Bophut is a beach village located on the northern coast of Ko Samui. Confusingly, Bophut is also a large administrative and postal district (Amphong) even encompassing Chaweng. Therefore a Bophut address is no guarantee that it is located in or around the village.
Bophut is one of the few places on Samui that retains some of the island's original Thai-Chinese atmosphere. It has recently experiencing a boom with new hotels and guesthouses sprouting up at a frantic pace. The traditional core of Bophut, known as the Fisherman's Village, is a charming village on the east side of the beach while the new developments are to the west. In contrast to Chaweng there has been a conscious effort to dissuade the more commercial elements of Thai nightlife from setting up shop and instead aiming for couples and young families.
The beach road retains much of its charm although the new construction took a bit away. Old Chinese shop-houses crowd the narrow street many with sympathetic conversions to modern use as restaurants and cafés and small trendy shops. The beach itself encompasses some 2km of white sandy shoreline fringed by coconut palms and the calm waters of the bay make this a popular spot for playing or relaxing, rather than swimming, because the water here is often murky, especially around December.
Bophut is just 15 minutes away from the airport by bus or taxi. Many ferries from Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao dock at the small pier in eastern Bophut.
From the Nathon pier, take a brown songteow going to the left as you leave. It will cost B50 as at June 2012.This is the way the locals travel around the island.Do NOT ask a fare as you will be making a private hire. Push the button to stop him when you are where you want to be.
Activities on Bophut are pretty much limited to the beach, which is quite narrow and drops off rapidly. Jet ski hire operators are located (mercifully) at the western end of the Fisherman's Village. A Go-kart track can be found on the main road adjacent to the village. Bophut is famed for its sunsets, fine restaurants, numerous pubs and complete absence of girly bars. Thai Massage, (temporary rejuvenation on the beach or in the village's numerous mini-spas) manicure and pedicure treatments are popular bargain spends for visitors of either sex.
There are a number of minimarts and souvenir shops in the Village, including a few moderately interesting Chinese-themed boutiques.
Bophut has a reputation for being one of the best places to eat on Samui. The village boasts many fine restaurants offering a wide choice of specialty cuisines in addition to a wealth of Thai dishes. French, Italian, BBQ, Indian and seafood outlets predominate, but there are several pubs and two bakeries offering standard European style snacks and typical British and Australian pub grub. Currently some 30 bars and restaurants are located in little more than 700m of village street. All the places below are clustered in the Fisherman's Village within easy walking distance of each other.
- Villa Bianca, tel. 077 245 041. Generally regarded as the best Italian restaurant on the island. True to the name, it's decorated with a stark white color scheme that stands out from the crowd, but the beachside tables are popular (book in advance!). Fairly pricy, figure on B500 per head with a glass of wine.
- La Sirene, 65/1 Moo 1, tel. 077 425 301. A French-Thai restaurant with good seafood. Same price range as Villa Bianca.
- Happy Elephant, in the Village, is a popular Thai seafood joint with an extensive menu. You can pick and choose your dinner and the cooking style from today's catch. Most fish B50 per 100 grams, so figure on a few hundred baht per head to stuff yourself. Live music some evenings.
- Starfish and Coffee. Despite the odd name, this is an almost exaggeratedly romantic beachside restaurant with reclining divans, flickering oil lamps and yards of red plush. Unfortunately the rather dull food isn't quite up to the same standards, so you might just want to pop in for a drink instead.
- Beatles Bar, (on the main drag, close to the pier). An old teak shophouse, tastefully and comfortably renovated. Music as you would expect from the name, plus some cool jazz, cocktails quite cheap plus good snack food. Staff charming and very friendly.
- Billabong, (close to The Pub, on the beach side on they way to Frog & Gecko). This is an Australian pub, also a nice place to watch football or cricket. Good food, but not for vegetarians.
- Frog & Gecko, (next to The Lodge), ☎ 077 425 248. This is a relaxed beachside Anglo-American pub with cold beer and great BLTs. Musically stuck in the 70s, but packed on Wednesdays for their quiz night.
