Santiburi Beach Resort: Ultimate Luxury in Koh Samui

By Mark Wiens 31 Comments
Santiburi Beach Resort Koh Samui
Mae Nam Beach from Santiburi Beach Resort, Koh Samui

Having just returned home from Malaysia, Ying (my wife) and I were pretty content to spend some time in Bangkok.

I finally had some time to gather my thoughts and photos and publish some posts about the marvelous food we ate in Penang.

But then, just a week or so later, we got an invitation to stay at a resort in Koh Samui, one of Thailand’s most famous islands.

Having never been to Koh Samui, I was excited to go, and to stay at what was probably the most luxurious resort I’ve ever stayed at in my life…

Things to do in Koh Samui
Great view of Ko Pha Ngan

I’v been based in Thailand, blogging about travel and food since 2009, but I had never had a chance to go to Koh Samui before.

So Ying and I headed to Koh Samui to stay for a few days at Santiburi Beach Resort, and do as much as we could on the island.

How to get from Bangkok to Koh Samui
Taking the ferry from Donsak Pier to Koh Samui

How to get from Bangkok to Koh Samui

Koh Samui is an island in the province of Surat Thani in the south of Thailand.

If you want to fly from Bangkok to Koh Samui there are two different ways:

We quickly booked a flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani on Air Asia for about 1,600 THB.

While on the airplane, they came around and sold bus and ferry combination tickets to Koh Samui for 400 THB, which we purchased.

The flight took an hour, and right outside the airport there was a bus that drove us directly to Donsak Pier and took about 1.5 hours.

We then had about a 45 minute wait at Donsak Pier until our Seatran Ferry departed. The ferry also took about 1.5 hours.

It was hassle free, and the entire trip from Bangkok to Koh Samui took about 5.5 hours and cost about 2,100 THB ($61.22) for each of us.

Santiburi Beach Resort
Santiburi Beach Resort – Koh Samui

Getting to Santiburi Beach Resort

After grabbing a quick lunch, Ying and I jumped in the back of a rot songthaew (a public mini truck) and headed north along the main highway.

Santiburi Beach Resort* is located in on a beach of Koh Samui called Mae Nam, located on the northern side of the island.

The ride took about 20 minutes or so, and charged us 50 THB ($1.46) per person, and we got off the rot songthaew along the main road just outside the gate of the resort.

elegant Thai
Elegant Thai style

The elegant Thai style of the reception entrance of the hotel reminded me of The Local restaurant, one of my favorite higher end Thai restaurants in Bangkok – and the place Ying and I actually had our wedding ceremony.

Santiburi Beach Resort
Beautiful gardens of Santiburi

Along with the beautifully designed and furnished interior of the hotel, even more impressive was the outdoor grounds.

The entire resort was a botanical garden, filled with fountains and swaying palm trees and tropical flowers.

swimming pool Koh Samui
The pool was enormous!

Just outside the main lobby was one of the most ridiculously large swimming pools I have ever seen in my life – it was the size of a lake.

The staff mentioned it was the biggest swimming pool on Koh Samui.

Ocean view villa
Our ocean view villa

Ocean view villa

We checked in, and then took a walk through the grounds of the resort, and I was honestly blown away with how beautiful the grounds were.

Santiburi Beach Resort covers an area of over 23 hectares, and though they have a variety of different room options, most of the accommodation are private villa style.

Ying and I had a ocean view villa all the way at the front of the resort, just up the bank of sand from the beach.

Santiburi Koh Samui
Room at Santiburi Koh Samui

The room included a big entrance room with a sitting area and TV.

Proceeding into the next room was a huge bed, much longer then many of the beds I normally stay in while traveling in Thailand. My legs didn’t hang off the edge of the bed here that’s for sure.

Santiburi Beach Resort review
One of the largest bathrooms I’ve ever used

But by far the most glorious thing about our villa at Santiburi Resort was the bathroom; I didn’t even know what half the stuff in the bathroom did or was supposed to be used for.

Anyway, there was a giant round tub at the back of the bathroom, a duo of sinks with about 20 different bathroom amenities including soaps, shavers, lotions, and all sorts of stuff.

hotel santiburi
Private swimming pool

Finally, through the shower and out the door, there was a private mini swimming pool within our own private courtyard.

