Top 26 Amazing Things To Do In Koh Samui, Thailand - Updated 2024

| 12 min read

Lying in the Gulf of Thailand off Kra Isthmus’ east coast is Thailand’s second largest island, Koh Samui. Known for its idyllic beaches lined with coconut groves, the island is one of the favourite destinations for beach goers in Thailand. However, even if you are not one for the beach, there are numerous ways to enjoy the beautiful island too. Read this article for the top 20 things you can do in Koh Samui suitable for all occasions!

Fascinating sights to behold

We all know that Koh Samui is a lovely island surrounded by crystal clear waters. But do you know that other than pristine beaches, fine sand and sea, there are other splendid sights you should not miss on Samui? Read on to discover the 6 distinct sights you must visit on this lovely island.

1. Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai)

Big Buddha Temple
Source: Pixabay

As you arrive by air at the Koh Samui Airport, there is a majestic icon you will not miss - the Big Buddha Temple, known locally as the Wat Phra Yai. Located near the airport, the 12-metre (40-foot) gold-painted Buddha statue sits atop a hill off the northeastern coast of Koh Samui. Seek inner peace as you visit the temple and marvel at the impressive Buddha in a state of calm and purity.

Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai)

Address: Highway 4171, Hat Bang Rak 84140, Thailand

Price: free.

Opening Hours: always open.

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2. Guan Yu Shrine

General Guan Yu
Source: Photo by Flickr user Daemyong Middle S... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

In Chinese Buddhism, Guan Yu, a Chinese general from ancient times, is revered as a bodhisattva. While it is easy to find numerous shrines paying homage to him in places where the Chinese live, Koh Samui’s Guan Yu Shrine is a sight to behold. Standing several metres taller than Big Buddha, the bronze statue with a big red head, in dark green and gold armour, backed by a long-handled sword piercing the sky, certainly portrays a mighty image. Get to know more about the colourful history of Samui’s Chinese through the intriguing displays and ceremonies here.

To visit Guan Yu Shrine, get to Hua Thanon village and it is located off the inland side of the village’s ring road. Look for a red gate on the right if you miss the looming red head while approaching from the north.

Guan Yu Shrine

Address: 190/1 Moo 1, Tambon Maret, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84310

Price: free.

Opening Hours: 8 am - 5 pm daily.

Contact: +66 77 418 854

Website: Guan Yu Shrine - in Thai only)

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3. Ang Thong National Marine Park

Ang Thong 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vincent used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Ang Thong National Marine Park is the dream destination of any island hopper, popularised by the Alex Garland’s famous novel ‘The Beach’. As an archipelago of 42 islands 28 kilometres (17.4 miles) from Koh Samui, its towering limestone mountains, dense jungle, lakes and waterfalls make it a picture-perfect spot to explore. The vast national marine park is home to exotic wildlife, both on land and sea. Whether you are game for some hiking, snorkelling or diving, there is surely something to excite you in the tropical paradise!

Ang Thong National Marine Park

Address: 346/1 Amphoe Mueang Surat Thani, Chang Wat Surat Thani 84000, Thailand

Price: 300 THB (8.70 USD) per adult foreigner, 150 THB (4.35 USD) per foreign child under 12 years old or 120 cm in height, 40 THB (1.20 USD) per local.

Access: book a government-approved tour boat on Koh Samui to reach Ang Thong

Contact: +66 77 420 225

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4. Hin Ta & Hin Yai

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Balou46 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Hin Ta and Hin Yai, also known as Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks respectively, are thought-provoking rock formations located on Koh Samui’s south coast. With an unusual appearance like the male and female genitalia, it is not surprising Hin Ta and Hin Yai often brings about embarrassed giggles from visitors. Don’t just feel tickled by the unique works of Mother Nature when you visit. Read about the tragic legend through the signboard near the rocks for a local interpretation of how the rocks were formed. Of course, you can also look out for the spectacular views from the rocks and vicinity.

Hin Ta & Hin Yai

Address: 92 84310 126/92 Moo 3 Ko Samui District, Surat Thani 84310, Thailand

Price: free.

Access: off Route 4169 on Samui’s south-east coast, about two kilometres south of central Lamai Beach

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5. Visit the Wat Plai Laem

Zwölfarmigen Statue Koh Samui
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gunther Dihlmann used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Located on Samui’s north east coast is Wat Plai Laem Buddhist temple. Look up and you’ll catch the inspiring sight of the 18-arm Guan Yin statue. Devotees come daily to pay their respects to Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion.

