Koh Samui Bars
Koh Samui is much quieter and more family/couple oriented than some of its rivals, such as Pattaya or Phuket. That said, there is no shortage of high-energy night spots in Koh Samui, ranging from up-market city-style air-conditioned chill-out bars, to English and Irish themed pubs, including a solid sprinkling of beach bars, and, at the other end of the spectrum, one-stop girly pick-up joints.
Not surprisingly, the focus for most of Koh Samui bars is in the region of Chaweng, but Lamai comes a close second. Five or six years ago that was about it as far as Koh Samui bars was concerned. But today the number of bars in Chaweng seems near to saturation, and theres been a steady spread outwards along the coast into the nearby north-coast areas of Bang Rak and Mae Nam.
As implied, the bars in Koh Samui can be effectively split into three categories – pub-style venues, beach bars and girly bars, and even the quietest of hideaways on Koh Samui will not be far from at least a pleasant bar on the beach.
This is where youll find the greatest concentration of bars on Koh Samui. There are two main strips in Chaweng where the action is: Soi Green Mango and the Reggae Pub road.
Soi Green Mango, and the adjoining Soi Solo form a 'U shape' with Chaweng Beach Road. Soi Green Mango is lined on either side with beer bars - often geared-up with games, such as a pool table, table football or darts. There are a couple of Bangkok style go-go bars (the only ones on Koh Samui!) plus a chill-out bar called Mint Bar this is air-conditioned and has visiting international DJs. The parallel Soi Solo reveals a collection of nested bars all together and all competing loudly for customers.
On the other side of Chaweng lake is the famous Reggae Pub, with the road leading to it now lined with beer bars. Many of these are owned by ex-pats and there is more than the average number of 'sports bars to be seen here, all with a full range of pub games and large flat-screen TVs for broadcast events.
Full-blown pubs on Koh Samui are less common, but youll find The Islander (near Soi Green Mango) doing a thriving day and night business, and similarly Tropical Murphys, further south, towards McDonalds.
Chaweng has now spawned a lot of huge beachside resorts which have consumed many of the smaller resorts and their laid-back beach restaurants and bars. But if you wander along the beach, youll find that a few still survive, notably the Arc Bar, which is famous for its relaxed parties and late late closing.
Lamai is less hectic than Chaweng, and a favourite spot for those die hard long stay visitors to Koh Samui. There is a concentrated patch of beer bars in the center, surrounding the Thai boxing ring, and then scattered patches of bars in pairs or threes throughout the town, including The Banana Boat, the Swiss-owned cabaret bar.
Bang Rak Bars
Koh Samui's Bang Rak region is one long beachside road, and now is littered with bars, ranging from outrageously girly, to solid English pubs like the Admiral Lord Nelson, sports bars such as The Office (Australian) and more gentile venues, many of them attached to the resorts and hotels. The bars on this part of Koh Samui offer a much more relaxed setting than Chaweng and bar-hopping here is a lot more enjoyable (and cheaper).
Bo Phut Bars
Bars in Koh Samui's Bo Phut is a must for family outings, and the strip in Fishermans Village is dotted with theme pubs, restaurants and bars - all very tasteful!
Mae Nam Bars
Mae Nam's bar scene has always been quiet and sleepy, but in the last two or three years has sprouted several definitive patches of bar night life. Youll find a strip of sports and beer bars near to the police station, and the road running down to Mae Nam pier is full of bistros, sports bars and soul cafes. Likewise, all the main streets which run from the ring road to Mae Nam beach, have acquired a sprinkling of bars, too. Mae Nam's beach on either side of the pier is a mecca for relaxed beach bars, and a 10-minute stroll will reveal some delights, such as Cafe Talay, right in the centre.
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