Ideas for the February half-term holidays

It’s not too late to book a half-term family holiday, whether you want to chill on the beach in Thailand, go skiing in the French Alps or rent a villa near Disney World in Orlando. 

If you need a little inspiration before you book, here’s a rundown of ideas for the February half-term holidays…

Koh Samui, Thailand

What’s the weather like in Koh Samui in February?

If you’re heading to Koh Samui in February you’re guaranteed lots of sunshine and hardly any rain. In fact, Koh Samui sees less rainfall in February than in any other month of the year. Daily temperatures can reach up to 86F.

Flight times from London to Koh Samui

You can fly from London to Koh Samui (via Bangkok) in around 13 hours.

Thailand is a good place to visit for February half term

Things to do

Think white sandy beaches, boutique spas and idyllic islands. You can sample traditional Thai cuisine and see the world from a new perspective on an elephant trek. Little ones will love the Coco Splash Water Park, as well as zip-lining over Samui’s rich rainforest. Other kid-friendly attractions include football golf, where you steer a football around a golf course – using your feet, of course – as well as go-karting, kayaking, crazy golf, kids’ playgrounds and beaches galore.

Where to stay in Koh Samui in February

This luxury Koh Samui vacation home is still available for the February half-term holidays.

Koh Samui villa

Offering 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a private swimming pool, this pretty villa is located in the Bangrak area, close to the beach, and within easy reach of the popular Fisherman’s Village area.

See all Koh Samui villas

 

Orlando

What’s the weather like in Orlando in February?

The weather in Orlando during February half-term holiday is perfect for little ones. Daytime temperatures begin to creep upwards as spring arrives, and you can expect it to reach a comfortable 73F during the day – warm enough to enjoy Orlando’s water parks. It’s also a good time to visit the theme parks as they aren’t as crowded as in the peak summer months (see our handy crowd calendar for more information). February is a great time for golf too, as you won’t have to endure the stifling heat experienced later in the year.

Flight times from London to Orlando

The average flight time from London to Orlando is around 9 hours.

Places to visit for February half term

Things to do in Orlando during February half term

There’s so much to do in Orlando you’ll find it tricky deciding where to start!

If you’re visiting Orlando for the February half-term holiday, you’ll be in time for the Mardi Gras festival at Universal Studios and the Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Disney World. Kids will love the never-ending theme parks, as well as other highlights like Aquatica and Gatorland. There’s also an array of fantastic shopping and entertainment districts too, like i-Drive 360, Universal Citywalk and Disney Springs.

If you need any more inspiration, there are themed dinners, wacky museums, indoor play zones and animal parks. There’s indoor skydiving too, so your little ones can actually fly – we’re not kidding.

If you stay in one of our luxury villas in Orlando, you’ll have some of Florida’s best golf courses on your doorstep, plus fantastic resort amenities like water parks, swimming pools, restaurants, sports facilities and kiddie play zones.

Where to stay in Orlando during February half term

This expansive Orlando villa is available at discounted rates for February half-term.

reunion resort vacation homes

It offers 7 bedrooms, a cinema, a game room and a large private swimming pool – there’s also a Harry Potter-themed bedroom that little ones will love. The beautiful home is located in the exclusive Reunion Resort community, just 5.5 miles from Disney World.

See all Orlando villas

 

Chamonix, France

What’s the weather like in Chamonix in February?

If you’re heading to Chamonix in February, you can expect lots of snow and some seriously good conditions for skiing and snowboarding.

Flight times from London

You can fly from London to Geneva, Switzerland in 1 hour, 30 minutes. From Geneva, you can drive to Chamonix in around an hour.

Holiday ideas for February half-term

Things to do

Chamonix is one of the highest and most famous ski resorts in France. It’s also home to Mont Blanc, the highest mountain range in Europe. It boasts stunning surroundings and a whole host of family-friendly attractions that make it perfect for the February half-term holidays.

The half-term week is pretty busy on the slopes, but you shouldn’t let that put you off. You can avoid the waiting times by pre-ordering your lift passes. You can also book skiing lessons so you won’t have to queue for the lifts. Dining in-chalet is a great way to avoid the busy restaurants, or you could even take a packed lunch out onto the slopes.

It’s not all about just skiing either. Chamonix is a great place for non-ski activities like husky dog rides, hiking and snowshoeing. You can chill out at a spa, or visit the surrounding towns with their great shops and buzzing après ski.

Where to stay

This luxury chalet in Chamonix offers breathtaking views of the Chamonix Valley and the Mont Blanc mountain range.

Chamonix villas

There are 6 bedrooms, as well as first-class facilities including a movie theater, a game room, a sauna, a gym and a hot tub.

See this villa

 

Turks and Caicos

What’s the weather like in February?

Like much of the Caribbean, the Turks and Caicos islands have become a year-round holiday destination. The high season runs from around mid-December to mid-April, so if you visit for the February half-term holiday, you’re guaranteed great weather. Average daytime temperatures will be around 80-84F, with a constant trade wind that keeps the climate feeling comfortable.

Flight times from London to Turks and Caicos

Around 10 hours.

February half-term holidays in Turks and Caicos

Things to do in Turks and Caicos in February

There’s the main tourist centre of Providenciales, as well as the quieter islands of Middle and North Caicos, and the historic capital island of Grand Turk. Each area offers its own unique character and charm, but all offer plenty of things to do.

