Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand

Lamai (Koh Samui), Thailand – Travel Guide

Located in southeast Koh Samui, Lamai is a popular neighbourhood well known for its laid-back atmosphere. The second-largest resort area on the island after Chaweng, Lamai attracts those looking for access to beautiful beaches, outdoor adventures and world-class Muay Thai training schools. 

An expat haven, the area has long been popular with backpackers due to its nightlife and budget accommodation, however, luxury tourists are also catered to here, with a few high-end resorts offering an indulgent stay. After staying in the area for a couple of weeks, I came to love Lamai. While it is undoubtedly touristy (this is Koh Samui after all!), there is plenty to do and out-the-beaten-track adventures are just a stone’s throw away!

Lamai, Koh Samui – Map & Resources

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Lamai, Koh Samui – Travel Guide 🇹🇭

Best Time to Visit Lamai, Koh Samui ☀️

Koh Samui’s rainy season takes place from October to mid-December. During this time, it gets really wet so a beach holiday is not recommended! However, visiting during the rainy season means that prices drop massively and you can snag some brilliant accommodation for a steal of a price.

Peak tourist numbers in Koh Samui are seen from the end of December to February, which scoops up the holiday season and the start of the dry season. This is when the weather is at its best, with long sunny days, ideal for soaking up the sun. Bear in mind that the island gets extremely busy around this time, not ideal if you don’t like crowds. For the fewest tourists and decent weather, May to September is the best time to visit Koh Samui. Visiting during these months means you avoid the worst of the rain and the crowds that flock to the island during prime-time vacation season. 

Rocks, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Just look at the colour of that water!

Where to Stay in Lamai, Koh Samui 🛏️

The main place to base yourself in Lamai is by the beautiful Lamai Beach. This is home to a range of accommodations catering to all budgets. The main benefit of staying in this area is that you are within easy walking distance of all the nightlife and a range of restaurants. 

The ring road leading into Lamai is home to most of the high-end resorts in the area. Several big hotel brands dot this section of the coast, each offering first-class facilities and their own stretch of beach. 

Best Accommodation in Lamai 

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Rocky’s Resort

If you’re looking for somewhere to kick back in style, Rocky’s is a great choice. Set in a secluded cove, this boutique resort oozes exclusivity and luxury. A popular option among honeymooners, Rocky’s is also a popular wedding venue so bear that in mind if you’re booking a stay. They run a complimentary shuttle for guests daily to Lamai Beach and Chaweng Beach, making it easy to explore wider Samui. 

Chill Inn Lamai Hostel

With branches all over Koh Samui, Chill Inn is the place to go for a premium hostel experience. Offering only dorms, it is a great place for solo travellers to get to know their fellow backpackers. The hostel is clean and comfortable, nestled along a beautiful strip of private beach. Paddleboards and kayaks are available at no charge for guests. 

Thai Fight Hotel

If you’re looking for more luxury from your time in Lamai, don’t miss the incredible Thai Fight Hotel. This bougie resort-style accommodation has a Muay Thai theme, ideal for anyone wanting to immerse themselves in Thailand’s famous combat sport. Offering free yoga classes, beginner Muay Thai classes and hand massage tutorials, you’ll find yourself plenty busy, even if you don’t leave! 

Thai Fight Hotel, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Thai Fight is the perfect premium place to stay in Lamai!

Bonny Hotel 

Less than five minutes on foot from Lamai Beach, the budget-friendly Bonny Hotel is a good choice for couples on extended trips seeking comfort at a low price point. Run by an incredibly friendly team, you are centrally located here but a couple of streets back, meaning you have easy access to all the best bars and restaurants while still being able to enjoy a good night’s sleep!

The Rock Samui

Touted as a hidden gem, The Rock Samui is a mid-range resort offering accommodation close to Rocky’s Beach. While the lodgings themselves offer everything you could need from a stay in Lamai, the thing that really makes this place special is the welcoming hosts, in particular, the manager Jerome. The swimming pool by the beach is a definite highlight. 

Kerton Hostel

Another option for all you shoe-stringers out there, Kerton Hostel offers stylish digs in Lamai. The dorm rooms are spacious and comfortable and there is a big common area for meeting your fellow backpackers. Staff are known for being very friendly and they can assist travellers with everything from scooter rental to onward travel. 

