Guide to Koh Samui
How to get there
From Bangkok, you can fly with Bangkok Air several times a day for around $100, taking an hour. You can also get a train and ferry combined ticket which will be around half the price, however it takes around 12 hours.
From Koh Tao or Koh Phangan, you can take a short 1-2hr ferry for around $15. Keep in mind there are two ferry companies; Lomprayah, the faster and more expensive ferry, and the alternative cheaper one.
From Phuket and the surrounding islands, you can fly from Phuket to Koh Samui with Bangkok air. This runs a few times a day and is about $100. You can also take a combined bus and ferry ticket for about $20.
There are several areas in Koh Samui to stay. Chaweng beach is on the east coast of the island and is the most popular area to stay. It is full of bars, restaurants and resorts and is where most of the backpackers stay. Arkbar is the most popular place to meet people, but is expensive, so if you stay either side or close to that you will be in a good location and get a private room for around $8 a night.
Lamai is the second most popular area and is on the south of the island. This is a lot quieter and is often where couples opt to stay.
There is also a lovely fishing village Bo Phut up the north of the island that has some nice resorts. This is more expensive than other areas and is also where couples tend to stay.
Things to see and do
1. Go to the Jungle Club
This is an incredible cafe/hotel that has the best view of the island, and they also have great food! Sit in one of the bungalows with beanbags and enjoy the landscapes.
2. Drive from Chaweng to Lamai beach
I wouldn’t hire a scooter myself as I have no idea how to drive one, however I met some people who had a lot so I went with them and drove from Chaweng to Lamai beach. This stretch has some amazing hidden beaches along the way. Get lost in the side streets of local suburbs and see the real Thai people (as opposed to those trying to sell you things on the beach).
3. Go on the Angthong National Marine Park tour
This day tour shows you some of the most beautiful aquatic nature I’ve ever seen. You can book this tour through every tour operator and sometimes is a hit and miss. I had a great tour guide who spoke excellent English and gave us free water on the speed boat out there. You make several stops, first snorkelling around some coral, then kayaking around James Bond island and within caves.
Following this you have a delicious buffet lunch, stopping at Monkey Island and then walking up (many) stairs to be exposed to an unreal lagoon surrounded by limestone rocks. It’s a splurge of $40 but definitely the best thing I did there.
4. Go to a ladyboy cabaret
It’s free entry (you buy a drink when you enter) and you hear all your favourite musical numbers performed by Koh Samui’s finest performers. Indulge in the outspoken costumes and hair pieces and prey you won’t get picked out of the crowd!
5. Eat a Nutella pancake
The pancake stalls are Koh Samui’s drunk food! You watch these talented men flatten, cook and throw in the air pancake mix, and concoct it into a beautiful Nutella pancake for only $1. The stalls are spread among the main road and are delicious.
6. Visit the grandma and grandpa rocks
These are iconic rocks for obvious reasons and are hilarious for photos!
The best place to meet people is the Arkbar. This is a hotel with a pool and beachside bar that is spilling with backpackers. This is where I’ve made all my friends who I would later went out with that night.
There is one side street nearby that is filled with clubs; the best one being Green Mango. There are bartenders that serve you on the dance floor so you don’t have to line up for hours waiting for a drink. There are also women in the girls bathroom who will help you touch up your make up and hair!
This closes down usually around 3am and then across the road the foam party begins. This is epic and can’t be missed!
How long to spend there
If you’re planning to do some day trips to other islands or tours while you’re there I would recommend staying for a week or so. Even if you just want a few days to relax on the beach and sleep in after big nights out this is a good amount of time. It’s a relaxing place full of things to do and is suited for couples, families and single backpackers.