Koh Samui, Thailand; see 240 beachfront hotels resorts in Samui

from backpacker huts to boutique spa resorts, Samui island has come far, fast

How to get the best possible hotel deals in Koh Samui?
Book directly with the hotel – this cuts out middlemen, saving cash for both guests and hotel – and we take no commission.
We identify hotels that guarantee, in writing, to discount below the lowest on-line agency rates for guests who book direct. See the GUARANTEE list on this page, then contact the hotel via the e-mail box on the hotel page.
DISCOUNT ROOM VOUCHERS – the very cheapest rooms in Koh Samui – are also available here for some hotels. These are limited & conditions apply. Just click TOP DEALS above. Contact Jade for advice anytime: jadebeachfront@gmail.com


You had to be a backpacking student to know the name 'Koh Samui' just 20 years ago. Or, if you planned to go hang out on its legendary tropical beaches in a cloud of Buddha smoke, you were probably a well-worn leftover from the hippy era.
But Koh Samui has virtually rocketed from bamboo and grass huts to boutique, spa and villa resorts of world class. Even more, some professional hoteliers believe that today, when you factor in the legendary warm smile and gentle touch of Thai service, some establishments in Samui rank among the world's elite, finest beachfront resorts. How did Samui go so far so fast?
Beautiful beaches, and the same tropical island allure that seduced backpackers in the 1980s, must come first. But the forces that propel Samui are many, and the overall fame of Thailand as a great travel destination also has to come high on that list. Many visitors who come to see Thailand end their tour of the country with a relaxing spell on a Thai beach.
Value for money, great Thai food and the genuine warmth of the Thai welcome to foreigner visitors have all helped to pump up the island's reputation. Even Phuket, Thailand's top island destination, which some Samui hoteliers consider direct competition, really helps Samui. As Thailand's fame as a great beach destination spreads, all beach and island destinations across the country's two oceans go up with the rising tide.
Two oceans; Many people forget the enormous benefit that Thailand gains by lying right down the divider between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, with hundreds of beaches and islands in both. Thailand's two oceanic shores are completely different; one the relatively shallow, protected Gulf of Thailand, studded with islands and ringed with Thai towns; the western Andaman shore with its many islands is washed by the deep, clear waters of this remarkably tranquil part of the Indian Ocean.
Also, the geography, weather patterns, human habitation, culture and history are entirely different along these two shores. In total, they give Thailand an amazing diversity in its islands and beaches, thus enabling it to offer so many different experiences to many different people.
Thailand promotes Samui as one of the brightest jewels in its crown of sparking islands. Samui, however, has matured and emerged as an independent, global destination in its own right, with countless thousands flying to its beaches and resorts each year. It's no longer just one slice of Thailand's bigger cake. The high quality of Samui's new resorts gives the attractions of its beaches a major, value-added boost.

Check out some of the many pages of info & photos that we offer on Koh Samui, and about all beaches in Thailand with beachfront hotels:

Samui has most 'true beachfront' resorts of all beach destinations in Thailand

With over 300 establishments qualifying as 'true beachfront' (a few not listed here), Samui has more true beachfront hotels than any other place in Thailand, and is now clearly one of the world's leading beach tourism destinations.

About two out of three hotels on the island qualify as beachfront, an exceptionally high ratio and a stand-alone figure beside Thailand's two leading beach destinations, Phuket (with just 7% of hotels right on the beach) and Pattaya (with barely 5% qualifying). But with little beachfront land remaining on Samui's popular beaches, and prices skyrocketing, many new hotels are now being built in back-of-beach locations well away from the sand and water.

Those who want to sleep right by the beach, where they can wander out of rooms and pool onto the sand and into the sea, also need to be wary of a few resorts that have part of their hotel by the beach, while their rooms are across a road. We have disqualified a few like that and left them off our maps.

New visitors to Samui need to do good research before booking a hotel, for those 240 beachfront resorts are scattered over a large island, lie on beaches that vary from very active to super tranquil, and come in styles and prices from backpacker to 5-star luxury. You need to find the right part of the island, and the best beach to suit your style and dreams before considering hotels.

To see photos of all beaches of the island, and see how generous geography has been to Koh Samui, see how geography gave Samui such beautiful beaches .

Choose a Samui atmosphere; tranquil & relaxing, party all-night, romantic?

The first secret to finding the right beach and hotel for the island vacation you dream of is research; first check and see which part of Koh Samui suits your needs and desires. There are huge differences between the seven different beach zones on the island that we have identified, and finding yourself in the wrong kind of place just because the hotel was cheap or looked good is a sure-fire way to ruin a holiday.

Read about, then choose, the right corner of Samui to suit your needs, be it a relaxing, do-little holiday, a family gathering or high octane, dance-all-night one. You can do just about anything you dream of on Samui, but not all in the same part of the island.

We have divided the island into these seven distinct zones following geographic separation, difference in levels of development, ambiance and etc:

1) the popular Chaweng area; 2) north coast beaches; 3) empty south coast; 4) long west coast; 5) northeast peninsula; 6) the rocky southeast; 7) Laem Sett at the southeast corner.

See details of each on the page Samui's seven different beach zones .

Samui's new hotels: creating Thailand's boutique resort destination

Bamboo and grass thatch were the 'in' design elements on Samui in the 1980s. Huts and mosquito nets were icons of paradise found. How things have changed.

