Koh Samui is the right island retreat for anybody wanting a mixture of lovely seashores, waterfalls, Buddhist temples, and fashionable facilities when visiting Thailand. In a nutshell, Koh Samui has all of it! There are many issues to do in Koh Samui to satisfy each traveler’s wants.
Located on the Japanese facet of the Thai mainland within the Gulf of Thailand, Samui Island is the second-largest island within the Thai Kingdom (Phuket being the most important). Koh Samui and Phuket have been in contrast numerous occasions in an try and debate which island is one of the best, however to me, it’s actually not possible to decide on a transparent winner.
Regardless, you must go to each islands when touring to Thailand, in actual fact, it’s a terrific thought to go island hopping to see as many as you possibly can. Nothing can actually examine to the attractive seashores of the nation.
Issues to do in Koh Samui, Thailand
This Koh Samui article was initially written by Albert Niekerk,(some footage offered by him) it has been up to date by Dave and Deb combining our experiences, up to date excursions, and knowledge for 2021.
See the Large Buddha Temple
One of many high issues to do in Koh Samui is to go to Wat Phra Yai temple to see the 12 meter excessive (39 foot excessive) Large Buddha. It was inbuilt 1972 and has endured at one among Koh Samui’s high points of interest. Despite the fact that it isn’t technically positioned on Koh Samui, it’s Koh Samui’s most well-known landmark. The Large Buddha Temple is positioned on Koh Faan and linked to Koh Samui by a protracted causeway. Plus it’s normally the very first thing individuals placed on their record to see as it may be seen by air upon arrival. It is a well-liked spot to have a good time Loy Krathong and Songkran Festivals.
This half-day bike tour helps you to uncover Koh Samui’s most well-known sights together with the Large Buddha, the Bang Rak Market, and the Choeng Mon Seashore as you be taught concerning the island’s tradition and historical past from an area information.
Seashore Life at Chaweng Seashore
Koh Samui is blessed with white sandy seashores. Chaweng Seashore is Koh Samui’s hottest seaside and with good cause. It’s one very massive stretch of white sand with shady palm timber. Actually, it’s so massive it’s damaged into 4 components, North, Central, South, and Little. (Chaweng Noi). If you wish to be within the coronary heart of the motion, that is the place to remain.
Do some snorkeling and sea kayaking or hire a paddleboard and do some stand-up paddleboarding within the calm waters. When the solar goes down, the nightlife begins on Chaweng Seashore at its seaside bars. Head out to the Inexperienced Mango strip for some bar hopping.
- Kings Island Resort is a extremely rated place to remain on Chaweng Seashore. There isn’t a swimming pool however it’s positioned immediately on the seaside.
- The Hyatt Regency is without doubt one of the most luxurious properties on the seaside with a personal swimming pool at a mid-range worth.
Go to Grandpa and Grandma Rocks at Lamai Seashore
Koh Samui could also be well-known for its white sandy seashores, however the rocky seashores are positively a sight to recollect. Lamai Seashore is quieter than Chaweng Seashore and tends to draw a extra laid-back crowd. It’s at Lamai Seashore that you will discover the well-known Koh Samui points of interest of Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks.
Hin Ta and Hin Yai (Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks) are a number of the extra distinctive issues to see on Koh Samui. The female and male genitalia-shaped rocks have been a high draw since our first go to to Koh Samui approach again in 2003.
Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks
Legend has it that an previous man and girl set sail to a neighboring island to ask for the hand of a daughter of a person named Ta Monglai. When their boat capsized, they drowned and was these rocks to show their true intentions to the household. It’s a distinctive factor to see and it is usually a seaside on Koh Samui that gives some higher-end lodging
Day Journey to Koh Phangan
We talked about island-hopping above and we imply it. Thailand was made for island hopping. From Koh Samui, you possibly can simply go to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao on a ship journey. Koh Phangan is well-liked sufficient to spend a while on, however should you merely need to go to for a day, this Full day Tour takes you to see all of the highlights of Koh Phangan.
The island is only a 30 minute boat experience from Koh Samui the place you’ll land at Thong Sala pier. You’ll then discover the Chinese language Temple, Koh Mah seaside for snorkeling in its crystal-clear waters adopted by conventional Thai lunch. Then it’s time to go to the scenic viewpoint of Koh Raham earlier than heading again by speedboat to your resort in Koh Samui.