Providenciales, or Provo as it is known locally, is the best known of the islands with a wide range of hotels, restaurants and attractions. In Grand Turk you’ll get a glimpse into Caribbean history, with the area’s Bermudian architecture and traditional laid-back vibe. You’ll find some of the best diving there, too.

Middle and North Caicos are great if you’re looking to find the best of the local environment. There are secluded bays to explore, as well as lush green woodlands and the biggest cave network in the Caribbean.

South Caicos is the centre for fishing, with lobster and conch exported from the islands. You’ll find the historic Cockburn Harbour here too, as well as secluded beaches with gorgeous views over the turquoise sea.

Most of the islands are only around 10–25 minutes by air from Provo, and most of them can be reached by boat.

Where to stay in Turks and Caicos

This elegant oceanfront villa in Providenciales is ideal for a family holiday in Turks and Caicos.

Turks and Caicos villas

There are 3 en-suite bedrooms, as well as spacious indoor/outdoor living areas and a large infinity pool. The property is conveniently located close to Leeward Marina, and just a short drive from the famous Grace Bay Beach area.

See all Turks and Caicos villas

 

Miami

What’s the weather like in February?

Hailed as a place where the sun shines all year round, Miami is a top choice for the February half-term holidays. Similar to Orlando, temperatures in Miami are starting to heat up for the spring, so you can expect daily temperatures of around 76F.

Flight time from London

Flights from London to Miami International take around 9 hours.

half-term holidays in Miami

Things to do

If you’re visiting Miami for February half term, there are endless kid-friendly things to experience. There are sunny palm-fringed beaches where little ones can splash around and build sandcastles. There’s also the colourful art deco architecture, which is sure to wow visitors of all ages.

For day trips head to South Beach, a great place for swimming and water sports, as well as roller skating along the famous boardwalk. Or head to Miami Zoo, the only zoo in the US located in a subtropical climate. Another great place is Jungle Island, where you can spot exotic birds and a variety of wild animals.

It’s not just the kids that will love Miami, either. For golfers, it’s paradise. The city is also home to world-class spas, great shops and an excellent range of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Where to stay in Miami

Set in a peaceful gated community in Palm Beach, this huge 5-bedroom villa is the perfect place for a family getaway.

Miami for February half-term holiday

Fringed by immaculately manicured gardens and right by the waterfront, it features a swimming pool and a hot tub, plus a movie theater and a private boat dock.

See all Miami villas

 

If you’re booking a trip for the February half-term holidays, you can call the Top Villas travel team for any help or advice you need. Additionally, the concierge service can arrange any added holiday extras such as great value car hire and attraction tickets.

 

 

Spending Chinese New Year in Koh Samui

Planning a trip to Koh Samui during Chinese New Year? Here’s a guide to what’s on and when. Whether you want to party on the beach or join a dragon procession around Samui’s most fascinating shrine, this round-up of things to do is sure to keep you occupied.

Spending Chinese New Year in Koh Samui, Thailand

Chinese New Year offers plenty of fun

While Chinese New Year isn’t a public holiday in Thailand, it is very much in evidence in the lively parades and parties across the country. Many of Koh Samui’s residents have Chinese heritage, so celebrations are a genuine cultural event on the island, with plenty of fun guaranteed. Thanks to the great weather and the colourful celebrations, it’s one of the best times to visit Koh Samui.

When is Chinese New Year in Koh Samui?

The exact date varies from year to year because it depends on the Chinese lunar calendar and the night of the full moon.

In 2017, Chinese New Year in Koh Samui is set to start at the end of January, a time when tourist numbers are already high. Not only are there endless festivities to enjoy, there is also guaranteed good weather, with lots of sunshine and barely any rainfall.

Celebrations will kick off on January 28th 2017, with a long weekend of street processions, parades and parties around Koh Samui’s temples, beaches and main towns.

Chinese New Year in Koh Samui

A Chinese New Year parade

What exactly is Chinese New Year?

You may have heard of Chinese New Year but you may still be wondering what it’s all about.

Also known as ‘Spring Festival’, it’s the most important of all the holidays for Chinese people. Not only does it mark the start of the new year, it’s also a time to celebrate family, friends and Chinese traditions, with parties, special meals and gift giving.

It all started centuries ago with a legend about an evil dragon called Nian.

According to folklore, the creature would visit Chinese villages once a year, destroying the local harvests and terrorising the villagers and livestock. One year, the villagers hid from Nian, while a brave old man sought to scare him off by hanging up red decorations and firecrackers. The villagers waited in hiding, and when they returned to the town they found that, to their amazement, nothing had been destroyed. Nian had fled, frightened off by the colour red and the loud noise of the firecrackers exploding.

This is why the colour red is found everywhere during Chinese New Year – it’s regarded as the colour of hope, good fortune, and a deterrent for evil.

During Chinese New Year in Koh Samui, you’ll see red decorations hung in abundance across the island. Shops and markets sell red items of clothing to wear, and some houses may even be painted red!

Koh Samui Chinese New Year markets

Expect to find lots of red items for sale during Chinese New Year

Where are the best Chinese New Year events in Koh Samui?

