This is not true, and once they know you're aware of that, it's usually possible to bargain for this distance, you should bargain to at least baht, or even better, baht, which is still higher than Bangkok metered taxi prices. On the popular beaches it may be impossible at all to get a reasonable fare sometimes. If so, just walk to some area which is more quiet and far away from luxurious hotels. Taxi can be ordered quickly once the app is downloaded and waiting times are rarely over 5 - 10 minutes.
The fares are strictly metered and an estimate of the total fare can be seen before confirming the order. All taxis have cameras inside and the drivers speak good English. The service is a good, safe alternative to the regular Taxis to avoid unreasonable fares. At least on a public holiday, don't expect there to be any NaviGo drivers to pick you up from the airport.
There is a taxi counter after the arrival hall at Samui Airport. However, queuing and waiting for the service is quite annoying. There are other taxis waiting behind the counter, but the price is either the same or mostly higher. It is probably best to book your taxi or minibus in advance online. Just ask if he is going that way and get on board.
If you want to go to a particular place, then hire a taxi or songthaew and negotiate the price with them first. Strangely, you can only get to Chaweng in one direction, and Lamai in the other. To go from one to the other requires a taxi. As of April , drivers tend to demand a flat rate of B for any trip between 2 cities for example Chaweng to Lamai.
Be advised this is grossly inflated compared to the normal rate paid by the locals and displayed - unfortunately in Thai only - inside the car on a small white board. There is little you can do about it but is best kept in mind if you feel like bargaining. As of Feb there are now aircon minibuses which go between Nathon and Chaweng. The fare is B but they may try to get B out of you!
Motorbikes can be rented virtually anywhere on Ko Samui for between baht per day depending on the size and season a small cc scooter should cost no more than baht even during New Year. It is recommended that you hire only from a reputable company as there have been reports of scams. Some places deliberately steal bikes that they have rented out. Also the motorbikes don't have insurance. If they say they have insurance, it's not true.
If something happens, you can't claim for it. Read the rental agreement very carefully, as too many not typical in other parts of Thailand, e. This is a scam, as they will replace the part for you for a price several times higher sometimes also stated in the agreement than it actually costs. Motorbike shops will likely want you to leave your passport as a collateral. This is a common practice in Thailand, and, by itself, shouldn't raise much concern. Most government travel advisory services advise against leaving your passport anywhere as a deposit for obvious reasons.
Combined with the scams and bad practices mentioned above, however, it may lead to a situation where your passport is held as "hostage" until you pay what they want. For this reason, it's unwise to return your motorbike just before your departure. Leave at least several hours, or perhaps a day, to settle any problems that may arise. If the shop's demands are clearly illegitimate, the agreement you have signed does not contain any silly conditions and prices, the price they ask for damages is unreasonable, or the damage was clearly done before you rented that motorbike , call the tourist police.
If hiring a bike doesn't appeal to you, then there are motorbike-taxis willing to take you around for a negotiable in advance, as foreigners are commonly asked an exorbitant price fee, as well as other modes of transportation. At the moment they have the option of using your passport as security, or leaving a deposit, so you don't have many of the issues raised above. There are many car hire options on Ko Samui, including the local arms of international companies such as Budget and Avis.
You can pick up and drop off at the airport or some other location. Driving is easy on the island as long as you are not in a hurry. Having a car gives you easy access to almost all areas of the island. Ko Samui is a fairly big island. The most popular and commercialised beaches are Chaweng and Lamai , while the northern beaches and their adjacent villages of Mae Nam , Bophut , Bang Rak Big Buddha and Choeng Mon are more peaceful choices, and the west coast beaches are still comparatively quiet.
The major reason why people come to Samui is to enjoy the beaches. Even though the two main beaches of Chaweng and Lamai have generally suffered due to mass development over the past decade they are still decent.
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However the beaches of Phuket and Ko Chang have clearer water and are generally better for swimming. Other than lying on the beach with a cold beer in hand and ogling at the babes and hunks sauntering past, there isn't all that much to see on the island. A certain pair of rocks on Lamai amuses some visitors, Bang Rak has a large but nondescript Buddha statue, and there are some waterfalls notably Na Muang 2.
