Beaches & Hotels
May 15, 2024

13 unusual places to stay on Koh Samui

Do you love to stay in quirky places, and can't get enough character? From teak villas to jungle huts, tents to shipping containers, here are my favourites…

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Koh Samui's most unusual places to stay

Do you love to stay in quirky places, and can't get enough character? From one-star to five-star, teak villas to jungle huts, tents to shipping containers, you'll find an incredible range of options for unusual places to stay on Koh Samui. Here are my favourite thirteen.

1. Melia Koh Samui

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: Melia Koh Samui
Melia Koh Samui, Choeng Mon, Koh Samui
  • Stars: 5 stars
  • Location: Beachfront in Choeng Mon
  • Rating: 9.4 out of 10

What's unusual? You know those 'struggle is real' days when you can't get out of bed? Book a pool access room or suite at Melia Koh Samui and, with next to no effort, roll out of bed and straight into the pool (your balcony steps lead directly into the water). Alternatively, reserve a Boat Suite and sleep in a boat (pictured). The ideal Koh Samui resort for water babies, swimmers, paddlers, guppies and water aerobics enthusiasts who only have eyes for the pool (but Choeng Mon Beach is pretty amazing, too).

What to pack: Waterproof sunscreen

2. The Mud

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: The Mud
The Mud, Bang Po, Koh Samui
  • Stars: 2 stars
  • Location: Beachfront in Bang Po
  • Rating: 8.9 out of 10

Where's the quirkiness? Top to bottom. Driving past, The Mud appears to be one of the most unusual places to stay on Koh Samui. The Mud's aesthetic is 'The Flintstones' beach bungalow' – with extra doses of bamboo. Comfort items include your own porch-front hammock and in-room back-scratchers. Enjoy incredible sunsets from the small resort pool. Daily batik painting is offered for kids and families, with lots of live music. The latest addition: A completely circular bamboo house with sunset views.

What to pack: mosquito repellent and lots of books

3. SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort
SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort, Chaweng, Koh Samui
  • Stars: 5 stars
  • Location: Beachfront in Chaweng
  • Rating: 9.3 out of 10

What's unusual? Want style, love minimalism and have always thought your balcony should be an actual infinity pool? SALA Chaweng Beach Resort is a palace of white – with in-room infinity pools that defy my understanding of gravity. The resort is a total renovation of a pre-existing property and the result is bright white everything; a vibe somewhere between Miami and Mykonos – with a tiny dash of 'spaceship' on the side.

Tip: for extra privacy, book a balcony pool suite on the second or third floor.

What to pack: A (white) swimsuit per day

4. The Jungle Club

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: The Jungle Club
The Jungle Club, Chaweng Noi, Koh Samui
  • Stars: 3 stars
  • Location: In the hills overlooking Chaweng and Chaweng Noi
  • Rating: 9.0 out of 10

What's unusual? Jungle living, for "not jungle people". If, notionally, you love the idea of nature but would never, ever camp: The Jungle Club might be your answer. Newly built and newly renovated options include jungle bungalows, jungle huts, jungle lodges, a jungle house and jungle villa. Choose a Jungle Lodge for the best views and most privacy and the Jungle House to avoid bugs (its construction is fully enclosed).

Tip: If you're interested in bird-watching, I've seen some incredible birds at The Jungle Club – truly the pursuits of taking it easy.

What to pack: Mosquito nets are provided but bring plenty of insect repellent as well. A guitar would suit your surroundings very well.

5. Khwan Beach Resort

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: Khwan Beach Resort
Khwan Beach Resort, Maenam, Koh Samui
  • Stars: 4 stars
  • Location: Two minutes' walk to Maenam Beach
  • Rating: 8.8 out of 10

What's unusual? Your only chance for glamping on Koh Samui. Promising "art and heart", Khwan Beach Resort is adults-only and has both pool villas and glamping tents. Tents have air-conditioning, WiFi, smart TVs with a totally private garden area (and totally open-to-the-skies bathrooms). Tents range in size from 55sqm (~600sqft) for one bedroom to 110sqm (~1200sqft) for two bedrooms.

What to pack: Mosquito repellent and a jaunty Panama hat

6. Kimpton Kitalay Samui

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: Kimpton Kitalay Samui
Kimpton Kitalay Samui, Choeng Mon, Koh Samui
  • Stars: 5 stars
  • Location: Choeng Mon
  • Rating: 8.3 out of 10

What’s unusual? It's so pet-friendly it has its own pet ambassador, Emma the yellow lab. Oh, and the only Olympic-sized swimming pool on Koh Samui.

What to pack: Your dog. (Or some racing swimming goggles if you're coming for the pool).

7. New Star Beach Resort

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: New Star Beach Resort
New Star Beach Resort, Chaweng Noi, Koh Samui (Not pictured: Rubber ducks)
  • Stars: 4 stars
  • Location: Beachfront in Chaweng Noi
  • Rating: 8.3 out of 10

Where’s the quirkiness? On arrival, when you find a lobby stocked with hundreds of rubber ducks. On the beach, where you'll find giant rubber ducks. In your room, where you'll meet – wait for it – yet more rubber ducks. New Star is a wonderful four-star beach resort, suited to couples and families alike, with a double dose of 'sanuk' (Thai for anything fun, funny, cheeky or amusing). What's with the ducks? An attempt to break the world record for the largest collection. If you prefer salty to sweet, book for the New Year's Eve pirate party. Great food!