Maenam

One of the main focal points for Chinese New Year in Koh Samui is the Chinese Temple in Maenam. This is one of the most family friendly events, packed with tourists, locals, street vendors and even people’s pets.

Close to Maenam pier, this colourful temple is the site of the most spectacular street procession on the island, with a dragon parade, a lion dance, acrobats on stilts, music, dancing and fireworks. There are evening performances from around 6pm each night of the festival.

Look out for the the lion dance which is particularly fun to watch, performed by dancers inside an elaborate lion costume, rather like a pantomime horse. The performers become the body of the lion, with one dancer at the head and one at the back, imitating the animal’s movements, to the tune of beating drums, clashing cymbals and resounding gongs.

There is a wide choice of local Thai and Chinese food available at the endless street stalls, as well as both soft and alcoholic drinks, including plenty of cocktails. You should expect to see red lanterns everywhere, as well as red items and tangerines (symbols of wealth and happiness) being sold at market stalls.

The Chinese Temple in Maenam

The Chinese Temple in Maenam

Nathon

Nathon, Samui’s capital city, tends to have less of a tourist presence than Maenam, so you can expect a smaller-scale but perhaps more authentic Chinese/Thai party taking place around the Hainan Chinese Temple.

There are the usual dragon and lion dances, but the Nathon celebrations are more adult-orientated, with some local participants performing cheek piercing and tongue slashing ceremonies that are not for the faint hearted.

Many of the homes and shops in Nathon leave special ‘altars’ loaded with food and lucky charms outside, ready for the passing procession. You’ll find everything on these from oranges and other fruits to firecrackers, meat and even pigs’ heads.

A Chinese New Year party in Koh Samui, Thailand

A Chinese New Year Dragon procession

Hua Thanon

Just like in Nathon, you can expect some serious revelry near the massive Guan Yu shrine in Hua Thanon.

Known as Koh Samui’s ‘scariest’ shrine, this towering temple is themed around the red-faced Guan Yu warrior, and is the main focal point for the Chinese community in Samui.

The New Year parade at Guan Yu includes lion dances, dragon parades, dancing, acrobats, firecrackers and fireworks. There’s also a procession of various Chinese mythological creatures that ‘bless’ residents and tourists with good luck for the year ahead.

You can also learn more about the story of the famous Guan Yu Chinese general while you are at the temple. Thought to have lived some 1,800 years ago, Guan Yu played a crucial role in the civil war that led to the beginning of the Three Kingdoms period. His heroics are sensationalised in some of the greatest works of ancient Chinese literature, and he now represents loyalty, bravery and honesty among Chinese people.

It’s hard to miss the soaring Guan Yu shrine, located off the inland side of the ring road in Hua Thanon village. Look for a red gate on the right if you miss the looming red head on the approach.

Chinese New Year fireworks in Koh Samui

Expect plenty of fireworks during Chinese New Year

Know before you go

  • Be prepared to party as the festivities tend to go on all through the day and night. The bigger the Chinese community in the area, the longer the party will go on.
  • Koh Samui tends to be very last minute in its planning, so keep your eyes open or ask the locals for exact timings and party announcements.
  • Most events for Chinese New Year in Koh Samui are free or low cost.
  • There are celebrations of all sizes going on across the main towns and beaches in Koh Samui.
  • Although it is not an official public holiday in Koh Samui, some Chinese-owned businesses will be closed for a day or two to mark the occasion.
  • Dress appropriately for Thai temples. The main rule is to cover your shoulders and knees (both sexes).
  • Although you won’t be disturbed by noise in the privacy of our Koh Samui villas, you may like to pack ear plugs for children to use when they are out and about around fireworks.
  • The most important thing to bring is your patience and a positive attitude – just go with the flow and have fun with locals and visitors alike.

Where to stay for Chinese New Year in Koh Samui

Top Villas offers an impressive selection of Koh Samui villas, with plenty of homes still available for Chinese New Year. So whether you’re travelling as a couple or in a larger group, take a look at these Koh Samui vacation homes.

Choeng Mon 1252

1 Bedroom ◊ Sleeps 2
Koh Samui vacation home

This Koh Samui vacation home is ideal for couples.

This delightful 1-bedroom villa is located in an exclusive adults-only community in the pretty area of Choeng Mon.

Prices during late January 2017 are around $229 per night.

Maenam 2106

2 Bedrooms ◊ Sleeps 4
Koh Samui villa with pool

A 2-bedroom private pool villa located in Maenam, Koh Samui.

With a great location near Maenam Chinese Temple, this luxury villa is an ideal place to stay for Chinese New Year in Koh Samui.

Around $286 per night.

Plai Laem 4031

4 Bedrooms ◊ Sleeps 8
Koh Samui villas

You can celebrate at home in this glorious Koh Samui villa

You can head out and about, or celebrate in the comfort of home in this luxury waterfront property, with the services of an in-villa chef included.

Around $1,270 per night.

If you are spending Chinese New Year in Koh Samui, you can check out even more Koh Samui vacation homes here. The Top Villas concierge service can arrange great value car hire, plus any extra information you need about spending Chinese New Year in Koh Samui.

 

The best spas in Koh Samui

Famed as one of Thailand’s ultimate destinations for relaxing and unwinding, Koh Samui has an abundance of top-notch spas and health resorts.

As you’ll be so spoilt for choice, we’ve compiled a list of the island’s top seven spas to ease you into your holiday.