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Other island attractions include coral beds at Laem Set and Thong Takhian; the nearby butterfly garden and aquarium; a snake farm; a monkey theatre at Bo Phut, and a massive seated Buddha image on Fan Isle. Muay Thai Training school in Koh Samui, owned by master Jackie also known under his fighting name Sakmongkol Monsaichon, with more than fights under his belt, a former Lumpinee and Rajadammnern Bangkok champion. Open to experts and beginners. The usual panoply of watersports are available, including plenty of dive shops, but most diving is done either in the nearby Ang Thong National Marine Park or Ko Tao as the visibility around Samui's sandy beaches tends to be poor.
You can book diving day trips at dive shops, most of which are based in Chaweng. The dive boats tend to leave from the pier at Bophut and Bang Ruk. The south of Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches and islands in the world, which are surrounded by crystal clear water and stunning coral. For this reasons the number of divers coming to Thailand has steadily increased over the past decade. Even though the best time year of the year to dive in the Ko Samui is between June and August, it is still perfectly possible to dive virtually all year round.
As Thailand is considered one of the safest destinations for diving and snorkelling in the world, it is perfect for first-timers. The sea visibility in some places around Ko Samui is good distances of up to m. One can enjoy splendid sights of underwater mountains, coral gardens, undersea rock formations, hard and soft coral, and whale sharks when in season. Samui is well known for its coconuts , which are available everywhere and quite tasty. Being an island, seafood is generally a good choice, although in high-season demand often exceeds local supply.
The larger beaches have a number of international restaurants as well often run by Thai-farang couples with Bophut having a particularly good reputation. Southern Thai food in general is renowned for its spiciness. Much of the cuisine has its origins in Malay, Indonesian, and Indian food.
Favourite dishes from the south include Indian-style Muslim curry massaman , rice noodles in fish curry sauce Khanom Jeen , and chicken birayani. Popular local food are salted eggs and rambutan, too. Dual pricing is regrettably common: Main courses in a standard, low-key Thai restaurant should be under baht except some seafood dishes. If prices seem unreasonably steep, head elsewhere.
Always check prices and menu first so you don't have to argue when the bill is delivered. There are innumerable options for a drink, ranging from the loud and brash tourist pubs and girlie bars of Chaweng to the candle-lit romantic bars of Bophut. Figure on 80 baht for a local beer Singha, Tiger, Chang, Heineken and up to twice as much for any import. Wine is especially expensive and usually costs over 2, baht per bottle. Chaweng Beach is especially famous for its beer bars also called bar-beers , staffed by pretty hostesses, usually from northeast Thailand.
Buy them a 'girlie drink' and you'll be in entertaining company. Beer bars can be found all over Chaweng. The bars offer pool, Connect4, and other popular bar games. Since the night life on Chaweng can see serious debauchery at times, the local law enforcers are strict with regard to enforcing closing times. The official closing time in "entertainment zones" is Chaweng Beach is packed out with nightclubs playing mostly commercial, pop and electronic music and serving exotic cocktails. At karaoke places customers can either choose a private room or sing in the main lounge for everyone to hear.
There are Thai songs and international songs.
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There may be pretty hostesses available to sit with for a pleasant chat. These are especially popular with East Asian tourists. There is a distillery that brews 5 flavours of rum on one of the side roads on the south coast of the island, which offers tours during the sugar cane season and free samples any time.
The flavours are natural sugar cane , lemon, orange, pineapple, and coconut. Natural and coconut are actually quite tasty, lemon has a very strong pleasant citrus flavour, and you won't miss anything if you don't try the other two. They also have a delicious mixer to serve with consisting of lime juice, cinnamon, and other spices. Worth heading to if you're in the area, or just for the novelty of sampling authentic Thai rum. Only offering private-pool villas, the high rates, contemporary bistros and trendy designs of the W are not ostensibly intended for families.
Most villas strictly cater for only two adults, and while a few do accommodate four or eight people, these are primarily designed for groups of adults, not for families. Also offering amazing facilities, family suites and 5-star luxury elsewhere on Koh Samui are the Sheraton , along the quieter Chaweng Noi beach; the adjacent and associated Vana Belle ; and the vast, serene and convenient Centara Grand in downtown Chaweng.
