Plai Laem

Plai Laem - Koh Samui - Thailand

Plai Laem - Koh Samui - Thailand

The Plai Laem area is located between Big Buddha and Choeng Mon and encompasses most of northeast peninsular of Koh Samui. 
The soft golden sands on this more or less west facing palm-fringed beach stretch for 2 km, however the sea is quite shallow and swimming is restricted as at the most it is only 2 metres deep. Our Plai Laem villas are a convenient place to holiday, being within 10 minutes from the popular beaches of Bophut and Chaweng.

Map of villas in Plai Laem

The Plai Laem area is located between the areas of Big Buddha and Choeng Mon and encompasses most of the northeast peninsular of Koh Samui. 
The soft golden sands on this more or less west facing palm-fringed beach stretch for 2 km, however the sea is quite shallow and swimming is restricted as at the most it is only 2 metres deep.

The view from Plai Laem beach is stunning and is one of the best places to see Koh Samui's amazing sunsets as the sun disappears beyond the sloping hills and north coastline of the island. The area is increasingly being developed with new villas and some beach bars popping up but it is often missed with tourists oblivious to its existence as they travel between Big Buddha and Choeng Mon. Nevertheless it is still in close proximity and has easy access to the livelier town of Chaweng and the bustling villages of Bang Rak and Bophut's Fisherman's Village.

The tiny island of Koh Som (translated Orange Island) and it's smaller neighbour Koh Lum Mu Noi (collectively known as Koh Som) opposite Plai Laem beach, is an untouched tropical hideaway with just a few bamboo huts and a restaurant opening occasionally for day visitors or overnight guests. The island is popular with kayaking right up to the beach and picnics on the pristine west facing beach looking back on Koh Samui. You can swim in the beautiful clear waters and snorkel, boats will take you across from the small Plai Laem Pier.

There is now a makeshift pier at Koh Som for visiting yachts, you can de-board with ease to explore the 1sq km island which remains a nature reserve and home to many tropical birds. Whilst white sands feature on one side of the island, the north coast is rocky and although it looks easy enough to swim across from Plai Laem, you should be aware of the dangers of the strong undercurrents in these waters.

There is a small marina at the Big Buddha end of the Plai Laem main beach, created mainly for the fishermen's long boats and some tour company pleasure boats.

Continuing along the coast from the marina a luxury villa resort as well as private beachfront villas are located offering guests a peaceful experience with stunning views. The east end of the beach curves round to a headland that is dominated by the Six Senses Samui hotel and Spa, one of the original 5 star hotels on Koh Samui. It has a fine dining restaurant taking it's name (On the Rocks) from the rocky headland.
You can experience some of the best sunsets here, land prices are some of the most expensive on Koh Samui.

Rounding the headland is the north east facing Samrong Bay, nestled between two headlands and shared by Six Senses and a mid range hotel as well as a small villa resort.

The Plai Laem headland has seen major development in the form of apartments and luxury villas all enjoying the superb ocean views well above the beach.

Inland, the upper road leading from Big Buddha to Choeng Mon is dotted with various Thai residences in amongst the palms and some mid-range apartment buildings. The local temple Wat Plai Laem is now one of the top tourist spots on Koh Samui and is also located on this road.


Plai Laem Beach
is accessed from various tracks from the main road and has golden sand and shallow waters fringed with overhanging trees. The beach area at this point in time is largely undeveloped, with a few bungalow resorts mingled in with a handful of luxury private villas. The beach is narrow most of the year and not ideal for swimming. However, if you are looking for a peaceful spot to relax and read a book away from noise and vendors on an unspoilt tropical beach, then this the perfect beach.

Samrong Bay
Also known as Secret Beach, this beach has 250m of sand framed between 2 headlands and is accessed through the 3 resorts that share the beach - all of which have a security gate. For those not staying in the Idyllic Beach resort where we have several villas to rent, the best access to the beach would be through the Ayara Buri Resort where lunch at the beachfront restaurant and a game of mini golf are also an option.

Both the above beaches are within 10 minutes reach of popular Bophut and Chaweng, where there is a good choice of dining, shopping and entertainment.

Spa and Wellbeing.

Due to little resort development in Plai Laem, there are very few Spas in the area.

Six Senses Spa
This is a world renowned Spa where service levels are very high and they offer treatments both indoor and outdoor in salas overlooking the ocean and neighbouring islands.(

Plai Laem Beaches

Plai Laem Beach

North East - A peaceful palm fringed beach easily missed on a tour around Koh Samui. There is a very low tide so it is not swimmable for most of the year but has soft white sands and a stunning view over to Koh Phangan and great sunsets.

Samrong Bay

North East - On the east side of the north east peninsular of Koh Samui this small bay is shared by 2 hotels and a villa resort. The only access is through the resorts where there are security gates however all beaches on Koh Samui are public.

There are a range of things to do in Plai Laem. Visitors looking for culture will enjoy visiting the Wat Plai Laem temples. Families will enjoy exploring the beach and other activities like mini golf. The Plai Laem pier is a good start point for alluring day trips.