Take a break and let the tranquillity seep in.

Wat Plai Laem Temple

Address: Wat Plai Laem, Road 4171, Thailand

Price: Free

Opening Hours: Daylight Hours (6 am - 6 pm daily)

Access: Take the 4169 Highway Ring Road up to the north-east Turn off on to Route 4171 (Close to the Big Buddha Temple) Bophut, Koh Samui

Contact: +66 98 069 4019

Tip from Content Creator

Wat Plai Laem

Photo of Wat Plai Laem shared by content creators from Asia, Mark & Georgia.

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6. Secret Buddha Garden

Ko Samui, Secret Buddha Garden
Source: Photo by Flickr user grolli77 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Perched high up on the hills of central Koh Samui is the private Secret Buddha Garden, offering a unique collection of Buddha statues nestled in a lush jungle next to the waterfall and stream. All the sculptures are individually hand carved with exquisite stone decorations, depicting tales from popular Buddhist folklore and mythology. Gain insights to their intrinsic meanings through the tour guide.

Secret Buddha Garden

Address: 22/1 Moo 4 Ban Bangrak, Ko Samui 84320, Thailand

Price: 80 THB (2.30 USD) per person.

Access: In Baan Saket, get on the air force road leading up to Ta Nim Waterfall. The road turns into a dirt track for the last 400 metres of the ascent. There are many signs along the way. Only experienced drivers should attempt the road, best done in a 4WD vehicle. Or visit the gardens as part of an adventure day trip such as a jungle/safari tour or ATV ride.

Contact: +66 77 245 255

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For some fun in the sun

It would be a pity if you are on the tropical island of Koh Samui but don’t go out to enjoy some great sunshine. Here are 5 wonderful outdoor activities to engage in Samui.

7. Ride a quad bike (from USD 121.0)

The pristine island dies not only boast mind-blowing coastal landscapes. Head inland, and you will discover the beauty of its dense jungle with stunning hidden waterfall and panoramic viewpoints. Riding a quad bike, which is a motorcycle with four large tyres for off-road use, is an exciting way to venture through the natural landscapes and see a different Koh Samui. It will certainly make an unforgettable adventure for everyone!

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Samui X Quad ATV Tour (1 Driver) with Lunch

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

117 reviews

8. Kayaking (from USD 75.0)

One of the best ways to enjoy Ang Thong National Marine Park fully is via kayaking. With over 40 islands on the popular archipelago, paddle your way through the concealed lagoons and hidden caves to discover its breathtaking beauty. Marvel in awe as you get up close to a vast array of rich marine life and scenic landscapes. Who knows, you may even be the lucky one spotting families of dolphins or turtles swimming alongside your sea kayak!

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Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong National Marine Park from Koh Samui

Duration: 9 hours

37 reviews

9. Chill by the beach

lamai beach, koh samui
Source: Photo by user irumge used under CC BY 2.0

There are times when we just feel like relishing some quiet moments and relax. Lamai Beach will make the perfect spot with its laid-back atmosphere. Unlike Chaweng, the largest resort area in Koh Samui, Lamai Beach is quieter and less touristy. Nonetheless, it is home to many accommodation, dining, shopping and spa options. So enjoy the idyllic chill out without being too far out from modern conveniences on Lamai Beach.

Lamai Beach

Address: southeastern coast of Koh Samui, Thailand

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10. Go diving (from 4,368 THB (127 USD) for a full-day 9-hour tour.)

Source: Pixabay

Always been yearning to dive so as to check out the colourful underwater world but do not have a licence? Make your dream come true when you visit the beautiful Koh Tao off Samui. Dive the beautiful reefs of Koh Tao with full supervision of the professional dive instructor with no dive certification! It’s a safe adventure to witness the amazing marine life underwater for a memorable holiday.

Viator Tour - Diving Trip at Koh Tao from Koh Samui Including Lunch

Address: Koh Samui, Thailand

Price: from 4,368 THB (127 USD) for a full-day 9-hour tour.

Contact: +1(702) 648-5873


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11. Gun shooting

Shooting range
Source: Pixabay

Take a break from the usual beach and nature tours on Koh Samui. Make your way to the island’s main shooting range near the Chaweng beach area for an entertaining day ahead. Fully qualified instructors will be on-site to train you with the fundamentals before you enjoy the firing at paper cut-outs with real bullets. Throughout the shooting session, you will be under strict supervision from your instructor too. So have fun with gun shooting!