- Namcha Samui Tea House, . Namcha is a cool world cafe and tea house, offering tea, health food, wraps, cafe food and Japanese food. Drop by and enjoy easy cafe life in our teahouse. Patrons enjoys their tea, wraps and WiFi at Namcha Samui.
- The Pub, (on the main road, beach side, between the Frog & Gecko and The Beatles bar, a little closer to the Beatles). A nice place to grab a pint and watch some football or cricket unless there is Rugby being shown as that takes precedence here! A good place to find folks from the UK. Only serves food during lunch, but offers some imports at a good price.
Recently constructed luxury hotels have found their way to Bophut's western end of the village, but there are plenty of midprice options.
- The Lodge, 91/1 Moo 1, tel. 077 427 565. An elegantly decorated little hotel right on the beach in the Fisherman's Village, with great views of Ko Pha Ngan and the setting sun from every room. Air-con, fan, hot water, minibar, satellite TV. Standard rooms B1500 per night.
- Eden Bungalows, 91/1 Moo 1 (across the road from The Lodge), tel. 077 427 645, . Lacks the beach views but makes up for it with a small pool and a delightful garden. Standard bungalow B1190-1990 depending on the season, caters particularly to French speakers.
- Zazen Boutique Resort and Spa, 177 Moo 1 Bophut Beach, tel. 077 425 085,. Zazen draws inspiration from the Japanese word meaning “to find inner peace,” and the resort in Samui is dedicated to guiding its guests on a journey of calm, pleasure and the satisfaction of reconnection to the self. The history of this charming resort (26 rooms) is one of family, friendship and care, creating a resort, restaurant and spa of unique design and close personal intimacy. At Zazen, a guest’s preconceptions of a Samui hotel and a Thailand holiday are transformed into an experience of union, sociability, and unimagined pleasure. Distinctive and personal bungalows are located on the pristine beachfront and amongst verdant tropical gardens, with up-market furnishings, the latest in technological entertainment, and bright, luxurious style. Guests indulge in a home of the best in modern living combined with the finest of international comforts. The rates start from 5600 THB for a garden deluxe.
- Baan Bophut, 6/9 Moo 1, tel. 077 245733, . Baan Bophut is a small, family run hotel on the beach in the Fisherman's Village which serves independent travellers that seek to escape and relax. All ten rooms and its two room suite have views of neighbouring Ko Pha Ngan 12 km distant across Bophut Bay. Furnished in a contemporary SE Asian style, the hotel boasts the comfiest beds on the island. All rooms have air-con, WiFi and the usual 3/4 star amenities. Families are welcome, but to safeguard the tranquility of other guests, children under 12 yo are not encouraged. A continental breakfast is included and a comprehensive Thai menu, together with a broad selection of western sandwiches, snacks and main dishes are available throughout each day until late evening. The hotel's small beach bar is a popular spot for watching Samui's famed sunsets without going thirsty and the perfect location for guests to meet and mingle.
- The Waterfront . At the far eastern end of the beach, this is a lovely little resort run by a British couple. All rooms have waterfront view and include breakfast. The resort offers a very family friendly style for both children and adults, and the proprietors make you feel right at home, and so do the other guests. A short walk from Fisherman's Village for restaurants and bars.
- World Resort Samui. Thai style bungalows provide comfortable accommodation in a tranquil setting.Room rates range from 1,550 baht onwards.
- Lawana Resort and Hotel. Located on Bo Phut Beach, Lawana has a range of private bungalows and rooms. The resort has pool and jacuzzi and the South China Sea is a few metres away. There is an openair beach front restaurant. Rates are from 2,400 baht upwards.
- Prana Resorts and Spa, 16/8, 16/13-26 Moo 4, Bophut, Koh Samui, ☎ 0 7724 6362, . A/C guestrooms equipped a cable TV, mini-bar, private terrace and free Wi-Fi Internet access. Some of its facilities and services are restaurant, swimming pool, pool cocktail bar, spa and massage service,laundry service and airport transfer. From THB 4,748.00.
