Beaches Of Koh Samui
This is the most popular and developed of Samui's beaches. Despite the recent development ,Chaweng maintains the classic image of a tropical beach fringed by coconut palms. With the new popular bars and quality restaurants along the back road, Chaweng is the nightlife centre of the island. Right on the beach itself, a selection of quiet bars and restaurants, together with a superb view of the Gulf. Chaweng has the greatest number of dive shops on Samui. A couple of them organize night dives right off the beach.
This second- most popular of Samui's beaches. Visitors are charmed by the open market and the old monastery, which includes a local museum. Take a walk or ride a mountain bike just back of the beach road and you'll discover peaceful coconut and fruit groves. Beachside attractions include health and meditation centres, dive shops and a Thai boxing school. The Grandfather and Grandmother rocks at Lamai are worth a visit.
This part of the island is less developed than the east coast beaches of Chaweng and Lamai, and may afford a greater sense of having got away from it all. This is one of the best beaches on the island for windsurfing or sailing dinghies and catamarans. The Big Buddha, a huge Buddha image presiding over a popular shrine is a prime attraction for visitors. Bophut is also one place to get boats across to Koh Pha Ngan, to the north.
Many visitors never see much of this side of the island beyond the pier. There is much to reward the explorer, however, often right in town. There's a fascinating fresh food market and some back streets with old houses displaying very traditional lifestyles. Just beyond town there are scenic walks up to waterfalls high in the hills, and rustic herbal medicine centres. Some of the island's best know temples are found along the west coast, as well, and make for a relaxing morning's excursion.
Pha Ngan is easily accessed by daily ferry boats from Surat Thani, or from Maenam and Bophut piers in Samui. These boats call at Thong Sala and Haad Rin from where many resorts are accessed by pickup truck over rough tracks. A few can only be reached by small boat. Koh Pha Ngan is particularly beautiful, being high and rugged, wiitht rocky headlands of huge granite boulders separating the many tropical beaches set in coves lined with coconut palms.
Koh Tao is the smallest and remotest of the three major islands. While it takes most boats about three hours to get there from Samui, the new speedboat service from Bophut and Na Thon can do it in under two hours. But the most important access is that through Chumpon, from where there are both speedboat and ferry service. The island is similar in geography to its bigger brothers to the south, Samui and Pha Ngan. Here again are many rocky headlands piled high withhuge granite boulders. There are fewer beaches, though those few are particularly beautiful. Koh Tao's real fame the underwater realm surrounding the island that has established its reputation. There is a thriving dive industry on the island, and for those who have never dived before, Koh Tao offers ideal conditions in which to learn.