An island just off the eastern coast of the Kra Isthmus of Thailand, Koh Samui is one of the country’s most scenic places. Being the second-largest island in Thailand, it attracts thousands, if not millions of visitors every year, taken in by its spectacular sea views, relaxed atmosphere and warm welcome from the locals, but is there more to it than meets the eye. Koh Samui has a number of amazing beaches, but it looks just as impressive further inland. You’re likely to find the cuisine pretty tasty, while it has an amazing nightlife that rivals anything seen in Phuket, Chiang Mai or even Bangkok. Also, the island offers plenty of intriguing historical sites which hint at how people lived here before it became a tourism hotspot.
A 4x4 car is the best option for navigating this island, although if you’re a little more laidback, a family car or hatchback with tyres that have extra grip might be sufficient.
Driving in Koh Samui
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Although the local road network is pretty good by local standards, it’s best to drive slowly here as some of the routes have the odd bump or crack.
Due to its rather sparse population, there aren’t too many petrol stations on Koh Samui. Most of them are around the main town.
Traffic is usually pretty heavy at peak times around the island’s airport. Be sure to avoid if you want to shorten your journey time.
Highlights & Hotspots
Chaweng Beach is the largest beach on Koh Samui. As a result, it’s the most popular, but there are a few reasons behind that, one of which being its fast-growing party scene. During the day, it can be peaceful during winter and spring, when the weather is sunny and mild.
A beach which is a little more family-friendly is Mae Nam. On the north of the island, it’s one of the safest places on Koh Samui to take the kids, mainly because of its secluded nature and the shallow water, which is ideal for paddling in.
In the sea itself, it might be worth your while to go scuba diving off the coast of Laem Set. The reason for that are the coral beds, which look pristine when explored underwater. The same can be said of Thong Takhian.
The Insect Museum is one of the more intriguing attractions of Koh Samui. The museum documents insects which are mainly found in Thailand, although some are common sights further afield. It’s a good place to while away a lazy afternoon.
Samui International Airport is 1.5 miles north of Chaweng, the main town. It handles over one million passengers a year from its two terminals for domestic and international flights. Destinations served include Hong Kong and Singapore.
The airport can be accessed by the 4171 highway, which connects to the northern settlements of Koh Samui. There are also smaller roads going south.