Why Choosing Koh Samui Over Phuket Is Right for You

To visit Thailand is to fall in love with this beautiful part of the world. If you’re lucky enough to be planning a future trip, you’ll have had the enviable next step of choosing which island destination to soak up some tropical Southeast Asian sunshine. If you’ve chosen to relax in style on the gorgeous isle of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, then give yourself some praise for having great taste. Koh Samui is a wonderfully special place that captures the imagination and has inspired many travelers from all over the world.

Phuket is not only Thailand’s most visited vacation spot, it is also one of the most developed in terms of activities, tourist attractions, and dining; rightly deserving the accolade of being, ‘The Jewel in the Andaman’. However, there’s no question that Koh Samui, the Kingdom’s second largest island, is a fantastic choice and the size, coupled with it being less well-developed and not as renowned as Phuket, only adds to its appeal.

Before you head off to Koh Samui, here are just a few reasons, and there are plenty more, why you’re destined to experience one of Thailand’s most desirable vacationing havens:

Tranquil Beaches

Lipa Noi’s tranquil white-sand beach. Photo from Villa Akatsuki, one of the most luxurious villas in Koh Samui

Beautiful bays and quiet stretches of soft sand await those seeking some solitude. Koh Samui possesses plenty of small beaches where you can find your own coastal idyll, while there’re still other areas that are more upbeat and touristy if that’s what you prefer. Add in the views, a luxurious villa by the sea, and a good book and you’ve nothing left to do except totally unwind. The waters, while crystal clear, can also be strong around Samui though so make sure you follow any warnings.

Check out our article about the beaches of Koh Samui.

Laidback Charm

Koh Samui isn’t a castaway-style island, but nor is it overrun by the trappings of over-developed tourism either. What this means is that you can enjoy total luxury that exceeds your expectations and enjoy a sophisticated vacation lifestyle. At the same time, there’s a distinctly relaxed, chilled-out atmosphere on the island that’s deliciously seductive whether sipping a sundowner or dining al fresco by the beach.

The Vistas

An incredible view of the surrounding landscape as seen from the rooftop terrace of Villa Anavaya in Choeng Mon, Koh Samui

Looking out over your private villa’s infinity pool to boundless coastal panoramas never ceases to leave guests spellbound, whether welcoming the sunrise or watching the golden sun go down over a perfect day. Beyond your luxury stay, the island promises photographers picture-perfect shots from well-known viewpoints around Koh Samui. These include an attraction at Lamai where you can zipline too, or from the Big Buddha site where you can’t help but feel moved by the evocative ambiance at sunset.

Chaweng

If you’re looking for a good dose of tourist-induced fun and frivolity then look no further than Chaweng Beach. Being one of the liveliest areas in Koh Samui, Chaweng has a lot to offer when it comes to activities. The wide golden sands stretch for an astounding seven kilometers and it’s this incredible shoreline that has made this east-coast location so popular. You can still find a lounger and an upmarket beach restaurant to dine and lie down, while certain pockets offer a more upbeat, party-style energy. What’s great is that just a step away are quieter bays and some magnificent luxury villa stays to retreat to as well.

Ang Thong National Marine Park

An aerial view of the turquoise waters and the many islets of the Ang Thong National Marine Park

An absolute highlight of any vacation is a boat trip to explore some of the 42 islands of Ang Thong National Marine Park’s extraordinary, protected archipelago. Imagine mesmerizing limestone karsts jutting out of turquoise waters, rocking up at whiter than white beaches, and enjoying snorkeling and kayaking. Watch monkeys at play on Koh Wua Ta Lap (Sleeping Cow Island) and visit Koh Mae (Mother Island), and walk up to look out over the gorgeous saltwater lagoon known as the Emerald Lake. Many of the organized trips include refreshments and a stop-off just outside the park to snorkel, while kayaking in sea caves is often an option too. It’s impossible to see the whole area in one day, so you might find yourself booking several while your private concierge can give you the inside scoop on what to do too.

Check out our article about the 5 Nearby Islands from Koh Samui that are Perfect for a Day Trip.

Watersports

From snorkeling to banana boat rides, diving and jet-skiing, Koh Samui is a must for watersport lovers. Each year there is a regatta too, and getting out onto the open water is one of the best ways to really connect with the heart of the island. Fishing trips abound, while there’re plenty of boat trips from sunset cruises to classic long-tail boat adventures, not to mention speedboat expeditions so that you can island-hop with ease and experience the thrill of the wind in your hair and the sun on your face.

Fisherman’s Village

A row of restaurants and shophouses lined up along Fisherman’s Village in Bophut Beach. Photo: devasamui.com

Located in Bophut on the north-eastern side of the island, Fisherman’s Village is an attractive must-visit in the evening. Here you’ll find lovely boutiques and quaint bars and restaurants, and market stalls during the weekend when there’s a night market. By the sea, the atmosphere is laid-back and the buildings are rustic, giving the whole area a wonderfully local feel where you can buy indigenous arts and crafts. There is a great sense of authenticity here that warrants more than one visit and offers a nice break from your luxury villa and the beach too.

Tourist-Friendly

Koh Samui thrives on tourism, yet gives visitors the space to appreciate the natural wonder of the island without being overly touristy. At the same time, there’re lots of spas to enjoy massage treats, plus shops and markets for souvenir buying, and holiday bars and eateries too. The islanders are proud of where they live and as ever in Thailand, smile and the locals smile along with you.

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Planning to visit Koh Samui in the near future? Check out our vacation homes in and around Koh Samui and learn why private villas are the ultimate accommodation option beyond the pandemic.

More in Koh Samui Travel Guide

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