- Karma Samui Resort, 80/32 Moo 5, Bophut, ☎ (66) 77 230 833, . Karma Samui resort is nestled in a serene cove and rises gracefully from the blue seas and golden sands of a stunning tropical beach. The 36 pool villas are arranged in 5 terraces, maximizing the sea view and creating a village-like atmosphere. Gay/Lesbian friendly staff and management. Various lifestyle choices include private in-villa dining with the option of personal chefs and waiters, dining in Padma beachfront restaurant or a romantic beach dinner under the stars. $700US+
- Anantara Resort & Spa Koh Samui (อนันตรา รีสอร์ท แอนด์ สปา เกาะสมุย), Bo Phut Beach, Samui, Surat Thani, . checkin: 6-2-2012; checkout: 16-2-2012. Nestled on a quiet stretch of sand and the glittering waters of the Gulf of Thailand, Anantara's Koh Samui resort offers an experience that combines island magic, Thai charm and Anantara style. Set in serene Fisherman's Cove at Bo Phut beach on Samui Island. 6,550 - 15,750 Baht.
- Thai Villa Getaways Bo Phut, . Most villas have TV, cable, air conditioning, swimming pools, incredible views and many are staffed.
- Outrigger Koh Samui Resort and Spa, 69/34 Moo 5, T. Bophut, Koh Samui Surat Thani 84320 Thailand, ☎ (66)77 417 300, . The resort is located on Bophut Beach, 10 minutes away from Koh Samui International Airport and 20 minutes away from Chaweng, the island’s bustling beach resort, entertainment and shopping area.
- Bophut Villa, Koh Samui Hills (10 minutes drive from the airport and 10 minutes to Chaweng), ☎ +64 7 865 6625 (fax: +64 9 353 1995), . 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms villa is made of 3 separate pavilions harmonized in a terraced compound setting with a luxuriant yet simple garden landscaping. Facilities include 20x8m Infinity edge pool, largest private pool on Koh Samui. Hi-fi System. Satellite ADSL system. TVs with giant screen and projectors, DVD players. Outdoor speaker system. Fully furnished inc. linens/towels From US$4550/week.
Increasingly popular among western visitors is a trip to one of Samui's superb dentists. So uniformly good are the dentists, several of which are established in Bophut, and reasonable their prices, that medical vacationing is a growing segment in Samui. Some visitors arriving just to receive extensive dental treatment locally, at a fraction of the European cost. Samui's four major international hospitals each have dental departments, but there are numerous other excellent dental clinics to choose from, usually at lower cost. All conduct restorative or general dentistry from a basic inspection, clean and polish, routine fillings, extractions and root canal work, but several specialise in much more complex oral issues, including a broad spectrum of cosmetic treatments for the vain. It's noted that laser whitening is on offer at several dentists in Bophut for around Bt 8000 (US$ 220), but this may come down as the recession bites (sorry).
There are a number of mini-marts and souvenir shops in the Fisherman’s Village, including a few moderately interesting Chinese-themed boutiques. You can do your shopping of skillfully-made furniture items or excellent souvenirs while walking along the streets of Fisherman’s Village. A must visit shop is Samui Footwear, a small stall offering leather shoes and shoe repairs. The shoes are reasonably priced and are all original designs showcasing superior craftsmanship.
Souvenir seekers looking for something unique to bring home or searching for that little trinket to make their trip memorable will love Sari. It is an artistic shop featuring bottled orchids from Bangkok, hand-carved amulets, silver jewelry from all around Asia, a wide and varied selection of handbags from India, China and Malaysia, even designer clothes from Hong Kong. All merchandise is carefully selected by owner Sirisopa “Toy” Premananda and are sourced from her shopping trips all around the continent. Her shop is open from 4PM to 10PM, Tel. 077-427-540.
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