Santiburi Spa
An experience at the Santiburi Spa

Santiburi Spa

Spas and massages are kind of like movies for me.

It’s not that I don’t like them, but I just really don’t like taking the time to do them. I always have blogging to do, or video editing, and I don’t like sitting around idle when I know there’s something I could be doing.

But as soon as we arrived to Santiburi Beach Resort and checked in, we were invited to have a Thai spa massage treatment.

There was no way I was going to say no this time.

Thai massage spa
If I remember… I think I had the lemongrass.

After changing to the little tiny underwear provided, they went over the type of spa treatment they recommended for me – a Sukothai style hot rock massage – and it sounded good to me.

I honestly barely knew what happened during the massage. All I know is that 1.5 hours felt like it went by in a few minutes.

All I remember is hot smooth rocks gliding up and down my limbs, pushing into my muscles at just the right strength, with the aroma of lemongrass, and the faint sound of traditional Thai music in the background.

I felt like a new man afterwards.

I probably won’t be doing another spa treatment or having a massage anytime soon again, but I can definitely say it was amazing.

Rim Talay restaurant Koh Samui
Dinner at Rim Talay – my first time to eat pizza in a long time

Dinner at Rim Talay

There are two restaurants at Santiburi Beach Resort, Rim Talay, an international restaurant on the beach, and Sala Thai, a Thai restaurant. We stayed at the resort for two nights, and we got to try both of the restaurants.

I didn’t care that much for Sala Thai as the flavors of the Thai dishes were quite toned down to cater to tourists, but Rim Talay was excellent.

The atmosphere along the beach, and the selection of food was pretty good. Ying and I shared a tuna salad which included strips of seared tuna, a grilled red snapper, and finally a pizza topped with olives and prosciutto.

Buffet breakfast
Buffet breakfast

Breakfast

Just like at most luxury resorts in Koh Samui, breakfast was also included, and it was a breakfast buffet.

Ying and I are kind of weird, we like to wake up early and try to be the first ones at the breakfast buffet – maybe that’s because we like to eat so much.

The breakfast buffet was pretty typical of any breakfast buffet with an egg station, a waffle and pancake station, and a section of pastries and salads.

An omelet topped with a few scoops of prik nam pla (Thai chilies in fish sauce) with a touch of lime juice was the highlight of the breakfast buffet for me.

food in Koh Samui
I got to eat some things I don’t eat too often living in Thailand, like cheese and smoked salmon

But also, since I normally eat pretty exclusively Thai food when I’m at home in Bangkok, I do enjoy things like olives, cheese, and smoked salmon at hotel breakfast buffets.

Santiburi Country Club Golf Course
We took a ride around Santiburi Country Club Golf Course

Santiburi Country Club Golf Course

Still drowsy from the massage and the feather pillows we slept on, and the buffet breakfast, we took a drive over to Santiburi Country Club Golf Course, which is one of the main parts of the resort, located about a 5 minute drive up the hill.

We didn’t play golf, though if I have time to play next time I’d love to, but we just went to get some views of Koh Samui from the course.

Koh Samui golf
The views of Koh Samui from the golf course were impressive

Santiburi Golf Course is the only full golf course on Koh Samui and built on the side of a mountain, it’s supposed to be one of the most scenic courses in Thailand.

We jumped in a golf cart and drove around the winding course, enjoying the views – it was a lot of fun.

Mae Nam beach in Koh Samui
Mae Nam beach is one of the best in Koh Samui

Lazing on the beach

After having an amazing Koh Samui street food khao gaeng (rice and curry) lunch, which I’ll write more about over on eatingthaifood.com, Ying and I spent the remainder of the afternoon drinking coffee, and alternating from our room to the hammock between two palm trees.

best beach resorts Koh Samui
Relaxing on the beach with the view was the highlight

From the beach, there was a great view of Koh Pha Ngan (famous for its rowdy full moon party) – so close, yet I’m quite happy we were far removed from any parties – rather enjoying peaceful, secluded relaxation.