Samui Paragon Gun Shooting Range

Address: Amphoe Koh Sa-Mui, Surat Thani, Thailand

Price: from 890 THB (25.90 USD) for a 10-bullet session with .22 rifle.

Contact: +66 77 424 000

Website: Samui Paragon Gun Shooting Range

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Things to do on rainy days

Yes, we all know very well that Koh Samui is a tropical island with lots of great fun out there, but what if it rains? Instead of looking out of the window from your room disappointedly, discover these 4 cool activities that will put the smile back on your face.

12. Thai cooking class (from USD 244.0)

Thai cuisine is loved by many, for its exotic blend of flavours and fragrances. If you love Thai food, why not learn how to cook a typical 3-course Thai lunch from professional chefs on Koh Samui? Visit the local market to find fresh ingredients and learn to prepare the dishes thereafter. Besides learning how to cook these delicious dishes on your own, you will also be able to experience the local way of life through the market tour.

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Private 5-hour Thai Cooking Class and Market Tour in Koh Samui

Duration: 5 hours

89 reviews

13. Central Festival Samui

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Per Meistrup used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Central Festival Samui is the largest lifestyle shopping complex right smack in the heart of town spanning three storeys and about 90,000 square metres (968752 square feet) of retail space. Besides the multifarious shops and restaurants segmented by four interesting themes in the trendy complex, there is a beautifully landscaped garden and kids’ playground. Keep yourself entertained in this mega complex offering over 200 retailers!

Central Festival Samui

Address: 209/3 MOO 2, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84320 Thailand

Opening Hours: 11 am - 11 pm daily.

Access: between Chaweng Beach Road and Chaweng Lake in the central part of the resort town.

Contact: +66 77 962 777

Website: Central Festival Samui

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14. Fruit carving class (from USD 85.0)

Originally used only to decorate tables of the Thai royal family, Thai fruit carving is a highly-regarded traditional Thai art requiring superb precision and skill. Make your Koh Samui trip meaningful by learning the basics of this respected art through an interesting fruit carving class. Learn how to carve ornate flower patterns using Thai fruits, vegetables and garnishes with hands-on session conducted by professional instructors. Enhance your dishes with a delicate fruit carving to impress your loved ones back home after the class.

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Half Day Professional Thai Fruit and Vegetable Carving Class

Duration: 3 hours

4 reviews

15. Indulge in a spa (from USD 33.89)

indulge in a spa

Don’t miss out on the best of Bali’s recreational activities and book yourself a pamper session with a massage at Peace Tropical Spa in Koh Samui. This spa treatment offers a variety that includes various massages such as traditional Thai, aromatherapy, and Swedish, as well as facial treatments among others. For visitors looking for unique services, herbal steams and fruit scrubs conducted by professional therapists will guarantee to rid you of all lingering tension and stress. Come out rejuvenated and be ready to explore the rest of what Bali has to offer after experiencing this promising and signature Balinese activity.

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Peace Tropical Spa - Klook

The night is still young

Your exhilarating day doesn’t end as the sun sets in Koh Samui. The 5 fabulous things to do after dark listed below will certainly make you keep you up all night!

16. Elephant Walk Koh Samui

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Elephant Walk Koh Samui is a small night market located just a short walk from the Happy Elephant Restaurant in Fisherman’s Village. Despite the short stretch of only 30 metres (98.4 feet), the night market offers a quirky shopping experience where you can find a diverse mix of small local boutiques. Check out the cute comic elephant statues lined along the gravelled central courtyard as well.

Elephant Walk Koh Samui

Address: Bophut Beach Road, Bophut, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320, Thailand

Access: Opposite Happy Elephant Restaurant in Fisherman’s Village

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17. Chaweng Night Market

Night food stall
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user HOWinGkims used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Unlike Elephant Walk Koh Samui, Chaweng Night Market is more of a food market where you can tuck into a wide array of food. With just a couple of stalls selling clothes and souvenirs, Chaweng Night Market is effectively a large food court offering quality dishes at affordable prices as low as 50 THB (1.45 USD) for snacks and 70 THB (2 USD) for local dishes. Come here to enjoy a sumptuous dinner under the stars and experience the vibrant night scene.