I am very impressed with your blog — so useful and nicely written, thank you! Or is that difficult to find with air con too?! Almost all tropical islands around Thailand are now developed for mass tourism so finding a beach with huts on the sand is increasingly hard to find, especially on Koh Samui. But this island is not all massive charmless resorts — lovely hotels with gorgeous pools, a perfect beach and great facilities for children are easy to find. Two recommended hotels that fit your needs are in Bo Phut, a relaxed beach area on the north coast away from the bustle of touristy Chaweng and Lamai.
The Anantara is a resort but smaller and more personable than most. Also in Bo Phut is the wonderful Peace Resort, one of the first backpacker lodges on the island. The bungalows are new, comfortable and separated, although a bit close together. Their website shows all summer dates as sold out. I read somewhere that they may be doing renovations? The Imperial Boat House will be closed for renovations from May 1st until beginning of April 30, We are 2 adults and 2 children, ages 8 and 10 years old.
I am looking at Centara your favourite? We would like a nice beace nearby I know we have to walk a few meters to the closest Beach at the Sarann , not a party place but some restaurants and shops are fine. Which of the hotels do you recommend? Great blog, by the way! Would go with the Centara if you want to be walking distance to shops and restaurants.
New Star is good choice if you want to hang by the pool and beach all day. Traveling with teenagers and younger kids. Want lovely beach and peace. If you want peace and quiet this is a great choice. Semi-private beach on a small cove. Nice sand with just a few rocks here and there but still very nice. We are a family of four kids are 2 and 9. We will be in Koh Samui for around 10 days from the 17th of August.
We need a place with a kitchen that would allow us to cook his foods so we seek an apartment or serviced apartments etc. For us, we would like to be someplace within walking distance of a nice beach, restaurants, and shopping if possible. Could you recommend which location on the island would best meet our needs, thanks! Would you still recommend it. We have also seen a good deal for the Intercontinental. We are looking for a family hotel minimum 4 star or 5 star but not at the Four Seasons price range.
I agree the Centara has faded a little but it still has a great spot on a lovely beach, nice pool, and a family-friendly vibe. Hi we will be in Chaweng, Koh Samui in about a week with a 5 yr old. Any good tips on what to see and do? We are staying at the Ozo Hotel. There is an aqua park floating inflatables off the beach not far from Ozo Hotel in Chaweng.
We are going to Koh Samui for six days in April with two young kids aged 5 and 2. We are considering staying at Kanda Residences, but the reviews online make the beach sound terrible for kids. Our alternative choice is Royal Muang Samui. We are hoping to find something close to the action so that we can explore, but that still gives us privacy when we need to retreat. Your blog is great. Yes, Kanda has a lousy beach and is a good distance from the action especially with a 2 and 5 year old. The Royal Muang has a much nicer beach and closer to central Chaweng.
Hi Dave, your blog is awesome — thank you!! We just booked the Smile House on Bophut and are now looking for a hotel on Chaweng — hoping you can help. So far it seems places are pricier than Bophut. Also, do you have any suggestions for shows on Chaweng? Samui First House is at the far southern end of Chaweng Beach sand and swimming are good here. Nightlife and center of Chaweng is a 20 minute walk along the beach or short taxi ride.
They have a family room that sleeps 4 adults. Great blog with some really useful info.
We are planning a trip to Koh Samui in August and are looking for accommodation near a good beach with shops and restaurants. A good 3 star beach hotel. Easy walk to shops and restaurants. Beach is nice, water is very calm but can feel lagoonish at times with stagnant water though nothing terrible just not beautifully idyllic.
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Which Anantara has the best beach for swimming in Koh Samui? Any other good beach resorts, not looking for calm waters necessarily? The Anantara Bophut is the more appealing — steps from shops and restaurants and on a nice beach. The Anantara Lawana is luxurious and closer to Chaweng but beach not really swimmable and nothing much within walking distance. Greetings Great blog, very useful. I am planning a holiday in Samui for Christmas. We are a family of 5 adults.
