Koh Samui (Ko Samui or simply “Samui”) is an island in the Gulf of Thailand, located about 700 km south of Bangkok and close to the mainland town of Surat Thani. It is Thailand’s second largest island after Phuket, with an area over 200 km² and a population of over 63,000.
Samui is known for its hip, international vibe, white sandy beaches, coconut trees, fabulous resorts and fun nightlife. Attracting over a million visitors a year, it is one of Thailand’s most famous islands.
Samui has a very lively nightlife scene, much of which is centered in Chaweng Beach area. While most bars and clubs attract a mixed crowd, there are a few Gay Bars, Dance Clubs and Massage Spas that specifically target the gay client.
At Chaweng Beach every evening, a game of gay volleyball takes place in front of O.P. Bungalow. Most players are either gay or very gay.
Samui Pride, a non-profitable organisation, hosts regular events to promote gay tourism to Samui and raise funds for local charitable causes. These include the annual Samui Pride festival, sport competitions among other activities.
Samui International Airport is surprisingly beautiful with a thatched roof luggage hall and flower beds down the side of the runways.
The airport is owned and operated by Bangkok Airways who operate flights to Bangkok, Phuket and other regional destinations. Bangkok Airways codeshare with Etihad Airways.
During peak seasons, flights can get fully booked quite far in advance – particularly those in the early morning or late afternoon that are timed to connect to intercontinental services between Bangkok to Europe.
It is possible to fly from Bangkok to either of the nearest mainland cities and catch a ferry to Samui (Surat Thani with AirAsia or NokAir; Nakon Si Thamarat with NokAir).
Both airlines offer tickets that include private coach transfers to the ferry pier and ferry crossing to Samui.
These combined tickets can be less than half the price of a Bangkok Airways ticket to Samui. The journey time is approximately 5 hours “door-to-door” from Bangkok Don Muang Airport to Nathon Town on the west coast of Samui. Most beach resorts are on the north and east coast, so you need to allow another 30-50 minutes taxi or “songthaew” to complete your travel.
These options are excellent for those looking to save money and have a little more time to travel, or for those who arrive at, or need to departure Thailand from Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport (rather than Suvarnabhumi Airport).
Firefly flies from from Penang and Kuala Lumpur direct to Samui. AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Surat Thani.
-Special thanks to Adam Preston at Rainbow Scuba & Tours for information updates.
From the airport
There is a taxi counter at the airport, but private taxi service providers waiting around behind the counter may be a quicker option (but also more expensive). It’s better to arrange for your airport transfer in advance.
A 25-30 km trip from Nathon pier to Chaweng or Lamai beach should cost around 600-800 baht. Note that taxi prices are higher than in Bangkok, and drivers tend to ask foreigners for a flat rate or much higher than normal fare.
By pickup truck
Pickup trucks (or”songthaews”) serve as group taxis with a flat rate. If you want to go to a particular place, then hire one and negotiate the price with them in advance.
Motorbikes can be rented almost anywhere on the island for between 120-700 baht per day depending on the size and seasonality. It is advisable that you hire only from a reputable company.
Bicycle rental is very cheap on Koh Samui and shouldn’t cost more than 200 baht per day.
Driving is easy on Koh Samui, and there are many car rental companies available.
Chaweng and Lamai are the most popular beaches on Koh Samui, while the northern beaches of MaeNam, BoPhut and Choeng Mon are more peaceful. These beaches provide a wide variety of accommodation, from almost extinct beach bungalows to modern 5-star resorts and everything in between.
For details of the most popular beaches on Samui, click here to go Gay Koh Samui Beaches page.
Most gay visitors stay near popular beaches like Chaweng, Lamai and BoPhut. All of these locations have a wide range of accommodations to choose from.
Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks – Located on Lamai Beach, these odd-shaped rocks resemble the male and female sexual organs; one of Samui’s most popular attractions.
Wat Khunaram – This temple is best known for its mummified monk on display.
Fisherman’s Village – lively night market filled with restaurants and shops, located in Bophut area.
Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai) – Built in 1972, the temple contains a 15m tall statue of the Buddha.
Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo – located at Ban Harn beach, the aquarium has a great collection of tropical fish, aquatic animals and colourful corals. The zoo is home to Bengal tigers and leopards. Open daily 9am-6am.
Secret Buddha Garden – Built in 1976, this lovely garden is surrounded by lush forests and rocky hills.
Angthong National Marine Park – a group of beautiful islands close to Koh Samui formed of eroded limestone.
Samui is great to visit almost all year long. Peak season is from January to March, the driest months of the island.
From April through September when the rest of Thailand has its monsoon season, Samui remains fairly dry. October through December are the rainiest months.