticket to Samui, the most convenient option is to purchase the ticket in Surat Thani. At 7:00 in the morning, 12:30 in the afternoon, and 3:30 in the evening, the Seatran express line makes its way between the city and Nathon on Samui. This line solely transports pedestrians.
Take the boat at Don Sak if you are travelling by automobile.
Everyone in the vicinity who is walking will almost certainly join us. If this is the case, you will not emerge at Nathon but rather at the ferry terminal in Lipa Noi. Ferry rides can be had for a reasonable price, typically beginning at around 150 Thai Baht. If the weather is beautiful, the sea is calm, and your money is tight, you should consider doing this. I wouldn’t do it though if the monsoon was moving across the Gulf of Thailand and the waves were high. If the majority of passengers have motion sickness and throw up inside the ferry, there is no possibility to walk outside and get some fresh air throughout the ride on any of the ferries, but especially not on the rapid ferries.
There is still a significant distance to travel to reach the beaches of Lamai or Chaweng from Nathon or Lipa Noi. Immediately adjacent to the dock, there is a plethora of options for minibus rides to any location on Samui that may be wanted.
The best places to visit in Samui
I classify Samui into four groups. It was noisy, but the family was there, and there was “nothing going on.”
This is Chaweng Beach, home to popular watering holes such as the Ark Bar, Green Mango, Sound Club, and Reggae Pub. Because the city’s sewage infrastructure is unable to keep up with the volume of waste water produced by the tourism industry, Chaweng is a noisy, stuffy, and pricey destination that frequently stinks to high heaven. The number of tourists who visit Chaweng each year exceeds the number of locals who live in Samui.
During the day, the beach is crowded with deck chairs and tourists who have purchased vacation packages. At night, rows of tables from restaurants cover the fine sandy beach and entice you to have dinner there. Meanwhile, the subwoofer at the Ark Bar beats thunder, getting partygoers ready for the night in the entertainment district.
More recently, there has also opened up a sizable shopping mall in Chaweng that is comparable to the one in Bangkok that we are familiar with.
There are literally hundreds of different retail, dining, and drinking establishments in Chaweng. Chaweng is often referred to as the “Ballermann of Asia,” and for this reason, it is very comparable to Patong on Phuket. Anyone seeking tranquilly and natural beauty should steer clear of this part of the island.
The three locations shown here are Bophut, Bang Rak, and Maenam. Chaweng is just around the next corner from here. Entertainment? Very little to almost nothing The perfect example of an all-inclusive vacation. Plenty of brand-new resorts, ranging from opulent to budget-friendly. You can look here for a 14-day all-inclusive Samui vacation package. In recent years, Bophut has emerged as a premier destination for tourists interested in package vacations. Near the airport, with an adequate beach, and some distance from Chaweng. Chaweng is not too far away and can provide you with evening entertainment if you go there.
For a vacation focused solely on the beach, Maenam is unquestionably the superior option. A tranquil and very lovely beach that is framed by palm trees and features golden sand, great resorts, and nice people. Anyone in search of calm and seclusion won’t be disappointed in this destination, and there are plenty of stunning resorts for families to spend their vacations in. Chaweng is quite a distance away from Maenam, so if you live in Maenam but occasionally crave excitement and variety in your nightlife, you will have to make the trek to Chaweng.
Nothing going on
In the shadow of Hua Thanon. Away from the Ringroad is where the Samui that the locals know and love really starts to unfold. In the forest, as they say, around these parts. Calm and reflective, with very little to no traffic and virtually no activity taking place. To get to the aquarium from Hua Thanon, take a left turn on the road that leads to Nathon. The lovely, peaceful, and, as far as one can tell, still unspoiled Samui starts here.
Small beach bars and restaurants, tranquil coconut palm groves where the breeze rustles through the palm fronds, calm bays for swimming, fishing boats, and the welcoming people of Samui make this island so special. On the guided excursions offered by the major tour operators, you will not be able to reach your destination. You will need a moped, a rental car, or even better, friends from Samui who are willing to give you a lift in order to accomplish this.
More excursions and tours on Koh Samui
Dining out on the island of Samui
On the island of Samui, there is an astonishing variety of restaurants. From the drive-through to the five-star restaurant. Everything is at your disposal. Unfortunately, the price that is demanded food does not necessarily reflect the level of quality that is provided in return for that price. In general, you should try to avoid eating in establishments that cater to tourists whenever it is practicable to do so. There are some really good outliers, but on average, the quality of cuisine that can be found at Thai restaurants is significantly higher for a lot cheaper cost. Here is a list of some of my favourite Samui restaurants, each offering high-quality food and excellent service.
1 – The Cliff
Located between Chaweng and Lamai, directly on the “beach,” with breathtaking vistas of the surrounding water. The cuisine is of very high quality. You should try the scallops or one of the steaks.
2 – The Shack
The most delicious steak in all of Koh Samui. In charge of operations is an American who makes certain that each steak is of the best possible quality. Fisherman’s Village is where you’ll find us.
3 – Oceans 11
Generally acknowledged being the top restaurant in Koh Samui. Located in the Bophut district. Seating at Oceans 11 is restricted and guests must make reservations in advance. I recommend the lamb.
4 – Sala Thai
A Thai food experience that will captivate your heart. Located smack dab in the middle of Lamai. Although it has more of the appearance of a shop catering to tourists, many Thai people frequent this establishment. Try the grilled snapper along with a glass of the house white wine; the oysters are incredible, and you shouldn’t miss out on them.
5 – Sabeinglae Restaurant
Just outside of Lamai and heading in the direction of Hua Thanon. A large restaurant offering Thai cuisine. Everyone, from longtime residents to recent arrivals, knows and frequents this place. Delicious meals available at reasonable pricing directly on the beach. There, you can choose out the fish or shrimp you want to eat from an aquarium, and then they will be cooked completely fresh for you.
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