Where to stay in Koh Samui Thailand for first-time visitors (2024)

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is the second largest island in southern Thailand after Phuket.

It’s home to a (harmless) Buffalo Fighting Festival and brings in tourists from around the globe to its luxury villas year-round.

If you’re planning your trip and wondering where to stay in Koh Samui, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this post, we’ll take a look at what makes each of the beaches unique. From there, you can decide which resort, villa, or hotel is best for you on your trip to Koh Samui.

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How to find the best Koh Samui hotels

This whole island is amazing, honestly.

It doesn’t matter so much what your price range is; you’ll still be amongst the same beautiful greenery, in the same stress-free beach haven as everyone else. But if you’re looking for a quieter time, Maenam is certainly for you.

Likewise, if you want better nightlife and restaurants, Lamai and Chaweng are equally awesome.

The Fisherman’s Village is a must-see part of the traditional local culture, and that can be found in Bophut, making Bophut a great option for culture lovers.

The quick Overview:

  • If it’s your first time on Koh Samui – Lamai
  • Where to stay in Koh Samui for luxury – Choeng Mon
  • Best area to stay in Koh Samui for nightlife – Chaweng
  • A little peace and quiet in Koh Samui – MaeNam
  • Best area for families – Bophut


Why stay in Lamai:

  • The best variety of restaurants on the island
  • The best nightlife and bar scene
  • Plenty of Thai massage options


Why stay in Chaweng:

  • Largest beach on the island
  • Endless blue skies and seas surround you
  • The best place to relax, read, and swim


Why stay in Bophut:

  • Home to the Fisherman’s Village
  • Great place for market shopping and street food
  • Plenty of art to enjoy and buy


Why stay in Maenam:

  • The island’s secret hideaway
  • Great for relaxation and solitude
  • Surrounded by beautiful local greenery
Koh Samui Maenam Beach サムイ島メナムビーチ

Bang Rak

Why stay in Bang Rak:

  • Best traditional local foods on the island
  • Fresh food, affordable and delicious
  • A mix of street food stalls and high-end restaurants
Bang Rak

Choeng Mon

Why stay in Choeng Mon:

  • The luxury resort area
  • Great for gyms, massages, and pool
  • High-end restaurants aplenty
Koh Samui

Bang Po

Why stay in Bang Po:

  • Local cultural hub of the island
  • Home to a traditional Buddhist temple
  • Best place to explore the traditions of Koh Samui
Bang Po

Where to stay in Lamai

Full of great spas and restaurants

Lamai has rows of restaurants celebrating amazing local Thai cuisine, as well as more international options.

Whatever food you love, you’ll find it here. Thai massage is also bliss, and you’ll find loads of cheap options in this area.

Pros and cons of staying in Lamai

Loads of eating options for all kinds of foodiesNot the most quiet and relaxing area on the island
Amazing and cheap massages everywhereAlso not a huge nightlife scene here

Best hotels in Lamai

Luxury – Seaview Paradise Beach and Mountain Villas

These stunning villas sit at the edge of the Gulf of Thailand.

They are spacious, airy rooms with plenty of light which allow you to be right on the waterfront. From here you can access all the best restaurants in the area.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Mid-range – Lamai Inn 99 Bungalows

This hotel’s biggest selling-point is its location: right next to the beach.

The hotel pool is wide and deep, surrounded by beautiful Thai flora, and the hotel also has some fantastic dining options. The rooms are pretty and the beds comfy.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Budget – Green Villa

The rooms at this villa have all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay.

You’re only a 20-minute drive from the airport, you have a great pool, and you can walk on over to the Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks in just a few minutes.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com


Where to stay in Chaweng

The island’s biggest beach

Chaweng is is one massive, beautiful beach. Here is the best place to stay if you want nothing but endless blue to swim in.

There’s also boating and fishing if that’s your thing. The beach is big enough for everyone, so this makes a great place for families and couples to come and relax.

Pros and cons of staying in Chaweng

A huge beach and an endless sea to swim and relax inLight on the restaurants and nightlife scene
Great for families and couplesLess variety of activities than many other areas

Best hotels in Chaweng

Luxury – Chaweng

This lovely villa-hotel features a huge blue outdoor pool, and a restaurant that serves fresh, quality local Thai food. Here, you’re also only a short walk away from a Thai boxing stadium!

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Mid-range – Samui Little Garden Resort

Beyond just having a lovely outdoor pool, this hotel also has a stunning garden to relax in and enjoy.

