Rarely can we find a true paradise within a paradise nowadays. Mass tourism has hit all corners of the world and Koh Samui receives thousands of people year around looking to grab their share of tropical bliss.
Luckily, here is a secret guide to one such pearl untouched by large-scale development that still offers pristinely blue waters and white sand.
Bang Po beach with connecting Baan Tai is located in a very quiet part of Samui. These laid back beaches are often missed by the regular traveller. Those that stumble here, by accident or by design, will find low-key places to stay with wonderful views and excellent food.
And importantly – no trace of mass tourism. If you’re looking for something different, Bang Po and Baan Tai will give you exactly that.
Bang Por offers itself to you as a picturesque beach, with white sand and alluringly blue water. Prone to low tide and sand flats, there are nevertheless good stretches to swim at, especially towards the eastern end.
Very little development has left the decades old feeling of ‘sabai’, the Thai word for relaxed, lingering and intact at Bang Por. This stretch of 5 kilometres is a favourite with island expats and retirees. Hence also the few short visit tourists.
So it’s an ideal beach for those that want peace and quiet. Also, there’s few beach vendors and no jet skis that often break the serenity elsewhere. Palm trees sway lazily while beach goers mingle with local fishermen bringing in the day’s catch.
In fact, seafood is a big draw at Bang Por and there is a host of restaurants at the beach. Aficionados of Thai cuisine will find many good places to sample fresh delicacies made under the hand of an experienced Thai mama. Some recommendations to try out are Bang Po Seafood Takho and Khanom Jeen Pla Khiao. Kick back later with a beer and enjoy the sunsets at a friendly local beach bar or take a loved one for a romantic candlelit round of cocktails on a beachfront restaurant.
Bang Por is in reasonable distance from Nathon, the capital of Samui; as well as Maenam, a quaint small Thai village with lots of things to do and see around it. Chaweng though is more than 30 minutes away. But if you’re interested in Bang For, then the distance from the ferocious nightlife and crowded beach that is Chaweng, isn’t much of a problem for you. And any shopping needs you have can be filled at Nathon, where the prices are the island’s lowest.
As for pampering, Bang Por is the place to cleanse the spirit. Walking the main road connecting Bang For to Maenam and you will find spas line the street, offering treatments from massage to yoga and even whole detox programs.
The secret Bang Por keeps another secret inside itself. Bang Por’s eastern end has a rocky cape behind which hides a true jewel of Samui – a lagoon with its own beach and crystal turquoise water. This is the place to truly enjoy Samui’s stunning coastline in complete seclusion.
Swimming away from the coast, you will arrive at a perfect snorkeling spot, housing corals and small fish. Sometimes, even be turtles, barracudas and stingrays make an appearance. The sunsets are also much better at Baan Tai than in Bang Por, thanks to its fortunate angle to the west.
The beach is some 2 km in total. In easy walking distance is the Maenam village, a rustic Thai village, which in no way upsets the area’s tranquility. Besides a canoe hire and a few resorts, the place looks like it’s from a beautiful postcard.
Many of the accommodations offered here are for long term stayers that prefer Bang Por. Luxurious beach houses and old resorts converted into affordable apartments are available if you want to really take in island life for a month or two. The wise locals have set up many furniture shops along the ring road to fill the needs for those staying longer.
But regular short-term accommodation is limited to a few resorts only. If you’re set on staying at Bang Por / Baan Tai beach, a solution is to rent a short-term villa in the area. I really dig this luxury villa right at the beachfront of Bang Por. A little bit over 400$, this Thai fishing house turned luxury beach house secures you your own seashore (a whole 32 meters of it). They list mouthwatering photo-evidence on the site. Staying here, you could invite the in-house chef to prepare you authentic Thai meals while you wait for your spa service delivered on spot (booked a day in advance). During low tide, you could bask in the infinity pool and later receive the sunsets in the hammock perched between the property’s coconut trees. You may consider becoming an expat yourself before you leave.