Koh Samui is one of the most famous islands in Thailand. Tourism began here in the mid 80s. Back then the island truly was a paradise lost with very little development aside from a handful of fishing villages and coconut farming communities. Nowadays the beaches are still as good as ever and the hilly, inland area still relatively untouched.
But development has taken hold and it is now a dynamic, tourist hot spot. Samui appeals to a broad range of visitors and attracts everyone from gap year backpackers to super rich honeymooners and Hollywood celebrities.
When it comes to staying on Samui, there’s a huge choice of accommodation. The property market boomed in the late 90s and early 2000s when developers realized there was a huge market for villas on the island. The hillsides that rise inland and tower over the beaches made for ideal locations for developments that offered both privacy and stunning views.
As the number of resorts and hotels grew on the island, so did the number of holiday rentals. At present there are well over 1,000 rental properties on the island, and so it’s really an impossible task for anyone to pick ‘the best’ airbnbs on Samui. There are many pretty cool places to stay which offer more space and privacy than an equivalently priced hotel does.
I’ve put together a list of my picks for Airbnbs on Samui. And also noted the locations, as some visitors prefer to have easy access to the shops and bars, while others want a more secluded or romantic stay in a quieter area, away from package tourists and noisy nightlife.
So, instead of a dull hotel, check out these villa and condo rentals in Samui instead. Your money will go further. And that’s especially important given the exchange rates at the moment. There are some stunning villas listed but also cheaper options.
For example did you know you there is a beachfront villa available for under US$100/night? Or just US$40/night can get you a 3 bedroom pool villa 5 minutes walk from Lamai beach?
Top 5 Airbnb’s on Koh Samui
Five unique rental homes on Samui. Starting with the outrageous but also including a couple of very nice but affordable pool villas and cheaper options.
Villa Skyfall – Samui’s Most Luxurious Airbnb
Where to start with this truly awesome villa. Skyfall is a huge, 8 bedroom hilltop villa located overlooking Choeng Mon beach in the northeast corner of the island . Ideal for a group of friends or a family get together. And, you cannot beat the spectacular views over Koh Phangnan and Ang Thong Marine park. Decor is a mix of both modern and antique Thai and Asian furniture.
Guests also have indoor and outdoor bars, infinity pool, games room. Access to different floors is by private elevator. The the villa’s lighting, music system and private home cinema are state of the art and can be operated remotely using the villas Ipads which are provided for guests. Nightly rates from around 55,000 Baht.
Guest review: Skyfall is one of the best villas on the island hands down. With its 180 degree views of the ocean, the sunsets looked absolutely phenomenal. All the staff were excellent and there was even a private cinema for when we were all too tired to do anything.
More information, reviews and current prices: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/28971758
The Naked House – Lamai beach
Her’s proof that you don’t have to sell a kidney in order to afford to stay in a stunning villa on Samui. The owner, who is an architect, designer, photographer and artist, built the naked house over a period of a few years. He also designed and made a lot of the furniture. The house is perched half way up a remote hillside and surrounded by jungle.
It gets cooled naturally by the sea breeze. The highlight is the huge open plan living and kitchen area which opens out onto the swimming pool. This villa can sleep up to 6 Adults and 5 Children.
But with prices from under 5,000 Baht/night, it’s affordable to anyone who wants to enjoy one of the best airbnbs on Samui.
And it’s called the naked house as the walls are all bare cement. :-)
Guest review: We left your beautiful home this morning after 4days of great living experience surrounding by the nature. I wanted to congrats you for this impressive and perfectly achieved work under the naked house. Honestly been impressed by everything including the smallest details. I am working in a different field than architecture but also as a designer and I can tell, your home deserve the rank of master piece.
More information, reviews and current prices: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3251026
The Lookout Villa with Private Chef and Chauffeur
How about a stunning 3 bedroom villa with the privacy you require plus your own chauffeur driven S.U.V and expert private Thai chef . Sounds super expensive. But it’s not. You’ll pay the same as you would for a room in an average 5 star resort.The villas two full time staff will pamper you and provide assistance normally associated with only the best resorts. The property also boasts a large pool and sundeck plus home cinema.
Breakfast is included and the staff are on hand to run errands to the shops or take you out in the evening or to other beaches. Guests only pay for the cost of the fuel. All in all a great way to experience five star living, and with nightly rates from under 9,000 Baht.
Guest review: We spent the most amazing time at the villa. It’s incredibly clean and stylish, the view is great and the pool area is perfect to relax and chill. However, what makes the stay at the villa outstanding and unforgettable, is the presence of Khun Wat and Khun Kee. They are both so caring and helpful that you won’t miss anything during the stay. They cook really great fresh food, they are fantastic with kids, they take you to beautiful beaches or any other location on the island and help with anything you may need. We absolutely loved it there and it was the perfect location for our family with two small kids.
