While the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi off the Andaman coast often grabs the headlines, the Gulf side of Thailand isn’t exactly lacking when it comes to gorgeous islands. And, one of its jewels is Koh Samui. It’s far from undiscovered (there are a shopping centre and an airport), but it offers natural beauty, both in beaches and green spaces. Planning a trip? Here are the best backpacker hostels on the island that you can now book with Culture Trip.
Chill Inn Beach Cafe & Hostel
Courtesy of Chill Inn Beach Cafe & Hostel / Expedia | Courtesy of Chill Inn Beach Cafe & Hostel / Expedia
Chill Inn Beach Cafe is run by a friendly, well-travelled Irish-Thai couple, Shane and Pop, who specialise in helping guests plan their time on Koh Samui and beyond. A shared bungalow and sea-view dorms spill out onto a pleasant little cove – but there’s a little more going on at Lamai Beach, a 10-minute tuk-tuk ride north. If you’re here to party, round up some of your fellow travellers – your hosts can arrange great rates for group transfers to brash but entertaining Chaweng.
You’ll get exceptional value for money at P & T Hostel, which provides clean double rooms and dorms and a restaurant serving cheap and tasty Thai food. Kind and generous hosts Pim and Tony can help you plan your Thai adventures; borrow a bicycle to reach local landmarks such as the Big Buddha and the immersive 3D Art Samui Museum.
Who knew a hostel made of bright orange shipping containers could be so cool – let alone comfortable? Just a short walk from Chaweng Beach, Ubox Hostel is ideal for travellers looking to be at the centre of the Koh Samui nightlife. Start your evening with a Chang or two at the bunting-draped bar by the outdoor pool before heading to Soi Green Mango for a boozy pub crawl.
The private rooms at Lub d have bold floral feature walls and sea-facing balconies, while swish dorms have lockers in which you can charge your devices and stairs instead of ladders leading to the top bunks – two game changers. Show off your moves at the regular beach parties (soundtracked by a DJ floating above the pool) – Chaweng Beach isn’t the worst place to nurse a hangover, after all.
If home-cooked food and a quiet, beachy location are top of your Koh Samui wish list, look no further than Aforetime Beach House. This traditional teak house near Taling Ngam Beach is more than 65 years old – and the dorms, while modern, are respectful of the original style. You won’t find much going on here past 6pm, but amiable host Chompoo does a mean barbecue.
Behind the Scene has a bright colour scheme and quirky furniture that perfectly capture the fun vibe of its Chaweng location. It has large mixed and female-only dorms, smaller twin-bunked dorms and hotel-esque private rooms. The comfy living area is a great place to meet new buddies – cement your friendship at the hostel’s nightclub and the rooftop terrace.
Located in Chaweng, close to the Central shopping mall, this hostel is ideally placed for those who want to see the livelier side of the island. The location is the hostel’s key selling point, but its decor isn’t far behind; the crisp minimalist white look is reassuringly modern and provides a sense of calm that’s often hard to come by in Chaweng. There are large dormitories, both mixed and female-only, plus a small outdoor pool next to the onsite bar.
Despite the simple (and arguably unimaginative) name, Samui Hostel has some of the most well-thought-out decor in the area. While the rooms are simple, the communal areas are decorated with a distinctly Thai flair, with wall hangings and ornaments that provide an air of authenticity in a part of the island where authenticity has all-but died. The superior dorm rooms offer a change from the simple metallic-framed bunk beds, resembling something of a boat cabin instead.
Located near the white-sanded Choeng Mon Beach and night market of the same name, Sirin Samui has plenty to keep you entertained. It has both dorm and private rooms, while the clean white colour scheme of the hostel won’t leave you worrying about the cleanliness of the place. With an onsite restaurant, communal areas with a pool table, and a private pool on offer, it has more than some hotels do on the island – at just a fraction of the price.
It might be a little far from the action for some, but Dream Cat-Cher Hostel is ideal if you’re looking for a relaxing beach break. It sits right by the sands, within walking distance of the ferry port in Nathon. The friendly owners will go out of their way to make your trip worthwhile. The dorms are basic, but fine for a few nights – it is a hostel after all. Air conditioning makes the stay comfortable, and the cats that live on the property provide a homely feel.
For something a little different, Casa Luna is a great option. It holds a distinctly bohemian vibe (think North Africa meets Mediterranean decor), and there are humble-yet-comfortable dorms. There are a bar and a tapas restaurant attached to the hostel, and, with a location next to the Big Buddha statue on the northern edge of the island, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better-placed retreat. Add friendly staff into the mix, and you have the recipe for a perfect backpacker hostel.
Clean, white and modern – what really makes P168 stand out from the crowd are its capsule rooms, meaning you can enjoy a little more space and privacy than you might in other nearby hostels. Each pod also comes with a television, should you be yearning to catch up on your Thai soaps. And, if capsules don’t appeal, there are a number of private rooms, too. An onsite restaurant, helpful staff and a great price round out the offerings nicely.
Us Hostel has an ideal location near both the gorgeous Bophut Beach and the Big Buddha statue. Shipping-container rooms are surprisingly hipster-friendly, and humble mixed dorms and private rooms are available. You can also look forward to an onsite restaurant and a refreshing swimming pool. There’s a strong social aspect here, too, fostered by the inviting communal spaces and laid-back atmosphere that surrounds the place and typifies the island itself.