It’s a great place to read, get some fresh air, and take in the fresh atmosphere. There are also plenty of great bars around!

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Budget – Banyan House

The rooms at this villa are simply stunning. You’ve got a spacious, sunlit room with a huge, extravagant bed.

Comfort is certainly a top priority here! You’re also a short walk from a hot, white sandy beach and the open sea.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com


Where to stay in Bophut

Best for families

The Fisherman’s Village is the biggest cultural draw here. It’s a fascinating, vibrant, and beautiful market area full of stalls of foods, fabrics, and other things to browse and buy.

You can also explore the local art for sale, and sample so many great local dishes. Bophut is the best place to discover the artsy and local culture of Koh Samui.

Pros and cons of staying in Bophut

Amazing street foodLittle else besides shopping and food
The best place to shop and buy souvenirsNot the best of the beaches on the island

Best hotels in Bophut

Luxury – Baan Bophut Beach Hotel

As the name suggests, this hotel is situated right on the beach, meaning you can leave your room and be in the sea within seconds.

If the sea isn’t for you, the hotel also has its own gorgeous infinity pool.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Mid-range – Pico Beach Bungalows & Resort

This mid-range, well-priced hotel actually has its own private section of the beach that’s all yours!

At the hotel itself, you get a continental breakfast every day, and of course there’s a great outdoor pool to relax in after a morning at the private beach.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Budget – Infinity Bophut Apartments

Lovely, spacious rooms with a minimalist style and plenty of light and colour. A private balcony on each room, an outdoor pool surrounded by comfortable sun-loungers.

This fantastic budget hotel has everything you need for a comfortable stay at Koh Samui.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com


Where to stay in Maenam

The most quiet, reserved beach on Koh Samui

This is the place for you if you cherish peace and quiet above all else.

Of course, this whole island paradise has great beaches, but Maenam is the best if you’re the kind of person who likes to feel like they own the beach.

This lesser-known area is off-the-beaten-path, and as such it’s a lot less touristy and crowded. It’s a quiet slice of paradise for you, your partner, and your family to have all to yourselves.

Pros and cons of staying in Maenam

The most relaxing part of the islandVery few restaurants and bars
Totally secluded and surrounded by lush wildlifeCould get a little boring after a while

Best hotels in Maenam

Luxury – Baan Nana Villa

This stunning villa is all wooden décor, making you feel like you’re living the life of a local. Here you can relax in absolute comfort.

You’re five minutes from the beach and the pier. The villa is also surrounded on all sides by some of the best restaurants on the island.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Mid-range – Sazana Villa Resort

The most stunning outdoor pool, surrounded by lush wild greenery, is matched only by the most traditionally beautiful rooms.

They’re decorated in a local Thai style and the whole resort is a short walk from the Fisherman’s Village. It’s simply a wonderful place to stay.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Budget – Maenam Lodge

Here you get a daily continental European breakfast, as well as a restaurant that offers meals throughout the day.

The rooms are well-lit and decorated in a happy minimalist style. The location is full of great bars and restaurants as well.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Koh Samui Maenam Beach サムイ島メナムビーチ
Photo by soma-samui.com

Where to stay in Bang Rak

Home to the best food on the island

Bang Rak is where you’ll find the best quality local foods. If you’re coming to Thailand for Thai food, this is the area of Koh Samui you’ll want to stay in.

This area is all about real traditional local dishes. A mix of restaurants and street foods means you likely won’t get bored with the variety.

Pros and cons of staying in Bang Rak

The best local food on the islandNot the best beaches on the island
A huge variety of Thai foodsLittle else to do if you don’t travel with food in mind

Best hotels in Bang Rak

Luxury – Sea Suite Villa

This place really is a sea suite, located at the edge of the beach and overlooking the endless blue sea.

The views from this villa are complete and utter bliss. Here you also get a continental breakfast and an outdoor pool!

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Mid-range – Punnpreeda Beach Resort

Here you’re a short walk from the Fisherman’s Village and the resort itself has its own infinity pool to lose your worries in.

There’s a laundry service to rid you of any concerns about washing. And there’s a restaurant which serves a fantastic traditional Thai breakfast!

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Budget – Samui Pier Beach Front & Resort

Many of the rooms here offer sea views of that endless blue, and the outdoor pool is free for every guest to enjoy.

You can also get a massage at the resort, and they will help you dive in with some great water activities, including diving and fishing.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Bang Rak

Where to stay in Choeng Mon

Where all the up-market resorts can be found

This is the comfort and luxury capital of Koh Samui. Here you’ll find the best resorts full of massage parlours, high-end restaurants, infinity pools, and gyms.