More information, reviews and current prices: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5697255
Chaya’s Pool Villa – Budget rental in Maenam
Not everyone can afford a super luxury villa. That level of service and luxury isn’t required for most people. I know if I stayed in one, I’d be worried about getting sand on the bedsheets or knocking over an antique vase after a few beers. :-)
How about this cozy two bedroom, two bathroom pool villa. It’s situated on a small development in the Maenam beach area on the north coast of Samui. It’s a no frills villa which has all the facilities you need for an inexpensive vacation. Both bedrooms have king size beds and there’s also a sofa bed in the living room. This is a quiet residential area, so you wont feel as though you are staying in a tourist trap. You’ll be able to eat and shop nearby but ideally you should have your own transport.
Nightly rates are from under 2,000 Baht and there are discounts for long stays. It has a slew of five star reviews from guests. A great spot for a family or couple who want to explore Samui away from the busy beach areas.
Guest review: Great location, quiet area, all the amenities I needed, large screen TV in a comfortable living room. Bed was comfortable, great AC, pool was fantastic, having the fish their was a nice bonus. Washing machine was very convenient. Chaya answered my messages instantly. Excellent place!
More information, reviews and current prices: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/32293696
Ban Laem Sor Tropical Beachfront Retreat
And of course, no ‘best of’ list would be complete without a beachfront villa. As with most Thai islands there aren’t many beachfront villas for rent on Samui. Due to insanely high land prices. But this villa is in an idyllic, out of the way location on the south coast of the island. It’s a totally different atmosphere to the main beach areas. No large resorts or nightlife nearby.
The villa consists of four separate pavilions which open out onto a tropical garden, terracotta patio and swimming pool. At the end of the garden lies your own private beach, with views to nearby islands. The villa has been designed to put the emphasis on barefoot, outdoor living. Guests can chill in the shade with a good book, swim in the pool, play or work out in the garden. The rooms are all decorated in a modern Thai style with hardwood floors and chunky bamboo beds.
Enjoy this private hideaway beachfront villa on Samui for around 30,000 Baht/night.
Guest review: This place is really special. It’s right on the beach which is just magical, particularly if you have kids. If you’re looking for an escape from the bustle of every day life this is the spot. Pong and Joseph (aka Tony) look after you beautifully too! It’s a little slice of heaven.
More information, reviews and current prices: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/18739528
Which Area of Koh Samui to Stay in?
Whilst resorts and rental villas are found across the island. There are four main areas that tourists stay in on Koh Samui. If you want easy access to tourist orientated facilities and restaurants then these areas are where you should look. There again, if you want a more peaceful and secluded vacation, it’s worth thinking outside the box and checking out options in the much sleepier south of the island and east coast. Transport is the main consideration if you’re in these areas. But car or scooter rental is cheap and there are also metered taxis and local ‘baht buses’ which can be used to get around the island.
Chaweng beach, in the north east of the island is the busiest beach on Koh Samui. The beach itself is excellent. A long swathe of sand fringed by coconut palms. And the area is home to the island’s largest shopping mall,plus a huge range of shops, bars and restaurants.
So Chaweng is an area for people who love to party or want all the activities and amenities within close distance of their resort or rental villa. It’s also a convenient spot to stay if you want to be near the airport, which is only a 15 minute drive north.
Lamai beach lies a little south of Chaweng. This area has been welcoming tourists for many years and so many of the resorts are old than those elsewhere on the island. This means that although it is a busy area. The resorts and airbnbs on offer here tend to be cheaper than other beach areas and Lamai doesn’t attract the high rollers as much as other parts of the island.
This allows for a more down to earth atmosphere. You wont feel the need to dress up when you go out for dinner. The vibe is very laid back. So it;s a popular option for families and people who like a good choice of bards and restaurants but aren’t planning on partying all night.
Bophut lies on the eastern end of the north coast of Samui. Thsi is a popular area for expats and the hillsides that rise above the fishing village and coastline are strewn with luxury villas, virtually all have stunning sea views. And many of which are available for rent. Houses in the old fishing village have been renovated or rebuilt into smart bars, boutiques and restaurants.
The 2km long beach, with great views north to Koh Pa Ngan, lies to the east of the village. Despite being a relatively short distance from Chaweng, Bophut has retained some of it’s charm and is a more traditional, less chaotic and family friendlier alternative to Chaweng beach.
The other main destination on the north coast is Maenam beach. This beach has a good range of accommodation with something to suit every budget. There are the plenty of options for backpackers or families on a budget and also for those looking for a luxury retreat. Inland there are a good selection of upmarket housing developments with villas that offer value for money, privacy and stunning views. The main downside is that this area is further form the airport and facilities such as large supermarkets. So it’s much easier if you have your own transport, either a scooter or rental car when staying in this area.
