Unique Things to do in Koh Samui | A Travel Guide
Koh Samui is a popular and probably the most famous holiday island in Thailand. And that’s not without reason: On a holiday on Koh Samui you can experience lots of amazing things: The island offers its visitors breathtaking picture-perfect beaches, awesome attractions and many exciting tours and activities. The highlights of Koh Samui include spectacularly beautiful Buddhist temples, a green jungle, wonderful waterfalls and many magnificent viewpoints. Whether backpacking or with a holiday- package, young people who like to party or families with children – this island offers something great for everyone. If you’re planning to travel to Koh Samui and you are looking for the best tips and the top things to do, then you are just right on our travel blog guide!
In this blog article we will show you the best things to do on Koh Samui and the most beautiful beaches. In addition, we share in this guide all tips and info’s about best time to visit, where are the best places to stay and which attractions you should not miss on Koh Samui.
Best things to do & Top Attractions
Koh Samui is the 2nd largest island in Thailand. No wonder that you can explore many amazing things there. With a wide range of activities you won`t get bored on the island. But what are the best unique things to do on Koh Samui? Here we have summarized all the Top attractions & activities, including some secret tips:
Wat Plai Laem
The Wat Plai Laem is a fantastically beautiful Buddhist temple complex in the north of the island and at the same time one of the most popular places to see in Koh Samui. This top attraction delights with its many beautiful and modern temples. A real eye-catcher is the 18-armed Guanyin statue, which is according to Chinese mythology a symbol for compassion and mercy. Nearby is a huge Buddha and many smaller shrines, which are also worth a visit.
Big Buddha Koh Samui
The Big Buddha Temple is Koh Samui’s most famous attraction and an absolute must see when visiting the island. Often from miles away you can spot the 12-meter high Buddha statue, which actually became the island’s landmark. A visit to this attraction is almost a must do on any island tour and that’s why you have to expect many tourists there. Nevertheless, it is really worth a visit! A staircase flanked by Nagas (snakes) leads up to a viewing platform. From the top visitors are spoiled by incredible views to the neighboring island of Koh Phangan.
Tips: If you want to experience this temple almost all to yourself, then you should be there before 8:00 am.
Beaches of Koh Samui
Koh Samui offers a variety of beautiful beaches. The most popular beach on the island is definitely the Chaweng Beach. This beautiful white 6-kilometer long sandy beach is located on the east coast and there you will find a wide selection of amazing hotels, bungalows and accommodation. Also Chaweng Beach is a good deal, if you are looking for an exciting nightlife with cool bars, decent clubs and beach parties. Nevertheless, the beach is due to its length never crowded and because of its central location one of the best starting points for island tours and excursions.
Another fabulous beach tip is the scenic Silver Beach. The small 200 meter long bay impresses with its round rock formations, fine sand, the countless coconut palms and the crystal clear sea. Probably one of the most beautiful beaches of Koh Samui.
Another famous beach in Koh Samui is the Lamai Beach. This approximately 4-kilometer-long sandy beach is a really popular bathing spot on the island and resembles the famous Chaweng Beach. The most beautiful stretch of beach can be found at the southern end, where the famous rock formations (Hin Yai & Hin Ta) are. A really great beach to enjoy a vacation!
More about Lamai can be found in this Lamai Beach Guide.
Hotel tip: The Boutique Hotel Beluga, which is located on the most beautiful part of the Lamai, right next to the round rocks, is one of the best places to stay there.
Another dream beach is the wonderful Coral Cove. High coconut palms, fine sand and impressive rock formations make this beach truly unique. Since it is a bit hidden, not that many visitors come to enjoy this lovely bay. Here you can also do snorkeling and due to its location a perfect point to discover the best sights of the island. The Coral Cove is a real natural jewel and therefore a visit is one of the best things to do at Koh Samui.
Hotel tip: A true dream are the Coral Cove Villas, from which you have a beautiful view over the beach.
Maenam Beach, which is located in the north of the island, is another beach highlight of Koh Samui. Countless coconut palms line this marvelous sandy beach. There are also a variety of great hotels and accommodations located at the beach.
If you like it quiet and unspoiled, then you should visit Ban Tai Beach, which is also in the north of the island. This hidden beach is an absolute insider tip for Koh Samui.
