Koh Samui, Thailand
Koh Samui is a tropical paradise dream, I would encourage everyone to visit at least once!
- More about your oliver guide: Sara Stith
- Trip type: Adult, Family, Beach
- Activity level: moderate
- Ideal length of trip: One Week
to & from
From California, most people fly through Bangkok and then change planes and fly to Koh Samui from there. We flew through Hong Kong this last time.
Where to Stay
When I visited this island in my 20s, with friends, there were tons of very affordable places to stay. This was years ago, but we paid $10 a night for a shack on the beach! My most recent visit to Thailand was for our honeymoon, so we stepped it up quite a bit. Thailand can be a pretty inexpensive place to visit and there are hotels that will fit almost any budget.
- Four Seasons Koh Samui-- one of the best hotels that I have ever stayed at in my life. The grounds were gorgeous! Each room has it's own private pool and there is a big public pool right off the beach. The food was amazing and they have multiple restaurants to choose from. The spa was in a structure that felt like a treehouse, it could not have been more relaxing!
Where to Eat and Drink
Koh Samui is full of casual beach restaurants serving traditional Thai food. You really can’t go wrong!
- The Bophut Night market is a fun place to eat some street food and do some shopping.
- Coco Tams, in Bophut, is a great place to get a drink and hang out in the sand (day or night). Along that strip of beach there are a bunch of great restaurants where you can eat at tables on the beach. These are all casual places with great food.
- The breakfast buffet at the Four Seasons was a total dream-- everything from fresh pressed juices to dim sum!
What to Do
It’s temping to stay at the beach all day, but Koh Samui has some great attractions that are definitely worth exploring.
- An Thong National Park is not to be missed! This park is only reachable by boat, and there are several places that give tours. Once out in the park, you can kayak, snorkel, swim, and even hike.
- Thailand is known for it's colorful night markets filled with food, drinks, and souvenirs. Depending on where you are staying, your hotel can tell you about the nearest one.
- Thai cooking classes can also be found all over the island. These are worth checking out.
- Thailand is not the place to wear any flashy jewelry. I wouldn't say it's dangerous to do so, but it feels very inappropriate.
- The best time to visit Koh Samui is December to February, it starts to get really hot in April, but it is still tolerable. We went in May this time and I went in January the last time. I would avoid going there September-November, as it can be very rainy.
- Chaweng Beach is where to go if you are looking for a party. This place comes alive at night and is full of crazy bars and restaurants. It's best to avoid it if you are not looking for that kind of scene.
- I've never needed to wear high heels in Thailand (and I've been 3 times), but I would pack a good wedge for nights out. It's a pretty causal place, even at the fancy hotels.
- Thailand is called the "Land Of Smiles," for a reason. Everyone is so nice and helpful. It's great to learn how to say a few words in Thai, they really appreciate it.
What to Pack