Why Stay in an Airbnb?
If you’re new to Airbnb, then you can use this link to sign up and save up to 1,650 Baht (about USD 53 or EUR 45) on your first booking.
The discount depends on the value of your booking. For example, you get ฿450 off a stay costing ฿1,750.
You have up to 30 days from signing up to make your first booking and receive the discount. So there’s no need to rush your decision about where to stay. Enjoy!
Here are three good reasons . . .
A More Local Experience
Many people travel half way around the world but then never leave their resort. Or if they do, it;s just to visit touristy sights and restaurants which cater to tourists. There’s an ever increasing number of people who have done this in the past, but now want to experience some of the local flavor a destination has to offer.
This is where the Airbnb host comes in. They usually have a great deal of local knowledge and will recommend places to go, activities and restaurants or bars which are popular with the people who live there. The Airbnb app allows for quick chats between the host and guest. So if you need a recommendation for a great seafood dinner but without the tourist pricing – ping your host.
The best hosts will also provide up to date travel information for guests, so that they will know how to get to the property and also get around the area easily and without over paying.
A major factor for many Airbnb users is the fact that they often provide far better value for money than a hotel does. Regardless of your budget you can find good value rentals, whether you’re looking for a basic apartment for a couple of weeks or a huge villa for a weekend of luxury.
And remember, if you haven’t tried Airbnb before, you can get up to 1,650 Baht discount off your first stay.
The coronavirus pandemic brought home the health risks of mingling with strangers. Whilst the risk of infection is relatively low for tourists, it might be better to be cautious for the next year or two until the virus is defeated and countries are given the all clear.
Some Airbnb users are also worried about their personal safety when it comes to staying in a condo, villa or house, rather than a hotel. However, Airbnb wants every guest to stay some place secure. Hosts are required to have good locks on all doors. Which they will as it’s their home, and they will want to be safe and secure when they are using it.
In addition, condominiums and housing development anywhere in Thailand, all have security guards on duty around the clock. Plus CCTV in public areas. So you’re probably safer here than at home. :-)
Hosts will also provide emergency contact numbers and Airbnb themselves has a 24/7 hotline for guest emergencies.
Four More Top Rated Airbnbs on Samui
If you still haven’t found your ideal property or the ones above are all booked for the dates that you require. Here are a few more worth checking out:
Two Bedroom Apartment with Shared Pool in Chaweng – This is a great value apartment, ideal for a family or friends. It’s in a peaceful location surrounded by nature but only 1km from Chaweng beach. This is a fully serviced apartment in a private residence with shared pool and sun deck. Daily cleaning is also included. The apartment features 2 double bedrooms, a bathroom with hot shower as well as a living lounge, kitchen with hot plate and balcony overlooking the pool and Chaweng Lake. There is also an extra terrace which is perfect for outside dining.
Rates from 1,900 Baht/night. Photos and prices: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1663016
Newly Renovated Beachfront Villa on Bang Po beach. This is for anyone who thinks beachfront homes are only for the wealthy. How about a two bedroom house right on the sand, with Netflix, SUP boards etc for under US$100/night? Of course there’s a catch, it’s located on the quiet western side of the island. But there again you get awesome sunset views, something folks on the busy east coast don’t enjoy. And it isn’t as secluded as the high priced five star villas. The road is at the rear of the property. But if you’re looking for a comfortable home to chill out in, loads of inexpensive Thai restaurants on your doorstep, then it’s definitely worth checking out.
Is it the best value beach villa on Koh Samui . . . you decide. :-) Photos and prices: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/30823075
Koh Samui Castle – You’re not going to find any location as spectacular as this modern, double-towered castle. It is set in a 2,000sqm landscaped garden and features a huge rock pool with 5 metre high waterfall. The castle is located on the highest peak of a secure gated community called Santi Thani. The property has 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms and can sleep up to 9 people. It’s not a luxury villa, but is very homely. The main highlights being the awesome views and huge garden area. You’ll need your own transport if you stay here, but assuming that’s not an issue this would be a great spot for a large family or group of friends to stay.
Prices from under 10,000 Baht/night. Photos and prices: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5382421
The Piedanlos Pool Villa – Lamai. It’s great to look at all the super luxury and offbeat listings on Airbnb, but most users are just looking for top rated, value formmoney accommodation in a good location. And here’s a prime example. A contemporary, fully air-conditioned three bedroom home in a residential area but only 250 metres walk to Lamai beach. No need for a car or scooter. Everything you need – the night market, supermarket, shops, restaurants & massage etc, is within easy walking distance. The house can sleep up to 7 people and with rates from 1,200 Baht/night, it’s got to be one of the best value Airbnb’s on the island.
Photos and prices: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2828108