Ban Rak, Koh Samui – Overview & Properties
Discover the hidden gem on Koh Samui’s north-east coast...
The north-east region of Koh Samui has it all - Samui International Airport, the beautiful, buzzing tourist hub of Chaweng and the restaurants and the nightlife at Fisherman’s Village and the Wharf. It also has a tranquil, tropical hideaway called Ban Rak which until recently has been a haunt for locals and backpackers. Lately, more tourists and expats have been discovering the area and there is just enough going on to make Ban Rak a brilliant choice for a holiday villa.
As well as being centrally located and a mere five-minute run from the airport, Ban Rak has a gorgeous white sandy beach. At around 4 km long, you are always guaranteed a quiet place in the sun. At each end of the beach the sea tends to be shallow and there are rocks and coral to navigate, but if you venture to the middle there is plenty of deeper sparkly blue waters for swimming.
Ban Rak is a great place to catch a boat or hire jet skis or speed boats. Old wooden piers jut out to sea and there are regular ferries or boats to the island of Koh Phangan or to Ang Thong Marine Park. Koh Phangan is the home of the infamous Full Moon Party - which is basically an all-night beach party beloved of travelers and backpackers. Sometimes the number of guests can hit the thousands but don’t worry if that’s not your scene: that sort of thing doesn’t happen in Ban Rak!
The nightlife in Ban Rak isn’t especially hip, but there is a good selection of bars and restaurants catering to all tastes. Along the main road there are a few English pubs including the Elephant and Castle and Brahms and Liszt. Meanwhile, down by the beach there are some great music bars with special music nights catering for lovers of anything from Northern Soul to 1970s and 1980s tunes. And, if that all sounds a bit much then you can also relax in one of the many spas in the local resorts. Don’t forget to try Ban Sabai Spa which is rated one of the best spas on the island and offers outstanding Thai massages and aromatherapy in a sumptuous setting.
In Koh Samui you are spoilt for choice for places to enjoy glorious sunsets. However, Ban Rak is genuinely one of the best places on the island for seeing the sun go down over the ocean - the view to the island of Koh Phangan makes it even more magical. There are lots of restaurants and sunset bars dotted along the beach to enjoy these breathtaking golden hours - the only problem you may have is choosing which one!
Ban Rak is relatively small, but it is right next door to the largest tourist attraction on the island, the Big Buddha temple (Wat Phra Yai). The impressive giant golden buddha is difficult to miss (you sometimes get a glimpse from the plane as you land on the island) but it’s worth checking out up close and having a wander around the peaceful temple which just happens to give you a great vantage point over the bay too.
In recent years Ban Rak has developed along the beach and there is a good selection of high- end resorts, restaurants and residential property. It doesn’t pretend to be Chaweng or any of the major tourist towns on the island, but it doesn’t need to - it has a charm all of its own.