Koh Tao to discover peaceable hidden seashores, underwater sanctuaries crammed with sea creatures, and all-night events. Koh Tao is without doubt one of the finest spots for snorkelling and diving in Thailand. Koh Tao is also known as Turtle Island for each its form and the inexperienced and hawksbill turtles that inhabit the attractive island. It is usually the most effective locations in Thailand to take your PADI certification. Learn extra at Lovely Seashores in Thailand to Spark Your Wanderlust
The most effective issues to do in Koh Samui is to get within the water and go snorkeling. Every island in Thailand affords its personal distinctive quirks and customs however I have to say, the factor that stood out essentially the most to me about Koh Samui was the unimaginable snorkeling and scuba environments it needed to provide.
This non-public lengthy tail boat tour has you boarding one among Thailand’s well-known longtail boats to Koh Taen, identified for its marine life and coral reef. Plus you’re going to get to go to Koh Madsum (Pig Island) to see the resident pigs that stay there. We did this within the Bahamas and it’s so a lot enjoyable to see the pigs operating within the sand to say hiya. Different belongings you see are, White Rock Cave Island, Crimson Ant Island, and Matkhong Island
The neighboring island of Koh Tao is understood for its scuba diving, however Samui can be a superb diving vacation spot. There are lots of locations providing scuba diving programs on the island at inexpensive costs. Plus the nice and cozy, clear, and alluring waters make it a perfect spot to change into licensed.
Programs are run proper off Chaweng, Coral Cove, and different seashores with shore diving straightforward to entry. Ang Thong Nationwide Marine Park can be thought-about a terrific diving vacation spot.
Try the Night time Markets
One in every of our favourite issues to do in Thailand is to buy groceries and pattern their many small meals stalls. Chiang Mai is legendary for its night time markets, however in Koh Samui, they’ve fabulous night time markets that rotate areas every night. Decide up your Thai souvenirs, pattern nice avenue meals, and get misplaced within the vitality and pleasure of bartering with the distributors.
Greatest night time markets in Koh Samui
- Fisherman’s Village Strolling Road at Bophut on Fridays.
- Lamai Night time Plaza Night time Market in Lamai Centre – Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
- Chewang Night time Market in Bophut- Monday to Thursday and Saturday.
Swim within the Namuang Waterfalls
Namuang Waterfall might be one of many high points of interest positioned in central Koh Samui. Positioned inland from Nathon Bay, it’s simply accessible by tuk tuk. When you attain the car parking zone, Na Muang 1 is only a quick stroll from the car parking zone. Enterprise up one other 100 meters to see Na Muang 1.
I have to admit, I used to be very skeptical about visiting Na Muang as a result of it’s a very touristy place. However I used to be advised after I get there I ought to climb up subsequent to the waterfall so far as I may, “to see secret very lovely waters”.
Vacationers have been crowding on the base of the falls, similar to I anticipated. I dodged them and located a tiny nearly overgrown footpath on the facet of the falls main up the mountain. As I climbed and climbed the steep little path I reached fairly a couple of smaller however undisturbed waterfalls, every with its personal little swimming pools.
I climbed even greater and finally reached the highest. This was what I needed to see, a very unspoiled waterfall with lush jungle rising on both facet, I found the “secret very lovely waters”.
The view I had of the island was unbelievable and I couldn’t see or hear any vacationers. It was heaven! I spent nearly the entire day taking footage, swimming, and consuming the odd coconut that got here floating down the stream.
I fell in love with my newfound paradise. Two different Canadian guys additionally stumbled upon my secret place however I used to be glad to have somebody round who appreciated it as a lot as I did.
Mummified Monk – Wat Khunaram
One of many strangest issues to see on Koh Samui is the Mummified monk. Positioned at Wat Khunaram, the mummified stays of monk Luong Pordaeng are on show. The buddhist monk died in 1973 in a seated meditative place. Earlier than his demise, he requested that his physique be placed on show ought to it not decompose. And now as we speak, it’s revered as an inspiration to observe a lifetime of Buddhism.
One of many extra distinctive issues you are able to do is to attend a Monk Chat and meditation session at Dipabhavan Meditation Middle, which is open to anybody.
