Samui's weather patterns are a little different from the rest of Thailand. In April through September, when most of the country has its monsoon, Samui stays fairly dry, but from October to December, it's wet in Samui and drier elsewhere. The driest season is from January to
The Samui Taxi is a public taxi service. The drivers, however, are very reluctant to use their meters (unlike in Bangkok), and, especially on popular beaches or entry points to the island, tend to ask foreigners much more than normal fare. Some, say on Nathon pier, will even show you official-looking papers with "fixed" prices like 600-800 baht for a 25-30 km trip to Chaweng or Lamai beach. This is not true, and once they know you're aware of that, it's usually possible to bargain (for this distance, you should bargain to at least 400 baht, or even better, 300 baht, which is still higher than Bangkok metered taxi prices). On the popular beaches it may be impossible at all to get a reasonable fare sometimes. If so, just walk to some area which is more quiet and far away from luxurious hotels.
NaviGo Samui is a Mobile taxi application similar to that of Uber and GrabTaxi in the west. Taxi can be ordered quickly once the app is downloaded and waiting times are rarely over 5 - 10 minutes. The fares are strictly metered and an estimate of the total fare can be seen before confirming the order. All taxis have cameras inside and the drivers speak good English. The service is a good, safe alternative to the regular Taxis to avoid unreasonable fares. At least on a public holiday, don't expect there to be any NaviGo drivers to pick you up from the airport.
Airport taxi & transfer
There is a taxi counter after the arrival hall at Samui Airport. However, queuing and waiting for the service is quite annoying. There are other taxis waiting behind the counter, but the price is either the same or mostly higher. It is probably best to book your taxi or minibus in advance online. There is a reliable provider such as Samui Taxi [http//:www.SamuiTaxi.com] which charges 440 baht to Chaweng and they wait for their clients at the meeting point.
Pickup trucks/public passenger pick-up vehicles (songthaews) also serve as group taxis. To get from the Nathon Pier to Bophut/Chaweng take a brown one which runs at regular intervals and will cost 50 baht to or from Bophut (do NOT negotiate a fare unless you want a taxi situation as these are the way in which the locals get around. Just ask if he is going that way and get on board. If you want to go to a particular place, then hire a taxi or songthaew and negotiate the price with them first. To get to Lamai, in the opposite direction, costs B70. Is also brown in colour. The songteows go from close to the pier in each direction. Strangely, you can only get to Chaweng in one direction, and Lamai in the other. To go from one to the other requires a taxi. When you want to get off, just push the buzzer in the roof, and then go to pay the driver. As of April 2014, drivers tend to demand a flat rate of B100 for any trip between 2 cities (for example Chaweng to Lamai). Be advised this is grossly inflated compared to the normal rate paid by the locals (and displayed - unfortunately in Thai only - inside the car on a small white board). There is little you can do about it but is best kept in mind if you feel like bargaining. As of Feb 2017 there are now aircon minibuses which go between Nathon and Chaweng. The fare is B100 (but they may try to get B200 out of you!)
10 best beaches in Samui
The most popular beaches in Koh Samui could not be more different from each other. From the long and busy Chaweng, to the short and secluded Choeng Mon, there’s a strip of sand for everyone’s taste in Samui. Check out our list of the 10 best beaches in Samui – it will come in handy when the time comes for you to pick your next holiday destination.
Koh Samui's busiest and biggest town has sprung up around one of the island's best beaches. Chaweng Beach is Koh Samui's most popular stretch of powdery white sand. The wide bay has been the focal point for the development of the island's tourism industry and the majestic five-kilometre long crescent is bordered by rocky headlands on either end, with an offshore reef and the tiny island of Koh Matlam to the north. Chaweng offers more accommodation options than elsewhere on the island, and is also nightlife central with bars and restaurants catering to every taste.
Lamai is Samui's second largest resort town after Chaweng. Lamai beach itself is lovely – a stunning crescent of palm-fringed powdery white sand that's perfect for whiling away the day sunbathing, and a deep central stretch of water great for swimming and water sports. Large granite boulder rocks are the landmarks of Lamai Beach. The most famous of them are Hin Ta and Hin Yai, located at the southern end of the beach. Lamai is quieter and less bustling than its big sister, but features plenty of accommodation, dining and shopping options, and some great spas and tourist sites to explore.
