I started out on our blogging our island adventures (if you can call lazing round a pool or on a beach and drinking cocktails an adventure) on Samui explaining the flavour the various resorts on Samui actually had, but I think it is a little unfair to characterise some places like that in terms of their reputation. Mae Nam certainly was the more down-at-heel, backpacker resort, but we'd have enjoyed staying there for a while. It was also, by this very nature, cheap. Chaweng certainly is the destination of the Ibiza-seeking teenager, but again, the beach is OK and there is also a lot to do, even if it is way too over-developed for our tastes. At Lamai there was evidence of the girly bars, but they did seem to be located in one place and otherwise seemed like a pretty pleasant place to stay for a while. Of course, both Chaweng and Lamai are probably radically different at night, but there certainly seems enough in Lamai, aside from the go-go scene, to remain entertained. Bophut definitely was more suited to older couples and families, though over-developed and the beach ain't all that. Having said that, it's easy to be disparaging of these resorts in hindsight, writing this as I am on Koh Panghan, our next destination which is far more beautiful (but more about that later). It's also easy to lapse into cynical, blasé mode when looking at places like that in comparison to better ones you've been to, but it's still obvious you're on a tropical beach, with palm-fringed pale sand and turquoise water. In fact, all of the resorts on Samui we enjoyed more than Phuket where we visited a few years ago which seemed to have very little to do on the beach and remarkably little character.
In summary, Bophut is a little expensive (though as I mentioned before, these things are relative), but has a great range of restaurants and bars to keep us occupied and does have opticians, which is an infrequently required bonus. We enjoyed Samui, but there are far better places to go nearby and we might have chosen to spend a night fewer on Samui and one longer on Phangan.