Laem Set in Koh Samui
Koh Samui overview
Koh Samui is one of the most popular destinations in the world for a beach holiday. The combination of great year round weather (except during the rainy season from October to early December), beautiful white sand beaches along with good value accommodation and excellent facilities and amenities make Koh Samui the ideal getaway for families, couples and those looking for something more than the basics provided for backpackers.
Although backpackers were the first to ‘discover’ Koh Samui, the island is more geared towards the mid-range and high-end of the market. You can find cheap places to stay on most beaches in Koh Samui especially in Lamai and Maenam but the scene in Koh Samui is not about eking out your money. Rather it’s about eating out, enjoying trips and activities, having spa treatments and spending money to have a good time. There are remote beaches in Koh Samui, but for the real Robinson Crusoe experience it is to Koh Phangan that the traveler should head.
Laem Set Beach
About Laem Set Beach
Laem Set is a tranquil beach in the south-east of the island. There are a few hotels, resorts and restaurants in the area. Other than the bars attached to the resorts there isn’t any nightlife to speak of in Laem Set. For the crowds, shops, bars and other diversions of the night it is necessary to drive to Lamai (20 minutes) or Chaweng (40 minutes). Many people staying in Laem Set hire a motorbike or car to get around. For those with a little patience there are songthaews frequently plying the route between Laem Set and the popular beaches on the east coast.
The beach at Laem Set is a long stretch of white sand. There is a coral reef 100 meters out from the coast and so the sand on the beach is mixed with dread coral. Swimming is possible in Laem Set but the conditions change depending on the season. From October to April the tide is mostly high and the sea gets deep quite quickly. Much of the seabed has pieces of coral that make it a good idea to wear swimming shoes to avoid cutting the feet. The coral reef is 100 meters away so only good swimmers should swim out. Better for most is to hire a kayak with a friend and paddle out to the reef to snorkel and see fish.
From May to September the tide is lower. The sea gets deeper slowly but the currents are less strong. It is also possible to spot the areas near the boulders where the seabed is sandy.
Shasa Resort and Residences
Laem Set accommodation
There are few cheap bungalows in Laem Set. Most accommodations in Laem Set fall into the mid-range or luxury category. The cheapest rooms start at about 1,400 THB and the price rises to 31,000 THB in the high season for a private pool villa in the Kamalaya.
Samui Orchid Resort is a popular place to stay. It also has an aquarium, aviary and tiger show (see things to do section). It is a large resort with hotel rooms, villas and a few private pool villas. All the rooms have air-con, hot water, TV and fridge. There are 3 communal pools and 3 restaurants available. Some of the accommodation has kitchens for those want to do some self-catering.
Shasa Resort and Residences offers something a bit different. It is a boutique resort with apartment style apartments with a 24 hour butler service. All apartments have air-con, hot water, plasma TV and wi-fi. The restaurant, ‘The Z’ is for those with a refined palate and large budget.
Laem Set has become a center in Koh Samui for wellness thanks mostly to the Kamalaya. It is a luxury resort with a focus on studying and rejuvenation. On arrival guests are given a wellness consultation during which they plan their treatments. There are plenty of places to do yoga, there’s a gym with personal instructors on hand and there’s expert tuition in yoga, Pilates, tai chi, chi gong and pranayama. Thai and Ayurvedic massages are available and there’s also a far infrared ray sauna. Accommodation ranges from air-con rooms to private pool villas. The restaurant at the Kamalaya naturally caters to all dietary requirements.
Yoga at the Kamalaya
Things to do in Laem Set
Despite being a quiet beach with no nightlife, there’s plenty to do in Laem Set. As well as joining one of the many holistic and wellness programs organized by the Kamalaya there’s also Koh Samui’s biggest collection of animals, birds and fish on display at the Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo. It costs 250 Thai Baht per person and features an impressive selection of fish, birds and a tiger show. You can be photographed next to the tigers. A number of people have questioned the ethics of the tiger show – the tigers seem either doped up or preternaturally unperturbed by the crowds.
On the hill behind Laem Set beach is The Butterfly Garden. It is netted area of tropical gardens where many varieties of butterflies can be seen. The Butterfly Garden is open from 8am to 5pm and costs 120 Thai Baht a person.
For those who enjoy water sports there is snorkeling and kayaking. Also next to the Samui Orchid Resort is a kiteboarding center.
For those looking to pamper themselves, detox, rejuvenate and practice yoga Laem Set is a great option. It is also good for those who want a tranquil beach away from the noise and skin trade of Chaweng and Lamai. There are plenty for families to do in the area although the beach is not ideal for swimming. Most guests at Laem Set spend more time in the hotel swimming pool than in the sea.
More Koh Samui hubs and resources
- The Difference Between Koh Samui and Koh Phangan
A revealing insight into the difference between the two Thai islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
- Guide to Koh Samui
A guide to the beautiful Thai island of Koh Samui. This hub includes information about the beaches of Koh Samui, the nightlife, the accommodation options and things to do and see.