Lamai beach

by Guest

Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular islands. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, it’s easy to reach by over 20 direct flights from Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as ferry services from the other islands and mainland. Though Chaweng Beach is by far the most popular, Lamai Beach comes in a close second. It’s slightly quieter than Chaweng and a little more charming, but still has the plethora for restaurants, accommodation, nightlife and attractions to keep you busy. Located on the east coast of the island, it’s not far from the airport and is reachable by shuttle bus, taxi or tuk tuk.

Things to do on Lamai Beach

There is plenty of things to keep you busy on Lamai Beach and the surrounding area. Of course, you can simply relax on the long sandy beach, read you book in the shade, swim in the hammock and take refreshing dips in the ocean, but there is plenty more to stop non beach dwellers getting board.

Also read about: Chiang Mai Night Safari

Lamai viewpoint is a beautiful spot where travellers can look down over the sea, jungle interior and beaches. You can either get there by taxi, tuk tuk or take a long hike. If you would like to visit the nearby waterfall, there is a US $3 entrance fee. If that’s not enough, for an extra US $20 you can spend the rest of the afternoon zip-lining through the canopies looking for wildlife and down at the incredible views.

Lamai Beach

Photo by Fabio

A little further along from Lamai is Silver Beach. This long, white sandy beach is quiet and located on in a secluded bay, perfect for snorkelling and swimming. There are several little places to stay as well as some excellent Thai seafood restaurants.

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On the main strip, you’ll find Lamai Night Bazaar. This is a shoppers paradise selling everything from knock off goods, to colourful crafts and goods. Night bazaars are popular throughout Thailand, and as well as shopping, some of the best places to eat and nightlife can be found in them. It opens everyday from around 5 p.m.

If you have kids (or you are a big kid), take a visit out to the enormous 10,000 square metre Coco Splash Adventure & Water Park. It’s not located on Lamai Beach, so you’ll need to take a taxi, but it is not far away. Here you can ride the seven water slides and swim in the many outdoor pools. The Bungee Trampoline and Air Bag Jump are particularly fun. It’s not just about water, there are also inflatable bouncy castles, go kart tracks, ziplining, and obstacle courses all of which will keep the family busy for a whole day.

Also read about: Phi Phi Island Tour

If you like wildlife, don’t miss the Samui Aquarium and Tiger Show. The aquarium hosts a vast variety of marine life including sharks, catfish, rays and more. It’s a great way to learn about the local underwater life and get up close to some of the most interesting species. The park also hosts a daily tiger show where big cats like Bengal tigers can be seen jumping through hoops. You can also have photos taken with any of the wildlife to keep as a memento.

The White Pagoda is located on the summit of a hill just outside of Lamai. Not only is it stunning (as is the nearby Laem Sor Pagoda nearby), but you can also enjoy spectacular views from down over the island as well as the island’s famous melting sunset. To reach the pagoda, you can either jump in a taxi, tuk tuk or take an ATV quad bike tour if you’re feeling brave.

Also read about: Things to do in Chiang Mai

If you’re looking for something fascinating to see, visit Wat Khunaram. Other than being a beautiful example of Thai architecture, the temple also houses a mummified monk who died in the early 70s. His body has been left in a seated position inside a glass box and is in surprisingly good condition. Always remember to be respectful in a temple. Take off your shoes, don’t make too much noise and dress modestly. It’s located around 6 kilometres from Lamai Beach and is easily reached by taxi or tuk tuk.

Lamai Beach

Photo by Sama

Muay Thai fighting is a popular sport all over Thailand. Lamai Beach has several gyms where travellers can live and learn this martial art. For those who aren’t that energic, it is well worth going to one of the weekly bouts where Thai and international fighters battle it out in the ring. The fight nights are well advertised, but you can always ask at your hotel reception to find out when the next one is. They get busy, so turn by early to grab your tickets and get a good seat. They fights all start with some traditional dance and music.

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There are watersports available all along the beach. Hire sea kayaks and paddleboards for gentle cruises across the ocean or snorkelling equipment to view the underwater life of colourful fish and coral. There are several schools offering kitesurfing lessons. If you’re in a group, go on an adrenaline inducing banana boat rides.  

Also read about: Koh Lanta hotels

Places to eat on Lamai Beach

Thai’s love their food, and there is no shortage of places to eat on Lamai Beach. If in doubt, always look for where the locals eat as it’s a great indication of good food. Competition is fierce and the prices are quite low in all of the beachside restaurants.

Sala Thai is one of the best Thai menus in town. The local restaurant serves up delicious curries as well as an extensive menu of seafood caught freshly from the Gulf of Thailand that day. It’s always busy with locals and tourists so get here early to avoid disappoint. The restaurant is open until midnight and is located inside the Lamai Night Bazaar.

The Golden Elephant is beautifully decked out in teak furniture and offers a delicious menu of tom yum seafood soups, curries, crab and grilled meats with satay. It’s a little more expensive than your average Thai restaurant, but still pretty reasonable. Try the sticky rice and mango covered in warm salty coconut milk, it’s particularly good.

Located away from the nightlife and noise, Nana Tam offers simple (but delicious) local fare in simple surroundings. Here you can find all the Thai classics including papaya salad, Thai curry and pad Thai (a traveller's favourite). Everything is fresh and cooked to order. The prices are inexpensive, with dishes starting from around US $2. Popular with locals.

Lamai Beach

Photo by Mike

Koh Kaew is located on the trail going to Hin Ta. It’s made up with nothing more than a few tables and chairs, but don’t let that put you off. The food here is mouth watering and includes freshly caught seafood. An excellent place for those who like quality of food over atmosphere. Prices start from around US $2 per dish so it won’t break the bank.

A Lamai Beach institution, Mr. Phu’s is a simple restaurant serving up some of the freshest seafood in Koh Samui. Beautifully fried red snapper, huge prawns and crab is all marinated in Thai ingredients and cooked to perfection on the barbecue. Unusually, they also do a crocodile curry if you are feeling brave. It’s not the cheapest, but it is one of the best places to eat. The dishes are best eaten accompanied by cold bottles of Chang beer.

Nightlife in Lamai Beach

While the nightlife in Lamai might be quieter than Chaweng, there is still plenty on offer from small local bars to big cabaret shows. The Central Lamai Beer Plaza is located in the centre of town and is made up of a half dozen bars vying for your business. The beer flows here cheaply and there is entertainment including female Thai boxing in the central Muay Thai ring. If you like Irish bars, visit the Samui Shamrock, a large pub that’s been providing locals and tourists with Guinness for over a decade. They have live music most nights of the week, and there is also a pool table and darts. The Samui Rock Bar sits next to Hin Ta and Hin Yai and plays out reggae in rustic bamboo surroundings. It’s a great place to start the night and they serve some excellent dishes. If you haven’t had too many, you can get inked in the onsite tattoo studio. For something completely different, visit the Cabaret Lamai Beach which has a nightly one-hour ladyboy show with colourful costumes, music and dancing. Open from 20.00 p.m. until midnight every night.

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