The capital of Samui, yes that’s right Samui does have a capital, lies on the north west coast of the island.

Nathon is the administrative centre of Samui Island, most government departments and company offices are situated here.

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Nathon is not a tourist area, more a port of call for over-land travelers. It’s the main ferry port between the mainland and Samui and the departure point for most tours to Ang Thong Marine Park. Those travelling by bus, train, car or on foot will most likely arrive on Samui in Nathon Town.

Testament to the sea ferried arrivals is the amount of taxis and Songthaews lined up at the port, eagerly awaiting a decent fare to the tourist hubs of Chaweng or Lamai. Also looking to cash in on arrivals are the many shops lining the seafront, renting cars, bikes and selling island tour tickets.

There is not much in the way accommodation in the town. If you're traveling onwards the next day, there are some small guesthouses where you can lay your head down for the night. Just outside of town there are a few small family owned resorts and bungalows along the beach.

From Nathon there are great views out to the Ang Thong Marine Park and the mainland area of Surat Thani is also on the horizon.

Along the waterfront are some lovely little restaurants to enjoy the view with a meal. Being on the west coast it’s a good spot to enjoy a sunset dinner. There are also a few restaurants dotted around the main and side street areas of the town. If you like your seafood you’re guaranteed same day caught fresh offerings at the restaurants in town.

If you want to see where dinner has come from just head down the waterfront. There's a small fish market with local fisherman’s wives selling their husbands catch from the previous night and early morning.

There’s no nightlife to speak of in Nathon, after dark the town closes down as things are starting to warm up in Chaweng.

Nathon is where the Thai locals come to do their shopping. The town represents much better value than the main tourist hubs. You won’t find as much choice, but you will find the prices are 30% to 50% cheaper than in Chaweng. The typical shop fronts and market halls are selling clothes, travel luggage, bags, gold, silver, DVDs and souvenir items.

A village area of Samui wouldn’t be the same without it’s standard multiple offering of pharmacies and 7-11’s.

If you are not passing through while travelling onwards, Nathon Town is definitely worth a visit for an afternoon of shopping or lazy afternoon lunch by the sea.


By any mode of transport it’s approximately 30 minutes from Chaweng and 40 minutes from Lamai.