Koh Samui is the ying and yang of islands. It’s got busy lively places and quiet secluded places. It’s ideal for romance and adventure. It’s got markets and nightlife, and lush jungles and waterfalls. Read on for holiday inspiration for you, your loved one, and your family.
Thailand has so many options when it comes to beaches, resorts and island getaways. It can be tough to decide between Koh Samui, Phuket or Krabi for a family vacation or romantic destination. We want to make that decision easier for you.
If you’re planning your next luxury island vacation and can’t decide which island to choose in Thailand, read on for our roundup of what Koh Samui has to offer families and couples seeking a luxurious and memorable vacation.
Go direct to the source and get your tropical island getaway inspiration here.
Why vacation in Koh Samui?
#1 In Koh Samui there are more absolute beachfront hotels and resorts than in Phuket and Krabi. In many parts of Phuket and Krabi there are roads that separate the hotel or resort from the beach.
#2 You can relax by the sea, take in the sights, but with a focus on R&R. In an island covered with coconut groves and jungle peaks you’ll find pockets of upscale resort sanctuaries.
#3 Ang Thong National Marine Park is easily accessible and makes for a great and adventurous day trip of exploring, snorkelling and secluded beach picnics.
#4 It’s smaller than other islands, but has everything you need for an island escape: amazing sunsets, coconut trees, sweeping views of the Gulf of Thailand, lush green islands in the distance sleeping on the horizon, infinity pools, day spas, kids’ clubs and night markets.
Getting there: We recommend by plane
It’s easy to travel to. There are 17 flights to choose from daily from Bangkok. So you can conveniently find a time that suits your schedule.
The airport is owned and operated by Bangkok Airways. This means that tickets can be more expensive than flying to other islands, but Koh Samui is known for being cheaper than Phuket.
There are other ways of getting to Koh Samui – by ferry for example – but they take much longer and can often end up costing as much as flying.
The airport itself is beautiful. It oozes tropical vibes with its open-air wooden pavilion waiting area, a couple of island cats and nice boutique stores to wander through as you wait for your flight. It has the feeling of being on a beautifully manicured and maintained golf resort.
Best time to go: December – September
October through November are not the best months to go with rainfall being at it’s highest.
During Songkran, in mid-April, you’ll find that most of the celebrations are contained to the north-eastern parts of the island, especially Chaweng, so they are easy to avoid. However, most resorts will host some Songkran celebrations and events, which is a nice way to add in some Thai culture to your trip.
November through March the east coast gets hit hardest during the monsoon season, so consider a luxury resort on the southern coast during this time.
The Koh Samui rainy season is from September to mid-December, so it’s perfect for your Christmas and New Year island vacation.
Areas to stay: Taling Ngam Bay for privacy, seclusion and luxury
The north-eastern corner is busier, more developed and touristy. It caters to the backpacking crowd, and it’s located closer to the airport. There’s lots of bars, clubs, restaurants and shopping. As you head south the island gets less developed, quieter and more secluded.
North moving south
Bohput has: bars, restaurants and shopping; gritty sand but lovely views; great markets.
Chewang has: bars restaurants and nightclubs; water sports; markets; and tailors.
Lamai has: less hustle and bustle than Chaweng; a Sunday market; and a beautiful beach.
Taling Ngam Bay has: quiet, secluded, luxury resorts with remnants of the old Samui; and amazing sunsets.
The Romance Guide
Where to watch the sunset: Taling Ngam Bay
Sunsets are spectacular in Samui. The sky turns into a pink, purple, and orange watercolor artwork every evening. For the best views, you want to be either on the west coast, or south-west coast. Taling Ngam Bay is the perfect secluded cove to watch the sunset with your cocktail of choice. Air Bar has the best front row white sofas, endless cocktails and tropical island ambiance for sunset.
Proposal Ideas in Koh Samui: Read more here
For a guaranteed ‘yes’ we recommend getting down on one knee in Samui. It’s tropical, luxurious and romantic. It has amazing sunsets, exclusive beachfront dining options, and the Ang Thong National Park has secret beaches for romantic picnics and proposals. Read our guide for Samui proposal ideas here.
Koh Samui is also a popular place to tie the knot: The azure sea; the coconut trees; the lush green views of Anh Thong National Park; the papaya sunsets with champagne and a luxury resort equal a true tropical destination wedding.
Where to honeymoon: Get inspired here
Think of Koh Samui as a wedding gift to yourselves. It’s close to Bangkok. It’s easy to get to. It has privacy and seclusion in the south. There’s amazing spas and infinity pools that float above the Gulf of Thailand. There’re parts of Samui where you will feel as though it’s just the two of you. It’s perfect to recharge after the wedding and focus on you both.
The Family Guide
Ideas for traveling with the multigenerational family
Tropical vacation getaways don’t have to be reserved for romance only. Koh Samui has a lot to offer families and groups. A five-star holiday can include all the family. Resorts are great places to take the family as well as the multigenerational family. Read on for travel advice here.
A resort has something for everyone – you never have to leave
A resort can cater to each generation: open-air lobbies for reading newspapers, drinking coffee and looking out at azure ocean views; day spas for pampering, relaxation and rejuvenation; infinity pools for reading, lounging, tanning, floating and cocktail sipping; kids’ clubs for adventure, escape and fun. If you have kids and don’t want to leave the resort, we have some ideas for holiday activities here.
Taking toddlers to Koh Samui
Island time goes perfectly with toddler time. There are lots of reasons why you should take toddlers to Koh for your island escape. We came up with our top 5 here.
A club experience for everyone
Before kids, you loved the club experience at resorts. After kids, you can still love the club experience and be a part of it. Get your club inspiration here.
The Shopping Guide
Markets, malls and tailors
For an island that is small, Koh Samui has everything the bigger towns and cities have when it comes to shopping and markets. It’s just in a more compact form. There’s a mall that has all of the well-known brands and just in front there’s night market with all the knickknacks, souvenirs and all the mango and sticky rice you can imagine. Read our guide on what shopping you can do in Koh Samui here.
Fisherman’s Village: A day and evening of shopping, eating and sightseeing
If you’re looking for a shopping and sightseeing guide for the family while on Koh Samui, we put together one here. It covers Fisherman’s Village, some of the must try restaurants for families and sightseeing places new and old in the northern part of the island. It would make a great day trip if you’re staying in the southern part of the island and want to some shopping and sightseeing in one day before you all head back to infinity pools and beachfront lounging for the rest of your vacation.
Visit one of the most well balanced islands in Thailand – Koh Samui – for your next island escape.