Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular islands for tourism. A large island, it is located in the Gulf of Thailand and is part of Surat Thani Province. Regular ferries and fast boats connect the island to the mainland, and there is also a small airport on Koh Samui that connects people by air to other parts of Thailand as well as a handful of international destinations.
There is a wide array of accommodation on the island, as well as a plethora of places to eat and drink. Beaches fringe the island’s edges and the interior is covered with lush forests and hills.
Here are some cool things to do on the beautiful island of Koh Samui:
Relax on sublime sandy beaches
A major reason for many visitors choosing Koh Samui is the beautiful beaches. Soft powdery white sands meet clear blue waters, with palm trees providing some welcoming shade. Great views can be enjoyed from almost all of the island’s tempting beaches. A number of beachside establishments rent sun beds and parasols or you can simply throw your towel down and soak up some sun before going for a swim in the refreshing ocean. Water sports, such as thrilling jetskiing and bumping along the waves on the back of an exciting banana boat, are also available if you are feeling a little active and adventurous.
The busiest beaches can be found on the east coast of Koh Samui; this is also where you will find most facilities and amenities. Chaweng Beach is the liveliest, with many restaurants and bars found within close proximity. Lamai Beach is another busy and popular spot and if you want a more chilled out vibe, Bophut Beach is ideal. Mae Nam Beach is fairly quiet and sedate.
Admire the island’s famous Big Buddha
Perched on top of a small hill and accessible by steps, the Big Buddha is one of the island’s most popular attractions. Although it is actually located on a smaller island next to Koh Samui, Koh Faan, it is connected by a causeway and very easy to get to.
Part of the Wat Phra Yai temple complex, there are several other interesting statues in the area to admire as well. The highlight, however, is gazing up at the 12 metre tall seated Buddha statue before climbing the steps to get a closer view and also enjoying some excellent ocean vistas from the high vantage point.
Stroll around Bophut Fisherman’s Village
The island’s original fishing village, Bophut Fisherman’s Village is today home to a wide assortment of cute shops, cafes, and restaurants. It is one of the best places on all of Koh Samui for dining on fresh and tasty seafood. You can also pick up a bargain or two if you are looking for colourful local souvenirs and gifts. Sarongs are abundant and have a multitude of uses … beach towel, wrap around for covering up when visiting temples, extra layer on chilly air conditioned buses, and so on. The carved wooden ornaments are also beautiful and great quality. Walk along the main road and you can feast your eyes on traditional shop houses that have now been converted into a variety of establishments.
Wander jungle trails and take a dip in a waterfall pool
There are several attractive waterfalls on Koh Samui. Water cascades down the rocks creating a picturesque effect, and swimming is possible in the pools of some. Some of the island’s waterfalls are fairly easy to reach, such as Na Muang Two, whereas others, such as Hin Lad and Na Muang, require a bit more effort in the walking department.
The views after a jungle walk, however, make it well worth it! The forests are home to an array of local flora and fauna, including pretty butterflies, bugs that click and clack high in the tree tops, sweet-sounding birds, and monkeys. Spend some time away from the beaches and see another side of Koh Samui’s natural beauty.
You can access all independently if you arrange your own transportation, although group tours are also a great way to see the sights.
See a mummified monk!
Wat Khunaram is a fairly regular Buddhist temple from the outside; the sunlight glints off the shiny roof tiles and there are several statues and pictures of the Lord Buddha. In the main building, however, you can see something a little unusual – the mummified remains of one of the island’s most famous monks!
According to local tales, the monk’s body failed to burn during the cremation process and so his remains were placed within a glass box in the temple for visitors to see. Clad in saffron robes and wearing sunglasses, it is quite an eerie sight. Local Thai people come here to make merit and pray, and the unusual sight attracts a large number of tourists.
Other things to do on Koh Samui
There are several other temples to visit on Koh Samui as well as a number of attraction parks. You could see an engaging cultural show, a traditional Muay Thai fight, or an extravagant cabaret, and, if all the excitement gets too much, why not relax and be pampered in one of the top class spas or have a round or two of golf? Don’t miss Koh Samui when visiting Thailand’s delightful southern islands.
Get Trip101 in your inbox