With its excellent beach, Lamai stretches out some 3 kilometers with restaurants, bars and resorts parallel to the shore. It’s a smaller version of Chaweng and is set at the head of a steep valley that rises into the island’s lush and forested hills.
The bay of Lamai, unlike that of Chaweng, has steeply shelving sands and the sand is much coarser. But you can expect exactly the same kind of laidback ambiance here. And when it gets too hot there are plenty of places where you can take a break.
An entirely separate bay is to be found north of town, Tong Takian Bay, also known as Silver Bay. The beach here is totally different and is niched between two headlands and has fine white powder sands and shallow water. The bay is very small so it can get packed here, especially at weekends and in high season.
Due to the shelving nature of the sands, caution is advised at all times. There are some jellyfish at times in the year and also rip currents. There’s a flag system in operation but not along the whole beach: don’t attempt to go into the water if you see either a yellow or a red flag. Jet skis can also pose a problem – do not swim near their landing or departure points.
The beach road is great for anything to do with beachwear or beach accessories and there is also a wide choice of convenience stores selling drinks and food.
Tesco-Lotus: this large supermarket and mall is centrally located on the ring road. Eat for under 100 Baht at the food court in the mall or head over the road and you’ll find cafés and restaurants close at hand. The supermarket offers a range of Thai and international foods.
Eating and Drinking
It’s impossible to go hungry in Lamai; you’ll find plenty of choice when it comes to Thai or Italian dishes and there is a huge range of international foods as well. In the evening you may wish to head for Lamai Central Plaza for cheap food and drink, with something of a party mood later on.
Lamai is well known for its pubs and bars; you’ll find a huge number along the beach road. Samui Shamrock Irish Pub is certainly an old favorite when it comes to live music. There’s great food too and you can enjoy anything from a snack to a feast. Lashings of tasty Australian food meantime await at Bondi Aussie Bar & Grill while all-day feasting is to be found at Beach Republic with daily discounts and promotions. Head there for the popular and humongous Sunday brunch, said by many to be the best on the island. Combine dining with dips in the resort’s two pools and later explore the beach here. Looking for great Thai food? Simply head for the always dependable Imchai near Manathai resort.
Just out of town and with incomparable views, opt for The Cliff Bar & Grill, if you’re seeking high-quality Italian, Portuguese and Mediterranean dishes. Head north further along the ring road and a couple of kilometers on you’ll find a mix of healthy and vegetarian fare at Vikasa Life Café.
Lamai specializes in some of the best cuisine on Koh Samui when it comes to casual fine dining. Head for Moon at Silavadee Pool Resort & Spa for a delectable range of western-style foods, and in the same resort The Height, which serves opulent Thai food. Saffron at Banyan Tree showcases a mix of traditional Thai cuisine along with some modern takes. You can even dine on a private pier and enjoy the fantastic views if you go to The Lamai Samui.
Lamai is a great alternative to Chaweng when it comes to heady nightlife. It’s also easier to get from place to place; the action is concentrated on the beach road and just away from it. This means that you can simply walk everywhere.
Where to stay
Similar to Chaweng but on a smaller scale, Lamai offers a vast range of accommodation and suits all pockets. Backpackers can find decent rooms and there’s everything up to and including five-star villas. Check out Lamai Wanta Beach Resort, right next to the beach, as is Pavilion Samui Villas & Resort. Close to Lamai, you’ll find a trio of excellent resorts on a small peninsula: Renaissance Resort & Spa, Banyan Tree and Silavadee Pool Spa Resort. Meantime, check into the aforementioned Tong Takian bay at Thong Takian Resort or Crystal Bay Beach Resort. With hundreds of places to choose from, you’re sure to find accommodation that will suit you.