I can tell you that the most popular beaches on Ko Samui are Lamai, Chawang, and Bophut. These beaches are tourist hubs due to the ample amounts of restaurants, hotels, bars, crowds, and parties, but it is my opinion that although beautiful, they are the least attractive of the beaches on the island primarily due to demographic (ahem, beach snob, ahem). There is no good snorkeling on the island, not much to see. You heard it here first.
Lamai has beautiful rock structures, as well as the classic grandmother and grandfather rocks at the Southern end, but it definitely has a sketchy sleezy scene. It was one of the only beaches that had any shells and pieces of coral washed up on the beach, which makes it worthy of a stroll and not much more.
Chawang is the most popular beach on Koh Samui, and is always hopping with crowds, party goers, boat traffic, jet skiis, bar music, pesky vendors and a seedy scene. Do not go here for peace and quiet. However, based solely on asthetics, it is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Wide patches of dusty white sand stretch for several kilometres along Samui’s east coast. If you arrive early morning, before the bustle starts, it’s easy to see why this was the first beach area to lure tourists to Samui.
Bophut beach is not as memorable, but it is a good family beach, and is right next to the Fisherman’s Market which makes it a convenient place to hang out for the day.
My favorite beach was Chawang Noi beach. In order to get to the beach you have to trespass through New Star Resort. Be weary of the alligators on the property. A lot of the resorts will approach you and tell you that you need to pay in order to lay on the beach, but I somehow managed to beach bum without charge. The beach is incredible, so quiet and peaceful, and a great place to swim. With white powder sand and clear blue water spotted with beautiful rock formations, I will never forget it. There are a few restaurants within walking distance, and not many people.
The longest of the north coast beaches, Mae Nam beach boasts the wide open stretches of sand that are a distant memory down in Chaweng and Lamai. Families, long-stayers and non-partying backpackers will appreciate Mae Nam’s tranquility and convenience, with a location that puts busier Bophut and other beaches within easy striking distance. You’ll also find some good food in Mae Nam village, situated at the centre of the beach. It is a great place to go for peace and quiet. It is easy to get a spot on the beach far from anyone else, but still close enough that you can grab a bite to eat from one of the restaurants if need be. It is a great place to swim, with the softest white sand and an expansive view of neighboring Koh Phangan.