Lamai is second largest and most frequented resort in Koh Samui after its big brother Chaweng. Sharing the same coastline with Chaweng, Lamai offers the same brand of idyllic beach with beautiful crystal waters and soft white sand lined with numerous villas and hotels to suit all budgets.
Lamai is quieter and less frantic than its big brother Chaweng, still, the area boasts accommodation, eating, shopping and relaxation options to suit all budgets. Located on the east coast of Samui, Lamai beach is a rather exposed stretch of the silvery sand, with the majority of tourist facilities set along the central and south ends of the beach.
Even though Lamai is one of the most developed areas on Samui, the quiet village inland comes alive only after the sun goes down, offering a plethora of dining, drinking and shopping opportunities. Prices in Lamai remain slightly lower than in the nearby popular Chaweng area, and that is one of the reasons why Lamai attracts so many expats and long staying visitors.
Lamai nightlife is not as bustling and vibrant as in Chaweng, however, you will still get enough bars and beach clubs to stay entertained. Naturally beautiful, Lamai boasts of the splendid postcard bays to engage in snorkelling or swimming. Being rather shallow, the north end of Lamai beach is ideal for families with younger children.
WHAT WE LOVE
Beautiful silvery sand beach
Great and affordable villas
Laidback and relaxed nightlife
Amazing natural attractions
Situated towards the north of Samui Airport on the eastern coast of Koh Samui, Lamai is the ideal base to relish in the beach retreat yet have all tourist facilities at hand.
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 Lamai, Koh Samui over land or water, the best way is to fly:
AIRPORT AND PIER TRANSFERS
It takes around 30 minutes to reach Lamai from Samui Airport depending on traffic. If you are travelling by ferry, the trip from Nathon Pier can take between 35 minutes to 50 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 several 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.
Hundreds of scooter rental shops are dotting Lamai village. Travelling on two wheels is the fastest and most convenient way to move around Lamai as you can zig-zag the traffic and park just about anywhere, however, a certain level of experience is required. 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. And, of course, make sure you wear a helmet.
Car travel in Lamai is an easy and comfortable way to move about the city and explore other areas. It is recommended, though, to select a 4×4 wheel drive car as the Samui is featured with steep hills and cliffs, which can be only reached by a power vehicle. 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.
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 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 so always double check where the vehicle is going.
There are a plethora of taxis cruising along the streets of Lamai, making it easy to get around the town. Though, it is also an expensive way to move about as there is only one taxi company that operates on Samui island with the bright red and yellow sedan-style taxis with the “Meter-Taxi” sign on top. Even though cars are equipped with meters, local drivers rarely use them, so before getting to the car make sure you agreed on a price.
There are two Ministry Approved villas in Lamai. As Lamai is not as popular as neighbouring Chaweng and some other Samui locations, villa prices tend to be lower than in other parts of Koh Samui. Lamai villas range from USD $300 per night for three-bedroom villa to USD $350 per night for a four-bedroom splendid 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.”
Lamai dining scene is as diverse and attracting as Chaweng’s, serving everything from the barbequed corn on the beach to the sophisticated fine-dining at the hotel resort restaurants. Dining wide, Lamai provides the excellent choice of the delightful cuisines from all over the world.
In Lamai, you could opt a delicious yet affordable local dishes at a typical Thai food court or sample fresh seafood barbeque at one of the beachfront restaurants, or savour the delightful Indian curries and Italian favourites.
Take your pick, where you would like to have a dinner tonight, as lavish Lamai dining scene will definitely appease all tastes.
Not as bustling as Chaweng’s nightlife, Lamai still provides an ample selection of the nightlife establishments to meet all demands. Set side by side, bars, pubs and discos are all concentrated in the city centre, making it easier for the partygoers to move from one venue to another.
The bar scene is comprised of the beer bars, gogo and girlie bars offering all kinds of imaginable entertainment. Popular nightclubs stay open until late, providing non-stop parties for those wanting to hang out.
Trend beach bars offer a more sophisticated nightlife experience offering a laidback and chill out atmosphere and serving amazing cocktails and upmarket wine labels. Impeccable service along with the classy decors cater to those, wanting to experience the nightlife in-style. Lamai bar scene caters to travellers of all ages and tastes offering a lavish choice of establishments always to keep you entertained.
Most of the shops in Lamai are concentrated along or nearby the main beach road, making it easy to walk from one to another. As Lamai is smaller than Chaweng, its shopping scene is rather compressed yet serving a fair number of the fashion boutiques, handmade items and handicrafts.
Numerous souvenir shops lining the main street offer more of less equal selection of items, so before making a purchase, ask several times the normal price. As a part of a game, local sellers always set double prices, which you can successfully decrease up to 50%.
Lamai hosts several great local boutiques, where you can find truly unique pieces of jewellery, quality handcrafted products and typical clothing. Lamai Walking Street set every Sunday provides an excellent opportunity to buy reasonably-priced gifts to bring back home.
Being the home to many Thai expats living on Samui, Lamai offers some of the most affordable and excellent fitness centres, yoga classes, massage parlours, detox retreats and other relaxation establishments to keep you relaxed and pampered.
Family-friendly water park located in Lamai is a splendid way to keep your children entertained for a while and relax on the comfy lounges, while kids are engaged in the playground.
Those preferring beach retreat are blessed with the stunning shoreline and turquoise waters appealing to laze and enjoy the holiday. Sports enthusiasts will appreciate the abundant water activities including kayak, jet ski, parasailing and many others. Lamai has something to offer to every visitor.