Mae Nam Beach
The sea floor slopes steadily, is free of rocks, and within 20 paces you’re up to your neck! There’s a low reef along all the North Coast, making the swimming safe and insulating it from tides or currents.
The entire Bay of Mae Nam is quite big, stretching from (literally!) Zazen Resort in the east, right over to the Pinnacle Resort on the western tip. It runs to just 6 kilometres in length, although most of the beach is pleasantly empty.
One thing that Mae Nam still has is a lot of small and privately owned bungalow resorts, although the majority of these don't have a beach presence in the sense that they don't intrude onto the sand. But you will find a lot of hidden restaurants overlooking the sand - making exploring along the beach a more rewarding activity than on most of the island's other beaches.
The exceptions to this are the two Five-Star resorts of the Santi Buri Resort (more or less in the centre of the Bay) and the Fair House Villas and Spa over on the eastern edge. There are other larger resorts, such as Pinnacle Beach Resort & Spa, but mostly the 'big guys' are very much conspicuous by their absence.
What makes this particular beach so attractive is that it has probably the best swimming on the whole of Koh Samui. It is clean, clear, and rapidly becomes deep. The whole of this coast is screened by a shallow reef that's about 30 metres out, making the sea placid and free of currents and traps. The sand is fine and powdery and the beach is fringed by palms making it the typical picture postcard location.
The centre of the beach (and of the whole area of Mae Nam) is what at one time used to be the original village. It's easily found as it now boasts Mae Nam's only traffic lights! Find the traffic lights and head towards the sea. On either side of where the pier used to be (it collapsed in 2002, overloaded by trippers heading to The Full Moon party) you'll discover some excellent small beach bungalow resorts where you can walk into a double room for 700 baht a night - although an aircon beach house will fetch a higher premium.
Right in the middle of the village there's the Chinese Temple (finished in 2006) and this is an absolute must for photos. It's spectacular!
Heading directly onto the beach from here you find Cafe Talay, with a very good menu of Thai and International food. If you head west you'll come across several isolated small beach restaurants - all of them interesting - but one of Mae Nam's undiscovered gems is 'Castaway'. And the reason it's undiscovered is that it's impossible to find, other than from the beach. But if you get there you'll discover the closest thing to an old hippie hangout with fire jugglers and an exceptional beach BBQ. And it's really cheap!
Mae Nam Beach is a bit of a gem - which might be one of the reasons that it was voted '9th best beach in Asia 2009' by the Australian Herald Sun Newspaper in their annual awards. And - believe me - the Aussies take their beaches seriously!
Real feel 36 °C
Wind 14 KPH
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