In the 1980s backpacker was the style. By year 2000 the island had gone 3-star, and by 2010 it had climbed to 4-star status with global fame. But today the trend is distinctly boutique and beautiful, and design aficionados far and wide are beginning to notice.

Today boutique is the 'in' thing. Free-form infinity pools with one-off, designer tiles are among the chic icons that now turn heads, while architecture and motifs must also be unique creations of the most talented, well-known designers if a property is to really catch the attention of the island's new breed of guest and critic.

Other Thai beach resorts have trendy and beautiful beach hotels, particularly Phuket. But no place in the country can match the full package of Samui boutique; fine design and architecture, on-the-beach locations, green mountain backdrops and lush natural environments. Nor can they match Samui in the total number of chic, designer beach resorts now springing up.

The rather high prices commanded by these new boutique establishments offend some people. However, the trend is a positive one for the long-term development of the island; instead of packing 100 three-star rooms onto their expensive beachfront land, the new developers craft just 30 more-spacious and stylish pool villas into the area – and of course they must charge a premium.

There's a positive, new-era formulae behind this trend; skyrocketing land prices restrict buyers to wealthy, experienced developers; such developers are more likely to bring in top designers and architects; top designers create much more attractive resorts; more beautiful beach resorts guarantee a better future for Samui. 'Boutique' might be sad for young travellers and families on a budget, but not for Samui's future.

See our choice of the top 10 boutique and designer resorts on Koh Samui.

beware the weather! Samui's 'opposite' monsoon in November & December

Beware! if you are thinking of visiting Samui anytime in November and December. Christmas and New Year are times of disappointment for many Samui visitors.
These are be the high season months in Thailand, the cool period following the monsoon when the rice is harvested under clear blue skies. Delightful weather. Travel advisories regularly urge us to visit Thailand starting November. Yet many forget to warn future visitors that everything is completely opposite in Koh Samui and places further south.
Thailand's weather is dominated by the seasonal, back-and-forth surges of two great weather generators, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
As the power of the Indian Ocean's southwest monsoon falters at the end of October, the Pacific blows up an opposite challenge, the northeast monsoon. This comes howling towards Southeast Asia in November, but happily for Thailand, the landmass of China and Vietnam take the power and rain out of its winds before they get here. The result is cool, dry northeast winds that flutter across Thailand, creating that delightful weather everyone knows about. Along Thailand's Gulf near Hua Hin the winds pack a little more gusto, putting the power behind thousands of kite surfers. But still without rain, they fly dry.
450 kilometres south of Bangkok at Koh Samui, however, everything is dramatically different. Samui lies exposed. The Asian mainland provides no shelter this far south, and the northeast monsoon whips around the bottom of Vietnam with special fury. As it powers across the Gulf of Thailand the warm waters pump yet more moisture and violence into the roiling clouds. Then, as it hits Samui, atmospheric fury breaks loose and violent electric storms thunder across the island.
November and December in Samui can be a great time to witness the raw, magnetic power of nature – but it's not for the faint hearted. Violent thunder storms roll in off the ocean on many evenings, hurling lightning bolts in hours-long, flash-and-bang spectacles. The bucketing rain causes regular, short-lived flooding. To hold Christmas or New Year dinner on a Samui beach requires special luck.

boating, sailing, yacht charters – Samui has no marina or good anchorage

For those who love boating, Samui and the Gulf of Thailand are something of a letdown. A large, enclosed body of water with a good number of islands seems a natural for leisure boating – but not in Thailand. The country has no tradition of leisure on the ocean, and those who do go to sea, fishermen, are especially low on the Thai social scale. Few high- or middle-class Thais engage in boating activities, or for that matter, go near the ocean.

Many attempts have been made over the past 20 years to encourage the Thai government to support marine leisure industries – but most have been shot down with local xenophobia calling it the spending of Thai money to support the leisure of wealthy foreigners. The idea that increased boating and marine facilities might boost the country's tourism industry, which the Thai government mollycoddles, has yet to catch on.

So neither Samui nor its neighbours has a professional marina, and there is no really safe natural harbour here. Modern power and sailing boats visit or pass Samui regularly, but few stay.

Local wooden boats are available for charter during the high season months at Big Buddha beach and the many jetties there. That bay is the safest anchorage Samui has, but it's not good enough for million dollar yachts when a strong squall arrives. But the occasional modern power or sailing yacht is available for charter. Sunsail runs a bareboat charter base in Samui, allowing experienced sailors to find a basic sailing craft to tour the nearby islands or entire Gulf.

Beach catamarans are available through only a few resorts, or can be rented near the centre of Chaweng Beach in the busy months.. If you want to sail, you'll have to either hunt to find a hotel with a beach cat, or head for Chaweng.

what about that word ‘Koh’, or ‘island’ in Thai?

It's amazing how many foreigners either live on Samui, or come here regularly, and still cannot pronounce the name correctly. Wrong pronunciation is more common on this island than in any other part of Thailand, where foreigners have reason to struggle with some names.

If you want to be understood by the locals, start by getting the most common location name, the world 'island', correct.

It is NOT ‘co’, as in ‘go’.

It is pronounced exactly the same as the English word ‘got’ – without the ‘t’ at the end.

'Got' without the 't' – and you've got 'koh' right
by John Everingham