These places offer everything from traditional Thai massages to body scrubs, facials and reflexology treatments. Other options to enhance your wellbeing include yoga and meditation sessions, as well as alternative therapies like Reiki. Sit back, relax and delve into our favourite spas on the island.

Spas in Koh Samui

Magnolia Spa

Chaweng

A soothing approach to beauty and wellbeing

This unique combination of day spa, café and studio puts the focus on ancient Thai and Indonesian rituals to heal the mind, body and spirit. With treatments aiming to purify, invigorate and energise, you’ll be sure to leave here feeling refreshed.

It is the only spa on Koh Samui to use Dead Sea products and it offers a wide variety of treatments including traditional Thai massages, body scrubs, soothing skin treatments, facials, manicures and pedicures.

The studio meanwhile hosts yoga, pilates and meditation classes. It’s fully air conditioned and has a good sound system, plus en-suite showers, yoga mats and complimentary water.

The on-site cafe’s menu is packed full of delicious Thai and Mediterranean dishes but if you’re looking for a sweet treat, look no further; the Magnolia Café is renowned for its cheesecake! A movie night is hosted here once a week, providing a great place to meet locals and tourists alike.

magnoliakohsamui.com

 

Samui Ridgeway Private Estate and Spa

Taling Ngam

Your own tropical paradise with a private on-site spa

Samui Ridgeway offers panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand. It’s an exclusive hilltop estate which overlooks coconut plantations – and it allows you to stay in a private villa and make use of first-class wellbeing facilities.

The estate features a full spa with a gym, a sauna, a steam room, a five-person Jacuzzi and a huge infinity pool. In addition to an on-site chef, you’ll have access to a bartender and spa therapists.

Koh Samui spa guide

A range of exclusive treatments are available, while visiting practitioners include a nutritionist and a chiropractor. Here you can also experience raw food classes, yoga and stress management classes, as well as detox treatments and meditation sessions.

Enjoy all the perks of a luxurious five-star hotel in the comfort of your own private villa, whilst being just five minutes’ drive from superb beaches and excellent restaurants.

Find out more

 

The best spas in Koh Samui offer a range of different massages

Ban Sabai Big Buddha Retreat and Spa

Bangrak

Rest and rejuvenation in a tropical Garden of Eden

Located on Big Buddha Beach and nestled behind carved wooden gates, Ban Sabai is a little slice of tropical paradise just metres away from the Gulf of Thailand.

Inspired by ancient Thai rituals and ingredients, the spa offers private herbal aromatherapy steam rooms.

You’ll be spoilt for choice with a range of relaxing rituals including classic Thai massages, hot stone treatments and Shirodhara, an Ayurvedic therapy that sees warm liquids like coconut oil being poured over the forehead. If you have more time to spare, why not relax and recharge your batteries with a detoxifying body wrap, scrub or facial?

bansabairesorts.com

 

Tamarind Springs

Between Lamai and Chaweng

Experience peaceful serenity at this tropical hilltop escape

Located between the resort towns of Lamai and Chaweng, Tamarind Springs is the first day spa of its kind on Koh Samui, and it’s perfect for those seeking absolute relaxation and tranquility.

Set on a tropical hillside grove on the edge of a forest that’s filled with giant granite boulders and natural water features, it offers a herbal steam cave, a collection of natural rock pools, private massage pavilions, a yoga sala, and a café.

Based around the belief that humans are intrinsically linked to nature, the spa puts environmental conservation and sustainability front and centre. The aim here is to preserve and protect the environment whilst allowing visitors a natural yet luxurious experience.

The unique treatments here are inspired by ancient Middle Eastern traditions and philosophies. You’ll find healing massages a plenty, plus acupressure, ‘the Ingham Method’ (a European reflexology technique), and lymphatic drainage procedures.

Be sure to check out their signature treatment, the “Twice as Nice Prakop”. Aromatic and nurturing, this healing Thai massage sees wrapped, steaming herbs applied along the energy lines of the body in order to relieve aches and energise muscles.

tamarindsprings.com

 

A spa in Koh Samui

The Spa Resorts

Lamai

Laid back, beachfront wellbeing spa

The award-winning Spa Resort’s aim is to promote a lifestyle which encompasses health, wellbeing and mindful living.

Dip into the comprehensive list of treatments, which includes traditional Thai massages, reflexology and aloe vera body wraps.

If you’re in the mood for some serious indulgence, why not opt for ‘The Works’, a three-hour spa package which focuses on treating every area of the body? Alternative therapies such as Reiki are also available.

The onsite Radiance Restaurant offers vegetarian, vegan and raw food to ensure you come away feeling thoroughly looked after.

Complimentary meditation sessions are held here every day between 7.30–8.30am, which is perfect if you’re looking to add a deeper element of relaxation to your trip.

You can also take a yoga class or attend a traditional Japanese-style tea ceremony – these take place every Thursday afternoon and are ideal for anyone who wants to meet up with like-minded people.

thesparesorts.net

 

Peace Tropical Spa

Bophut

Luxurious pampering against a backdrop of coconut trees and bougainvillea

Located just a few minutes from Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village and adjacent to Bophut beach, the Peace Tropical Spa offers everything from Swedish massages to hot stone treatments and hydrating facials.