Even if you’re not staying at one of these resorts, some of them allow the public to come in and use their facilities for a fee. If you want real luxury, it’s all in Choeng Mon.

Pros and cons of staying in Choeng Mon

The best luxury resorts on the islandNot ideal if you’re traveling on a budget
Great for massage, high-end restaurants, and gymsNot much of a nightlife scene

Best hotels in Choeng Mon

Luxury – Moon Cottage

Four-poster beds, big luxury TVs, and loads of space.

These rooms are so beautiful and comfortable that it’ll be hard to tear yourself away from your room! You also have a private garden area and a plunge pool.

All around the cottages are fantastic bars, restaurants, and clubs for you to discover and enjoy. Then come home to bliss!

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Mid-range – Sirinsamui Boutique Hostel

Here you’ve got a fantastic outdoor pool, a pool table out on the deck, and plenty of cooking appliances if you prefer to do your own cooking.

The rooms are spacious and the beds incredibly comfortable.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Budget – Bay Beach Resort

This is a great place for a more peaceful and relaxing beach holiday. All the same, you’ve got plenty of shopping and nightlife if you’d prefer.

There are tropical gardens to sit in and read a book, or a pool to wash away all your troubles.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Koh Samui

Where to stay in Bang Po

Home to a beautiful Buddhist temple

This is as great area if you like a little more peace and quiet, and you want to enjoy the local traditions of Koh Samui.

Here, you’ll find a beautiful Buddhist temple, which will remind you of the real local traditions and the less touristy parts of this stunning island.

Pros and cons of staying in Bang Po

An amazing temple to photograph and exploreNot much of a restaurant and nightlife scene here
The centre of traditional Thai culture on the islandMany of the villas are very expensive, so there’s less of a budget option

Best hotels in Bang Po

Luxury – The Humble Villas

Private pools, sea views, and a cocktail bar. If that doesn’t equal luxury, I don’t know what does.

They call themselves humble, but they seem pretty special to me!

Every room has its own private balcony for enjoying the sea views, and you’ve also got a spacious room that is flooded with sunlight every morning.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Mid-range – Kalara Gardens

These stunning villas have an absolutely massive pool.

The pool itself is surrounded by the most beautiful local greenery, submerging you in the local rural atmosphere completely.

The rooms are apartment suits with cooking facilities to really make you feel completely at home.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Budget – The White Pearl Beach Club

Here you’ve got your own private hammock at the poolside, a great chance to relax, read a book, and lose yourself completely.

Your bungalow also has plenty of space and its own patio area. There’s also a shared lounge where you can meet and greet with other friendly guests.

Check the latest prices at Booking.com

Bang Po
Photo by Devan Bickley

FAQ – Where to stay in Koh Samui Thailand

Which part of Koh Samui is the best to stay?

The best part of Koh Samui to stay depends on your preferences.

Chaweng is great for nightlife and shopping, Bophut is ideal for families and has a charming Fisherman’s Village, Lamai is perfect for a more laid-back vibe, and Maenam offers tranquility and is less crowded.

Which part of Koh Samui has the best beaches?

If you’re looking for the best beaches in Koh Samui, head to Chaweng or Lamai.

Chaweng has got an amazing long stretch of white sand and super clear water, great for swimming and all sorts of water sports. Lamai is more chill but just as beautiful, perfect for just lying in the sun and taking a dip.

Where do travelers stay in Koh Samui?

In Koh Samui, travelers usually stay in places like Chaweng if they’re into a lively scene with lots of shops and nightlife.

Bophut is great for families and has a cool Fisherman’s Village. If you’re after something more laid-back, Lamai is your spot. And for peace and quiet, Maenam is a real gem, not too crowded either.

Where is the main part of Koh Samui?

The main part of Koh Samui is Chaweng. It’s like the heart of the island where all the action is.

You’ve got your busy beach, tons of shops, restaurants, and a buzzing nightlife scene. It’s the go-to spot if you want to be right in the middle of everything.

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  1. Hi Miriam
    What a nice blog you have! I love the inspiration you bring here.
    I’m on the lookout for nice places to visit this summer, and this post inspired me.

    I’m glad to read that you have found some nice hotels. When you are used to Comwell kind of standards, you often get dissapointed when travelling. But maybe I’ve just been looking at the wrong countries!
    Thank you for all the inspiration!

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