Chaweng Night Market

Address: 14/102 Moo 2, behind Star Gym, Chaweng Beach Road, Chaweng, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320, Thailand

Opening Hours: 5 pm - 11 pm daily.

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18. Fisherman’s Village

grilled squid
Source: Needpix

The Fisherman’s Village is a popular spot for locals and tourists, particularly on Friday evenings when the Walking Street Market is closed to traffic. Chomp down on delectable street food from grilled squids to kebabs. Of course, expect to see the usual souvenir stalls selling quintessential Thai knick-knacks, including plenty of souvenirs made from coconuts.

Fisherman’s Village

Address: Bophut Beach Road, Bophut, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320, Thailand

Opening Hours: 5 pm - 11 pm daily.

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19. Sunset bars by the beach (from USD 303)

Who thinks surreal beaches can only be enjoyed during the day? You probably have not been to a sunset bar by the beach in Samui then. Discover hidden gems at lesser known beaches on the island’s west coast with an awesome beachfront dining experience. Watch the gorgeous sunset while you sip a glass of cocktail under coconut trees. For a stylish sundowner dining experience, Air Bar at Intercontinental Samui Resort and Woobar at W Retreat Koh Samui will assure you a memorable end to an unforgettable evening in the Gulf of Thailand.

Air Bar

Address: At Intercontinental Samui Resort, in the central part of Baan Taling Ngam

Opening Hours: 5 pm - 12 am daily.

Contact: +66 77 429 100

Website: Air Bar


Address: About 800m north of Intercontinental Samui Resort

Opening Hours: 11.30 am - 10.30 pm daily.

Contact: +66 77 270 689

Website: Woobar

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InterContinental Koh Samui Resort, an IHG Hotel

Wifi Available Wheelchair accessible

Address: 295, Moo 3, Taling Ngam Beach, Koh Samui
5.82 km (3.7 mi) from Wat Phra Chedi Laem So

Parking Restaurant Room service Meeting/banquet facilities Bar 24-HOUR FRONT DESK Fitness centre Garden

20. Romantic dinner by the beach (from USD 43.0)

Travelling with your significant other half and want to enjoy a romantic dinner by the idyllic beach? Indulge in a 4-course dinner of traditional Thai cuisine like the king and queen at the Amari Koh Samui resort, while you marvel in awe at the stunning sun sink into the horizon at Chaweng Beach.

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Koh Samui 4-Course Private Dinner for Two on the Beach

Duration: 3 hours

2 reviews

21. Go chasing the Purple Waterfalls in Koh Samui

Source: Photo by user AJ Oswald used under CC BY-SA 2.0

When it comes to nature exploration, one of the most common finds in the middle of the jungle is a waterfall. Koh Samui, Thailand does not fall short of giving travelers and adventure seekers alike a few good waterfalls to bask on during a morning trek. The Na Muang Waterfalls coined as the “Purple Waterfalls” is a gorgeous stream of water with a natural pool that boasts stunning lush surroundings just between Nathon and Lamai Beach. This is a place to definitely check out if you’re traveling around Thailand with hiking and trekking the wilderness in mind. Bathing in this stunning waterfall is free for everyone and is perfect for those in the beginner level of climbing or trekking in the forest. See what lies behind beach destinations in Koh Samui and get your hiking and trekking gear on for a day filled with nature adventure.

Chase the Na Muang Waterfalls

Address: Na Mueang, Ko Samui District, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand

Website: Na Muang Waterfalls

Opening hours: 24 hours, daily

Price: free admission

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22. See the humane side animals and visit the Original Pig Island Experience (from USD 57.0)

A great way to explore the beautiful beachside of Koh Samui, while also preserving fauna in the area is booking a tour to Pig Island. This unique beach experience is of utmost alluring to many travelers for one main feat, playing with pigs. Participants will spend seven hours in Viator’s Original Pig Island Experience which will include riding speed boats, snorkeling, kayaking, and island hopping among others. These pigs are scattered all over the beach, making it a great tour and island activity for those traveling in groups or families who wish to do several things in one convenient destination. See a hidden gem of Ko Samui and try your hand in water sports one lazy afternoon complete with lunch, snacks, and alcoholic beverages in the stunning wonder that is Koh Samui.

