Koh Samui’s most famous beaches compared – all on east & north coasts
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Chaweng & Lamai were the first beaches to attract backpacking visitors ... due to their beauty
Koh Samui’s most famous beaches were not selected by hotels and resorts, but by hippies and backpacking coco-dreamers in the 1970s. Not surprisingly, they gravitated to and gyrated on beaches whose natural beauty was worth a half-world trek and lots of mosquito bites. On Koh Samui it was first Chaweng, with its immaculate, powder-fine sand and crystal clear water. When some beach freaks decided ten people were a crowd, they migrated down the island to Lamai, the second choice. Only after that did Bophut and Maenam on the north coast join the halls of hippie of the fame.
The children of the flower-power generation are back on Samui in force, but these opulent, now middle-aged tourist travellers come armed with credit cards, I-Pads and a new generation of internet-connected kids. And all five of these onetime hippie hangouts have upgraded to accommodate them, redeveloping bamboo beach huts into luxury boutique rooms with swishy, contorted swimming pools.
Which beach is right for you? Below we provide a comparative look at all five. And perhaps the biggest surprise is that some of the 1980s backpacker huts do survive on three of those beaches, sandwiched between 4- and 5-star neighbours.