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by Orient-Express
Napasai, Koh Samui, Thailand

Nathon, Chaweng and Lamai

Nathon is the administrative heart of Koh Samui and the best shopping on Koh Samui is to be found here, with an abundance of shops, wandering sellers and street stalls, where bartering is all part of the fun. All types of traditional artesan wares, jewellery, leather goods and gifts are on sale. After dark Nathon is quiet, with few attractions for the tourist.

Chaweng is a thriving town with an excellent beach and the liveliest nightlife on the island. Start out with peaceful beachside dining and move into the busier areas to some outdoor bars with live bands and traditional Thai music. End the night on a high note in one of the air-conditioned, high-tech clubs.

There is something for everyone, from uberchic sophistication to tacky cocktails and Vegas showtunes, go-go dancers and the world's best dance DJs. Ask around and take a stroll through the central entertainment district and you will find your perfect evening. Chaweng also offers many activities to entertain you during the day, such as Thai boxing classes and demonstrations, Go Karts and every type of watersport imaginable.


Lamai (sometimes spelled Lama) is in the south of the island, not far from Nathon, and is also a busy town with plenty of shops, places to eat and nightlife, running along the long, sandy beach. Slightly quieter than Chaweng it is still a rich and varied experience for any visitor.

Don't dismiss the small fishing villages such as Bophut and Maenam. The local government and local people's determination to preserve both their tradition and culture has left many villages looking just as they were before tourism arrived in the seventies.

All the charm of local architecture and way of life persists, with the addition only of small, family run restaurants along the waterfront. Both villages are perfect for a quiet, romantic dinner with lovely views as the sun sets over the sea.


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