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Things to do in Koh Samui

Things to do in  Koh Samui

Welcome to Koh Samui

With its white-sand beaches hemmed in by coconut palms, private beach resorts reachable only by boat, and swathes of lush rainforest; Koh Samui comes as close to paradise as anywhere in Thailand. Marooned off the Gulf of Thailand coast and reachable by ferry from Chumphon and Surat Thani, Samui island is the largest of the Chumphon archipelago, and ranks second only to Phuket for the title of Thailand’s most visited island. On the east coast, Chaweng beach is the island’s party hub, lined with beach bars, nightclubs, and 5-star resorts, while Lamai Beach, Choeng Mon Beach, and Bophut offer more laid-back alternatives. Away from the beach, dramatic viewpoints abound, with highlights including Na Muang Waterfall, the Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks, and the dazzling gold façade of Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai). The island also makes a popular basecamp for exploring the surrounding islands and speedboats plow the route between Koh Phangan, host of Thailand’s notorious Full Moon parties, and Koh Tao, a popular scuba diving and snorkeling spot. Off the west coast, a sea kayaking or snorkeling tour of Ang Thong National Marine Park—a cluster of jungle-clad islands, ringed by jagged rocks, sandy coves, and a rainbow of coral—is perhaps the most enchanting option for a day trip.

Top 10 attractions in Koh Samui

#1
Koh Tan (Koh Taen)

Koh Tan (Koh Taen)

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In stark contrast to its famed northerly neighbor, tiny and sleepy Koh Tan tempts visitors with empty beaches and vehicle-less roads just three miles and a 15-minute boat ride south of Koh Samui’s southern tip. Koh Tan (also spelled Koh Taen, Ko Taen, and Ko Tan) is sometimes also called Coral Island for its diversity of colorful hard and soft corals, and it often serves as a popular day-long escape for snorkel or kayak excursions through its clear inshore waters. Though the island doesn’t have quite the aquatic diversity of other more remote locations, it still affords excellent snorkeling, relatively empty beaches and navigable mangrove swamps all very close to a major tourist hub. Longboats make the crossing daily and usually stop at several unique coral spots around the island.On land, Koh Tan spans only three square miles, and its population barely tops 30 people; their rustic lifestyle with limited electricity affords a glimpse of what much of Thai Island-living was like decades ago. Koh Tan also has a thriving population of monitor lizards, a boardwalk through a mangrove forest, a quaint local temple, a handful of local restaurants and a cluster of bungalow-style accommodations.More
#2
Ang Thong National Marine Park

Ang Thong National Marine Park

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The 42 karst islets of Ang Thong National Marine Park (Mu Koh Ang Thong) in southern Thailand comprise a picturesque seascape spanning more than 95 square miles (246 square kilometers). These limestone pinnacles harbor secluded powdery beaches, sheer cliffs, and caves, and are home to myriad birds, monkeys, dolphins, and other wildlife.More
#3
Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks (Hin Yai/Hin Ta)

Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks (Hin Yai/Hin Ta)

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Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks - or Hin Yai/Hin Ta - are rocky outcrops on Lamai Beach. Often photographed and commented on, the rocks bear an uncanny resemblance to male and female genitalia.The rocks are set on a lovely stretch of beach, and create tranquil rock pools when the tide is in.More
#4
Na Muang Waterfall

Na Muang Waterfall

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Nestled among Koh Samui’s central mountains, the Na Muang Waterfall has two tiers: a lower stretch that’s easily reachable and falls into a lovely natural pool, and a higher tier that requires a 30-minute hike. The falls are set among lush jungle surroundings, and access to the site is free.More
#5
Wat Khunaram (Mummified Monk)

Wat Khunaram (Mummified Monk)

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Koh Samui is known for its incredible beaches, turquoise waters and sandy shores. But hidden away from the coastal wonder lies one of the most unique temples in the nation—Wat Khunaram.While this gilded red and white temple may look typical to travelers who climb the dozen or so stairs that lead to its entryway, once inside, visitors will find a site unlike anywhere else. That’s because a vertical glass casket holds the mummified body of Loung Pordaeng—a famous monk—in his most meditative state. Locals say his meditation techniques, which required less oxygen than his peers—are responsible for his still well-preserved state. Visitors can come tour the site, learn about the life of this religious icon, and bear witness to local Buddhists praying at wat shrines.More
#6
Secret Buddha Garden (Magic Garden)

Secret Buddha Garden (Magic Garden)

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Deep in Koh Samui’s jungle-clad hills is the Secret Buddha Garden (Magic Garden), where a waterfall tumbles past stone sculptures of the Buddha. The oasis was created by local durian farmer Nim Thongsuk, whose tomb sits among the carvings of Buddhist spirits, musicians, and animals.More
#7
Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai)

Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai)

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Apart from the beaches, Koh Samui’s most distinctive attraction is the golden Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai) visible above the red-tiled rooftops on the island’s north coast. The 40-foot (12-meter) Buddha statue can be seen from several miles away—even from a plane—and the site is an active place of worship.More
#8
Aow Leuk Beach

Aow Leuk Beach

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Travelers looking for seclusion and solitude on Koh Tao, one of Thailand’s most popular islands don’t have it easy. But on the southeastern side of the island, between the Sai Daeng Beach to the north and the Tanote Beach to the south lies the 200 meter long Aow Leuk beach. This stretch of sand is difficult to reach, and because of that, the tourist crowds stay away. Aow Leuk offers crystal clear waters and the peace and serenity necessary to forget everyday life and recover from stress. The bay is shallow, surrounded by the islands typical, fine white sand and big boulders and due to the low depths, is a protected site and a great place for snorkeling and training dives to see luminous butterflyfish, blue angelfish and parrotfish among the corals.The beach prides itself on being very clean and it is accordingly not allowed to bring your own picnic. But there are a few small, family-run bungalows and a restaurant, so you won’t have to worry about basic necessities, such as food, drinks or snorkel-rentals while still being well away from the crowds.More
#9
Chaweng Beach

