Bophut is one of a kind. Stretching along the whole northern coast of Koh Samui island, this coastal city is where modern appeal meets the traditional mix of Thai and Chinese culture, amazing its visitors with old wooden Chinese stores interspaced with modern properties.
Bophut a of two adjacent areas: Bophut beach, which stretches from Big Buddha to the Maenam Beach and enchanting Fisherman’s Village that occupies the middle section of the coastline, where fast boats and charter yachts moor. The beachfront restaurants offer the lavish range of seafood, local and international cuisines to satisfy your taste buds.
While Maenam beach and Big Buddha are arguably considered the oldest places on the island, Fisherman’s Village is fast becoming popular among travellers of all ages due to the reputation of the most exquisite and well-preserved place on the island.
Once you appear in Bophut Fisherman’s Village, you will immediately get the Mediterranean feel due to the fact that Bophut was the main French settlement on Samui island for many years. Bizarrely designed shops set along the seaside road sell high-quality clothes, shoes, accessories and jewellery. Several scuba diving schools dotting the area provide lessons or day dives to infamous dive sites of Ang Thong Marine Park and Koh Tao Island.
WHAT WE LOVE
The Mediterranean feel in area
Exclusive beachfront and hilltop villas
Sophisticated restaurants and bars
Charter boats mooring on the beach
Fancy boutiques selling quality items
Situated towards the west of Samui Airport on the northern coast of Koh Samui, Bophut is the ideal base to take in all sights of the north of Samui and relish in the tranquil and serene atmosphere of this charming coastal town.
FERRY AND BUS
There are plenty of companies that carry out transfers from Phuket to Samui. The trip consists of terrestrial and marine transfers and ranges from six to seven hours. Buses depart from the central bus station in Phuket and bring travellers to Koh Phangan pier where passengers make a transfer for the modern and fast catamaran, which brings visitors to Nathon Pier located on the north-western coast of Koh Samui. Usually, there are two daily transfers for Koh Samui, but the timing can range due to the travel operator.
Although it is possible to get to Bophut, Koh Samui over land or water, the best way is to fly:
AIRPORT AND PIER TRANSFERS
It takes around 20 minutes to reach Bophut from Samui Airport depending on traffic. If you are travelling by ferry, the trip from Nathon Pier can take between 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Ministry of Villas can arrange a chauffeur to greet you upon arrival and escort you to your villa.
Alternatively, there is a taxi desk at the arrival level which arranges one-way fares at a fixed-price. If you opt not to use the taxi desk, there are numerous taxi drivers waiting outside the arrival terminal so you can negotiate the price with them. Even though there is a big sign “Meter-Taxi” on the roof of taxis, local drivers rarely use them, so it is recommended to discuss the price beforehand. You can opt one of the transfer options – a shared mini van with other travellers or a private taxi. A shared taxi is essentially cheaper but usually requires at least five passengers to depart.
There are plenty of options, so we’ve ranked them according to our recommendations for first-time travellers:
Ministry of Villas can arrange a private car and chauffeur for you. Depending on which villa you are staying in, the cost for the private car and chauffeur can vary, so it’s recommended to contact our Ministry of Villas team to get the complete information about the private transfers.
Travelling on two wheels is a great way to explore Bophut and further afield. There are numerous motorbike rental shops, where you can opt the scooter and negotiate the price. Take into account that you must always have an international drivers license on your person, otherwise, the local police can issue you a ticket with a summons to appear in court. Also, always request an insured bike, and, of course, make sure you wear a helmet.
Car travel in Bophut is an easy and comfortable way to move around the city and explore other areas. It is recommended, though, to select a 4×4 wheel drive car as Samui’s landscape is rather hilly. Also, take into account, that the lower rental price implies the absence of insurance and a poor condition of the vehicle so opt the international brands when renting a car such as Hertz, Avis and Budget Car Rentals.
Some hotels offer bicycles for rent making it an affordable, yet, physically demanding way to explore Bophut and beyond. However, if you are planning to travel further afield it is not recommended to use bicycle due to the reasons of safety and comfort, as the surface of roads in some places is degraded, and the island’s landscape is rather hilly.
