Posted May 3rd, 2018, 01:59 PM
We are in our mid sixties. Four winters in Thailand. We love the county, the people, and the food.
We have been three beaches on Koh Samui, and had several stays in Phuket. We do not like Phuket. Far too touristy, too dificult to get around. We enjoyed our time in Koh Samui five years ago. It too is very touristy though less so than Phuket. Also, the beaches in Koh Samui are very different from each other. Bo Phut is a fishing village. The beach there has a very steep drop to the water. We did not like it as much-harder to walk along. Cheweng and Lamai (sp) had more sand, more tourists. We liked both. As I recall the waves on Lamia were bigger. Great walking beaches with places along the beach to stop for a drink and watch the world go by. Lots of restaurants with tables on the sand that served breakfast and lunch. As I recall only Bangkok Air flies directly to Koh Samui. The others fly to Surat Thani and then bus/ferry you to the island on the same ticket. Our regional airline of choice is Air Asia, thought we have used Nok Air a few times.
We have also stayed on the beaches an hour or so north of Phuket by cab/mini van in Khao Lak. Very nice beaches that we enjoyed. It really is not much longer than getting to some of the resorts on Phuket because of the traffic and the road system.
Our strong preference is the islands south of Phuket of which Ko Lanta is the largest. Less touristy, none of the sex outfits you see on Phuket. Less crowded. We stay at Long Beach (Phae An) or Klong Nin. You can get to Ko Lanta by ferry from Phuket or by flying into Krabi (our preference) and arranging a shuttle to the island. There are some other more rustic islands, some of which consist of a strip of beach. You arrive by long boat, fast ferry, etc. This past winter we stayed on Ko Ngai (only a beach) and Ko Libong for a few days each. On both islands, the beach was steps from our chalet.
We typically avoid the large western style resorts and stay in smaller, locally run places.
hope this helps