Best beaches in Samui for families

By Steve Coles

Lipa Noi has some delightful sunsets

The numerous beaches inset into Koh Samui’s coastline are the epitome of tropical paradise. They boast soft white sands lapped by translucent waters set against a stunning backdrop of swaying palms and hills topped with verdant jungle. The choices range from busy beaches with lots of holidaymakers and full tourist facilities to ones that are virtually deserted.

The principal Samui seaside resorts and beaches are Chaweng, Lamai, Maenam and Bophut, and these are quite busy locations with restaurants, bars and watersports facilities. These beaches are the places to come to lounge on sunbeds, get a traditional Thai massage or your hair braided, and buy souvenirs, fruit, snacks, fake designer sunglasses and sarongs from passing vendors.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the main beaches there are sheltered bays with soft sand perfect for families and those looking to find an isolated spot for the day. The quieter beaches are thankfully not patrolled by hawkers as there just not enough sunbathers to make it worthwhile. Sitting, swimming or walking in these locations offers uninterrupted views out to sea and the horizon.   

The best Samui beaches for families are Taling Ngam, Lipa Noi, Plai Laem, Laem Set, Choeng Mon, Thong Tanote, Bang Po and at a pinch Maenam or Bophut. We have listed the beaches below and given a general description that will enable beachgoers to make an informed choice for their families. More on Samui beaches.

Lipa Noi beach for families

The shallow seas that softly roll onto the west coast beach of Lipa Noi offer the finest swimming and snorkelling on Samui for youngsters. The water is shallow 100m from shore and there are no sharp rocks or coral on the seabed to lacerate unprotected feet. The sands here are so soft it is like walking on velvet.

There are bungalows and resorts at Lipa Noi, but very few bars or nightlife venues. Restaurants along the beachside do not stay open late. This remoteness and bucolic aura makes this resort area an attractive proposition for people looking for peace and solitude as well as family groups. The beach is popular with Thai tourists as it is not far from the island’s car ferry port.

Taling Ngam for families

Taling Ngam is vastly underrated for families

Taling Ngam is rated by many frequent Koh Samui visitors as one of the most picturesque and atmospheric of the island’s beaches. It is far from the madding crowds of Nathon and Chaweng and has limited accommodation options or eateries. Jungle rings the edge of the soft sand here and vistas of Ang Thong Marine National Park are marvellous.   

The uncrowded sand at Taling Ngam is spread over two kilometres with waters calm enough for children to swim and snorkel in while mum and dad relax on the beach. Rocks, fishing trawlers and the odd tidal pool on the beach offer diversions for youngsters. The restaurants that dot the coast are all family friendly and serve a mix of Thai and international cuisine.

More families beaches on Samui

Thong Tanote Beach is south of Taling Ngam and on the southwest tip of Samui. It is a calm location which offers great snorkelling and swimming. The view over the Gulf of Thailand to Mutsum and Tan islands has to be seen to be believed. Dive tours to the islands depart from Thong Tanote.

The long stretch of beach at Ban Kao is in the middle of Samui’s southern shore. The sands are flat and palm-shaded, apart from in the afternoon, and ideal for beach sports and jogging. People can swim here all year round and it is worth staying until late in the afternoon as the sunsets are magnificent.

The beach at Laem Set is on the south side of Samui. It is not great for swimming between April and October as the water is not very deep and there are sharp stones and shards of coral on the bottom. It is a peaceful place with no shops, vendors or bars. Rocks and rock pools are great for wandering around and clambering over.

Na Tian Butterfly Garden is on a hill above Laem Set Beach and the Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo is a short walk away at Ban Harn. The butterfly garden is well-laid out gardens and offers shaded rest areas as well as butterflies, insects and lizards. The zoo provides entertaining shows and eclectic marine and land creatures.

Choeng Mon and Plai Laem beaches are on the northwest corner of Samui, above Chaweng and Lamai. Choeng Mon is a vivid place and shaded along most of its length. Various watersports and sunbathing can be enjoyed here. More on Samui activities.

Plai Laem boasts a large expanse of soft white sands and calm seas protected by offshore coral. The sea is no more than two metres deep, too shallow for jet-skis and water-skiing, yet wonderful for swimming and snorkelling. There is a fair selection of restaurants and resorts as well as a few beach cafés here. 

Bang Po Beach is on the northern shore of Samui and features sands that extend for almost four kilometres. Palm trees stand sentry behind the clean beach and the waters are tranquil and offer snorkelling and swimming. There are a few accommodation options here, although no shops or nightlife venues.

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