Why not head to the ‘beautiful shore’?
All-year tropical sunshine, palm-fringed beaches, turquoise seas, vibrant nightlife yet affordable and laidback living - Koh Samui has it all if you’re looking for a beautiful home overseas. However, if your dream is for somewhere quiet and less developed then there is a small piece of paradise called Taling Ngam in the south-west of the island and it has white sandy beaches and a whole lot more...
Taling Ngam was called ‘Taling Punk’ meaning damaged shore after a storm hit the area in 1900 but it was renamed Taling Ngam meaning ‘beautiful shore’ in 1942 – a name which truly befits these pristine, tranquil beaches. Life around here hasn’t changed too much since then – lush jungle still kisses the shoreline, there are countless coconut and banana plantations, and there are plenty of traditional wooden dwellings with local people living simple lives based around farming and fishing. You will find tourist accommodation, luxury villas and even a few restaurants in the area but nothing seems to intrude on the natural beauty of the area.
Down on the pretty white beaches, you won’t find as many watersports on offer as some of the larger resorts but on the up side you will be able to laze away the afternoon listening to the waves gently lap against the sand. Swimming is a dream in the calm, shallow azure waters. Snorkeling and scuba diving are other highlights and you’re guaranteed some super sights as the area is next to the Angthong Marine National Park.
Taling Ngam really is a place to relax and enjoy the slower pace of life - something that you can celebrate each evening with a sundowner as the sun sets over the Five Islands - known locally as Ko Si Ko Haa. These five rocks are just a few hundred metres from the headland and are home to thousands of swifts. You can tour the ‘islands’ on a longtail boat and, if you’re lucky, you may meet the human inhabitants of the islands - known locally as ‘Sea Gypsies’ - whose simple wooden homes hug the side of the cliffs.
If you’re not totally overcome by laziness at Taling Ngam then there are activities like sea kayaking and jeep jungle tours as well as local places of interest to visit such as the Butterfly and Insect Kingdom or the temple, Wat Kiri Wong Karam where you’ll discover the mummified body of Luang Por Ruam (a well-known monk who died in 1966). If that sounds like too much effort, then there are some excellent health spas at the local luxury holiday resorts where you can be pampered and massaged to your heart’s content.
If shopping is your thing then Nathon Town, the business centre of the island is only about a 15-minute drive away. This old port town is also a great place to watch the ferries deliver herds of backpackers and other travelers to the island. Down by the waterside you’ll find shops, internet cafes, secondhand book shops and some great seafood restaurants selling an array of authentic Thai dishes at very reasonable prices. 
Taling Ngam may feel like a tranquil paradise caught in a time warp but it’s actually rather quick and simple to get to; Samui International Airport is about 45 minutes away. Meanwhile, it’s quite easy to reach other destinations; Lamai Beach is around 3 km away, Bo Phut Beach about 10 km away and Chaweng Beach approximately 24 km away. In fact, Taling Ngam ticks so many boxes it’s a wonder that this timeless part of Koh Samui has been a secret for so long.