We are a bit undecided on where to stay between Lamai Beach and Chaweng beach. Could you help us decide? We have want to be some where busy and near shops and restaurants as tourists. Also we want a calm and clean beach to swim. Are there any special events for Christmas there? And which do you recommend Phuket or Samui? Thank you so much. Beach is great at both towns but water a little more swimmable in Chaweng. Hotels often put on a special dinner which can be fun — especially at the smaller places e.
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Weather is usually good around Christmas but still can get the odd rainy or overcast cay. Weather in Phuket is usually a little nicer than Koh Samui during the Christmas holidays as the rainy season ends about a month earlier on the west coast. Hi David, Thank you for taking the time to share your experience here — super helpful! Our family wife and 1 year old daughter will be traveling Thailand for our first time in mid-December.
We have heard about inexpensive accommodations in Thailand, but is this possible in Koh Samui? Can you suggest a few options where we might stay for nights? Hi Dave, almost booked Centara Grand but we felt that maybe it was too large and not so traditional Thai, we will be going as a family of 4 with two daughters 14 and 9.
What else would you recommend on Chaweng instead or even somewhere else but we do like the idea of being able to wander down the beach to various restaurants and bars.
We are planning to stay Koh Samui early next April. We have 5 year old son. We are planning to just relax but would like to get out of resort and do some tourist stuff. Nice calm beach is important. Your recommendation would be greatly appreciated. Meridien is a more luxurious hotel with more character but the beach at the Sheraton is much better.
Do you have any advice on getting from Ko Lanta to Ko Samui? We want to avoid flying from the Krabi airport to save costs. Thanks for the great website and you details. Our idea is to have a break and just relax. We liked the look of Centera Grand Resort in Chaweng. Any advice will be highly appreciated. Chaweng is the best if you want a great beach and walking distance to restaurants.
Amari is another good one. Beach is better at Centara but the water is very calm and protected around Amari which is nice with young kids. I know November is not the best time to be in Koh Samui but we are not big beach people. We would probably head to the beach for a few hours each day just so that the baby has a new experience.
Nightlife with the child may not be possible too. We are vegetarians, so could you suggest a good resort? And if not Samui, then where? The weather in Phuket will be better in November than on Koh Samui. But Samui can still make for a pleasant visit — especially if beach time is not a high priority. As for good hotels on Samui, both the Hansar and Anantara Bophut have a great location, wonderful pools, and a very easy walk to shops and restaurants with many serving good veg options.
Hi Dave We are 3 families with kids from 4 to 14 traveling to Thailand in October. Can you tell which island will have better weather in October? Hi David, would you say Lanna Samui is suitable for kids under 6 and is it a bit isolated from the main areas? Good value hotel but a not terribly pleasant 12 minute walk to beach strip with restaurants.
Any comments for Deva Resort regarding kids? Trying to decide between Deva Resort and Peace Resort. We were in Double Tree Surin Beach last time and the kids slides, kids club etc.
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Neither have a kids club but both have very nice pools. Hi Dave, Amazing Blog Man!! We are 2 couples with 3 kids aged 5,10,11 yrs travelling with our 60 yr old mom to Samui July for 5 nights. Looking at a villa with Pool and need your suggestion. Thanks for such an informative blog. Villas right on the beach are hard to find in Koh Samui.
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The best beach properties are for hotels. Will be travelling from BKK, and flights direct seem too pricey. Can you please confirm if flight to Surat Thani then ferry is ok with a young family. I have read a few negative reviews. The direct flight is much simpler and convenient. Hi, this is a great blog, thanks! We want to spend around 10 days in Koh Samui in July with 2 kids ages 11 and 9.
Will have a look at your recommendations above. We have been advised to go to Koh Tao for two nights and spend a day snorkelling. Would you agree and if so, any accommodation recommends? Where to stay depends on your preference for busy or quiet. If you want something more quiet, head to Chalok Ban Kao which has less of a party scene but still has plenty of amenities. Ko Tao Resort is one of the more family friendly places to stay here and it has a pool, is right on the beach, and is close to everything.
Laem Thian would bably be fun for you since there are often lots of small and harmless sharks. Hi Dave, Are hotels in Koh Samui strict with the number of kids staying in the same bedroom as parents?
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