Lamai

Lamai is a beach on the southeast coast of Ko Samui, Thailand.

Orientation

The southern third of the beach has the widest strip of sand, is the best for swimming, and has the most nearby eating and drinking and shopping options, though it is known for strong waves and occasional rip currents and also has a view Seadoo-rental companies. On the nearer end it is packed with beach chairs and tourists occupying them, though on the far end near Hinta Hinyai (see below) it is much quieter and better swimming. The more northeasterly part of the beach, beyond the bridge into Old Lamai over the lagoon of the now-blocked-by-new-sandbar Lamai River, the water doesn't get deep enough for swimming until you're quite some distance out, and is sometimes brackish because of a small creek that occasionally is flushed out to sea. The farther north you go along the beach, the narrower and quieter the beach becomes, eventually becoming rocky towards the headland, though some very fancy resort clubs and spas are in that area.

The North Lamai area, which begins north/east from where Lamai Beach Road meets the Ring Road (where there is a MacDonald's sign as a landmark), flanks this more northerly beach and has a nice atmosphere, and a prominent landmark in the form of the Buddy Oriental Resort and its tower and modern plaza; many nice small restaurants and shops line this stretch, and is very different from the tourist-commercial core of Lamai Beach Road, or the old Thai town near the temple. A lot of Lamai is away from the tourist area on the other side of the Ring Road, and also hidden within back roads in the triangle between it and the busy touristy strip, and has nice residential areas mixed with small stores and stall-eateries worth walking or exploring by bicycle. A road leads up from that area over the low pass to Maenam on the north side of the island.

Beyond that beach, through a small commercial area on the Ring Road where a large modern IT Center building is, and just before the Ring Road heads up the mountainside towards Chaweng, is what is acclaimed as the best swimming beach on Samui. Properly known as Hed Thongthakien, it is usually referred to by the names of either of the two last resorts before the road goes up the hill: Crystal Bay or Silver Beach. Other than those two, there are four or five others on the beach or immediately adjacent to it. Also in North Lamai, a side road leads out onto the point separating Lamai Beach from Hed Thongthakien, with some cheap places to stay, some restaurants with amazing views of Lamai Bay, and two very private deluxe major resorts, one of which, the Banyen Tree, has its own private cove and beach similar to Hed Thongthakien.

There are a significant number of girlie bars along the main street as well as in some side streets. They are most prevalent in the southern part of town, while the northern part is virtually free of them. The part of Old Lamai that is at the north end of Lamai Beach Road, near the McDonald's sign, has a number of French eateries and bars, plus a few owned by Germans and Italians, and is more relaxed than the loud and often too-busy tourist core. In that same area is the Public Market, behind the gas station, which has cheap eats and a number of stores leading towards it from the beach.

Get in

Minibus transfers between Lamai and Samui Airport cost about 150 baht/person; a private taxi charter costs around 300-400 baht.

A minibus from the ferry terminal (normally) sets you back 60 baht, but most tourists are asked (and do pay) 100 baht. See the Ko Samui#By bus section about how you may try to avoid that.

See

Grandfather and grandmother stones

Hire a Jeep or motorbike and explore the surrounding area of Lamai as there are plenty of interesting attractions to see. Ko Samui's most popular tourist sites are in this locality so if you're getting bored swimming all day, try some exploring around the area instead. The south of Lamai, once you get past the Muslim Fishing village Hua Thanon, is Samui before becoming the popular tourist destination it is now. It gives you a view of lush greenery, livestock grazing in the fields, and little roadside cafes selling drinks and Thai dishes.

Between Lamai and Hua Thanon lies two famous rock formations: Hin Ta and Hin Yai also known as Grandpa and Grandma Rocks. These formations look like the male and female genitalia, respectively. What makes these rocks even more strange is that they are close to each other, giving way to a legend explaining how they came to be.

Near Hin Ta and Hin Yai is a small beach. It is not for swimming but it gives you time to cool your feet. Small souvenir shops sell clothes, postcards, drinks and snacks including the local sweet "galamae". Parking is convenient and viewing these popular formations is free. The setting has been spoiled somewhat by a children's zoo-type goat farm recently. Access to the beach in the direction of the main part of Lamai is not possible; you have to retrace your steps to the Ring Road and access it through one of the resorts along the Ring Road towards Lamai. The commercial area around there is also called Hinta Hinyai, and features a driving range and also the Lamai Post Office.

The Wat Lamai Temple has played host to temple fairs along with weddings, funerals and various religious festivals. It features concerts, fairground games, food and an outdoor cinema, but is normally very quiet, other than the sounds of children playing at the temple school. The temple fairs are week-long celebration and are worth seeing if you happen to be in Lamai during one. The strip south of the corner where the temple is has a number of good tourist souvenir shops and also French bakeries and other eateries, as well as Thai service businesses as is also the case with the strip from the temple corner back towards Tesco and the gas station and beyond.

The cultural hall within the temple contains a collection of artifacts from Samui's past. The collections range from brass and earthenware containers to a 2,000 year old metal ceremonial drum dug out of a Lamai village. Like other wats on Koh Samui, the temple has a mummified monk but fittingly doesn't make a big deal out of "him".

Wat Khunaram, which is past Hua Thanon towards Na Mueang, houses the body of one of Samui's most famous mummified monks, Loung Pordaeng. Loung Pordaeng passed away 20 years ago and, at his request, his body was placed in a glass case. His body has remained in the specially-made glass case since his death and amazingly, shows few signs of decay.

Do

Diving

There are numerous dive shops in Lamai though they all have one thing in common, there is no diving on Ko Samui and so they all travel to Ko Tao for the day.

Buy

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Connect

Internet cafes are plentiful and typically also offer international calls, fax services, and flight confirmation. The connection and speed is generally good. Expect to pay 60 baht/hr for Internet in most places.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 12, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.