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20 of the Greatest Issues to do in Koh Samui, Thailand

Koh Samui is the right island retreat for anybody wanting a mixture of stunning 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 meet each traveler’s wants.

Located on the Jap facet of the Thai mainland within the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is the second-largest island within the Thai Kingdom (Phuket being the largest). Koh Samui and Phuket have been in contrast numerous instances in an try and debate which island is the very best, however to me, it’s actually unattainable to decide on a transparent winner.

Regardless, it is best to go to each islands when touring to Thailand, in actual fact, it’s a fantastic thought to go island hopping to see as many as you’ll be able to. 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 photos 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 Massive Buddha Temple

Massive Buddha

One of many prime issues to do in Koh Samui is to go to Wat Phra Yai temple to see the 12 meter excessive (39 foot excessive) Massive Buddha. It was in-built 1972 and has endured at one in every of Koh Samui’s prime sights. Regardless that it isn’t technically situated on Koh Samui, it’s Koh Samui’s most well-known landmark. The Massive Buddha Temple is situated on Koh Faan and related to Koh Samui by an extended causeway. Plus it’s often the very first thing folks placed on their record to see as it may be seen by air upon arrival. It is a widespread spot to rejoice Loy Krathong and Songkran Festivals.

This half-day bike tour helps you to uncover Koh Samui’s most well-known sights together with the Massive Buddha, the Bang Rak Market, and the Choeng Mon Seaside as you study in regards to the island’s tradition and historical past from an area information.

Seaside Life at Chaweng Seaside

koh samui beach

Koh Samui is blessed with white sandy seashores. Chaweng Seaside is Koh Samui’s hottest seashore and with good purpose. It’s one very giant stretch of white sand with shady palm bushes. In actual fact, it’s so giant 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 lease a paddleboard and do some stand-up paddleboarding within the calm waters. When the solar goes down, the nightlife begins on Chaweng Seaside. Head out to the Inexperienced Mango strip for some bar hopping. Kings Island Resort is a extremely rated place to remain on Chaweng Seaside. There is no such thing as a swimming pool however it’s situated straight on the seashore. The Hyatt Regency is without doubt one of the most luxurious properties on the seashore with a personal swimming pool.

Go to Grandpa and Grandma Rocks at Lamai Seaside

things to do in koh samui rocks and beach swimmers

Koh Samui could also be well-known for its white sandy seashores, however the rocky seashores are undoubtedly a sight to recollect. Lamai Seaside is quieter than Chaweng Seaside and tends to draw a extra laid-back crowd. It’s at Lamai Seaside that you will see that the well-known Koh Samui sights of Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks. Hin Ta and Hin Yai (Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks) are a few of the extra distinctive issues to see on Koh Samui. The female and male genitalia-shaped rocks have been a prime draw since our first go to to Koh Samui manner again in 2003.

Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks

grandma and granpa rocks
Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks at Lamai Seaside

Legend has it that an outdated man and lady 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 become these rocks to show their true intentions to the household. It’s a distinctive factor to see and it’s also a seashore on Koh Samui that gives some higher-end lodging

Day Journey to Koh Phangan

koh phangan sunset

We talked about island-hopping above and we imply it. Thailand was made for island hopping. From Koh Samui, you’ll be able to simply go to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Koh Phangan is widespread sufficient to spend a while on, however when you merely wish 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 trip from Koh Samui the place you’ll land at Thong Sala pier. You’ll then discover the Chinese language Temple, Koh Mah seashore 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

koh tao thailand

Koh Tao to discover peaceable hidden seashores, underwater sanctuaries, and all night time events. Koh Tao is without doubt one of the finest spots for snorkelling and diving in Thailand. Expertise the quieter, peaceable facet of Koh Pha Ngan. Koh Tao is also known as Turtle Island for each its form and the inexperienced and hawksbill turtles that inhabit the attractive island.

Snorkeling

things to do in koh samui snorkeling

Probably the greatest issues to do in Koh Samui is to get within the water and go snorkeling. Every island in Thailand presents its personal distinctive quirks and customs however I have to say, the factor that stood out probably the most to me about Koh Samui was the unbelievable snorkeling and scuba environments it needed to supply.