Original Pig Island Experience

Address: Koh Samui, Thailand

Duration: 7 hours

Contact: +1 (855) 339-8942

Price: 61.41 USD

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Pig Island Day Trip from Koh Samui by Speedboat

Duration: 5 hours

171 reviews

23. Koh Samui Sunset Dinner Cruise for Couples (from USD 72.0)

Couples or pairs traveling to Thailand on Valentine’s month or on their anniversaries are up for quite a treat when they book a sunset dinner cruise with Viator. In Bophut, couples will be able to experience superb pampering on board with a great meal overlooking glorious horizons and sunsets. Three hours worth of solid bonding time is what participants of this tour will get, where they will be able to get on the luxury yacht, Red Baron. Guests onboard will also be entitled to unlimited cocktails and drinks, a wide selection of fruits, and access to the dinner buffet with superb traditional Thai cuisine for a topnotch meal while watching the stunning sunset of Koh Samui, Thailand.

Koh Samui Sunset Dinner Cruise

Address: Bophut, Thailand

Contact: +1 (855) 339-8942

Price: 85.30 USD

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Koh Samui Sunset Dinner Cruise with Hotel Pickup

Duration: 3 hours

18 reviews

24. 2-Hour Sunrise Stand Up Paddle Tour for Solo Travelers in Koh Samui (from USD 41.0)

Avid solo travelers alike are welcomed to book this authentic Thai paddle experience in Surat Thani Province. The participant will pay 51.18 USD for a 2-hour stand-up paddleboard (SUP) during the peak of sunset led by a professional guide. This paddling experience is best for beginners and those traveling alone around the vibrant city. Participants will be entitled to a Premium Starboard paddleboard equipment, complimentary transfers in the Bophut, Bangrak, and Choeng Mon areas. The tour will begin at 6:00 AM and will finish at around 8:00 PM where guests will get to end their long day on the water with a breathtaking view of the sunset. This tour is a great way to connect with other travelers and meet new people, while also being a great bonding activity for small groups, a maximum of four people.

Sunrise Stand Up Paddle Tour

Address: Surat Thani Province, Thailand

Opening hours: 6:00AM to 8:00 PM

Duration: 2 hours

Contact: +1 (855) 339-0876

Price: 51.18 USD

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Sunrise Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Tour in Koh Samui

Duration: 2 hours

33 reviews

25. Venture into the nightlife and watch a Ladyboy Cabaret Show

Ladyboys in colorful costumes performing on stage at the Alkazar Cabaret in Pattaya-47
Source: Photo by user John Shedrick used under CC BY 2.0

Thai people are one of the most interesting people in the world. Along with a controversial culture of ladyboy performers and entertainers, there’s an open and positive nightlife for sex workers in several parts of the country. Those who are curious to see this side to the Thai nightlife can do so by attending a Ladyboy Cabaret Show. Performances are rather mystical and entertaining, playing with themes like Hollywood glam, disco divas, and legends of the Orient that constantly draw audiences from various parts of Thailand. Ladyboy Cabarets also have comedy skits, duets, and elaborate dance numbers that boast the creative and artistic side to the industry. Though it’s often taboo, this is an experience to check off your bucket list when in Thailand.

Ladyboy Cabaret Show

Website: Ladyboy Cabaret Show

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26. Explore Koh Samui's greenery on a zipline (from USD 75.0)

When in Koh Samui, note that there is so much more to do than just lay on the beach and relax by the turquoise blue waters. Get the best of the island experience and see its beautiful forestry with a bit of adrenaline. Try ziplining through Koh Samui’s lush greenery and land on the forest’s hidden waterfalls for a solid finish. Participants will have free hotel pickups, safety equipment, lunch, and a full four hours of mad solid thrills while ziplining in Koh Samui’s finest. There are 15 zip lines and 21 stations best for big groups traveling together and in for something more adventurous than relaxed for a day.

Zip Line Adventure in Koh Samui with Secret Waterfalls

Address: Chaweng, Thailand

Contact: +1 (855) 639-9467

Price: 85.30 USD

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Koh Samui, Thailand Private Zip Line Adventure

Duration: 4 hours

28 reviews

Say hello to Coconut Island!

If you do not already know, Koh Samui has earned itself the nickname of Coconut Island as it used to rely heavily on coconut plantations. Now that you have discovered the top 20 must-dos on the pristine island, are you itching to go yet? Whether you are into outdoor, cultural activities or nightlife, Samui has something for everyone. Enjoy!

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Rachel has forgotten when and exactly how she caught the travel bug. What she does remember is the triumphant feeling she enjoys when she sees the fascinating world out there with her own eyes. She...Read more

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