Koh Samui, My favorite Thai island
Koh Samui was probably one of my favorite islands in Thailand. It was a great mix of everything you want when on vacation. It reminded me a lot of Hawaii actually. There is something here for everyone. From high-end resorts and private airports, to backpacker budget hostels and street food to die for!
You take a ferry from the main land near Surat Thani. If you are bussing from another place, usually you can arrange getting your ferry ticket included in your bus pass. This would include transport from the bus terminal in Surat Thani to the ferry terminal, which is about an hour away.
Here we found a great selection of our favorite things to do while travelling.... beaches and food! The beaches on Koh Samui were incredible. Long beach of Lamai is long and made of beautiful soft sand. Greg went for runs along the beach in the morning, because the sand was nice and compact, firm enough to run on!
Silver beach was high on our list. It is on the northern side of Lamai. You would think it was a private beach, since the only way to access it is through resorts. But this is the same story with most beaches in Thailand. Just walk through the resorts with confidence and nobody will question you! All beaches in Thailand are "owned" by the king, so they can be free for anyone to use. Silver beach had glorious white sand with those classic rock formations that come to mind when you think of Thailand. The water was crystal clear with few waves. Making it beautiful for swimming and floating. There are a few resorts on this small beach, all offering food and massages at reasonable prices. Greg and I never tried any of them though. I wouldn't suggest snorkeling at Silver beach. There wasn't really anything there. unless you consider seaweed to be something. I was also very shallow and I found it claustrophobic snorkleing there with all the rouge seaweed.
There isn't a lot of snorkeling on Koh Samui. We were impressed by coral cove though. There was a nice selection of fishies and some coral. Not quite as fantastic compared to what we have seen now (after going to Koh Tao and Koh Rok) but I would suggest this beach for anyone who wants to try snorkeling on Koh Samui! None of the resorts or hotels in Koh Samui seemed to rent or lend snorkeling gear, so you will have to buy/bring your own! We purchased some from a dive shop in Chaweng for $45 CAD. That might seem pricey to some, but snorkel rentals usually cost around $5 CAD a day... so if we snorkel more than 5 times they will pay for themselves! and since we are travelling around islands for the next 3 months we figured it was so worth it!
One evening we went over to the west side of the island to view the sunset. We went to a small resort in Taling Ngam. And I cannot find the name of the resort for the life of me! We just drove around and saw it, so I can't remember the name. The view will be just as amazing anywhere on Taling Ngam though, so don't fret. We enjoyed 2 for 1 cocktails while watching a glorious sunset!
Our first night in Lamai we stumbled upon the Lamai Sunday Night Walking Street. On Sunday evenings vendors flood the streets near Soi Had Lamai road. There alot of your typical thai market vendors here. Selling everything from food, clothes, electronics etc. I found the prices were a lot higher here than in Chiang Mai or Bangkok, that is expected though. You have to pay a premium for everything on the islands.
We wandered up to the north of the island one day on our scooter. It was about a 15 minute ride from Lamai to Bo Phut. We came up here to see the famed Fishermans Village. It turned out to be an overpriced tourist trap with really expensive restaurants and lots of closed shops. I think It would be better when they set up the walking market at nights, but we didn't stick around for that.
One place I would recommend someone to eat in Lamai would be at Food Lab. The owner and cook is a pure blood Italian straight from Rome. And he serves up some incredible dishes from his home country. He makes most of his food from scratch. Greg enjoyed a huge sandwich with fresh roast pork and I got the Carbonara. Both dishes were out of this world.
Really close to the second place we stayed was Imchai Thai food. It was super close to New Hut Bungalow and had one of the best Pad Thai's I had south of Bangkok. The green curry was also to die for! The lady who runs it is super sweet and whips up a mean dish!
The first place we stayed in Koh Samui was YouSabuy Residence just south of Lamai. We stayed here for two night and had a nice time. We got a large, clean room on the second floor with an ocean "view". Even though we could only see the tiniest sliver. YouSabuy is located just on the other side of the road from the ocean. The pool was really clean and a great place to hangout in the shade after beaching it! YouSabuy has a connected cafe/restaurant located on the beach which served good food and drinks! The water right buy Yousabuy looked a little dirty and rough, not the best for swimming in but go for it if youère keen!
After YouSabuy we stayed at New Hut Bungalows for 4 nights. We traded in air conditioning for the novelty of staying in a hut right on the beach! We got a hut on the front row so we were literally steps away from the ocean. It was definitely a novelty as we had a large shared outdoor bathroom and the breeze was our only way to stay cool. But overall I enjoyed our stay here. The hut was safe and well maintained. There are bungalows available with air conditioning and private bathrooms, but we were working on keeping to a tighter budget so decided to forego those luxuries. The staff was extremley friendly and helpful. I would really recommend this place for anyone looking for a night you wont forget! When you book online with booking, you don't get a choice to have a beachfront bungalow if it is available. So I would suggest going to New Hut yourself and picking out the one you want. The prices seemed to be better that way too.
We found it pretty easy to stick to our $25 budget on Koh Samui. The prices for accommodations were great and food was on the cheaper end. Definitely cheaper than alot of other islands in Thailand.
Overall we had a really great time on Koh Samui. And looking back on it, Silver beach was the favorite beach in Thailand for both Greg and I. The water and landscape of Koh Samui is exactly what you find on postcards from Thailand. Everyone that does the island in Thailand needs to stop on Koh Samui. Its a great mix and has something for every person!