This personal lengthy tail boat tour has you boarding one in every of Thailand’s well-known longtail boats to Koh Taen, recognized 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 working within the sand to say hi there. Different belongings you see are, White Rock Cave Island, Purple Ant Island, and Matkhong Island

Scuba Diving

The neighboring island of Koh Tao is thought for its scuba diving, however Samui can also be a superb diving vacation spot. There are lots of locations providing scuba diving programs on the island at reasonably priced costs. Plus the nice and cozy, clear, and alluring waters make it a really perfect spot to change into licensed.

Programs are run proper off Chaweng, Coral Cove and different seashores with shore diving simple to entry. Ang Thong Nationwide Marine Park can also be thought-about a fantastic diving vacation spot.

Try the Evening Markets

One among our favourite issues to do in Thailand is to buy groceries. 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 power and pleasure of bartering with the distributors.

Greatest night time markets in Koh Samui

  • Fisherman’s Village Strolling Road at Bophut on Fridays.
  • Lamai Evening Plaza Evening Market in Lamai Centre – Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
  • Chewang Evening Market in Bophut- Monday to Thursday and Saturday.

Swim within the Namuang Waterfalls

koh samui
Dave swimming at Na Muang Waterfalls

Namuang Waterfall might be one of many prime sights situated in central Koh Samui. Situated inland from Nathon Bay, it’s simply accessible by tuk tuk. When you attain the car parking zone, Na Muang 1 is only a brief 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 informed once I get there I ought to climb up subsequent to the waterfall so far as I may, “to see secret very stunning waters”.

Secret Waterfalls

koh samui
Picture by Albert of Right here to Stray – Climbing greater to view Na Muang from above

Vacationers have been crowding on the base of the falls, similar to I anticipated. I dodged them and located a tiny virtually 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 number 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 stunning waters”.

The view I had of the island was unbelievable and I couldn’t see or hear any vacationers. It was heaven! I spent virtually the entire day taking photos, 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. Situated at Wat Khunaram, the mummified stays of monk Luong Pordaeng are on show. The 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 in the present day, 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 Heart, which is open to anybody.

If you’re in search of one thing actually distinctive, hold an eye fixed out for Overlap Stone, a big stone that that rests precariously on prime of a giant boulder

Have a Conventional Thai Therapeutic massage

thai massage is a great thing to do

Actually, irrespective of the place you might be in Thailand a conventional Thai Therapeutic massage ought to be in your record. And Koh Samui isn’t any exception. I like getting a Thai therapeutic massage on the seashore 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 seashore in the hunt for vacationers to assuage their aching our bodies.

However it’s also possible to stroll alongside the streets to search out therapeutic massage palours or ebook a fancier therapeutic massage at one of many greater finish lodges. However do your self a favour, get a therapeutic massage as a lot as doable in Thailand. They’re so reasonably priced, it’s good to get pampered like royalty frequently.

ABSOLUTE SANCTUARY

If you wish to take your wellness vacation to a different stage, be sure that to remain on the Absolute Sanctuary. This wellness health resort is nestled on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Situated inside a lush forest setting, Absolute Sanctuary takes a holistic strategy in search of to to deal with particular person wellness targets corresponding 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 may convey peace to your thoughts and physique.

Go for a Hike

bridge in koh samui
Picture by right here to Stray

Koh Samui has some nice mountain climbing and if the seashore life turns into a bit of tedious (I imply, how may it ever actually although?) otherwise you wish to stretch your legs, head out to a few 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 excellent views of Nathon and the island.

Secret Buddha Backyard

Talking of Secret Buddha Backyard, is a really attention-grabbing place to go to. Created in 1976 by an area durian farmer, there are a number of totally different depicting totally 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

what to do in koh samui ang thong marine park
Ang Thong Marine Park

A must-do day journey from Koh Samui is to move out to the Ang Thong Nationwide Marine Park. Like so many locations in Southern Thailand, Ang Thong was featured within the film The Seaside 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, loosen up 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 last word in luxurious, ebook an in a single day cruise on a junk boat to expertise the islands in personal.

Sit back after Darkish

After you’ve soaked up some rays all day lengthy, head out to the seashore to get pleasure from dinner and drinks on a matt on the seashore. Every night time, the lanterns are lit and the lounge chairs come out as you eat on the seashore harem model laying down chillaxing with a Chang or Singha Beer.

