#1 Chaweng Beach
Best for: Nightlife
What it’s like: Chaweng is easily the busiest district in Samui and its long stretch of sand is popular with tourists.
What’s nearby: Restaurants, bars, Samui airport
Where to stay: Baan Jakawan, 7-bedroom with infinity pool. Good for families and big groups. From USD 805++ per night.
#2 Lipa Noi Beach
Best for: Wading in shallow water
What it’s like: The fine white sand at Lipa Noi is safe for kids and you get amazing sunset views.
What’s nearby: Restaurants, Lipa Noi Pier
Stay here: Baan Ora Chon, 5-bedroom with direct beach access and views of the famous Five Islands on the horizon. From USD 630++ per night.
#3 Taling Ngam Beach
Best for: Sunsets and view of the Five Islands
What it’s like: This Beach is perfect for those looking for a quiet, peaceful beach retreat.
What’s nearby: Taling Ngam Caves, restaurants
Stay here: The Headland Villa 1, 2-bedroom with direct beach access and panoramic views of the sea. Good for couples or small families. From USD 450++ per night.
#4 Lamai Beach
Best for: Exploring
What it’s like: The southern end of the 4km-long walkable beach features the Hin Ta, Hin Yai (Grandfather, Grandmother) rock formation. Its outstanding feature is a rather phallic-looking rock, which we assume is the ‘grandfather’.
What’s nearby: Restaurants, beach bars, supermarkets, Lamai Viewpoint, Sivatara Waterfall
Stay here: Baan Hinta, 5-bedroom with infinity pool and direct private beach access (not Lamai Beach). Good for families and big groups. From USD 1,050++ per night.
#5 Bophut Beach
Best for: View of Ko Pha Ngan and night market
What it’s like: Several kilometres of sand (though not completely walkable) boasts views of neighbouring island Ko Pha Ngan to the north.
What’s nearby: Fisherman’s Village Walking Street night market (every Friday), restaurants, supermarkets, Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple), Samui Airport.
Stay here: Baan Benjamart, 4-bedroom with direct beach access. Good for families and groups. From USD 550++ per night.
#6 Thongson Bay
Best for: Privacy
What it’s like: A small secluded bay that isn’t particularly suitable for swimming because of broken coral, although it’s nice for kayaking.
What’s nearby: Naturism Beach (no guesses what kind of beach this is, though we wonder at how it gets away with it since public nudity is illegal in Thailand), Samui Airport, Chaweng.
Stay here: The Sun Kissed Villa, 3-bedroom with a coastal view, though not beachfront. Good for couples or small groups. From USD 300++ per night.