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Koh Samui - Thailand

Lamai Beach, Koh Samui Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui

Koh Samui is the Thailand of the holiday brochures – a lush tropical paradise with long sandy beaches beneath shady coconut palms and warm turquoise waters.  Much of the island has been heavily developed and now caters to international holidaymakers rather than the backpacker crowd of old.  However the island's charms remain the same – endless sunshine and gorgeous views.

Chaweng Beach has the best beach on the island and is therefore the busiest resort too.  The long curving strip of beach is made of really fine sand, but a little crowded at high tide with sun loungers from all the hotels and bars.  The water here is clear with a couple of islands offshore to add variety to the view.  It's also a great place for watersports.  The resort centre has seen better days however and feels a little seedy in places despite the more upmarket hotels along the beach.

Lamai Beach is further south and while the beach doesn't have the same quality of sand as Chaweng it still has some fantastic views.  There's more beach here too and less of it taken by hotels – much of the accommodation to either end is basic beach bungalows.  The town is again nothing special with a mix of expat bars and restaurants but peaceful away from the main strip.

Further around the island are more peaceful resorts at Bangrak and Maenam. Although they lack the facilities of the main centres and the beaches aren't so special, they are perfect for hanging out in a hammock and relaxing the days away.

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