Where to Stay in Koh Samui? 5 Best Areas & Places to Stay (+ Avoid!) ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ

Koh Samui is an amazing holiday island, where the areas vary greatly. Here, I'm sharing my 5 favorite areas & recommending great hotels.

where to stay in koh samui

Koh Samui is Thailand’s second-largest island, and it’s easy to get there by flying to the small airport (which you can fly to from several places in Thailand) or by ferry.

The island is located in the Gulf of Thailand east of Surat Thani, and it’s popular to combine a trip to Samui with visits to the nearby islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao (something I’ve done on several trips to Thailand).

I’ve been to Koh Samui for about two weeks, spread over two trips, so I know the island and its various areas very well.

Kristoffer Fรธns travel blogger in Koh Samui Airport
You can look forward to experiencing Samui Airport if you’re flying there โ€“ it’s cool! ๐Ÿ˜€

It’s worth noting that Koh Samui is actually a pretty large island, and there are big differences between the various holiday areas.

In this guide, I’ll explore the best places to stay in Koh Samui, depending on the type of holiday and atmosphere you’re looking for.

So, let’s get started: where to stay in Koh Samui?

Best Areas to Stay in Koh Samui

best areas to stay in Koh Samui

If you’re in a hurry or just want a quick overview, here are the best areas to stay in Koh Samui:

  • Choeng Mon โ€“ Peace & Authentic Samui Charm โญ๏ธ
  • Bophut โ€“ Best area to stay for families with children
  • Chaweng โ€“ The most lively tourist town on Samui
  • Lamai โ€“ A more laidback tourist area with a great beach
  • Mae Nam โ€“ Impressive sandy beach in tranquil surroundings

Click on the area name to see the best hotels there.

The guide continues below, where I delve deeper into the areas and recommend great hotels.

1. Choeng Mon โ€“ Peace & Authentic Samui Charm โญ๏ธ

Choeng Mon in Koh Samui is the perfect place to stay for those seeking a vacation filled with relaxation and adventure.

This area is renowned for its peaceful atmosphere, making it an excellent choice for families, couples, and anyone looking to enjoy some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Get a feel for the beach in the area here:

I stayed here on my last trip to Samui (see my hotel in the section below) and loved the area’s vibe, which is super relaxed, yet you’re still close to other towns, making it easy to get “where the action is.”

Koh Samui restaurant recommendation
I recommend The Jumping Bean if you need a break from Thai food ๐Ÿ˜€

The beach in Choeng Mon is a true highlight with its white sand and crystal-clear water, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and water activities in a less crowded environment than other places on Koh Samui.

See the best hotels in Choeng Mon here.

In addition to beach life, Choeng Mon offers a mix of luxurious resorts and budget-friendly hotels, so there’s something for every budget.

koh samui hotel in choeng mon
I stayed at the fantastic Sea Dance Resort.

Not far from Choeng Mon, you can visit the impressive Big Buddha statue. This must-see for culture enthusiasts offers a unique glimpse into local spirituality.

Big Buddha Koh Samui

The location of Choeng Mon is ideal.

It’s easy to access the island’s airport and is near lively areas like Chaweng and Bophut, which are great for shopping and nightlife (more on these areas later in the guide).

It literally took 10 minutes to get from the airport to my hotel. By the way, you can look forward to flying to or from Koh Samui airport; it’s really special in a good way.

You can fly to Samui from Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

If you choose to stay in Choeng Mon, you’ll get the best of Koh Samui: beautiful beaches, cultural experiences, and a relaxing atmosphere.

Places to stay in Choeng Mon

As mentioned, this area of Koh Samui houses everything from luxury resorts and small boutique hotels to affordable bungalow hotels.

Here are some of my favorite hotels in Choeng Mon โ€“ starting with the most luxurious and then moving “down” in price.

Melia Koh Samui is a luxury hotel located directly on the beach, offering an unparalleled blend of comfort and elegance.

Melia Koh Samui

The hotel is known for its spacious rooms and suites, tastefully decorated with an eye for detail.

A unique feature of Melia Koh Samui is its lagoon-shaped swimming pools that weave through the property, creating a sense of a private oasis.

Melia Koh Samui room

Guests particularly praise the hotel’s first-class service, exquisite dining options, and the peaceful atmosphere, making it the perfect retreat for those seeking relaxation in luxurious surroundings.

Previous guests also highlight the activities and facilities available for children, making it an ideal destination for families.

See more photos and book here.

