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 night life 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 2 km 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 songthaew going to the left as you leave. Tell one of the english speaking drivers where you want to go and negotiate a price beforehand.
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 for visitors of both sexes.
Another activity to be found in Bophut is the ever popular Friday Walking Market. Every friday night the streets will be lined with vendors and stalls selling a large array of foods and goods. There are also live music and performances to be found.
There are a number of minimarts and souvenir shops in the village, including a few moderately interesting Chinese-themed boutiques.
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.
- Sari, ☎ +66 77 427 540. 16:00-22:00. Souvenir seekers looking for something unique to bring home or searching for that little trinket to make their trip memorable will love this place. It is an artistic shop featuring bottled orchids from Bangkok, hand-carved amulets, silver jewellery 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.
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 cuisine 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 700 m of village street. All the places below are clustered in the Fisherman's Village within easy walking distance of each other. All of them are very touristy and as such also very overpriced providing only average food quality.
- 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 80 baht per 100 grams, so figure on a few hundreds baht per head to stuff yourself. Live music some evenings.
- La Sirene, 65/1 Moo 1, ☎ +66 77 425 301. A French-Thai restaurant with seafood. Same price range as Villa Bianca.
- Starfish and Coffee. Despite the odd name, this is an almost exaggeratedly romantic beach side 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.
- Villa Bianca, ☎ +66 77 245 041. True to the name, it's decorated with a stark white colour scheme that stands out from the crowd, but the beach side tables are popular (book in advance!). Fairly pricey, figure on 500 baht per head with a glass of wine..
- 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), ☎ +66 77 425 248. This is a relaxed beach side Anglo-American pub with cold beer and great BLT sandwiches. Musically stuck in the 1970s, 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 tea house. Patrons enjoys their tea, wraps and Wi-Fi 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, but there are plenty of mid-priced options.
- 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 contemporary SE Asian style. All rooms have air-con, Wi-Fi and the usual amenities. Families are welcome, but to safeguard the tranquillity of other guests, children under 12 years 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.
- Karma Samui Resort, 80/32 Moo 5, Bophut, ☎ +66 77 230 833. On a 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. 21,000+ baht.
- 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, mini-bar, satellite TV. Standard rooms 1,500 baht per night.
- Mantra Samui Resort, 9/124 Moo1, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84330, ☎ +66 0 77 951 600 (fax: 66 0 77 951 601), . 5 Star boutique hotel with luxury rooms and unique suites. Extensive facilities including infinity pool, swim-up bar, fitness centre and movie theatre. Free airport transfers to and from the airport if you book direct through email, phone or on their website.
- Prana Resorts and Spa, 16/8, 16/13-26 Moo 4, Bophut, ☎ +66 77 246 362, . A/C guest rooms equipped a cable TV, mini-bar, private terrace and free Wi-Fi. Restaurant, swimming pool, pool cocktail bar, spa and massage service, laundry service, and airport transfer. From 4,748 baht.
- Outrigger Koh Samui Resort and Spa, 69/34 Moo 5, Bophut, ☎ +66 77 417 300, . Ten minutes away from Ko Samui Airport and 20 minutes away from Chaweng, the island’s bustling beach resort, entertainment, and shopping area.
- Thai Villa Getaways Bo Phut, . Most villas have TV, cable, air conditioning, swimming pools, incredible views, and many are staffed.
- The Waterfront . At the far east 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. A short walk from Fisherman's Village for restaurants and bars.
- World Resort Samui. Thai-style bungalows provide comfortable accommodation in a tranquil setting. From 1,550 baht up.
- Zazen Boutique Resort and Spa, 177 Moo 1 Bophut Beach, ☎ +66 77 425 085, . 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. Distinctive, private bungalows are located on the beach front among verdant tropical gardens, with up-market furnishings, the latest in technological entertainment, and bright, luxurious style. The rates start from 5,600 baht for a garden deluxe.
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 8,000 baht, but this may come down as the recession deepens.
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