For a small island, we found that Koh Samui wasn’t really that… small. There are many little spots to the island, many different beaches and areas and if you know what you’re doing, you can pick your favorite and focus on spending most of your time there.
We started out at Chaweng, the most popular area on the east side of the island. And while we found it perfectly picturesque, and filled with activity, it wasn’t until we reached Maenam that we realized how much variation there really is from spot to spot and how worthwhile it is to make sure you explore the whole island of Samui during your stay.
Maenam beach is on the North side of the island, and about a 25 minute cab/minibus/tuk tuk/scooter ride from Chaweng. It usually cost us 300 Baht in a taxi one way just so you know.
Upon arriving there we instantly found Maenam beach cleaner than Chaweng, far less crowded, the surf to be gentler (no waves really – better for swimming unless… you’re a surfer), and the scenery… maybe even a little cooler with it’s full view of Koh Phangan island in the distance. (Maenam is also one of the common ferry ports you’ll use for transport to Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao with Lomprayah ferries)
The beach has a handful of little bars/cafes and restaurants that were cheaper than the ones on other beaches (owing to it being less popular) too. We were right near a little bar on the sand where you could drink a 90 Baht ($2.70 ish) cocktail while lying in a hammock (highly recommended), and there were more options in whichever direction you walked. We also found a great little spot for dinner on the waterfront (who’s name escapes me) where we paid half as much as we had at anywhere else on the island. (More comprehensive list of dining options for Maenam beach here.
Every time we came back to Chaweng from Maenam we found ourselves telling people about it. You can check out a bunch of our pictures below but you’ll soon realize that they don’t do it justice. If you get a chance while you’re on Samui, go hang out up there for the day. You won’t regret it.