When I stayed at the Sea Dance Resort, I was fortunate enough to spend my nights in one of their villas with a private pool, and it was an absolutely lovely experience.

sea dance resort samui

The villa was spacious and inviting with a small private pool, perfect for morning dips or relaxing afternoons in the sun.

The staff were also extremely nice, creating a really pleasant atmosphere at the hotel โ€“ it’s definitely the perfect place to just relax and enjoy your vacation.

sea dance samui private pool
I loved our little private pool.

The hotel is located by its own little beach, and there is no town immediately nearby โ€“ you have to walk about 200-300 meters up to the main road, where there’s a 7/11 and a couple of restaurants.

If you continue walking for about 10-15 minutes, you then reach Choeng Mon beach itself.

See more photos and book here.

Melati Beach Resort & Spa, located right on the beach, is a rather luxurious hotel that can be booked at a surprisingly good price.

Melati Beach Resort & Spa

Here you can expect an atmosphere of peace and privacy, complemented by a state-of-the-art spa center where you can enjoy relaxing treatments.

The resort’s location by a peaceful bay means that you can enjoy the beach almost to yourself.

Melati Beach Resort & Spa pool villa

There are both normal hotel rooms and private pool villas. Melati Beach Resort & Spa is a great place to stay in Koh Samui for those seeking a luxurious and relaxing vacation with a personal touch, but where the price isn’t too high.

See more photos and book here.

2. Bophut (Fishermanโ€™s Village) โ€“ Best Area to Stay for Families with Children

Bophut, also known as Fishermanโ€™s Village, is a charming mix of traditional Thai culture and modern conveniences. It is ideal for families and couples seeking a cozy base during their trip to Koh Samui.

The area stands out with its unique atmosphere, where old wooden houses along the narrow street tell stories of times gone by, now hosting trendy shops, restaurants, and cafes.

See the best hotels in Bophut here.

One of Bophut’s biggest attractions is the popular night market, where the main street transforms into a vibrant market.

Here, you can experience everything from live music and street performances to countless stalls selling local crafts, clothing, and, not least, street food that will spoil your taste buds with authentic Thai flavors.

When I was in Samui for the first time, I stayed here in Bophut, and it worked excellently as a base. It was an excellent place to stay as a first-time visitor.

bophut fishermans village samui
You can see Koh Phangan from Bophut.

The beach in Bophut is more laid-back than many other beaches on Koh Samui, making it a perfect spot for those who want to relax under the palm trees or enjoy water activities in peace.

The water here is ideal for swimming, and the soft sandy bottom makes it particularly child-friendly.

Places to stay in Bophut

Bophut is one of Samui’s more popular holiday areas, so there are hotels in all price ranges. Letโ€™s look at three good hotels in Bophut in different price categories.

Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort is a downright luxury hotel located directly on Bophut beach.

Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort

This resort offers an impressive combination of elegant rooms, suites, and villas designed with an eye for Thai aesthetics and comfort.

Anantara Bophut beach hotel in Fishermans Village
The hotel’s location doesn’t get much better in Koh Samui.

Guests can enjoy the resort’s spectacular infinity pool, which seems to merge with the sea’s horizon, as well as the award-winning Anantara Spa.

Anantara Bophut is a dream hotel for those seeking a vacation in luxury and style.

See more photos and book here.

Holiday Inn Resort Samui Bophut Beach is a favorite among families who appreciate a relaxed holiday with easy access to everything.

Holiday Inn Resort Samui Bophut Beach, good place to stay for families with children

The hotel offers a wide range of family-friendly activities and facilities, including a kids’ club and a large pool that is safe and fun for children.

play area in the hotel in samui
The perfect hotel on Samui for families with children.

The rooms are spacious and comfortably furnished, ensuring families feel at home.

Previous guests especially praise the hotel’s location right by Bophut Beach and its proximity to Fishermanโ€™s Village, where evenings can be enjoyed among cozy markets and restaurants.

See more photos and book here.

The Waterfront Hotel at Fishermanโ€™s Village is an excellent choice for travelers looking for an affordable yet charming accommodation.

The Waterfront Hotel at Fishermanโ€™s Village

This hotel offers cozy bungalows directly on the beach and a lovely pool for a welcome cool down on hot days.

Guests particularly appreciate the personal service and the homely atmosphere the hotel is known for.

beach hotel fishermans village samui
It is a cheap hotel without great comfort but with a good atmosphere and affordable prices.

Reviews often emphasize the value for money and the hotelโ€™s beautiful sea views, making The Waterfront a popular choice for couples and solo travelers.

See more photos and book here.

