In the last few years Mae Nam has gained the reputation of being one of the most laid back and attractive venues on Koh Samui. The original fishing village was made up of two short streets leading off the original dirt track (now the Ring Road) down to the sea. Today this part of Mae Nam is still the focus of the area, and scattered with bistros, restaurants, quality hand-made jewellery and gift shops and several of those wonderful Thai emporiuma that sells absolutely everything.
Although the bay of Mae Nam stretches for almost seven kilometres, nearly all its attractions are to be found within this 500 metre stretch around Mae Nam ‘Village’.
Mae Nam Location
There are three bays on the North Coast of Koh Samui, Mae Nam being the central one, sandwiched between Bo Phut to the east and Bang Po to the west.
Mae Nam Beach
The beach here is superb, being voted the 9th Best Beach in all of Asia by the Australian Herald Sun Newspaper in its annual round up. This is a swimmer’s beach. The sand is fine and white and there is only a narrow strip before the sea...For more information go to the Mae Nami Beach page.
Mae Nam Entertainment & Nightlife
A several years ago there wasn’t any to speak of, but today there’s just the right amount of bars and restaurants to make a two-week stay varied and interesting.
Firstly, the bars, and there’s a whole nest of sports and music bars just next to the bridge by the police station. These include the well-known My Bar (often open very late) and Nooty Bobs with their live jam sessions on a Wednesday that attracts top musicians from all over the island.
Moving to the small crossroads (by the traffic lights) that leads to the beach, you’ll discover a choice of bars, chic bistros and several restaurants, including Jordan’s Sports Bar (English), Tommy’s Bar and Restaurant (Swiss-German). Other than that you have to move a little way along the Ring Road to find The Lazy Coconut – an excellent English pub and sports bar.
Mae Nam Dining
You’ll be happy to find that there’s lots to discover here. In the centre, already mentioned are Jordans and Tommy’s with some real English pub grub in Jordans, and rostis and fondue at Tommy’s – plus he makes the best pizzas around. And at the bottom of the street near the sea there’s also an English fish ‘n chip shop.
Up on the Ring Road, near where you’ll see 7-11, there are several notable eateries. Food Stop is famous for the quality of their italian dishes, and across the road The Twins restaurant does a busy trade with their Thai and International dishes. But the best Thai restaurant for miles is one that most newcomers tend to avoid. Yes – it’s got zero ambiance, with strip lights and plastic chairs. But Gais Restaurant, on the corner of Soi 5, serves the tastiest Thai food imaginable and at very reasonable cost. This is where the ex-pats in-the-know go to eat! Heading west about 100 metres is The Lazy Coconut with a super English and Thai menu – including Sunday roasts.
The beach too has a fair scattering of restaurants and bars, mostly offering Seafood, Thai and Euro grub – the most amenable being Cafe Talay, right in the centre. But a stroll along the beach westwards will also reveal a lot of relaxed and isolated little restaurants, and it’s fun to wander and explore this area.
Mae Nam Shopping
Mae Nam is by no means a shoppers’ paradise like Chaweng. But on street to the beach there are two excellent hand-crafted silver jewellery shops, plus ‘Mr Hankey’s’ hardware shop – and you really can get anything at all there!
On the Ring Road again, and there’s two delightful gift shops near to ‘Food Stop’ where you’ll find all sorts of hand-made cards, ornaments and mementos. And also well worth a mention is Guy’s Pharmacy. Guy is a qualified pharmacist (most pharmacies don’t have one in residence) and she’ll rapidly diagnose your condition and what medication it requires. Plus her prices are one-third of the other and more modern-looking establishments.
Mae Nam Accommodation
Mea Nam is a little like Lamai in that there are still dozens of small bungalow resorts all along the beach. ‘Moon Hut’, ‘Lolita’s’, ‘Mae Nam Villas’, ‘Mummy’s’ – there are just to many to mention. These are all comfortable, clean and (mostly) modern, and with prices ranging from around 1,700- 2,000 baht a night for a modern sea-view bungalow with air-con, down to 500 baht for a wooden fan-bungalow that’s set-back by 20 or 30 metres. The Florist Resort falls somewhere between these two, being a modern and pleasant two-storey block with its own pool and just metres from the beach, and very central.
Worthy of note is Mae Nam’s one 5-Star hotel, the Santi Buri, which is located about 500 metres to the west of the village centre, on the Ring Road. But this is one area where you’ll find quite a few small ‘Pool Resorts’ – seven or eight modern villas grouped round a central swimming pool and often securely walled. All of these are to be found on the inland side of the Ring Road and all of them accessed by the side roads of Sois 1 to 5. And, being away from the beach, expect to pay somewhat lower rates because of this.
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