Chaweng and Chaweng Noi beaches, as seen from the viewpoint on the way to Lamai.
The beaches of Koh Samui are among the best in Thailand, or anywhere else. They are the main reasons for the island's popularity. The main beaches - and most developed - are Chaweng and Lamai on the island's east coast. At the north end of Chaweng, white sand beaches slope gently out to a narrow reef which protects the beach and makes the water very good for swimming.
Along the island's north coast is a series of more intimate beaches, Mae Nam, Bophut and Bangrak, also known as 'Big Buddha Beach'. None of these beaches is particularly good, and Bangrak in particular can be a muddy mess in the rainy season. However, Bangrak is where you'll find the tiny islet that is home to the Big Buddha temple. No prizes for guessing why its called that. While the size and location are impressive, the temple lacks the grace and beauty of most Thai temples.
Beyond Big Buddha beach, a wide cape juts out at the north-east corner of the island. It is home to what many think is the island's most charming beach, Choeng Mon. There are a few high-end bungalows and many restaurants with good reputations.