In case you are searching for one thing really distinctive, preserve a watch out for Overlap Stone, a big stone that that rests precariously on high of a giant boulder
Have a Conventional Thai Therapeutic massage
Actually, irrespective of the place you’re in Thailand a conventional Thai Therapeutic massage ought to be in your record. And Koh Samui is not any exception. I like getting a Thai therapeutic massage on the seaside and this is without doubt one of the should do issues in Koh Samui. Don’t fear about discovering one, they are going to be strolling the seaside seeking vacationers to assuage their aching our bodies.
However it’s also possible to stroll alongside the streets to search out therapeutic massage palours or guide a fancier therapeutic massage at one of many greater finish accommodations. However do your self a favour, get a therapeutic massage as a lot as doable in Thailand. They’re so inexpensive, it’s good to get pampered like royalty frequently.
If you wish to take your wellness vacation to a different degree, be sure that to remain on the Absolute Sanctuary. This wellness health resort is nestled on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Positioned inside a lush forest setting, Absolute Sanctuary takes a holistic method looking for to to deal with particular person wellness objectives comparable to a detox vacation, pamper me vacation, weight administration or lowering stress. Bask in yoga or Pilates as you get pleasure from a significant vacation that can deliver peace to your thoughts and physique.
Go for a Hike
Koh Samui has some nice climbing and if the seaside life turns into slightly tedious (I imply, how may it ever actually although?) otherwise you need to stretch your legs, head out to a number of the trails for a hike.
Hike to the Secret Buddha Backyard to see Buddha sculptures set in a rainforest, hike the Nathon Mountain Path Ridge, or head as much as the Maenam Viewpoint for nice views of Nathon and the attractive tropical island scene.
Secret Buddha Backyard
Talking of Secret Buddha Backyard, is a really fascinating place to go to. Created in 1976 by an area durian farmer, there are a number of completely different depicting completely different Buddha folklore. You possibly can hike to Secret Buddha Backyard or take a 4X4 Jeep Tour. Try tour choices right here.
Ang Thong Nationwide Marine Park
A must-do day journey from Koh Samui is to go out to the Ang Thong Nationwide Marine Park. Like so many locations in Southern Thailand, Ang Thong was featured within the film The Seashore with Leonardo DiCaprio. Ang Thong Nationwide Park is an archipelago of 42 islands with the towering limestone mountains that Thailand is legendary for. You possibly can swim in lagoons, calm down on pristine seashores and spy sea turtles in its crystal clear waters. Each Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are a part of the Ang Thong Nationwide Marine Park.. For the final word in luxurious, guide an in a single day cruise on a junk boat to expertise the islands in non-public.
Sit back after Darkish
After you’ve soaked up some rays all day lengthy, head out to the seaside to get pleasure from dinner and drinks on a matt on the seaside. Every night time, the lanterns are lit and the lounge chairs come out as you eat on the seaside harem model laying down chillaxing with a Chang or Singha Beer.
Go to an Elephant Sanctuary
Elephants have lengthy suffered in Thailand, however because of sanctuaries changing from elephant excursions to moral elephant sanctuaries, you possibly can go to retired tourism elephants and assist assist their effectively being.
Take a 40 minute drive via the island of Koh Samui to a sanctuary the place you’ll be taught concerning the rescued elephants, feed them and assist tub them in mud. These elephants have been rescued and these sanctuaries are an vital half in letting them stay out their days in relative peace. Whereas they will by no means return within the wild, it’s a a lot better life than having vacationers experience on their backs. Discover out extra concerning the elephant sanctuary tour right here.
Take a Thai Cooking Class
The most effective methods to immerse in a tradition is thru meals. Thai meals is our favourite and we eat it at house on a regular basis! Go to an area market and be taught to prepare dinner Thai delicacies. as you be taught to organize meals which you could deliver house with you. It’s a enjoyable and interactive option to spend a night. Guide a cooking class particulars right here.
Wat Plai Laem
One other cool temple to see in Koh Samui is Wat Plai Laem. This Buddhist temple showcases Koh Samui’s Chinese language heritage with a large Guanyin statue dominating the temple grounds. Despite the fact that this can be a Buddhist temple, it’s really devoted to the Chinese language Goddess Guanyin who’s believed to be the Goddess of unconditional love
Chaweng Seashore is Koh Samui’s hottest seaside and with good cause. It’s one very massive stretch of white sand. Actually, it’s so massive it’s damaged into 4 components, North, Central, South and Little. (Chaweng Noi). If you wish to be within the coronary heart of the motion, that is the place to remain. A really distinctive factor to maintain a watch out for is once you make a donation, you’ll obtain a bag of fish meals so you possibly can feed the resident fish within the pond.