3. Chaweng โ€“ The Most Lively Tourist Town on Samui

Chaweng is the place on Koh Samui where everything happens. Imagine a place where you can experience everything from sunrise to sunset and well into the night.

Chaweng, best area to stay for a lively vibe

It’s perfect for you if you’re young or just young at heart, and love to dive into a world of entertainment, shopping, and beach life.

If you’ve traveled around Thailand, Chaweng might remind you a bit of other lively tourist spots like Ao Nang in Krabi and Patong in Phuket, yet it still has its own unique charm.

See the best hotels in Chaweng here.

The beach here is fantastic โ€“ think white sand and turquoise water, where you can chill all day. And if you’re into activities, there’s plenty of water sports to get involved in.

But Chaweng isn’t just about the day. When the sun goes down, the town turns up the charm with a plethora of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs that keep the party going well into the night.

In Chaweng, you can find everything from budget-friendly hostels perfect for backpackers to luxurious resorts, so no matter what your wallet says, there’s a place for you.

Chaweng beach in Koh Samui

However, with so much going on, Chaweng can also become a bit overwhelming if you’re seeking silence and peace.

So, if you’re into more relaxed vibes, it might be a good idea to check out some of the other areas on the island.

It’s a great place to stay if you want to experience Koh Samui from its most energetic side, with all the opportunities for fun, party, and colors it entails.

Places to stay in Chaweng

As the largest holiday town on Koh Samui, there are naturally many hotels in Chaweng. Here are my favorites.

SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort is a luxury hotel that provides the best conditions for a true dream vacation on Koh Samui.

SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort private pool villa

This impressive resort offers modern design rooms and private villas, some with direct access to the pool or even with their own pool, for the ultimate luxury experience.

Guests are spoiled with the resort’s state-of-the-art facilities, including a beachfront pool, a modern fitness center, and a soothing spa area.

Sala Samui pool
Pool right by Chaweng Beach.

Previous guests especially highlight the unmatched service and the resort’s location on the beautiful Chaweng Beach, making it a perfect choice for those seeking exclusivity and relaxation.

See more photos and book here.

Buri Rasa Village Samui combines the charm of a traditional Thai village resort with modern comfort and elegance.

buri rasa koh samui, excellent place to stay in Chaweng

The hotel is also located directly on Chaweng Beach, where there’s a tranquil atmosphere with beautiful architecture and lush, tropical gardens.

The rooms are decorated in an authentic Thai style, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

buri rasa samui room

Guests can enjoy a variety of facilities, such as a cozy pool area, a beach bar, and a restaurant serving delicious local and international dishes.

See more photos and book here.

Lub d Koh Samui Chaweng Beach is the perfect choice for young travelers looking for a fun, social, and affordable place to stay on Koh Samui.

Lub d Koh Samui Chaweng Beach, best hotel for young travelers

This hotel stands out with its fresh, youthful design and a relaxed atmosphere that invites meeting new people.

Facilities include a lively beach bar, a communal kitchen, and an activity area, ensuring there’s always something to do.

Lub d Koh Samui Chaweng

The perfect place to stay for young travelers โ€“ there are even shared dormitories if you want to stay extra cheap.

See more photos and book here.

4. Lamai โ€“ A More Laidback Tourist Area with a Great Beach

Lamai is like Chaweng’s relaxed little sister.

Lamai Beach, good area to stay in Koh Samui
The beautiful Lamai Beach.

Here you’ll find a wonderful mix of lively and laid-back, making Lamai the perfect place to stay on Koh Samui if you’re looking for a bit more peace without sacrificing the opportunity for great experiences.

The beach here can easily compete with Chaweng’s, and some would even say it’s better โ€“ think softer sand and crystal-clear water inviting you for long days under the sun.

See the best hotels in Lamai here.

Even though Lamai is a bit more laid-back, it doesn’t lack anything.

The town still boasts a vibrant nightlife with a plethora of bars and nightclubs where you can enjoy cold drinks and music.

Despite being Koh Samui’s second most popular holiday area, it has managed to retain a certain charm.

You get the feeling of a local community here, with small shops and markets where you can find everything from handmade crafts to fresh tropical fruits.

Grandfather Rock
The famous โ€œGrandfather Rockโ€ at the end of Lamai Beachโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜…

For those who want a place with a bit more room to breathe and relax, but still want easy access to entertainment and activities, Lamai is an obvious choice.

Here you can enjoy the best of both worlds: the beautiful, peaceful beach during the day and the lively nightlife as darkness falls.