The Indian Head Massage here is dubbed a ‘massage for the mind’, with therapists using warm coconut oil to ease tension and melt away your worries.

If you’re looking for something a little bit different, an entire menu of inviting body scrubs awaits you, including ones scented with coconut and green apple. Alternatively, soothe that sunburn with an aloe vera body wrap.

Each therapist specialises in a different massage technique, which means you will be in the best of hands – and are sure to leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

peacetropicalspa.com

 

Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa Resort

Laem Sett

Rejuvenating, tranquil oasis spread across nine acres

This award-winning nine-acre retreat has received worldwide acclaim. Kamalaya sits atop a hill and is surrounded by natural springs, vibrant bougainvillaea and giant banana trees. As a bonus, it also has views over the palm-fringed sands of Laem Sett.

Once a spiritual retreat for monks, it is now a tranquil oasis where you can soak up tropical surroundings and soothing sea views.

‘Kamalaya’ stands for the growth and unfolding of the human spirit and the spa combines authentic, ancient healing traditions with contemporary therapies and facilities.

Stand-out features at this Koh Samui spa include a steam cavern, ambient plunge pools used for hydrotherapy and an extensive spa menu offering Thai massages, lymphatic drainage and acupuncture. There’s also Reiki, yoga, tai chi, pilates, meditation and personal mentoring.

kamalaya.com

Browse our Koh Samui villas now

 

 

Koh Samui vs Phuket

Koh Samui and Phuket are two of the most popular islands in Thailand – and for very good reason. Both places offer pristine beaches, zingy Thai food and some astonishing holiday villas. But which of these tropical islands should be top of your travel wishlist?

To help you make a decision, we’ve compared Koh Samui and Phuket side by side, giving you a quick guide to life on both of the islands. Whether you want to know which place offers the best weather, the most family friendly activities or the shortest transfer time from Bangkok, you’ll find the answers here.

Use the menu below to hop to the relevant section of our guide.

The basics
Things to see and do
Eating and drinking
When to go
Getting there
Where to stay

The basics

Phuket

Koh Samui and Phuket, compared

On Thailand’s Andaman coast and connected to the mainland by a bridge, Phuket is the country’s largest island. It’s more than twice the size of Koh Samui but has around 10 times the population; some 600,000 people call it home. There’s also an international airport, which sees a steady flow of tourists arriving throughout the year. All of this means that Phuket feels much more developed than Koh Samui, with plenty of busy areas.

Large hotel complexes and high-rise buildings line the main beaches, but there are still some phenomenal stretches of unspoilt sand. What’s more, a few areas still have little or no beachfront development, allowing you plenty of space to soak up the sun. Head inland and you’ll also find waterfalls, nature reserves and a few patches of lush jungle.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is a sleepy alternative to Phuket

Over in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is a smaller, sleepier alternative to Phuket. It’s home to just 65,000 permanent residents, but the population rises condsiderably when short-term visitors are taken into account.

In recent years development on Koh Samui has been strictly regulated, and local rules state that no coastal building can exceed the height of a coconut tree (though, as anyone who knows Thailand will tell you, these rules aren’t always followed). Nevertheless, the palm-edged beaches in Koh Samui often have a quieter, more authentic feel than those in lively Phuket.

If you’re in the market for a bit of pampering, Koh Samui offers an abundance of opportunities to relax and take advantage of international spas. Yoga classes, massages and beauty treatments are all easy to find on Samui as the island seeks to position itself as a world-class wellbeing destination.

Koh Samui vs Phuket

Things to see and do

Beach life is mighty appealing but if you can tear yourself away from your hammock you’ll find that both islands have plenty of fun things to see and do. Here are some of the highlights on each island.

Play golf

Koh Samui has just one 18-hole championship golf course but its reputation extends far beyond the island’s shores. Set near Maenam, the Santiburi Country Club has spectacular views towards the coast and the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan.

Phuket has plenty of excellent places to play golf. Caddies (usually local women) are obligatory, and can give players advice about the courses.

Try sailing or kiteboarding

Fans of kiteboarding and windsurfing will love Koh Samui. Its beaches provide the perfect setting for lessons all year long. When the seasons change and the weather becomes unfavourable, lesson are relocated to the other side of the island. Just west of Koh Samui, the Ang Thong National Marine Park boasts some of the best snorkelling spots on the globe. If you’d rather not leave Koh Samui, head to Bophut, on the island’s north coast. Its clear, shallow waters are perfect for snorkelling, as well as swimming and kayaking.

There’s a big sailing and nautical scene in Koh Samui thanks in part to the annual Samui Regatta which is held in May or June. Based at Chaweng Beach on the east coast of the island, the event was founded to establish Koh Samui as a leading sailing destination. There are lots of social events that take place throughout the week including gala dinners, fundraisers and concerts.

Phuket, meanwhile, is the ideal destination for scuba diving and snorkelling – especially from November to April, when the sea is at its calmest. The waves pick up from May through to October, providing decent conditions for surfing. Other options include sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, sea kayaking, waterskiing, jet skiing and wakeboarding.

Hit the beach

Both islands are renowned for their idyllic beaches and captivating views, but there’s a lot more to coastal life than sunbathing and swimming. Head to Patong on Phuket where you can enjoy a beachside massage, sizzling street food, and an array of clubs and bars.

