A handy guide to help you navigate the nightlife at Koh Samui
Forget about its sunset happy hour, or the terrific spread of seafood every Friday – just head to Nikki Beach for a taste of St Tropez life in Koh Samui. The crowds are young, super tanned, the music always tuned to something that’s trending on Twitter, and the cocktails match the view – in substantial supply, perfectly coloured and easily lull you into the happiest state of bliss. The place hosts every possible festival — from Oktoberfest to Thai Full Moon parties. Combining food, hospitality, fashion and entertainment into one chic package, Nikki Beach finds few competitors and is well worth the mini-‐trek you have to make to get there. Check into any of the nice Lipa Noi Hotels and stay there for a weekend with your family. Look for special deals and offers to save some extra bucks.
Chaweng Beach is Koh Samui’s party beach, with loads of pubs and clubs branching off the main road. The Reggae Pub is among the oldest here, an institution that found a winning formula for drawing in crowds in the ’80s, and continues to employ the same tactics till date with adequate success. The music is not reggae, more like top-40s and terribly crowd pleasing, the drinks are cheap and no matter what night of the week it is, the mood is upbeat. If the enormous dance floor doesn’t beckon, try your hand at its pool tables – Reggae Pub does old school very very well. Stay in one of the Chaweng Beach Hotels during your family vacation. There is really no better way to relax and rejuvenate.
Yup, Green Mango is so epic that there is an entire street dedicated to it. The original Green Mango is a crowd pleaser, with multiple packed dance floors (and stripper poles), and a colourful range of cocktails. If you want to fine tune your night, head to one of their sister clubs on the same road, Mambo for downtempo beats and massive TVs tuned to sports channels, or Sweet Soul for some R&B bump-‐n-‐grind. Green Mango earns its name from its sprawling layout, like a house in a tree, with wooden bridges connecting sections.
Wood‐fired pizzas followed by pan-‐fried snowfish medallions with a vegetable caponata – Prego is Koh Samui’s premier Italian restaurant, getting better under the perfectionist gaze of Chef Marco Boscaini. The restaurant has high ceilinged interiors and an open air section as well, making it a perfect spot for warm evening suppers. Chef Marco is often spotted among his guests, creating an informal atmosphere. The ingredients are all sourced locally, while the final fare is Italian with a contemporary twist. The place also offers a special gluten-‐free menu. The Koh Samui Hotels list will help you get an idea of the stay and other facilities here. You may the pick your stay based on your priorities and needs.
Tucking into fantastic Mediterranean fare on a cliff in Thailand is not as odd as it sounds. The Cliff Bar & Grill has invested enough research into Italian and Portuguese specialities as well as Spanish tapas bars to present an exhaustive menu. It has also earned a reputation as a must-‐visit restaurant. It helps that the view is fantastic – a vast shore fringed by a forest. The tables outside are great, but if you’re visiting in summer, you will find yourself craving for air‐conditioning.
The pool parties at Ark Bar put all other pool parties to shame. Nights here can become legendary depending on how far you can keep up with the crowd. Fridays and Wednesdays host pool parties with live bands who hand over happy crowds to DJs in the evening. Sometimes, there are live barbecues and often they’re free for hotel guests. Pool parties here are serious business – the biggest pool has a bar as well as a DJ stand in the middle. Remember, nightlife is switched off at 2am by law. So head there by midnight for the best value.
The Bangkok outpost is easily recognisable by the gleaming neon Q that looms over it. Once you’ve hiked up here (leave your heels in the hotel if you’ve taken a rickshaw to Chaweng), you get to choose between two zones: the neon-‐lit bass thumping interiors of the Electro Bar, or the infinitely more chilled out Lounge Bar. The former is chic and sophisticated, with black and white tables done up in leather and a bright orange and pink bar. The party kicks off around 11pm, and if you get there early, chug some champagne toasts looking out at the hillside.
With DJs, live bands and an exceptional spread of Mediterranean and Thai food, Beach Republic is one of Koh Samui’s favourite weekend destinations. It’s done up as a homage to Thai architecture, complete with soaring thatched roofs. The pool is the focal point, and hosts some of the best waterside parties in town. One of the biggest draws is the food and the Sunday brunch pulls in hordes of tourists. But the biggest draw is the sundowner cocktail session, which takes place by the pool and the beach. Pick your poison and your sun bed and watch your evening go from languid to lush effortlessly.
9 Gems is the product of a Swiss and Thai collaboration – a very chic and minimal rooftop bar serving an exceptional range of European and Asian cuisine. The view is not your obvious range of ocean and jungle – instead the twinkling lights of Samui fade out into the distance. But the view is a 360‐degree one – so the ocean and greens of course make an appearance, albeit a more dramatic one when there’s sunlight. The stylish and sophisticated atmosphere created by the owners almost makes you forget where you are – until you bite into the most sumptuous tempura prawns.
An Irish pub in Thailand? Why not! Tropical Murphy is actually one of the many of its kind and ticks all the boxes – decent food, decent prices and perfect hangover cures in the form of large breakfasts. It’s basic bar food you’re going to order here – nachos, burgers, potato skins, etc. It’s a good place to catch live sports telecasts, complete with live cheering and booing. In addition to good ol’ pub grub, there’s also some great, basic Thai food. But the biggest attraction is the cold beer on tap. Know what the hotels in Chaweng have to offer. Set a budget and go for a hotel that fits into this budget.
For an experience that’s more than just shots and bottomless pitchers of beer, try spending the night watching Muay Thai boxing. The ancient martial art has now become a popular spectator sport, with the Chaweng Boxing Stadium drawing in crowds three nights a week.
Evenings in the summer can be humid and hot, and the best weather is actually from November to February, when temperatures fall and showers are infrequent.