Things to Do in Lamai, Koh Samui 🏖️

1. Visit the Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks 🍆

A rather bizarre attraction in Lamai, the Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks are arguably one of Koh Samui’s biggest attractions. Said to resemble male and female genitalia, the locally named ‘Hin Ta and Hin Yai’ have long had visitors giggling. 

Grandfather Rock, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Can you guess which one is Grandfather Rock?!

The legend behind these rocks is rather moving and is displayed on a sign close by. The story introduces us to a couple who live with their son in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Once their son is grown, the couple decide it is time for him to begin his own family and get married. In a quest to find him a wife, they sail to the nearby province of Prachuap Khiri Khan to ask for the hand of Ta Monglai’s daughter. Sadly, during the sea journey, they became caught up in a storm and sadly died, drowning in the waves. Legend says they turned into the rocks Hin Ta and Hin Yai which stand in Lamai today. 

Today, the rocks are visited by plenty of curious visitors. They have come to represent fertility and good luck, so many of the locals head here to say prayers and ask for blessings. If you visit these intriguing stones, be culturally respectful and do not climb on them. Look after the environment and take all your rubbish back to your accommodation to dispose of it responsibly. 

2. Get Involved in Muay Thai 🥊

Thailand’s national sport has a long history and visitors flock to the country to train in the ‘Art of 8 Limbs’. The Muay Thai camps in Koh Samui are some of the best places to train across the country, boasting world-class fighters and facilities plus, a stunning location to enjoy your off days! 

Girl does kicks. Koh Samui. Punch It
Learning Muay Thai will help you get fit and dig deeper into Thai culture!

There are plenty of camps scattered across the island, however, a handful of the best are located in Lamai itself, making this a great base for those looking to up their fitness and enhance their skills.

And for all of you who don’t fancy squaring up to professional fighters, you can still get involved in this cultural spectacle. Fights take place every Saturday at Lamai Boxing Stadium, just buy a drink to secure your seat to watch the fights. 

3. Catch a Fire Show 🔥

No one will believe you went to Koh Samui if you didn’t see a fire show on the beach. While neighbouring Koh Phangan is best known for these impressive pyrotechnic displays, beachside fire shows are a quintessential Thai experience and one that should be enjoyed by all visitors, including those to Koh Samui. 

Fire show, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
A fire show in Thailand is a rite of passage!

A few places across the island host fire shows but schedules vary. The Rock Bar in Lamai hosts performances most nights in their small cove. Contact them on Facebook or drop in for the latest times. 

4. Chill on the Beach 🌊

Lamai Beach is a hugely popular spot among visitors to Lamai and it manages to avoid the hustle of Chaweng Beach. Stretching on for 4 km, these laidback sands are a great place to enjoy the sunshine or settle in with a book. The sea is generally good for swimming, making it ideal for families. 

Jellyfish Warning! 🪼

Over recent years, the islands in the Chumphon archipelago have seen more dangerous jellyfish in their waters and sadly, people have died after being stung while on holiday in Koh Samui. Jellyfish are most commonly found along Thai shores from June to October. Heed any warning signs along the beach and ask at your accommodation for the most up-to-date advice regarding jellyfish encounters. 

One of Samui’s best beaches, Silver Beach, is just a short walk from Lamai. While a handful of resorts dominate the beach, everyone has free access to this sandy strip, no matter whether they are staying at one of these hotels or elsewhere. 

If you’re done with lazing the day away on the sand, take things up a notch with some watersports. SUP and kayak rental are available from a few places and there are also banana boats, jet skis and even jetpacks!

5. Take in the Scenery of Lamai 🏞️

Lamai Viewpoint looms large over Samui’s second-largest resort area and presents a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours. Entry costs around 100THB (approx. $3USD) per person to do the 10-minute hike up the hill and finish at the café which marks the viewpoint. You can either stay awhile with a drink or snap a few photos at the viewpoint itself and head back down. 

Zipline, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
A fun but novel way to take in the sights!

If you can’t bear to tackle the ascent in the hot sun, you can also pay a little extra (around 200THB in total, approx. $6USD) to take the cable car up and down. For the more adventurous of you, there is also a zipline (around 800THB, approx. $22USD), a fun way to take in the sights of Koh Samui! 

Also located here is the Valentine Stone. The backstory of this is unknown however, legend has it (or more likely savvy local marketing) that lovers who touch the stone will be bound for all eternity. It’s not worth a trip in its own right but if you’ve paid to go to the viewpoint, you’ll pass it anyway. During the wet season, it is also possible to enjoy the Sivatara Waterfall in this area. 