Lamai is not a hidden gem without tourists, but it’s a place where you can feel a bit more away from it all, while still being right in the middle of it.

Places to stay in Lamai

As one of the most popular holiday areas on Koh Samui, there are plenty of great hotels to choose from โ€“ and hotels in Lamai are typically a tad cheaper than in Chaweng.

Silavadee Pool Spa Resort is the epitome of luxury and seclusion. Located just outside Lamai town, it ensures a sense of exclusivity and peace.

Silavadee Pool Spa Resort, luxury hotel in Lamai

This hotel is truly unique!

This impressive resort is known for its lavish villas and rooms, many with private pools and breathtaking sea views.

Guests can immerse themselves in ultimate relaxation at the resort’s world-class spa, enjoy gourmet meals at the fine dining restaurants, or relax by one of the spectacular infinity pools.

Silavadee private pool with ocean view

The resort’s architecture and design respect the natural landscape, creating a harmonious balance between luxury and the beauty of nature.

Reviews especially praise Silavadee for its exceptional service, peaceful atmosphere, and unparalleled location, making it a dream destination for those seeking a luxurious escape from everyday life.

See more photos and book here.

The Lamai Samui is a charming resort offering an authentic and luxurious beach holiday experience.

The Lamai Samui

Facilities such as a delightful pool area, an exquisite beachfront restaurant, and a relaxing spa center contribute to a sense of well-being and renewal.

The Lamai Samui beach
The hotel is right down to the beach.

Guest reviews often highlight the friendly staff, the beautiful location, and the resort’s ability to create a sense of privacy and exclusivity, making it an ideal choice for couples and families looking for a relaxing seaside holiday.

See more photos and book here.

Crystal Lamai Hotel is an excellent choice for those seeking affordable accommodation in the heart of Lamai.

Crystal, cheap hotel in Lamai

This hotel offers comfortable and clean rooms at an affordable price, without compromising on location โ€“ a stone’s throw from Lamai Beach and close to the town’s many attractions.

Crystal Lamai Hotel pool
The affordable hotel in Lamai also has a pool.

The facilities are basic but sufficient for guests primarily out to explore the island and enjoy the beach life.

Previous guests particularly value the hotel’s good value for money, central location, and friendly service.

A good hotel in Lamai for those who want to stay affordably and don’t need much luxury.

See more photos and book here.

5. Mae Nam โ€“ Impressive Sandy Beach in Tranquil Surroundings

Mae Nam is the spot on Koh Samui where you can truly slow down and enjoy island life at a more relaxed pace.

Mae Nam, best area to stay for a relaxed holiday in Koh Samui

Located on the island’s northern coast, here you’ll find a peaceful beach with soft sand and swaying palms โ€“ an idyllic setting that’s perfect for laid-back days in the sun.

What makes Mae Nam particularly appealing is the relaxed atmosphere, a far cry from the busier tourist areas on the island.

See the best hotels in Mae Nam here.

Here, you’ll find a nice mix of small, cozy cafes, local restaurants, and beach bars where you can enjoy freshly caught fish and seafood along with other culinary experiences without feeling (too) overwhelmed by tourist traps.

Though Mae Nam is a quieter corner of Koh Samui, it doesn’t mean there’s a lack of things to do.

Besides the wonderful swimming opportunities, the area offers everything from yoga and spa treatments to golf at one of the island’s most renowned courses.

Mae Nam Koh Samui

Mae Nam is the perfect place to stay for those seeking a more authentic experience of Koh Samui, away from the large crowds.

Of course, there are still other tourists โ€“ after all, Koh Samui is one of the most popular holiday areas in all of Thailand.

The area is a great place to stay for families, couples, and solo travelers who appreciate nature and peace but still want easy access to the island’s facilities and attractions.

Places to stay in Mae Nam

Mae Nam is a somewhat atypical area on Koh Samui compared to the other places I’ve mentioned in this guide, but there are still all types of accommodation options available.

Here are some of my favorite hotels in Mae Nam on the northern tip of Koh Samui.

Santiburi Koh Samui is a true gem among luxury hotels on the tranquil Mae Nam Beach.

Santiburi Koh Samui, luxury hotel in Mae Nam beach

This resort offers an exclusive experience with its spacious and elegantly decorated villas and suites, many with direct access to the private beach.

Santiburi Mae Nam

Here you can enjoy a range of activities, including golf on the resort’s own golf course, water sports, and pampering in the luxurious spa.

Santiburi Koh Samui is consistently praised in reviews for its exceptional service, idyllic location, and meticulous attention to detail that ensures an unforgettable holiday.

