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Beware “Sharks”

Swimming in salt water...

Koh Samui has great beaches and Chaweng beach is the biggest and regarded by many as the best beach on the island and is ideal for swimming at anytime of the day.

The water is clear and you can see the sandy bottom in water several metres deep. I liken it to swimming in a giant salt-water swimming pool.

If you enjoy swimming some distance from the beach do this before 9am as the jet skis hit the beach at this time. This is not a problem if you swim in the buoyed area meant for swimmers, but it is most definitely a problem if you want to swim further out.

Most jet skiers are responsible and do look out for swimmers, but it can be pretty scary when you see them coming towards you at full throttle.

There are many beaches you can swim from and wherever you are staying, a beach will be nearby.

If you are staying in the south of the island you will have to know the times of the tides as the water at low tide goes out a long way and, because the beaches are flat, the water is shallow except at high tide.

Checking tide tables can be a drag, so if you don't want the hassle then head to the north of the island. Here you can swim at low tide, as the water never goes out that far. Also, there are a good number of accessible beaches on this side of the island to choose from.

Water world for the kids

Choeng Mon Bay is very popular with families and has a number of hotels and bungalow resorts, as well as small restaurants situated along the beach and is good for swimming all day, as the water is safe with no underlying currents.

The bay overlooks Koh Farn Noi, a tiny island you can walk to at low tide, but mind the rocks and dead coral that litter this causeway.

For kids there is an inflatable fun castle in the water to play on. Here they can play kids games in the water and be occupied for hours on end. It's like water world and your kids will love it.

For those who want some action on the water, Choeng Mon also has jet skis. Unlike, other beaches such as Chaweng beach, there is only one company renting jet skis and they appear to be well organised. Families mainly use the jet skis here and you often see the kids being taken out on the water by their parents.

Tip: Before you hire a jet skis on any beach make sure you are insured and wear life jackets. Also, beware the "sharks". Inspect the jet ski for any damage, especially below the waterline, as I have heard of some scams where unsuspecting hirers are charged for damage, including scratches, they did not do.

If you are a visitor and not staying in one of the resorts along the bay you can get to the beach by walking through Sala Samui resort.

A little known fact is that the pathway, which runs through the centre of the resort, is a public right of way and the route taken to the beach by the company that rents the jet skis. You can also reach the beach through other resorts and restaurants.

Note: Despite what you may have been told, there are no private beaches in Thailand. Everyone has a right to go on any beach they wish. Only accessibility will prevent you from doing that.

Other beaches

On the northeast side of the island is Karma Samui a 5 star resort. It has its own sandy beach and can be reached by walking through the resort and pass the restaurant.

Of course, it is not private, but no one else goes on this beach accept occasionally the residents and a few locals who fish from the rocks. Although, there are rocks fringing this beach there is a passageway through them so swimmers can swim from the beach out to the open water.

This part of the coast is very pretty and overlooks Koh Matlang, a tiny island joined to the main part of the island by a thin sandbar at low tide.

Sometimes you get local fishing boats and tourist boats coming close to the shore here to fish, as there seems to be plenty of fish in this area due to the fact that there is live coral all around this area.

Other popular beaches on the north of the island are Bophut, where Fisherman's Village is and Maenam.

Down south, Lamai seems to be the most popular beach after Chaweng on the east coast.

There are many other beaches around the island, some of which will be deserted, so it is worth seeking them out. It is best if you get a map and ask around, as everyone will have their favourite beach.

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