SONGTHAEWS OR PICK-UP TAXIS
Songthaews or “two-benches” are simple pick-up tracks that follow their set routes and pick up or drop off passengers at any site along the route. The trip usually costs THB20 and anyone can simply jump into the truck or require the stop by ringing a bell. Though, the route is described in English, it can be tricky to puzzle out how to get to the destination point for the first-time traveller.
There are a plethora of taxis cruising along the streets of Bophut making it easy to get around the town. Though, it is also an expensive way to move about as there is only one operation taxi company on Samui island. Drivers of the bright red and yellow sedan-style taxis with the “Meter-Taxi” sign on top rarely use the meter so before getting to the car make sure you have agreed on price.
There are over 20 Ministry Approved villas in Bophut. As Bophut is a rather exquisite and serene coastal retreat, villa prices tend to be higher than other parts of Koh Samui. Bophut villas range from USD $210 per night for two-bedroom villa resorts to over USD $2,300 per night for a nine-bedroom luxury villa.
Most of our villas have dedicated staff including butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel and many other services you won’t find in a hotel. This is why we say “Spend just one night in a villa and you’ll never stay in a hotel again.”
Bophut has the reputation of the gastronomic paradise of Koh Samui with arguably the best places to eat on the island. The eclectic mix of Thai and international cuisines will satisfy even the choosiest customers.
Award-winning chefs serving sumptuous food in the upmarket venues lining the beach will amaze you with their culinary talents. Seafood and barbeque are, probably, the win-win choice in Bophut restaurants as the freshest seafood and the finest imported steaks will melt in your mouth.
Along with the exquisite restaurants, there are numerous midrange venues lining the Beach Road or tucked away inside the village. Depending on what you are feeling for, you can sample the authentic Thai cuisine, or give preference to the reasonably priced Italian, Chinese or Indian dishes.
Bophut nightlife, sophisticated and laidback, is represented with numerous chic bars and traditional Irish pubs. Catering to families and couples the bar scene in Fisherman’s Village offers numerous friendly beachfront drinking venues.
Most of the bars occupy the Beach Road and serve, besides the ample selection of the delicious exotic cocktails, also a lavish choice of fresh juices, healthy smoothies and attractive tapas menus.
There are no gogo and girlie bars, discotheques or dodgy massage parlours in Bophut. Instead, you will find here elegant drinking venues offering impeccable service and quiet atmosphere along with the wide range of the exotic drinks and signature cocktails.
The old Chinese buildings that are now used by fashion boutiques and fancy restaurants make the shopping scene of Bophut distinguishing. Lining the main street, numerous clothes stores, jewellery and shoes shops offer quality items at reasonable prices.
If you are looking for some unique and authentic gift or souvenir, head to the Bophut plaza located half way along the Fisherman’s Village. These semi-open stalls sell handmade handicrafts, ceramics, jewellery and natural spa products.
The best way to appreciate the abundant Bophut shopping scene is to wake up early, park your motorbike or car in the parking lot outside the Fisherman’s Village and wander along the street stalls and tiny local brand stores until you will wake up hunger.
Every Friday the streets of Fisherman’s Village turn into the massive market selling local food, clothes and souvenirs. Supplemented with the live music and entertainment the Friday Market is a great place to fish out some unique item, and experience the real Thailand.
One of the best ways or relax and unwind in Bophut is to cruise around the Gulf of Thailand on the rented boat, yacht or catamaran. Numerous tiny islets set off the Bophut beach cater to adventurous types offering to feel yourself Robinson Crusoe and laze on the tiny islet while your chartered boat is anchored nearby.
Beach lovers will appreciate the rather wide stretch of the white-sand shoreline featuring with water sports and various activities. Once you get tired of sunbathing, try the massage performed right on the beach by local women.
If beach massage is not the option for you, there are numerous massage parlours spread around the area, where you can get a bit of pampering and relaxation after the day spent on the beach. Bophut boasts leisure opportunities and activities, so you can be sure you will never get bored here.