Lease a Scooter – However Be Cautious
The island of Koh Samui affords a whole lot of touristy sights to discover. The most effective (and most cost-effective) option to see all the pieces is by renting your individual scooter. I perceive that this can be a daunting thought to most newcomers to Southeast Asia, nevertheless it solely takes a few minutes so that you can get the hold of it and really feel like a hardcore biker.
Just remember to put on a helmet always and drive safely. Sadly, many vacationers die on the roads of Thailand yearly, so be extraordinarily cautious. Dave and I had an accident in Koh Samui and burnt our legs very badly, so ensure that you know the way to experience a motorbike earlier than renting one.
Put money into an island map and ask an area to point all of the must-see areas. Naturally the subsequent factor to do is to fully ignore the map and simply get misplaced! That is one of the simplest ways to search out hidden gems. A Bike Journey, the Journey Begins
Fisherman’s Village in Bophut
Even should you don’t make it to Fishermen’s Village night time market, it’s a nice strolling avenue throughout the day. As soon as a thriving fishing village, Fisherman’s Village has now was It’s crammed with cafés and eateries. You are able to do some procuring and Bophut Seashore is positioned proper there as effectively.
The primary part of Fisherman’s Village is Bophut Seashore Highway which strains the seaside. Go into one of many retailers or cafés and head out again for lovely seaside views.
Take a Koh Samui Jeep Tour
A enjoyable option to see all of the Koh Samui highlights is to take a jeep tour. See the key lookout providing beautiful views of the Gulf of Thailand, go to the waterfalls and the Buddha Backyard. For a singular tour of Koh Samui, this can be a nice thought. Try this top-rated jeep tour on Ko Samui and today journey to Koh Phangan.
Woman Boy Cabaret Present
Like the times of La Cage Au Folles right here within the Nineties of North America, the Woman Boy Cabaret Reveals have change into one of many highest issues to do in Koh Samui at night time. This energetic efficiency includes lip-synching, dancing, and elaborate costumes.
How you can Get to Koh Samui
Koh Samui is positioned within the Surat Thani province 35 km off the coast of Surat Thani on the Gulf of Thailand. The city of Surat Thani is the principle jumping-off level for the islands on the Gulf of Thailand.
Neighboring islands are Ko Pha ngan, Ko Tao, and Ko Nang Yuan which may all be reached by longtail boat or ferry.
There are flights accessible from Phuket to Koh Samui in addition to Bangkok to Koh Samui making it a simple vacation spot to go to throughout your Thailand travels. In case you are coming from different islands within the south of Thailand, you’ll have to make your option to Surat Thani. There are additionally flights from Bangkok to Surat Thani.
From Surat Thani, you’ll cat the ferry to Koh Samui from the principle Surat Thani ferry port at Don Sak
The place to Keep on Koh Samui
Koh Samui is understood for its luxurious resorts however there are additionally locations which might be extra inexpensive. We provide up three decisions from Luxurious to mid-range and inexpensive.
- 4 Seasons Resort – Costly however well worth the splurge. you possibly can by no means go fallacious with the 4 Seasons model in case you are seeking a luxurious keep.
- Kings Island Resort is a extremely rated place to remain on Chaweng Seashore. There isn’t a swimming pool however it’s positioned immediately on the seaside.
- The Hyatt Regency is without doubt one of the extra luxurious resorts on the seaside with a personal swimming pool at an inexpensive worth for mid-range vacationers.
- For different accommodations on Koh Samui, try TripAdvisor for evaluations.
Koh Samui has much more to supply aside from waterfalls and coral reefs however these have been the issues that stood out essentially the most to me. It’s a lovely island with breathtaking lush jungle and wonderful seashores with shady palm timber, possibly I ought to depart Phuket and transfer right here. Koh Samui will certainly see me once more within the close to future.
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Albert van Niekerk is a South African copywriter, blogger and journey author. I lived in Thailand for some time and traveled via Southeast Asia searching for journey. Comply with me on Twitter @AlbertNiekerk or go to my weblog at Right here to Stray.com