The beaches on Koh Samui are generally smaller and quieter, though Chaweng is a lively spot night and day. For pure tranquility head to one of the beaches in the island’s far south, which are still untroubled by tourist crowds.

Go sightseeing

Koh Samui is known for having some of Thailand’s best coconuts; drive around the island and you’re sure to see the lush groves. Pick up a bottle of artisan coconut rum at the Magic Alambic Distillery, the only accredited rum distillery on the island. It’s located between Laem Sor and Laem Sett, and is well worth a visit if you are partial to either coconuts or rum.

Phuket is renowned for its rubber production and these trees used to cover 40 percent of the island. Nowadays tourism is the main industry, and the island is full to bursting with family friendly attractions, including a handful of themed amusement parks. However, if the mood takes you, you can still tour one of the island’s plantations and watch the rubber tappers at work.

Get pampered

Koh Samui and Phuket are both ideal for anyone who wants to get in shape during their trip to Thailand, or simply give their body a bit of a pampering.

Koh Samui has a more relaxed feel and is less developed, making it a great option for meditation sessions and beachfront yoga classes. Phuket’s high-end hotels, on the other hand, offer world-class beauty treatments and soothing traditional Thai massages. Whichever island you choose, you’re sure to find a little piece of heaven.

Eating and drinking

The food in Koh Samui and Phuket

Koh Samui’s thriving food scene is ranked among the most diverse in Thailand. From authentic Thai meals and street food vendors to sophisticated dining experiences including English, Italian and French cuisine, Samui caters to all tastes and budgets.

Phuket also offers a wide range of food, including upscale options, but generally speaking the island is better known for its lively bars and nightlife. The island’s best restaurants tend to be found in Chalong.

Both Phuket and Koh Samui are renowned for their seafood; on each island there are a plethora of good bars and restaurants dotting the shoreline.

When to go

The weather should be an important consideration when deciding whether to visit Phuket or Koh Samui. Phuket’s weather is at its best from late-November to February, while the ideal time to visit Koh Samui is between January and March.

If you’re considering a trip around southern Thailand , try visiting in February or March, when both islands have warm, sunny weather without much rain or humidity. That said, there’s really no ‘bad’ time to visit the islands. The month-by-month guides below will give you an idea of what to expect.

Koh Samui has a spectacular 18-hole golf course

Koh Samui

January offers warm, sunny weather. It can still rain every day but clouds disappear quickly to reveal bright blue skies. February offers consistently great conditions expect blue skies and calm seas. Samui experiences its best weather in March, when you can enjoy perfect skies, calm seas, and plenty of warm sun. Temperatures increase in April, while May sees a slight increase in the amount of rain. In June, July and August humidity increases but it’s still mostly dry. Rain begins to creep in by the end of September (but this is often seen as a welcome relief), while October sees a significant turn in the weather – it becomes wetter with fairly rough seas, but it’s still warm enough for barefoot strolls on the beach. November is the wettest month on Koh Samui and the rains continue to the beginning of December. By Christmas, the drier, sunnier weather has returned.

Phuket

In January, Phuket enjoys consistently great weather. It’s the least humid month on the island, with little rain and calm seas. February is by far the best month on Phuket when you can enjoy the hot, dry climate. March also has great weather but humidity increases and by April this can make some days feel quite stuffy. May sees the start of the rainy season in Phuket but there will still be plenty of good weather for you to enjoy. In June, July and August it’s wet with sunny breaks. It can also be hot and humid with rough seas; swimming is discouraged on many of the beaches during this period. September is the wettest month on Phuket and this continues into October, keeping prices down and the number of tourists nice and low. November is still rainy season in Phuket but the weather improves towards the end of the month whereas in December, you can enjoy calm seas and warm temperatures most days.

Getting there

By air

Located in the island’s northeast, Koh Samui’s airport is just minutes from the some of the best beaches. The airport itself – known as one of the most beautiful in the world – is definitely worth a closer look, if only to gawp at the vaulted ceilings and ornate Thai pillars.

From Phuket airport it can take around an hour to reach the south side of the island where the main tourist beaches are located. Due to the airport’s small size and single terminal, the queues at immigration can be quite long during peak season.

You can fly to Koh Samui and Phuket from London Heathrow, via Bangkok. The flight to Bangkok is around 11 hours 30 minutes, and the connecting flights to Koh Samui and Phuket take 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 20 minutes respectively. You can also pick up connecting flights to the islands in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong.

By ferry or car

Phuket is attached to the mainland by the Sarasin Bridge – it’s around a 12-hour drive from Bangkok to the island.

Koh Samui can only be reached by air or sea. Ferries connect the mainland at Surat Thani with Koh Samui, arriving and departing from Nathon, Lipa Noi, Bangrak and Maenam. Regular car ferries also make the crossing.

So which island should you choose?

Phuket Town

Both islands offer plenty of things to do and choosing between the two can be tricky. Our advice is simple: if you’re looking for high-end shopping, vibrant beach life and cocktails at upscale resorts, head to Phuket. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that Phuket is undoubtedly more commercial, attracting large groups of package tourists (which could be a drawback, depending on the type of holiday you’re looking for).