Chaweng Beach

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Chaweng Beach - or Hat Chaweng - is Koh Samui’s most popular, longest and perhaps most lovely beach.Clear blue-green sea, palm trees, coral reefs and lively nightlife come together to create a laid-back party atmosphere at Chaweng, the second biggest resort hub on the island.Drinks are sold on the beach by passing vendors and there are water sports for every taste, from windsurfing to water skiing.Dive operators run tours from Chaweng Beach, and this is where you’ll find most of the island’s nightclubs and bars. At beachfront restaurants you can dine right on the sand as the sun sets over the sea.More
#10
Lamai Beach

Lamai Beach

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Lamai Beach vies with Chaweng for title of Koh Samui’s prettiest beach, especially along its less coral-strewn southern stretches.Less developed than Chaweng, and therefore more tranquil and relaxed, Lamai offers year-round swimming and the interesting formations of the granite Grandmother and Grandfather rocks.It’s a good spot to look for resort accommodation and tasty restaurants on Koh Samui.More

Top activities in Koh Samui

Recent reviews from experiences in Koh Samui

star-5
Great way to see the whole Island
tvcotton14, Feb 2020
Koh Samui Jungle Safari Tour
We got to see the main sights of Koh Samui which was awesome.
star-5
Great day out!
asutkoff, Nov 2019
Private - 6 Hours Best of Samui City Tour including Lunch
There was some rain in the morning, but our guide provided raincoats and we were still able to see everything :) Our guide was also very informative and fun!
star-5
FANTASTIC!
CH1EastYorkshire_UK, Jul 2019
Angthong Marine Park Semi-Private Sunset Tour
We were also lucky to see some pink dolphins swimming near the boat.
star-5
The tour was great, only 3 people...
Tracey E, Jun 2016
Koh Samui 4WD Jeep Jungle Tour
The tour was great, only 3 people but a fabulous guide, magic scenery, a delicious lunch and swimming under a waterfall.
star-5
Great local provider! They called...
Steve-o, Feb 2017
Half-Day Zipline Ride on Koh Samui
The provider spoke great English and provided refreshments before and after the zip-lining.
star-4
Very nice way to see a lot of Koh...
Tory O, Aug 2016
Koh Samui 4WD Jeep Jungle Tour
Very nice way to see a lot of Koh Samui in about a 7-8 hour day.
star-5
Really enjoyed this tour. Saw all of...
Amy H, Mar 2010
Koh Samui Round Island Sightseeing Tour
Saw all of the main attractions of Koh Samui.
star-4
Excellent round island trip in which...
Andrew B, Feb 2009
Koh Samui Round Island Sightseeing Tour
Excellent round island trip in which you see basically everything there is to see on Koh Samui.
star-5
The Waterfall!
Rachel_I, Feb 2020
Private Customized Tour with Driver in Koh Samui
We booked this last minute to see as much of Koh Samui as we could.
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Koh Samui island tour
Marcia_B, Feb 2020
Top Sights of Samui City Tour
This was a great tour we saw almost all of the island and all of the sights the the big Buddha, the chinese lady monk, the lad koh viewpoint, the grandmother and grandfather rocks where I sampled coconut icecream in a real coconut, the guan Yu shrine
star-5
Great half day trip with lots of sun and swimming included!
Matthew, Feb 2020
Pig Island Day Trip from Koh Samui by Speedboat
There was only 1 stop that didn't make much sense and if I could offer any tip, it would be to leave this part out and put that time towards one of the other activities.
star-5
Great value, highly recommended to see Koh Samui highlights in an optimal time!
juliekabil, Jan 2020
Top Sights of Samui City Tour
I highly recommend this tour to see the highlights of Koh Samui, it's a great value and very reasonably priced.
star-5
Perfect Way to Start Your Day!
TheMightyBeaver, Jul 2019
Sunrise Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Tour in Koh Samui
All in all, an excellent way to see a different side of Koh Samui and I would strongly recommend it!
star-5
4WD was great fun, off the beaten track...
Louise D, Oct 2017
Eco Jungle Safari Tour around Koh Samui Including Lunch
4WD was great fun, off the beaten track and good to see a different area of Koh Samui
star-4
My partner and I wanted a half day...
Rachel T, Dec 2017
Koh Samui Island Half-Day Tour
My partner and I wanted a half day tour that would give us a good feel for the island and allow us to cover most of the tourist attractions with little effort this tour was perfect for us.
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This was by far my favorite part of...
sierra o, Jul 2017
Angthong Marine Park Semi-Private Sunset Tour
You get so many activities and sights to see for your money.
star-5
What a great day! Picked up from my...
Linda J, Feb 2018
Angthong Marine Park Semi-Private Sunset Tour
Alternative activities were offered if you didn't want to partake in the kayaking or snorkeling.
star-5
It is really really hot at Koh Samui...
Sara P, Apr 2013
Koh Samui Round Island Sightseeing Tour
There are so many places you are taken to and you virtual see all of the main attractions in 5 hours.
star-4
The day started off on the wrong foot...
Helene A, May 2010
Koh Samui 4WD Jeep Jungle Tour
We then visited a couple of waterfalls which weren't too dramatic given that it was dry season.
star-4
We really enjoyed the trip; it was...
Simon G, Jun 2007
Koh Samui 4WD Jeep Jungle Tour
The only other problem was that we were the only two English people amongst a group of eight Germans, so we felt a little left out when our guide was speaking, but there isn't much that you can do about that, as we realize that far more Germans were

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