Accommodation for divers in Samui
Our Koh Samui hotel recommendations
It doesn’t matter where you stay on Koh Samui, the dive shops will collect you from anywhere, it’s a pretty small island. The main beach on Koh Samui is Chaweng beach. It’s one of the better swimming beaches on the island and we love the beach restaurants in the evening. Chaweng is also where the most bars and clubs are. It has a younger feel to it than other Samui beaches, you’ll like Chaweng if you enjoy all night parties and sleeping in the day. The Ark Bar Beach Resort is party central, don’t expect to get any sleep here before about 5am. Stumbling distance away up the beach is Al’s Resort which has basic and quiet rooms. Al’s Resort is typical of a lot of 3 star resorts on Chaweng beach, nothing fancy, just simple rooms on the beach.
If you move away from Chaweng beach you get much better accommodation for your money.
Lamai beach has a more relaxed vibe about the place and all the accommodation seems to be in a better state of repair than at Chaweng beach. The Pavilion is a good high end resort. Also right on the beach are the 3 star Thai House and Samui Jasmine Resort.
If you don’t mind being a few minutes walk from the beach then we recommend the quirky Varinda Garden Resort, it has a unique style and very friendly owners.
We really like Thongtakien Bay which is a secluded bay between Lamai and Chaweng beaches. Thongtakien Resort, Crystal Bay Resort and Promtsuk Buri Resort all occupy Haad Thongtakien. They are excellent value 3 star bungalow resorts. Great for couples or families.
Another very nice area to stay in Koh Samui is the Fishermans Village in Bophut. There are nice restaurants and cafes on the beach and every Friday it has Samui’s best night market. There are a few boutique places in Fishermans village. The Waterfront has nice beachfront rooms and Eden Bungalows is a great value budget option with simple and elegant bungalows in a garden setting.
Our Koh Phangan resort recommendations
Koh Phangan is often only thought of in terms of the full moon parties that take over Haad Rin beach every month. But away from the parties Koh Phangan is an unspoiled paradise. Haad Rin has all the back packer accommodation but to the north and east there are some more up market resorts. Most of them are quite small with a very relaxed feel, many are new as Koh Phangan is only beginning it’s move upmarket.
Don’t go to Koh Phangan for diving but do go to relax for a while on empty beaches. There is some decent snorkeling and kayaking around Haad Yao/Haad Salad beaches. We like this area, there are plenty of local restaurants to eat at. You can find decent budget accommodation but spend a bit more and you can get a lot of resort for your money. The Salad Buri Resort is an attractive 4 star resort on Haad Salad beach. It’s very good value. The Maehad resort which fills Maehad bay is all shiny and new and also great value. In front of the bay is Koh Maa, a small island that can be walked to across a sand bar or kayaked around.
Thong Nai Pan beach is arguably the most beautiful beach on Koh Phangan. It is secluded on the opposite side of Koh Phangan to the party beach of Haad Rin. The Anantara is a 5 star luxury resort that is small enough to have a personal feel. The Buri Rasa is equally superb.
Our Koh Tao resort recommendations for divers
Koh Tao is all about diving and snorkeling and is one of the few places in Thailand that has real dive resorts, resorts built specifically to cater to divers and snorkelers. Koh Tao is also moving up market, the bamboo huts are being replaced by more high end resorts. We can recommend two resorts because they are where we always stay.
Koh Tao Coral Grand Resort is a full service dive resort on Sairee beach. Staying here is so convenient for diving day trips and the resort is just a short stroll down the beach to the bars and restaurants. We especially like their early morning dive trips to Chumphon Pinnacle that get you back at the resort by lunchtime.
Our favourite Koh Tao resort isn’t actually on Koh Tao, it’s a few minutes boat ride away (free transfer) to Koh Nang Yuan. Koh Nang Yuan resort is the only resort on Koh Nang Yuan private island. The island is owned by the same company that owns the Lomprayah ferry service so it’s easy to reach from Samui, Koh Phangan or even Chumphon on the mainland. There is a dive centre on the island but what we love is that the snorkeling from the beach is superb, often better than the diving. You can see reef sharks just off the beach.