Wat Plai Laem
This is the main attraction in Plai Laem and well worth seeing, offering the visitor an insight into Chinese-Thai history with art, murals and architecture depicting this period throughout. There are two temples and two impressive 40ft statues, including one with 18 arms. It is an active working temple and the best time would be to visit early morning when the serenity of Buddhism is apparent, dress respectfully.

A minigolf course in the Ayara Buri Resort at Samrong Bay offers good value and fun for all the family.

Boat Trips
The Plai Laem Pier at the Big Buddha end of the beach is now well signposted. Sightseeing, snorkelling and sunset cruises as well as fishing trips can be arranged from here or through your local tour shop.

Watersports and Sea Tours

Water ski

The busier beaches of Chaweng and Lamai will have speed boats offering the traditional water ski trips and lessons and some will also offer wakeboarding, paragliding and banana boat rides.

Windsurf and Paddleboard

Windsurfing and Paddleboard rental is available on Lamai beach as well as lessons for both kiddies and adults. Maenam beach also a windsurfing facility as well as other sail boats.


Kayaks can be hired on most of the beaches around Koh Samui either through hotels or concessions for paddling around locally.

Diving and Snorkelling

Koh Samui does not have much in the way of coral and therefore very little marine life. Many dive companies operate diving and snorkeling trips to other dive sites as well as PADI dive courses.

Deep Sea Fishing Trips

The waters surrounding Koh Samui are teaming with fish and there are many day or night-time game fishing tours available, catering for beginners and experts with all equipment provided.

Sight Seeing Boat Trips

One of the most popular is to the stunning islands of the Angthong National Marine Park Optional snorkelling and kayaking is usually available with equipment provided and lunch. A private speedboat trip around Koh Samui's coast exploring secret beaches is another option.


Kiteboarding is availabel on Koh Samui at two locations at different times of the year on the south and west coasts when the water is shallow and has ideal conditons


An adventrure playground for  great day out for the family with fun for kids of all ages and the adults! Swimming pools, waterslides, boating, bungee trapeezing, mini go karts, mini golf course, tree to tree rope bridge course (2 levels), inflatable bouncey castle.

Sailing Charters

A great way to see the coastline of Koh Samui for a few hours or have an overnight stay visiting other islands is to charter a sailing boat. Different size boats all for a romantic sunset cruise for two or to have fun with a large group of family or friends.

Other Activities

Namuang Safari Park

Tours include 20min ATV Quad bikes fun , elephant trekking and show and a cable ride which includes one ride for 6 - 11yearolds.

Go Karts

There are three Go Kart tracks now on Koh Samui and provides a fun time for all the family. There are both single and double karts should you wish to drive wth younger kids.

Football Golf

Get family and friends playing, laughing and enjoying this fun game of kicking the football into 18 holes on a tropical course with a cold drink provided.

Muay Thai Boxing

The national sport of Thailand with venues to spectate or partake in professional Muay Thai are found in Chaweng and Lamai.


There is a PGA International championship 18 hole par 72 golf course and two 9 hole courses all with stunning views. There are also two driving ranges.

Temple Visits

There are many temples in and around Koh Samui representing the history and the different cultures of the Thai residents all well worth a visit some of which have amazing views.


There is ample souvenir and fashion shopping in the popular coastal towns with Koh Samui’s biggest shopping "mall" Central Festival located right in the centre of Chaweng. There are also the "Walking Street" markets in different places every night of the week

Walking Street Markets

There is a "walking Street" market in one of the towns and villages on everyday of the week - the most popular being the "Od Fisheman's Village" at Bophut which takes place on a Friday night from around 4pm until 10 - 11pm.

4 W/D Jeep Jungle Tour and Waterfall

Enjoy an exhilarating trip on the back of a jeep through Koh Samui's jungle and across rivers reaching the highest point on the island experiencing amazing view.

Cinema and Ten Pin Bowling

There is just one cinema at the present time located at the Tesco Lotus Supermarket and shopping mall alongside a small bowling alley. Another bowling alley is located in the centre of Chaweng.

Thai Cookery School

SITCA is the original Thai cookery school on Koh Samui based in Chaweng and has both morning and afternoon sessions to learn all about the ingredients and preparation. The manager of your luxury Koh Samui villa will be able to assist with recommending other cookery schools nearby.


Eating out in Plai Laem

Plai Laem has some excellent dining options, whether you want fine dining, beachside romance or authentic Thai.

Dining on the Rocks
For fine dining located at the Six Senses Hotel and Spa on the tip of the headland, offers amazing views whilst you dine. 

Araya Buri Resort
Further down the east coast on Samrong Bay, the Araya Buri resort offers beachside dining serving both Thai and International cuisine.

Tango Luxe Beach Villas
Beachside dining next to the small marina with west facing views over Big Buddha temple.

In-Villa Dining on the beach
Enjoy an intimate candlelit dinner on this wonderfully quiet beach, with the sand between your toes and just the sound of the waves in front of your luxury beachfront villa.


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