Koh Samui is a better option for relaxed beach holidays. It’s also very popular with visitors but it has more of a chilled feel to it than Phuket. The island’s quiet resorts are ideal for families, honeymooners and groups of friends who fancy a tranquil break in a luxury villa by the sea. There’s a surprisingly lively shopping scene too, with a few luxury boutiques to browse. It’s also worth checking out the Fisherman’s Village at Bophut which has an eclectic, cosmopolitan vibe.

Overall, if vibrant nightlife and bustling, activity-filled days are your idea of heaven, Phuket would be your obvious choice. But if you’re looking for a more relaxed, intimate getaway Koh Samui is undoubtedly the tropical paradise you’ve been searching for.

Can’t decide?

If you have more than 10 days to explore Thailand, why not cover both islands in a single trip? There are direct flights between Phuket and Koh Samui, which are just 55 minutes apart.

Where to stay

Both islands have a great selection of luxury villas to choose from, including beachfront options with their own private pools. Here are some of our favourites.

Koh Samui

Choeng Mon 4169

Koh Samui and Phuket both have amazing villas
Set in an exclusive hillside estate, this villa will provide you with the perfect island getaway. With private beach access, an oversized saltwater infinity pool, breathtaking ocean views and a private meditation platform, you are sure to leave here feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

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Chaweng 4231

One of Koh Samui's best villas
This villa in Chaweng is in a league of its own. Set in tropical gardens and with its own waterfall, it features floor-to-ceiling windows and a 60 sq m infinity pool. You can enjoy sea views from its spacious sun deck.

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Phuket

Kamala 6446

Phuket or Koh Samui, which one would you choose?

Home to a sunken Jacuzzi, a centralised outdoor sound system and a poolside sala with stunning views over Andaman Sea, this six-bedroom villa is to die for. Facilities include a games room, a gym and a bar.

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Kamala 5439

Villa in Phuket, Thailand

Sea views flood into the glass-walled living area at this exclusive villa, which has its own home movie theatre and an extensive outdoor dining area. Perched on a hill, it offers amazing views over Patong.

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Still looking? Browse all of our vacation rentals in Koh Samui and Phuket.

10 Amazing Beachfront Villas in Koh Samui

Koh Samui’s heavenly beaches offer soft sands, crystal-clear waters and big blue skies. Add in a backdrop of mountains and lush green forests and you’ve got the perfect setting for a villa holiday in Thailand.

If your idea of paradise is feeling the sand between your toes as you sip a zingy cocktail, or simply kicking back by a beachfront pool, you’ll find plenty to keep you smiling. Here are 10 of the very best beachfront villas in Koh Samui.

The northeast

Plai Laem 6192

Beachfront villas in Koh Samui

Offering sea views, plush contemporary furnishings and traditional-style salas, this six-bedroom villa in Plai Laem is the ideal beachfront getaway.

Steps away from the glittering Gulf of Thailand, the villa has direct access to a small palm-fringed beach. Let your personal chef serve you meals in the sunken dining area, which sits next to the T-shaped pool, or just kick off your shoes and enjoy the modern living areas.

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Bangrak 4118

Villa rental in Koh Samui, Thailand

This remarkable four-bedroom home takes Koh Samui beachfront villas to a whole new level.

Wake up here and you’ll be just steps away from the warm sands, blue seas and salty air in Bangrak, which is known locally for its impressive Big Buddha statue. There’s a private pool right by the sea, and you’ll be able to make use of a modern, fully equipped kitchen and some seriously luxurious lounge areas.

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Bangrak 2124

Beachfront vacation rental in Bangrak, Koh Samui

Koh Samui beachfront accommodation runs all the way from large, seven-bedroom rentals to more compact properties like Bangrak 2124. Smaller in size yet every bit as luxurious as the bigger vacation homes listed here, it has a private pool overlooking the beach and features plush furnishings throughout.

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Plai Laem 3001

A villa on Plai Laem's beachfront

Set amid tall palms and pretty frangipani trees, this stylish three-bedroom option in Plai Laem makes for a truly peaceful escape.

Stay here and you can spend lazy days exploring the local area, which is home to colourful fishing boats and an easygoing vibe. At the villa itself you can drink a cocktail by the poolside, absorb the sun’s rays on the loungers, or simply admire the white sands ahead.

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The north coast

Maenam 7044

Some of Koh Samui's best villas have infinity pools right by the beach

Overlooking the sea, this incredible seven-bedroom villa provides all the luxury and convenience you could need from a Koh Samui holiday.

With direct access to the soft sands, you’re free to soak up the scorching sunshine or unwind with your favourite novel, all just minutes from your villa. In front of the property, discover a lengthy open-air pool and swim ’til your heart’s content while taking in the stunning scenery. Continental breakfasts, daily maid services and welcome baskets will make your trip extra special.

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Bang Por 3045

This beachfront villa in Bang Por, Koh Samui, has its own infinity pool

Prefer a smaller villa with a luxurious vibe? Here’s one for you.

Sleeping up to six guests, this three-bedroom rental offers unspoilt views of the awe-inspiring waters. Every morning, take a dip in the infinity pool and then make time for an unhurried breakfast on the deck. Breathe in the fresh sea air and immerse yourself in island life. This is the place to be.

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Bophut 5125

Bophut 5125 is a contemporary beachfront villa in Koh Samui

For contemporary living with a difference, try this five-bedroom villa in the boho village of Bophut.

