Ban Tai Beach Central is part of a long, wide beautiful beach on the south coast facing Koh Samui. The beach is shadowed by coconut palms. Again, the water is clear but quite shallow due to the offshore reef, so swimming is only possible at high. Spring low tides (every 14 days) leave 100s metres of sand exposed in some areas, making this a huge natural playground for children.

It is a 15 minute drive to Haad Rin, the site of Koh Phangan's famous Full Moon Party, and Ban Tai's beach accommodation can fill up at this time of month. At other times it is always easy to find a room here.

This coastline is still developing, and each year sees new resorts pop up, while old backpacker bungalows are knocked down and rebuilt with a swimming pool and 3-star luxury. Of the 10 beachfront resorts we have currently qualified here, more than half have swimming pools and modern comforts. Budget bungalows are still available, though.

Power Beach Resort has beach cottages right on the sand, an especially wide beach and lots of coconut palms. Its large restaurant has pool tables, and in the evening it spreads out onto the sand for romantic dining under the stars.

Milky Bay Resort is the place with the most beautiful design here, with bungalows and garden villas hidden in a bamboo forest, plus sea view studios. Their beachfront area is also well designed, with areas for relaxation, dining and various activities.

The two above have an Agoda connection here for a secure advance booking.

by John Everingham