Lamai Beach is the quieter, more laid-back neighbour of Chaweng Beach a short drive away, and is perfect for those looking for a less frenetic day and night holiday experience. Great nightlife is there when you want it, in Lamai hotels, bars and clubs, but it’s less noisy and alcohol-fuelled than in Chaweng. Hotels here are priced to suit all pockets, from famous-name spa resorts to charming small hotels and guesthouses overlooking the long, curving beach.
Hotels in Lamai are found along the beach road from the southern end to the northern, narrower sands close by the rocky headland. Many offer a choice of rooms from standard to suites as well as facilities including resort-style swimming pools, souvenir shops, restaurants and bars. Smaller boutique hotels as well as the larger internationally known names are set along the beach itself, with many offering pretty villas as well as rooms.
Lamai town stretches along the beachfront and is sleepy during the day, with its nighttime revels found mostly in its central area. It’s smaller than Chaweng and was the first area of tourist development on the island. Nowadays, its infrastructure and choice of accommodation is more than up to the job, and caters for all tastes, pockets and preferences from basic to self-indulgent luxury.
Even in the street-level shadow of the high-rise luxury Lamai hotels, there’s a sense of the area’s original village character, reminding visitors they’re in a charming but distinctly foreign country. If you’re looking for quieter evenings in less crowded surroundings, it’s best to avoid the entertainment area locally known as Lamai Gulch, as most of the late-night venues are here, including a nightclub and beach bars complete with local bands and DJs.
If you’re into health and healing and need a serious boost to your energy levels, head for Lamai hotels along the northern stretch of the bay in the area nicknamed ‘Longevity Beach’. Spa treatments here are based on natural herbs and traditional techniques, and are great for a relaxing holiday away from the stress of modern Western life.
Lamai Beach and its wide choice of accommodation is set within an easy drive of the traditional Muslim villages in the least developed southern quarter of the island. Village life is based on coconut growing and fishing, and goes on much as it has for decades if not centuries. Close by northern Bophut Beach, another easy drive away, is the popular attraction of Fishermen’s Village with its rows of traditional wooden Chinese-style shop-houses.