Unwind in your rooftop Jacuzzi, take a swim in the sensational swimming pool, or simply head to the beach; it’s literally steps away. Close to the popular Fisherman’s Village, an eclectic hangout full of cafes and restaurants, this villa is the ideal hideaway for friends, couples and groups of friends travelling together.

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Bophut 4120

Seafront villa in Koh Samui, Thailand

How about waking up to this astonishing view? The abundance of blue – in the sky, the sea and the private pool – is enough to create the perfect vibe for a relaxing trip. Providing four bedrooms, a beautiful outside area, comfy furnishings and more, this villa lets you experience Koh Samui in utter style.

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The east coast

Chaweng 5066

Koh Samui has some amazing beachfront vacation homes

Imagine escaping to the beach every morning for a quick swim or sunbathing session. At this five-bedroom villa in lively Chaweng, the waterfront is just steps away. Paradise couldn’t come any easier and with your own private pool edged by tropical plants, luxury living is certainly on the cards. Other amenities include a private chef, a personal masseuse and a Jacuzzi.

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The west coast

Lipa Noi 3212

Edging the beach: this Koh Samui villa

This villa rental in Lipa Noi, on Koh Samui’s west coast, lets you combine complete relaxation with beachfront strolls and a little bit of swimming. Enjoy a dip in your private pool whilst overlooking the tranquil sea beyond. With three bedrooms and plenty of extra services, including satellite TV and an Xbox, it’s perfect for an exotic family holiday.

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Check out our entire range of beachfront villas in Koh Samui or call us on 1-866-341-8086 (US)/ 0800 43 34567 (UK) where our sales team will be happy to help you find the perfect rental. For any extras required during your Koh Samui stay, our Concierge team will be at hand, offering advice and all their best tips. 

 

Top Koh Samui Beaches

Renowned for the endless miles of sea and sugar white sands, Koh Samui is a location every beach lover will adore. Bordered by an assembly of the world’s most stunning beaches, each offering something slightly different to the next.

Spanning from the northern to eastern side of the coast are the main beaches of Koh Samui. Chaweng, situated on the east side is the liveliest with an array of activities and entertainment, whereas the northern beaches (Bangrak, Bophut, Maenam etc) are more peaceful, boasting a tropical flair.

Chaweng Beach

Chaweng beach

The esteemed Chaweng beach is most popular with tourists. There’s many reasons why it’s a favourite spot; showcasing a collection of shops, accommodation, restaurants, bars and home to the longest beach in Koh Samui. Split into three sections, each area offers its own unique charm: from the quieter region in the North to the fun filled water sport and entertainment on the central beach ending in the south, where the main island’s events are hosted. Whether it’s complete tranquility, exciting activities, delicious eateries or to attend annual events, Chaweng beach is fit for every holiday maker.

Bangrak Beach

Acclaimed as the ‘Big Buddha Beach’, this incredible bay is named after the famous Buddha statue in Koh Samui, the island’s most impressive focal point, seen upon arrival. Located on the northeast coast, nearby to Chaweng Beach and home to the waved soft sands, Bangrak provides a complete tranquil ambiance. If that isn’t enough water sports are a must, with energetic activities including kayaking, scuba diving and snorkelling available, take to the water and discover the unknown. Our Concierge team can arrange any excursions for you. There’s even the opportunity to experience the magical full moon party, travelling out by boat to Koh Pha Ngan from the Bangrak beach!

Maenam Beach

Maenam beach

During your Koh Samui holiday, we always recommend Maenam as a number one, must see destination. It is celebrated as the most picturesque beach on the island, beyond the phenomenal golden sands and astounding view of Koh Pha Ngan will take your breath away. In between this perfect blend of serenity, you can enjoy regular boat trips along the crystal waters and fine dining at John’s Garden. Not forgetting the ‘Walking Street’ weekly event,  every traveller will fall in love again and again with Maenam.

Bophut Beach

Situated away from the buzzing crowds, Bohput Beach is the perfect peaceful destination, also referred to as Fisherman’s village; a traditional and well maintained area of Koh Samui. Stretching out for an extensive two miles of pristine white sands, the beach’s centre is home to an array of charming wooden Chinese style houses, tucked away to blend in with the natural surroundings. The laid back family friendly vibe and quaint location is ideal for exploration especially on Friday nights when the village comes alive with music, local street vendors and community spirit – a great opportunity to haggle for the unique Thailand trinket.

Choeng Mon Beach

Bophut beach

Nestled in Koh Samui’s northeast corner, Choeng Mon Beach is esteemed for the quiet ambiance and remote bays. With the main beach offering a wide selection of water sports including Kayak trips over to Koh Fan Yai island, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Showcasing delicious restaurants, bars away from the main beach and other beaches located nearby, plenty is available to add to your itinerary. To get around, car hire can be arranged by our Concierge team, who can also sort any other excursions or requests you may have.

We offer a wide selection of Koh Samui vacation rentals in various locations including Choeng Mon, Maenam, Bophut, Bangrak and Chaweng, nearby to these array of stunning beaches. If you’d like to book or find out more information about our homes in this location, you can speak to one of our travel experts on 1-866-341-8086 (US) or 0800 43 34567 (UK). For additional help regarding excursions, car hire or any other services, our Concierge team are always on hand to help you through the holiday planning process.