Go to an Elephant Sanctuary

places to visit in thailand elephant sanctuary

Elephants have lengthy suffered in Thailand, however due to sanctuaries changing from elephant excursions to moral elephant sanctuaries, you’ll be able to go to retired tourism elephants and assist help their properly being.

Take a 40 minute drive by means of the island of Koh Samui to a sanctuary the place you’ll study in regards to 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’ll by no means return within the wild, it’s a significantly better life than having vacationers trip on their backs. Discover out extra in regards to the elephant sanctuary tour right here.

Take a Thai Cooking Class

Probably the greatest methods to immerse in a tradition is thru meals. Thai meals is our favourite and we eat it at dwelling on a regular basis! Go to an area market and study to cook dinner Thai delicacies. as you study to organize meals that you could convey dwelling with you. It’s a enjoyable and interactive solution to spend a night. E-book a cooking class particulars right here.

Wat Plai Laem

Wat Plai Laem koh samui things to do

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 big Guanyin statue dominating the temple grounds. Regardless 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 Seaside is Koh Samui’s hottest seashore and with good purpose. It’s one very giant stretch of white sand. In actual fact, it’s so giant 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 an eye fixed out for is while you make a donation, you’ll obtain a bag of fish meals so you’ll be able to feed the resident fish within the pond.

Lease a Scooter – However Be Cautious

renting a motorscooter during our first trip to Thailand on Koh Samui
First time renting a motorcycle, not a good suggestion

The island of Koh Samui presents plenty of touristy sights to discover. One of the best (and least expensive) solution to see every little thing is by renting your personal 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 dangle 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 make sure that you know the way to trip a motorbike earlier than renting one.

Spend money on an island map and ask an area to point all of the must-see areas. Naturally the subsequent factor to do is to utterly ignore the map and simply get misplaced! That is one of the best ways to search out hidden gems. A Bike Journey, the Journey Begins

Fisherman’s Village in Bophut

Even when you don’t make it to Fishermen’s Village night time market, it’s a nice strolling avenue in the course of the day. As soon as a thriving fishing village, Fisherman’s Village has now become It’s full of cafés and eateries. You are able to do some buying and Bophut Seaside is situated proper there as properly.

The principle part of Fisherman’s Village is Bophut Seaside Highway which traces the seashore. Go into one of many outlets or cafés and head out again for stunning seashore views.

Take a Koh Samui Jeep Tour

jeep tour kkoh samui
photograph by Alberta

A enjoyable solution 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 novel tour of Koh Samui, this can be a nice thought. Try this top-rated jeep tour on Ko Samui and this present day journey to Koh Phangan.

Girl Boy Cabaret Present

Like the times of La Cage Au Folles right here within the Nineties of North America, the Girl Boy Cabaret Reveals have change into one of many highest issues to do in Koh Samui at night time. This energetic efficiency entails lip-synching, dancing, and elaborate costumes.

The way to Get to Koh Samui

Koh Samui is situated 35 km off the coast of Surat Thani on the Gulf of Thailand. Surat Thani is the principle leaping 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. If you’re coming from different islands within the south of Thailand, you’ll have to make your solution 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

  • 4 Seasons Resort – Costly however definitely worth the splurge. you’ll be able to by no means go fallacious with the 4 Seasons model.
  • Kings Island Resort is a extremely rated place to remain on Chaweng Seaside. There is no such thing as a swimming pool however it’s situated straight on the seashore.
  • The Hyatt Regency is without doubt one of the most luxurious properties on the seashore with a personal swimming pool.
  • For different lodges on Koh Samui, try TripAdvisor for critiques.

Koh Samui has much more to supply apart from waterfalls and coral reefs however these have been the issues that stood out probably the most to me. It’s a stunning island with breathtaking lush jungle and superb seashores with shady palm bushes, perhaps I ought to go away Phuket and transfer right here. Koh Samui will certainly see me once more within the close to future.

Learn Extra about Thailand

Albert van Niekerk is a South African copywriter, blogger and journey author. I lived in Thailand for some time and traveled by means of Southeast Asia in search of journey. Comply with me on Twitter @AlbertNiekerk or go to my weblog at Right here to Stray.com

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