Consider yourself a total night owl? Or maybe you’re more about sunset cocktails and early nights? Whatever your poison is, we get that having a few places to let your hair down is almost always a priority when you’re exploring somewhere new. Thailand is no stranger to amazing nightlife, with options that’ll let you be as wild or as relaxed as you like.
While Koh Samui may not have quite the same reputation as Bangkok or Phuket, it still packs a punch with its sheer range of drinking venues which will keep you busy and thirst-quenched from dusk ‘til dawn should you wish. Many of the liveliest locations centre around bustling Chaweng Bay or the slightly more laidback Bophut Beach, but you’ll find an array of chic beach clubs and understated beer bars a little off the beaten track, too.
Want a few options to put on your itinerary? Read on for our complete bible to Koh Samui
Chilled out bars for sunset drinks
You can’t go all the way to a tropical island without watching the sunset, cocktail in hand, at least once. Here’s a few tried-and-tested Koh Samui bars perfect for just that:
This swanky bar sandwiched between Maenam and Bophut Beach was made to be featured on your
Instagram feed. That’s all down to WOOBAR ’s incredible sunken seating areas set inside an infinity pool overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. It’s part of the five-star W Koh Samui hotel, so you can expect a certain level of luxury and a huge selection of both alcoholic and booze-free drinks (definitely try their signature Mai Thai – it’s made with zesty fresh passionfruit juice). If you’re heading to WOOBAR before 6pm, watch out for the entrance fee. It’s a steep 1000 baht per person, however you can redeem this against any food or drinks you order.
If, like us, the idea of sprawling across soft cushions on the sand and being served delicious pina coladas sounds pretty heavenly, Coco Tam’s is a no brainer. While its location right on Bophut Beach makes it popular and means you’ll pay a premium for drinks (we’re talking 300 baht or £7 outside happy hour for a cocktail, it’s a laidback spot to chill out before you hit the night market at nearby Fisherman’s Village. Top tip: if you stay at Coco Tam’s until the sun dips below the horizon, a few local lads usually come out and entertain the crowd with a daring fire show.
The Jungle Club
This is one of the best Koh Samui bar restaurants and it features panoramic vistas to die for from its lofty perch above Chaweng Bay. As its name suggests, it’s surrounded by jungle (or, more specifically, a coconut plantation) and offers up unrivalled views from the squishy beanbags on its vast rooftop deck. The journey up to Jungle Club in the venue’s jeeps is a little heart racing, but you’ll be able to mellow out with a few well-made cocktails and music that’s just the right volume for conversation before you face the descent. Feeling peckish? Stay for dinner and you won’t be disappointed by Jungle Club’s blend of fresh seafood dishes, fragrant curries and tasty tapas.
Casual places for a few pints
Not too fussed about fruity drinks with higher price tags and silly mini umbrellas? Chill out with an ice-cold pint at one of the following instead:
Bees Knees Brewpub
Forgive us for being cheesy, but this friendly brewpub in Bophut really is the bee’s knees. You’ll find it a couple of streets back from Chaweng Lake and, if you’re a bit of a craft beer connoisseur, it’s the only place on island which produces its own real ale. All the beers at the Bee’s Knees have delightful bee-themed names – although don’t come expecting IPAs on the same level as award-winning brands you know and love back home. For the strongest flavour, opt for a pint of the Bitter Bee or go for the Black Bee chocolate porter.
The Beer Masons
Another solid pick for a pint or two is The Beer Masons at Chaweng Bay. They stock a huge range of bottled beers (and not just your typical Singha or Tiger), plus there’s usually a handful of craft ales on tap. The décor here is also pretty cool – think Scandi chic furnishings and handwritten blackboard menus – and there’s always a few ciders and a good range of wine up for grabs if any of your group aren’t big beer drinkers. You’ll spot a branch of The Beer Masons on tiny Koh Tao, too, if you decide to venture there before or after your Koh Samui adventure.
I-Talay Beach Bar
Okay, so this one isn’t exclusively a beer bar, but it is a favourite of backpackers after somewhere to relax with a cheap drink after a long day of beach hopping and temple touring. You’ll discover it at the more secluded Taling Ngam beach on Koh Samui’s south coast and it’s the perfect place for a more low-key evening far away from the loud music and neon lighting of Chaweng Bay. Stretch out on upcycled furnishings right on the sand and sip on cheap, ice-cold local beer. Non-beer lovers among you might rather order up a round of cocktails, which are dirt cheap during I-Talay’s happy hour from 4.30pm onwards.
Late night clubs
Koh Samui is the perfect place to let your hair down thanks to various venues which host live music, banging DJ sets and sometimes even special themed nights. If a big night out is on your agenda, consider stopping into:
You can’t talk about Koh Samui nightlife without mentioning ARK . The legendary nightclub sits right on Chaweng Beach and its epic pool parties begin as early as 2pm on most days. Turn up in your swimwear and settle down on a sun lounger to sing along to tunes spun by internationally renowned DJs and sip on lethal cocktails served up in bucket-sized cups. Revelry at ARK usually goes on until 2am, with the crowds spilling out onto the beach to dance barefoot on the sand beneath thousands of fairy lights.
The Green Mango
So, this super-club isn’t the classiest of venues, but it’s a whole lot of fun if you’re in the mood to party! What it lacks in finesse it more than makes up for with its sheer size, decent music selection and location at the end of the legendary Soi Green Mango – Chaweng’s main strip of bars and clubs. The Green Mango has also jumped on the bucket bandwagon and serves up cheap drinks in supersized containers. It’s pretty quiet on weekdays, so we recommend planning a night out here on a weekend if you can. Spray yourself with insect repellent beforehand, too, if you’re a magnet for mosquitos as the entire club is outdoors.
What about moon parties?
Like festivals, but held right on the beach under a (hopefully) clear sky, few things are more typical of Thailand’s nightlife scene than a moon party. Attending one is usually at the top of the average backpacker’s bucket list and you’ll be particularly well-placed if you’re staying on Koh Samui. While it doesn’t host any regular moon parties itself, it’s just a short hop over to Koh Phangan – the official birthplace of the legendary Full Moon Party.
Koh Phangan is 45 minutes away by ferry from Nathon Town or 30 minutes on a pricier speed boat service. Thousands flock to Hat Rin on the island’s southern tip every month to throw themselves into a wild night of dancing, drinking, frolicking and fire shows. As the party lasts ‘til morning, you don’t even necessarily need to get accommodation; simply stay out all night (if you have the stamina) and nap on the boat back to Koh Samui the next day.
Need some chill vibes to sooth your head the next day? Check out our guide to Koh Samui’s best yoga retreats.
Can’t wait to throw yourself into Koh Samui’s nightlife offering? Start planning the ultimate getaway to this incredible island by downloading the Orbzii app.