Magic Buddha Garden
The Magic Buddha Garden, also known as Tarnim Magic Garden, is another top attraction on Koh Samui. It is located high up on the cool mountains of the island. This magical garden is nestled in the jungle, beautifully just next to a small river. Decorated with many stone figures and lots of beautiful details to discover, a walk through the Magic Buddha Garden is a wonderful experience. Also for us the visit of the garden was a highlight and we can highly recommend this attraction for your Koh Samui trip.
Tip: Visit the Magic Buddha Garden in the morning. At this time, the ambience is so mystical, and you will escape the day trippers.
Grandfather & Grandmother Rocks – Hin Ta & Hin Yai
Everybody knows the famous stone formation on Lamai Beach. Called grandfather & grandmother rock, Hin Ta & Hin Yai or just Penis Rock, this attraction is probably the island’s most unique attraction. As a fixed stop every island tour you can admire what Mother Nature produces. Sure, the male rock can be found immediately, for the grandmother rock you have to look around a bit.
Tips: The Grandfather & Grandmother Rocks are a nice place to enjoy the sunset. Usually sunsets on Koh Samui are starting at 6:00 pm.
Na Muang Waterfall
In search of beautiful waterfalls on Koh Samui we found a special highlight: the Na Muang Waterfall. This 80-meter-high waterfall can be visited by a short hike through the jungle. A great nature experience for adults as well for children. Although the climb is a bit exhausting, the Na Muang is an absolute must see. Some passages are secured with ropes but you do not necessarily have to hike all the way up to see the most beautiful sections of the falls. This waterfall belongs to the most beautiful on the island and a visit to this attraction is absolutely recommended for nature lovers.
Tips: Go there early! In the morning you have this huge waterfall all to yourself.
Another unique and maybe also a bit curious attraction is the Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram. A visit provides a fantastic insight into religion and Thai culture. Since 1973, the deceased monk has been exhibited in a showcase and seems to show only little signs of decay. Locals come to this sacred place to pray and bring their offerings.
The Overlap Stone belongs to the absolute secret tips for the island. Hardly anyone know this unique place to visit at Koh Samui. Maybe because the standing oval stone formation is a bit difficult to reach. You can take the scooter up the hill or you walk (1.5 hours) from Laimai Beach. When driving by scooter be careful, the road is extremely steep. Anyway, up there you well be amazed by the incredible beautiful view.
Discover beautiful Buddhist temples
Visiting the beautiful temple of the island is one of the top things to do at Koh Samui. In addition to all the temples described before in the blog, there are many more wonderful Buddhist places on Koh Samui to discover. For example, go see the golden Pagoda Khao Hua Jook. This temple is located on a mountain near the airport and so you can watch the planes taking off. Another temple jewel is the terracotta-colored Wat Ratchathammaram in the south of the island.
Here are more info’s and tips about the most interesting and beautiful temples: Top 7 temples in Koh Samui.
Fisherman’s Village Bophut
The Fischerman’s Village on Bophut Beach is a must see at the north of the island. Here you can shop until you drop, go to the beach and you will find really delicious restaurants perfect for dining out. Many of the cool bars and restaurants are located directly on the seafront and so you can enjoy a cool drink with a fantastic atmosphere. The beach of Bophut is also really nice and a great place to stay at the island. Especially recommended is the Smile House, which impresses with large bungalows and beautiful pool area.
Tips: Every Friday at 5:00 pm a huge night market takes place at Fischerman`s Village. If you love streetfood, you definitely should go there.
Koh Samui Viewpoints
The holiday island is very mountainous, that’s why you have the possibility to explore really amazing viewpoints. Really popular is the Lad Koh Viewpoint, also called Samui Viewpoint, which is located on the coastal road between Chaweng and Lamai. Also the view from Wat Khao Hua Jook Pagoda is truly spectacular. And, as already mentioned above, don’t miss the Overlap Stone with incredible views of Lamai Beach.
Rent a scooter
Exploring the island by scooter is one of the best activities on Koh Samui. With the wind in your back you discover picturesque bays and all the pretty places by yourself. A scooter can be rent almost everywhere on Koh Samui. Nevertheless, one should compare the offer and pay special attention to the quality of the scooter.
Tip: If you’re renting a scooter, remember to check the tires and brakes carefully.
Surely there is also the possibility to rent a car on Koh Samui. Hardly any island in Thailand would be better for that. Car hire can be found here.
