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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Thailand > Koh Samui beaches

About Koh Samui beaches

Since backpackers first arrived in Koh Samui in the 1970s, the Thai island has not looked back. In the 1980s the first tourist hotels opened and today the island is a fully equipped resort destination complete with all the facilities and some excellent hotels. Its original charms (swaying palms, starched white beaches and balmy waters) are still very much intact. Koh Samui offers everything from buzzing party beaches through to quiet sheltered coves, as well as myriad watersports, adventure tourism, family attractions and splashes of local colour, making it a justifiably popular Southeast Asian resort island.

Beach:

Koh Samui boasts myriad great beaches where you can unfurl your towel. The busiest is in the busy resort town of Chaweng. Hat Chaweng, also the island’s largest beach, is fully equipped with sun loungers, sun umbrellas, watersports, beach bars and restaurants. Hat Lamai to the south is in a similar vein though a little quieter. There are many more relaxed stretches of sand dotted around the island with Ao Thong Sai popular with families.

Beyond the beach:

Exploring the island’s Buddhist temples is a rewarding break from the beach. One of the most dramatic is Wat Phra Yai, which is set on its own small island in the north. Wat Samret meanwhile boasts an impressive sitting Buddha and Wat Laem Saw is located in Ban Bang Kao on the southern coast of the island.

Family fun:

For younger visitors tired of the beaches Namuang Safari Park (Namuang 2) is southwest of Hat Chaweng. Families can enjoy a ride on an elephant or just catch an show with live crocodiles. In Maret, The Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo (www.samuiorchid.com) boasts birds, an aquarium and the mighty tiger.

Exploring further:

Ang Thong Marine National Park is a very popular day trip option and with good reason. This neighbouring archipelago of over 40 islands is a protected national park and much more pristine than Koh Samui. Most day trips include the chance to swim and snorkel as well as the opportunity to climb a hill and survey the archipelago as it unfurls across the Gulf of Thailand.

Splashing out:

The Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts (www.sitca.net) is perfect if you are looking to brush up on your cooking skills. Here expert Thai chefs help you conjure up local dishes, so you will be able to impress your friends and loved ones. To complete the experience you can get to savour your creations.