Bophut is really two places: Bophut beach, which sweeps down several kilometres between Bangrak and Maenam beaches and perhaps one of the oldest places on the island, the charming Fisherman's Village, which takes up the eastern section of the beach. Fisherman's Village is fast gaining a reputation that stretches way beyond Samui for being the most elegant and well-preserved place on the island. Bophut Beach itself is a three-kilometre long strip of thick yellowish sand lined by resorts for all types of budget, and offering a great view north to Koh Phangan located some 12 kilometres away.
Perhaps it's the excellent views of Koh Phangan that have kept Maenam that peaceful a beach. Or maybe it's the fact that many of its resorts are located at the end of long rambling pathways, affording a degree of privacy unavailable elsewhere. Originally a genuine backpacker area, Maenam nowadays hosts a great range of beachfront accommodation options from budget to luxury. The beach itself is, similarly to Bophut, made of thick yellowish sand. It offers a great playground for long strolls around sunset, with the possibility to stop and have a refreshing drink at one the bars at hand along the shore.
More upmarket than its neighbour Bangrak, Choeng Mon is made up of a series of bays on the northeastern tip of Samui Island. Dominated by a handful of three- to five-star resorts, it’s still a quiet beach, not yet known by the majority of visitors. Choeng Mon Beach is a rather small – about 700 m long, beautiful bay. It features a wide sandy beach with a rock formation on one side offering good snorkelling, and an islet that can be easily reached by sea kayak on the other side.
Its closeness to the island's main car ferry pier makes Lipa Noi a convenient choice for anyone driving to Samui from the mainland. The beach has fine white sand and there are no rocks or coral in the water, making it one of the best beaches for kids on the island. The water is also very shallow for up to 100 metres out. There are a few well-spaced bungalow operations, as well as more upscale resorts, including the world-famous Nikki Beach. Apart from the beach, and a few cool beach bars, there's little else to do in the area - its very remoteness is what makes it most attractive to the regular visitors, who come in quite large numbers.
Pristine beaches shrouded by jungle and stunning views of Anthong Marine National Park combine to make Taling Ngam one of the most picturesque parts on the island. Facing west, Taling Ngam also offers stunning sunsets. There’s a choice of accommodations from cheap bungalows to upscale resorts, but it is a 20-30 minutes’ drive even from Nathon, the nearest town of any significance, and almost an hour away from Chaweng. That said, if you're after a relaxing, lazy, tropical holiday above all else, Taling Ngam is hard to beat in Samui.
Silver Beach is a 250m-long tropical beach paradise set in a charming little bay facing northeast, located just north of Lamai Beach. Also known as Haad Thong Ta-khian (which in Thai means ‘the beach of the Ta-khian Trees’) Silver Beach hosts four long-established hotels and restaurants: Crystal Bay Beach Resort, Silver Beach Resort, Thongtakian Resort, and Crystal Bay Yacht Club which occupy the full length of the beach. Nevertheless, and according to Thai law, even if you’re not staying at one of the hotels you’re still free access to this tranquil strip of sand which offers some particularly good sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling opportunities.
9-Samrong Beach and Thongson Bay
Samrong Beach and Thongson Bay are the northernmost destinations in Samui. Lying side by side on the small cape between Bangrak and Choeng Mon beaches, they offer splendid views to Koh Phangan located some 10 kilometres away. Both these coves are easily accessible as they host a good choice of hotels, from Melati Resort to Arayaburi Boutique Resort to NB Villa Saa just to name a few. These two coves (three, if you count the self-explanatory ‘Naturism Beach’, situated 100 metres east of Thongson Bay) are simply beautiful and feature clear crystal waters, powdery white sand, and the feeling like you have your very own private beach.
Located just west to Maenam, Bang Por is the most laid-back beach in the north of Samui. The ‘best backpacker beach’ award held before by Maenam, belongs now to Bang Por, even though a few top-notch resorts such as Four Seasons Koh Samui, are settled on this beach. With a total length of almost 11 kilometres, interrupted by Phong Phae River mouth and a tiny rocky cape, Bang Por is the longest sand strand in Samui. Lined with bars, restaurants, and a choice of accommodation choices, it still keeps a genuine tropical touch, and offer an off the beaten track destination.