Although the beaches of this holiday island are ideal for swimming and sunbathing, there are only few really good snorkeling spots right on Koh Samui. One of them is the Coral Cove Beach, a small dream bay in the east of the island. Here the water is very clear and you will have the chance to see some colorful fish. Otherwise, if you love snorkeling, you should book a guided snorkeling tour to the island world around Koh Samui. Some of the best snorkeling spots are at Koh Tao.
Boat Tours & Island Hopping
If you need more adventures while staying on Koh Samui, then you should definitely take a boat trip to visit the beautiful neighboring islands Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. This wonderful island hopping tour can be booked via boat trips from Koh Samui.
Another MUST-SEE is the Ang Thong Marine National Park. It is one of the most impressive spots in the archipelago and can be reached by boat tours from Koh Samui. Also here are plenty of amazing spots for snorkeling, kayaking and taking pictures.
Visit a market
Visiting a traditional Thai market can be a very special experience and should not be missed on any trip to Thailand. At Koh Samui, almost every evening a night market takes place somewhere on the island. Here, you can taste delicious food, buy beautiful souvenirs or just let yourself drift through the markets. Here are some of the coolest night markets on the island:
- Weekend: Friday Walking Street at Fisherman’s Village, Saturday night market at Big C in Bophut, Sunday Lamai Walking Street.
- On weekdays: daily Chaweng Walking Street, daily night market of Nathon, Wednesday the Choeng Mon Nightmarket, Thursday the walking street in Maenam.
Nightlife & Party
Although the capital of the island is Nathon, the best night life takes place around the Chaweng Beach. Along the long Chaweng Road are plenty of different restaurants and bars. Even a Hard Rock Cafe & a Hooters have settled here. If you’re in a party mood, then you should definitely visit the Ark Bar – the ultimate party spot right on the beach. The entrance to the club is free and in the high season every night DJs and fire acrobats perform a show.
Tips: If you love to party hard you should consider spending the night in the Party Hotel of the Ark Bar.
Also on New Year’s Eve, the best party on Koh Samui usually takes place at the Ark Bar, just right on the beach. This is the place where locals as well as tourists meet to party.
Best time to visit Koh Samui
Actually, Koh Samui can be visited all year round. The most beautiful weather is expected in the months of January, February and March. During that travel time it should rain the least. Other good travel times for Koh Samui are April, May, June, July and August. The months of September, October, November and December are rainier and considered to be the rainy season on Koh Samui. In the rainy season visitors can expect an average of 20 rainy days per month and it can come to monsoon-like rains.
How to get to Koh Samui
Here are the fourbest travel options how to get to Koh Samui from Bangkok:
By Bus & Ferry: From many holiday destinations in Thailand you can book combination tickets with bus & ferry. Numerous transport options can be found at 12go.asia.
By train & ferry: If you want to travel by train from Bangkok, best you take the night train to Surat Thani. From there you can take a bus or minibus to the ferry terminal.
Hotels and Accommodations
The choice of accommodation and hotels on Koh Samui is almost endless. Whether families with children, luxury travelers, individual traveler or backpacker – on this island everyone will find their perfect place to stay. We can recommend the following accommodations and hotel tips for your holiday on Koh Samui:
- Hostel: The UBOX Hostel is a perfect backpacking tip for travelers who want to stay conveniently on the main beach of the island on Chaweng Beach. In addition, this hostel is super clean, really comfortable and is even equipped with pool.
- Budget Resort with Pool: The Palm Coco Mantra is a cute little hotel just off Lamai Beach. Especially nice are the bungalows with sea view. The pool is great and at this price an absolute recommendation!
- Beautiful boutique hotel: The Rocky’s Boutique Resort is a really nice hotel tip for a holiday on Lamai Beach. The whole area is a little paradise and also the pool is really lovely. Here are so many details, a perfect service and also the breakfast is excellent.
- Pure luxury: The Four Seasons Resort on Koh Samui is the place in Koh Samui when it comes to real luxury. The hotel is in a stunningly beautiful location, in the Laem Yai Bay with private dream beach. Perfect for a very special stay on the dream island.
- Party Hotel: As mentioned above, the Ark-Bar Resort is an absolute must for those who enjoy celebrating.
Conclusion: A holiday on Koh Samui is always a great deal. Of course, the island is not as it was 30 years ago, but there are still plenty of places to visit. Also, the beaches are amazingly beautiful and that´s why we highly recommend this holiday island.
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