Santiburi Beach Resort
Just after sunrise in the morning at Santiburi Beach Resort

Like it should be at any beach resort, the highlight of staying at Santiburi Beach Resort was by all means the beach.

I think they did a very good job of keeping it extremely clean, spacious, with lots of umbrellas and palm trees for shade.

It was pure luxury.

Santiburi Hotel Koh Samui
Luxury stay in Koh Samui

If you have a few minutes, here’s a full travel vlog about going from Bangkok to Koh Samui, eating, and arriving to Santiburi:

(Or you can click here to watch it on YouTube)

Conclusion

I told my wife this too, Santiburi Beach Resort is sort of the image you’d think about when you dream of visiting a beach in Thailand – or the one that’s depicted in magazines about Thailand –  just on an extreme luxury level.

The design of the hotel was elegant Thai, the grounds were beautifully manicured and full of palm trees, the beach was beautiful, and quite literally they offered more activities than you could probably do in a month of staying there.

I can for sure say that Santiburi Beach Resort was probably the most luxurious place I’ve ever stayed in my life.

NOTE: As I’ve mentioned throughout this article, my wife Ying and I were invited to stay at Santiburi Beach Resort in Koh Samui for 2 nights, so I didn’t pay to stay here. But the writing and photos in this blog post are my personal honest opinion.

31 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • vishal kaushik

    1 week ago

    Hurrrrreeeyyy!! Amazing blog post. Please keep sharing.

  • Dimas Frolov

    3 years ago

    This is really good hotel.
    Especially for families. One of famliy-friendly hotel on the island

  • Mei

    4 years ago

    Hi Mark! My friends and I are considering Koh Samui as a side trip from Bangkok in December. Many forums suggested renting a motorbike to get around the island. Sounds fun but I’m not sure if we can/should navigate a motorbike on completely strange roads (coming from the US). Is it easy to ride rot songthaew for non Thai speaking individuals? Are they readily available on the island?

    Big fan! Keep doing what you do 🙂

  • Shilpi

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark!
    It was lovely reading your blog. My husband and I would definitely love to visit this resort soon. Could you please let us know what your stay at the resort cost you?
    Sincere thanks,
    Shilpi

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Thank you Shilpi, awesome to hear that, I was on a sponsored stay here, so I didn’t pay for my stay. But they have current rates on sites like booking.com or agoda.com that you can look into. Thanks!

  • Mary Y. Leo

    5 years ago

    Picutres are so relaxing, I used some for my PC background/screen savers, hope that’s OK with you.

    Thank you.

  • Talon TV

    6 years ago

    I’m Thai but I had never had a chance to go to Koh Samui before.

  • Sally rilana ernst

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark.

    Thank you so auch for your great you tubr channel. We will heading to Thailand this year in August for the verschiedenen first time in ihr lives. I come from germany
    Is that possible to give me some information about online booking for Hotels and ferrys ? Do you have a few insiders for travelling saftey in Thailand?
    Thank you so much sincerley sally

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Sally, great to hear from you, glad you’ll be coming to Thailand soon. For hotels, I normally book with either agoda or booking.com, both good. For ferry’s you typically just show up at the ferry pier and buy your ticket. For safety, Thailand is overall quite safe, just don’t be too flashy, and be careful of your purse / pockets in crowded areas. Hope you have an amazing trip to Thailand!

  • Farhad

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    Next time please try to explore also budget accommodation area in Koh Samui.
    Traveler like me those who can’t afford more than $50 per night room would be very much helpful.

  • Hokyun

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    My wife and I read and watch your blog and vlog on a daily basis. We have become your great fan!
    We actually stayed in Thailand for 4 months in 2013. We stayed in Chiang Mai most of the time but also visited Bangkok, Chiang Rai, and Maesariang (Maesariang is not a popular destination but we found the town quite wonderful), and also had a side trip to Laos. We had an amazing time and we always miss Thailand. Reading and watching your blog and vlog make us wanting to go back to Thailand so badly!
    We thank you very much for telling us your story about your life in Thailand and showing us all the wonderful food you eat. We can’t wait to go back and try some of the things you ate.

