A guide to nightlife in Koh Samui

photo by lindz graham on Flickr

It’s hard to believe that only four decades ago Koh Samui was a barely known destination where even backpackers were scant. Today, Thailand’s second largest island has become the kind of place that is equally sought after by rough traveling backpackers and wealthy luxury travelers. The appeal of Samui lies in its beaches – many of them have gone a long way since they were discovered in the 70’s, but some some still retain the simplicity and peace than made them famous in the first place. Samui is still known as a hippie paradise, but parts of the island have become just as trendy as Phuket. With so many travelers coming to stay, Koh Samui has developed and exciting club scene and countless bars and cafes where you can hang out in the evening. If you find yourself on Samui looking for a place for an evening outing, check out this guide to nightlife in Koh Samui.

Beer Bars

One of the most widespread nightlife venues in Koh Samui are beer bars, scattered along most beaches. Despite their great numbers, beer bars are not for everyone. The draw of the bar are not the drinks or the music, but the pretty hostesses who will entertain you for the night. However, some beer bars have a quieter atmosphere and they are good places to hang out with friends and talk, especially since the staff are usually very welcoming and helpful.

Cabaret Shows

photo by Eli Duke

Cabaret shows are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they are really fun and one of the iconic nightlife experiences in Thailand. The performers are usually ladyboys, Thailand’s famous katoey or the third sex, who lip sync and dance on popular songs. The shows are glitzy, entertaining and very lively, and the performances are skillfully choreographed. Some of the best cabaret shows in Koh Samui can be found on Chaweng Beach.

Big Buddha Beach Nightlife

Although Big Buddha is one of the quieter beaches on Koh Samui, it has a a nightlife of its own with many unique events and festivals. This is where you can find more family-friendly nightlife venues, without the string of go-go bars that you find on Koh Samui’s other beaches, and lots of quiet and unassuming bars where you can have a few beers with friends Heart & Soul has great jazz and lounge music, while Sunset Bar, true to its name, has some amazing views of the sunset.

Chaweng Beach Nightlife

photo by jetalone

If you want to be right at the epicenter of Koh Samui’s nightlife, then Chaweng Beach is the place for you. The beach is surrounded by narrow streets leading into clusters of bars, clubs and pubs of all kinds. Soi Green Mango is the street with the most popular bars and the biggest bustle, followed closely by Soi Reggae. Bars are supposed by close at 2 AM, but there are a few exceptions to the rule as well.

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