Planning the perfect family vacation in Koh Samui – travel tips plus hot spots around this island paradise

Beautiful Koh Samui. Image credit: Yavor Punchev on Unsplash

For families with young children looking for a tropical getaway, there is no better destination than Koh Samui – stunning beaches, lush jungles, and family-friendly activities are in abundance, with something to offer for everyone. This article offers advice on the best spots and travel tips for families, how to get around the island, and recommends which places to stay at.


Travelling to and around Koh Samui

Ride a songthaew to get around the island. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

Koh Samui’s airport (USM) offers direct flights from major Asian cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia – choosing flights that align with your family’s schedule and booking tickets well in advance for better deals helps to optimise your Koh Samui vacation.

Upon arrival at the airport, depending on the type of accommodation booked, many resorts offer round-trip airport transfers that help alleviate any stress from arrivals. Should resorts not have that option, ride-sharing apps such as Navigo and Grab are available for use as well. There is no better way to get around the island than on a songthaew, a pick-up truck with a converted bed which fits 8-10 adults inside.

Should you be travelling from nearby islands into Koh Samui, ferry services are available as well – not only are they spacious and comfortable, but the journey provides picturesque views of the Gulf of Thailand.


Travel spots

View of Ang Thong Marine National Park. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

Koh Samui is packed with destinations and activities for kids – here are a few of them:

Bophut Beach:

Bophut Beach offers abundant activities for families with young kids. Stroll the length of the beach and you’ll find different water sports to try – from paddle boards to jet skis and banana boats, from just playing in the sand to cooling off in the shallow azure waters where tame waves reside, kids will enjoy the atmosphere provided here. Bophut also allows families to hop on a 30-minute Thai longboat ride to Koh Mudsun, a gorgeous island escape nearby with free-roaming pigs.


Located in southeastern Koh Samui, Lamai may not have the vibrant nightlife that’s abundant in other areas, but its long sandy beach and calmer surroundings make it a perfect choice for families with kids. With breathtaking waters perfect for swimming, Lamai is lined with palm trees, restaurants and beach bars. Head to the night market if you’re there on a Sunday for souvenirs and street snacks, or head up to the Lamai viewpoint for a spectacular view with a drink in hand, and a zipline adventure to get your adrenaline going.

Taling Ngam:

The closest thing to authentic Thai living on the Koh Samui, Taling Ngam is surrounded by villages which make for wonderful spots to interact with locals who sell from stalls next to the roadway. It also possesses wonderful views out to the Angthong Marine National Park, a 42-island archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. Take a 15-minute drive to the Laem Sor Pagoda in Bang Kao, where it’s riveting yellow shades positively glow in the sunlight.


Enjoy the intricate flavours of Thai cuisine, such as Thai Tom Yum soup. Image credit: Nick Karvounis for Unsplash

Travel Tips

To ensure the best travel experience with your family in Koh Samui, we have some tips available at hand.

Packing smart is always important, ensuring that you have all necessary items, including sunscreen, insect repellent, first aid supplies, and any prescription medications. For a place like Koh Samui where it is consistently hot and humid, staying hydrated is important, and one of the ways to do so is to indulge in fresh coconut water that’s usually sold on roadside stands and beaches.

Respecting the local culture is something that’s strongly believed in – it is important to teach kids about Thai customs and traditions, such as removing shoes before entering a temple or showing respect to elders. Learning basic Thai phrases can also go a long way in creating positive interactions with locals, while introducing your family to Thai cuisine allows them to savour the many flavours that Koh Samui has to offer.


Where to Stay

Ban Mekkala, Image Credit: The Luxe Nomad

Koh Samui has choice accommodations that accommodate families. Ban Mekkala is a spacious beachfront villa with six ensuite bedrooms, a T-shaped pool with a shallow area for children, as well as a home theatre and other kid-friendly amenities. The villa also comes with a private chef who can prepare delicious meals for the whole family. 


Baan View Talay, Image Credit: The Luxe Nomad

Baan View Talay, on the other hand, is a luxurious villa that comes with 6+1 bedrooms and a variety of amenities such as an infinity pool, a gym, a putting green, and a field for badminton, volleyball, or soccer – perfect for families. If not, consider the Baan Jakawan, a family-friendly villa with eight bedrooms that include a kid’s room with three double-bunk beds. This villa also has a large infinity pool, a swim-up bar, and an outdoor kitchen and dining area, while the services of a chef, concierge, villa manager and housekeeper allow families to focus on enjoying their vacation.

Baan Jakawan, Image Credit: The Luxe Nomad
Jerome Lee

Jerome is a Singapore-based copywriter and travel industry professional who has lived in Melbourne, Australia and Tokyo, Japan. He has worked on copywriting projects for clients such as Esquire Singapore and JNTO Singapore, and on travel projects for Google Japan and Uber. His passions outside of work include learning new languages, snowboarding and hiking.

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