See more photos and book here.

The Flow Samui Beach Resort is a great place to stay if you want a charming and affordable holiday experience in Mae Nam.

The Flow Samui Beach Resort

The rooms are comfortable and modern with all the necessary amenities for a pleasant stay.

The Flow Samui private pool
Room with sea view and private pool.

The resort has a lovely pool and direct access to a quiet part of Mae Nam Beach, perfect for enjoying the sun and the sea.

Reviews often praise The Flow Samui for its good value for money, beautiful location, and helpful staff.

See more photos and book here.

Paradise Beach Resort Samui in Mae Nam is a good choice for those looking for a more budget-friendly beachfront hotel.

Paradise Beach Resort Samui

This resort offers charming bungalows right down to the beach, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, creating a cozy and relaxing atmosphere.

Paradise Beach Resort Samui, hotel by the beach

Despite its surprisingly low price, reviews highlight the resort’s clean and well-maintained area, excellent beachfront location, and friendly staff.

Paradise Beach Resort Samui is the perfect place for those who want to wake up to the sound of the waves without breaking the bank.

See more photos and book here.

Where not to stay in Koh Samui?

koh samui thailand
You can’t go too wrong in Koh Samui.

Koh Samui is Thailand’s second-largest island, so it’s worth considering when looking for the best place to stay.

However, you might end up booking a hotel in a somewhat less ideal area.

It’s not that there are dangerous areas on Koh Samui โ€“ it’s an extremely safe and secure place for tourists (like the rest of Thailand). It’s more about convenience that I’m thinking of here.

What you should be aware of is more about not ending up staying in a bad area, where, for example, it’s far to a beach, restaurants, or other things to do.

Here are a couple of specific areas you, in my opinion, should avoid on Koh Samui:

Nathon

As the island’s main ferry port, Nathon is more of a commercial center than a holiday area. It lacks the high-quality beaches and tourist facilities most seek on a beach holiday.

If you’re arriving at Koh Samui by ferry, by the way, I can recommend the company Lomprayah.

Taling Ngam

Known for its natural beauty and fantastic sunsets, this area is, however, quite isolated compared to the island’s more lively areas, which might make it less ideal for those wanting to explore Koh Samui’s broad offerings.

Taling Ngam is located in the southwestern part of Koh Samui, and most ‘ordinary’ tourist areas are situated on the northeastern part of the island.

I hope you found this guide useful and that you now have a good overview of the different areas on this popular holiday island in Thailand.

If you’re still unsure about where to stay on Koh Samui, feel free to leave a comment below.

Read all Thailand travel guides here.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Which area is best to stay in on Koh Samui?

The ideal area to stay in Koh Samui depends greatly on the type of holiday you seek. Chaweng is the obvious choice if you’re after a lively atmosphere with many restaurants, bars, and nightlife.

Lamai might be the place for you if you prefer a more relaxed vibe with cozy cafes and fewer crowds.

Choeng Mon or Bophut, with its charming Fisherman’s Village, is ideal for those seeking luxurious relaxation and peace. Mae Nam is perfect for families or couples wanting a quiet beach holiday with the chance to experience authentic Thai culture.

Where is the best beach on Samui?

Koh Samui has many beautiful beaches, but the best one can vary depending on personal preferences. Chaweng Beach is the most popular for its fine white sand and crystal-clear water, but it can also be the most crowded.

Mae Nam Beach offers a more relaxed atmosphere for families or those seeking peace. Lamai Beach is a good choice for those wanting a balance between lively activities and relaxation options.

Is Chaweng or Lamai Beach better?

The choice between Chaweng and Lamai Beach again depends on your personal preferences. Chaweng Beach is for those looking for a lively beach scene with plenty of water sports, shopping, and nightlife options.

Lamai Beach has a more relaxed vibe but still offers a good selection of restaurants and bars and some of the island’s best natural attractions close by. Both beaches have beautiful clear water and fine sand beaches, so you can’t go wrong with either choice. My favorite is Lamai, as I like the slightly more relaxed atmosphere.

Websites I use to book my trips ๐Ÿ‘‡

โ€ข Booking.com has the best offers on hotels and unique places to stay
โ€ข GetYourGuide is the best place to book tours & activities with free cancellation
โ€ข This power bank is the one thing I never travel without
โ€ข Welcome Pickups is the best & safest place to pre-book airport transfers

Psst ๐Ÿ‘€ Have you subscribed to my Youtube channel and my Instagram where I provide more useful travel tips?