6. Hike Up to Overlap Stones 1 & 2 🥾

If all these massages and beach days are making it hard to pull yourself vertical, head to the overlap stones for a more physically demanding morning. Essentially two massive stones balancing atop a hill overlooking Lamai, a hike up to these stones offers sweeping vistas of Samui’s eastern side.  

Overlap Stone 1, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Overlap Stone 1 is the most popular with tourists!

The trek up from Lamai is a little demanding but well worth the sweat you’re sure to shed on the way up. Overlap Stone 1 is the most touristy of the two and the first that you will reach. What was once quite an off-the-beaten-path attraction located in someone’s back garden has now morphed into an established tourist attraction with an official ticket office and entrance fee. Costing 200THB per person, this includes a soft drink at the small bar located at the end of the short walking trail. 

Pull up a beanbag, snap a few photos and keep an eye out for a variety of Samui’s colourful birdlife. You have the chance of spotting racket-tailed drongos, yellow-bellied bulbuls and common mynas in this area. 

Overlap Stone 2 is a much more rustic affair. Continue up the steep road and follow the signs. You’ll have the choice of a couple of routes, one longer and more flat and another more direct but quite steep. Once you arrive at the stone, you’ll find a local guy collecting money. Entrance here is much cheaper at around 20THB (less than $1USD) but the walkways are also more rustic. Despite this, the views are still amazing and worth the hike. 

Overlap Stone 2, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Overlap Stone 2 is a bit more rustic!

Overlap Stone 1 or 2?

Both of the overlap stones in Lamai offer very similar experiences. The main difference is how far you are required to walk, the cost and how rustic an experience you are hoping for. The first of the overlap stones (around 200THB per person), is much closer to the centre of Lamai and offers a more touristy experience. This is reflected in the inclusion of a soft drink in your ticket price and the cool seating area at the top. Overlap Stone 2 is much cheaper to enter (around 20THB per person) and has a way more rustic feel – you are unlikely to share the journey or the stone with many other people but it is a bit further to walk. 

7. Explore the Temples ☸️

There are a few temples in Koh Samui that are worth seeing, and a couple of great ones located in or around Lamai.  Wat Lamai, located a stone’s throw from Lamai Beach is a popular choice, not only for its impressive exterior but also the range of artefacts housed inside. 

Temple, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
What’s a visit to Thailand without a bit of temple-hopping?!

A bit of a walk from Lamai Centre but another worthy spot, especially if you are already en route to the overlap stones is Wat Ratchathammaram, located on the Samui Ring Road. Bear in mind that to enter any Thai temple, you must be appropriately dressed, with your shoulders and knees covered. We recommend bringing a sarong to help you get temple ready quickly!

8. Shape Up at a Fitness Camp 🏋️‍♀️

Those looking to better themselves seem to be drawn to Thailand. With its budget-friendly offerings, excellent accommodation options and breathtaking beaches, there is plenty to like about dedicating a month or two to your goals in Thailand. 

When it comes to beautiful places to get fit, Lamai can’t be beaten!

Koh Samui is home to a couple of fitness camps and one of these is located in Lamai itself. KohFit boasts a range of top-quality facilities, not to mention a variety of activities to get you in tip-top shape. From yoga to running and even Muay Thai, you’ll find something you enjoy here!

👉 Best Fitness Camps in Thailand

9. Explore Lamai Walking Street 🛍️

Lamai Walking Street is a popular option for those looking for cheap eats and local handicrafts. The market opens at 5 pm and offers an interesting cultural experience – you can definitely sharpen your haggling skills here. Always try and meet in the middle when you are bartering for goods as everyone should finish the deal happy. Remember, no matter how much you end up paying, things are still likely to cost less than they would at home..! 

Want More? 🤔

If you want to read more about wider Koh Samui and what there is to do there, check out our in-depth guide to the island. From elephants to waterfalls, we’ve got you covered!

Food and Drink in Lamai 🍜 

As a tourist hotspot, Lamai has plenty of high-quality places to eat, catering to both Western and local tastes. The Lamai Night Market is undoubtedly the best place to sample cheap local fare, just remember to tell the vendor how spicy you like your food or you could be in for a surprise! 