What to pack: Best chance for an upgrade? Bring more rubber ducks. (Not kidding).

8. The Library

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: The Library
The Library, Chaweng, Koh Samui
  • Stars: 5 stars
  • Location: Beachfront in Chaweng
  • Rating: 8.8 out of 10

What's unusual? Its blood-red pool is just the start. As a self-described 'Unique Conceptual Resort', you'll find surprise features throughout The Library. The resort's public bathrooms, for instance, have stall doors that are mirrored on the outside but are windows within. (So think twice about the poses you strike when you think you're alone in the sink area). Way more romantic is The Library's 'Breakfast Culture': inviting you to breakfast in bed, on the beach. Love your privacy? Look to 'Secret Chapters private (saltwater) pool villas.

What to pack: Statement sunglasses for poolside reading (The Library's library has 1400 books available)

9. New Hut Bungalows

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: New Hut Bungalows
New Hut Bungalows, Lamai, Koh Samui
  • Stars: 1 star
  • Location: Beachfront in Lamai
  • Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Where's the quirkiness: Seriously? New Hut offers actual beach huts – like actual huts on stilts – painted in Crayola's brightest colours. If you've ever wanted to try 'tiny house living' (for less than US$10 per night), New Hut Bungalows are both cheap and cheerful.

What to pack: Sunscreen, swimsuit and little else.

10. Buri Rasa Village Samui

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: Buri Rasa Village Samui
Buri Rasa Village Samui, Chaweng, Koh Samui
  • Stars: 4 stars
  • Location: Beachfront in Chaweng
  • Rating: 9.4 out of 10

What's unusual? Given its central Chaweng location, Buri Rasa offers time-travel to an older Thailand. Rooms and suites are housed in teak buildings built in traditional southern Thai style. Set amongst mature trees, the result is the perfect balance to the modern frenzy of Chaweng. If you want sun and shade, beachfront and a forest-feeling, to me, Buri Rasa Village is a one-off.

What to pack: Flip-flops and a linen shirt

11. Varinda Resort

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: Varinda Resort
Varinda Resort, Lamai, Koh Samui
  • Stars: 3 stars
  • Location: Hillside in Lamai
  • Rating: 8.9 out of 10

Where’s the quirkiness? If a pack of hippie children, hyped up on kombucha, were given paintbrushes and told to run riot with their favourite inspirational quotes – they'd find their work already done at Varinda. Flower Children, Earth Mothers, dog lovers, step right up: you're going to find like-minded friends at Varinda Resort. Does the owners' invitation to "get back to nature" sound charming and characterful? If so, you'll love your stay. If you can't abide elderly plumbing and electrics, maybe not. Indeed, Varinda best suits 'mai pen rai' ('nevermind'/no worries) travellers who expect nothing to work and are delighted when it does.

What to pack: Books, mosquito repellent, a flashlight

12. Us Hostel Samui

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: Us Samui
Us Samui , Bophut, Koh Samui
  • Stars: 2 stars
  • Location: Bophut (Ten-minute walk to Fisherman's Village)
  • Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Where’s the quirkiness? Ever wonder where the cool kids hang out? If you're backpacking or just want to meet some travel buddies – Samui Us Hostel takes the converted-shipping-crate trend and runs with it. Hang out poolside on bean bags or in the open-air bar/coffee shop space – in the company of ten cats. Games Nights precede the shuttle bus to parties and nightlife in Chaweng. (As for 'pool rules?' Smoke or drink in the pool and you have to buy the water to refill it).

What to pack: Your charades A-Game

13. Cactus Bungalow

Unusual Places to Stay on Koh Samui: Cactus Bungalow
Cactus Bungalow, Bophut, Koh Samui

Update: Cactus Bungalow is closed ... watch this space. I'm hoping it's just hibernating.

Where’s the quirkiness? While finding these rates (typically US$15-30/night) on Bophut Beach is highly unusual, Cactus Bungalow comes through on the quirkiness, too. Bar stools? No. How about barbershop chairs. White walls? No. Tiger murals. Dragon murals. Square rooms and flat floors? No. Curvy better. As with The Mud (see above), Cactus Bungalows evokes a very Flintstones feeling. Yabba-dabba-do for as little as US$15/night. You get no frills (look elsewhere for in-room fridges, hairdryers, etc) but you do get tiger murals and a beach.

What to pack: All your own toiletries (and mosquito repellent).

Unusual places to stay on Koh Samui

Hopefully these 13 choices have given your some brand new options for where to stay, but if your requirements are more specific, try these resources below.

P.S. You can find every tip for Koh Samui's best beaches and hotels in the archive, or subscribe by email and get all the details straight to your inbox. Enjoy!