    By the way, the price of the flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui you mentioned in this post is for both ways or one way?
    We would like to visit Koh Samui on our next trip.

    Thanks again for everything you do. You are a hero to me!

    By the way, my wife and I are Korean currently staying in Montreal, Canada.

    Cheers,
    Hokyun

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hello Hokyun,

      Great to hear from you, thank you very much for your kind comment and for your support. Glad you enjoyed your time in Thailand a few years ago and hope you can come back to visit again in the future.

      For the price of flights, the price I mentioned is one way for one person. But keep checking on airlines and if you book far in advance you may be able to get a better deal as well.

      Do you go to visit Korea often?

      Thank you again for your support,
      Mark

      • Hokyun

        6 years ago

        Hi again!

        Thanks for your kind reply and information on the flight ticket price.
        We visit Korea quite often. Since I run an online business – business consulting/research/translation, things like that – we get to travel and stay wherever we want as long as we have laptop and internet connection, just like you. But right now, we are stuck here for a while helping parents.
        We will say hi if we ever bump into you in Bangkok or any part of the world.

        Cheers,
        Hokyun

        • Mark Wiens

          6 years ago

          Hey Hokyun, you’re welcome, great to hear that. Sounds good, hope to bump into you in the future as well.

  • Viv

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark! We rented & lived just along the beach from the Santiburi for 9 years. Loved Maenam,& the beach is the best on the whole island in my opinion. Look forward to your food reviews

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Viv, great to hear from you, and thanks for the tip about Maenam. I only got to visit Maenam and Lamai on this trip to Koh Samui, and Maenam was definitely the better beach out of the two in my opinion, so glad to hear your opinion about the entire island. Thank you!

  • Arifur Rahman

    6 years ago

    This beach is like the saint martin beach in Bangladesh, but the hotels are luxurious. I like the arrangement. And i wish i could visit there for a week. Impressive post.

  • hossaingoni

    6 years ago

    Mind blowing……………….. What the beautiful resort i have never seen, That’s my bad luck that this resort isn’t in my country. If it were in my country, I will visit the place simultaneously

  • Rossi @ The Digital Nomad

    6 years ago

    Thanks for the post and the pics. It looks incredible. We’re staying in Koh Samui next month and have 10 days scheduled in Mae Nam.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Rossi, you’re welcome, thank you for reading. You’ve chosen a great beach!

  • Becca

    6 years ago

    Trying to plan a trip at the moment 🙂 Do you know if they always sell tickets to Samui on the flight? How would one get a hold of a ticket if not?

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Becca, I think on the Air Asia flights to Surat Thani they do sell them. But you might also be able to purchase it as a package when you buy your ticket online. Hope you have a great trip.

  • CookieCoffee

    6 years ago

    So Bad that i’m Thai but i’ve never been to Koh Samui Island – -!!!

    PS. i like the Photo of Lemongrass Bottles 😀

  • Col. Dan Fraley

    6 years ago

    Hey Mark,
    Yes, the Santiburi Beach Resort is a very nice place and your price was right. It would have been much better to blog the other places with “Food” on the island especially the resorts that are less than $50 (USD) that are amazingly cheap and on the beach with breakfast, etc., otherwise-Thanks.
    Respectfully,
    Dan

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Dan, I will be writing more about Koh Samui soon. We stayed here for 2 nights, and then we moved to Lamai. More about Koh Samui here and I’ll write about some of the local food we ate on http://eatingthaifood.com/

  • Daniel K.

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    great review about Santiburi resort and the island Koh Samui. I really like your website and YouTube videos.
    Next month my girlfriend and I also travel to Samui and we want to try the restaurants you tested.
    Can you please tell me where the Lan Saka restaurant is located ?

    Greetings from Munich / Germany

    Daniel

  • Mark Wiens

    6 years ago

    Hey Daniel, glad you’ll be traveling to Samui soon. I will be writing about that restaurant over on eatingthaifood.com as soon as I get a chance, but that restaurant was located just up the road (to the West) from Santiburi Resort. I don’t have the photos with me right now, but there’s no name in English, so just save a screen shot from the video and look for that big sign. Hope you have an amazing time in Samui!