Rock Bar is a popular option close to the Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks. Made up of several raised platforms, with Thai floor furniture to boot, the restaurant is well in keeping with its reggae roots. As such, it is 4/20 friendly, making it the perfect spot to relax for the evening with a few mates. Fire shows take place in the secluded cove in the evenings, chat with the staff to see whether they are hosting performances while you are there. 

Rock Bar, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Rock Bar is a cool place to chill for the evening.

For tasty Thai dishes, Sabienglae, along Lamai Beach, is a great option. The beachfront setting is a wonderful place to enjoy an evening meal and the staff are friendly and attentive. While all the dishes are tasty, the seafood dishes are where this place excels.

If you’re into the alternative scene, Viper Bar is a good choice. Close to Lamai Beach, this small bar welcomes everyone who embraces music away from the mainstream, from metalheads to punks. 

Veggies and vegans need to do a little more research when it comes to choosing a restaurant in Koh Samui unless they continuously want to be asked “Is chicken ok?” Luckily, Pink Orchid is here to help! Located on the road which leads to Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks, they have an additional plant-based menu. Don’t miss the no-moo krob!

Thai food, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
A small sample of the delicious food on offer at Pink Orchid!

Perched along Lamai Beach, No Stress restaurant is probably the perfect beach bar. Pull up a sun lounger, grab a coconut and sip away, as you watch the waves lap the shore. The restaurant is French-owned so expect a range of European classics as well as Thai options. 

If you’re looking for a more chilled evening vibe than many of the bars down the strip offer, the Lava Lounge is the place for you. Perfect if your idea of a good night is a few drinks with friends rather than a pumping party bar!

Getting Around Lamai, Koh Samui 🏍️ 

If you are staying in central Lamai, it is easy to get to the beach and wander around the main town on foot. For journeys further afield, it is best to rent a scooter if you can ride one. If you don’t like the idea of travelling on two wheels, there is also the option to rent a car from the airport. Some resorts will run shuttle services to the nearby beaches but they are unlikely to be an option for areas further out. 

Motorbiking in Lamai, Koh Samui
Motorbike is a popular way to get around Koh Samui.

Songthaews (essentially trucks with seats in the back) act as the island’s public transport and loop the ring road ready to pick up passengers. In true Thai style, there is no dedicated timetable for these, just flag one down and ask the driver if he is going your way. When you reach the place you want to stop, hit the button and get off. This is the cheapest option for getting around the island. 

Grab is available on Koh Samui but the rides are not particularly cheap.  A lot of the drivers also double up as taxi drivers so don’t be surprised if you see a marked taxi pulling up to give you a ride! If you do hail a taxi, always prepare to barter for your ride and agree on a price before you get in.  

How to Get to Lamai, Koh Samui ⛴️

The best way to get to Lamai is by songthaew. These depart from the ferry terminal where you are likely to arrive. If you are travelling to Koh Samui by air, you won’t find songthaews inside the airport. However, if you walk to the road, you will likely be able to flag one down, provided it is not very early in the morning or very late at night. 

Taxi, Lamai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Taxi is likely the most expensive way to get to your destination!

Minibus services from the airport can be reserved in the main hall and cost around 150THB (approx. $5USD) per person. These will take you to your accommodation. Bear in mind that these buses only leave when full so take this into account if you are in a rush.

Naturally, taxis are also available, however, they are likely to be the most expensive option, along with a pre-arranged airport transfer through a company like Welcome Pickups

Where to Go Next: ✈️

Koh Phangan: Koh Samui’s hippie sister island sits less than an hour away by ferry. The island is most famous for Thailand’s iconic Full Moon Party but it offers far more than just partying. Head here for yoga, meditation, detox diets and ecstatic dance. 

Koh Tao: Meaning ‘Turtle Island’, Koh Tao is another island in the Chumphon Archipelago. A haven for divers, this island is famous for its tropical reefs and nesting turtles, hence the name! It’s also no stranger to a party! 

Khanom: A hidden gem on the east coast of Thailand, this area is best known for its pink dolphins which can sometimes be spotted on day trips around the island. As well as dolphins, there are also some quiet beaches and plenty of waterfalls.

Sheree Hooker | Editor @ South East Asia Backpacker + Winging The World

Sheree is the awkward British wanderluster behind Winging The World, a blog designed to show that even the most useless of us can travel. Follow Sheree’s adventures as she blunders around the globe, falling into squat toilets, getting into cars with machete men and running away from angry peacocks. In recent years, Sheree has also taken on the role of editor at South East Asia Backpacker.

Find her on: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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