Among the three islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is the largest, followed by Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, both smaller. There are a number of things to do here, including diving, snorkeling, swimming, and basking on the picturesque jungle-backed beaches, along with boat tours to explore Ang Thong National Marine Park’s sublime seascape.
Most tourists arriving from Bangkok or abroad land in Koh Samui because it has the only airport among the three “sister islands”. The trip between Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, for example, takes only half an hour, making it easy to hop between the islands once in Samui. However if you want more of an adventure to discover of this amazing country then you may be interested to know how to go to koh samui from bangkok by land and ferry.
See our list of what to do in Koh Samui for ideas on how to spend your time here in paradise.
Explore The Island On A Scooter
There’s no doubt that Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island, but in reality it isn’t that big. Koh Samui is only 75 kilometers in diameter, which means you can drive around it in a day. In Thailand, renting a scooter or motorbike is extremely easy, and this is the best way to see the island.
It’s a good idea to get your scooter and travel scoot around the island early into your trip because it will give you a better idea of where you’d rather stay on the island.
Driving around Koh Samui, you can experience many different atmospheres and personalities all in one day thanks to its spine of rolling, jungle-covered mountains, which are home to hiking trails, waterfalls, and sculpture gardens.
Chaweng and Lamai have nonstop energy and are usually crammed with young tourists, whereas areas on the northern and western coasts are more relaxed, undeveloped, and laidback.
No matter where you are in Koh Samui, you will always find something unique to explore, so plan your scooter adventure early and discover more of the beatiful tropical paradise.
Visit The Islands Breathtaking Waterfalls
Koh Samui is more than white sandy beaches – just venture inland and away from the turquoise waters, and you’ll find a jungle paradise just as enchanting. Explore Koh Samui’s three major waterfalls if you’re up for a somewhat steamy but fascinating trek through a tropical forest.
You can drive to Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2 (the “Purple Waterfalls”) in a park with the same name. You can easily reach Na Muang 1 from the parking lot; Na Muang 2 requires a steep but short hike uphill from the first waterfall. A small pool can be found at the base of the first waterfall, which is the biggest.
The Khun Si Waterfall is another waterfall that is well worth visiting. Located just a few minutes away from Khun Si viewpoint over Chaweng Beach, this waterfall is smaller and harder to find, but that means smaller crowds, and if you come early, it’s likely to be all to yourself. This waterfall is surrounded by dense jungle, making it a refreshing stop before continuing onward.
Bask Or Swim On The Koh Samui Beaches
Koh Samui’s serene beaches offer a range of experiences. Chaweng is by far the most frequented and highly developed, not to mention home to luxury resorts like the Vana Belle and Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort. Chaweng Noi in the island’s south is furthermore ranked among Thailand’s best beaches.
Lamai Beach, Koh Samui’s second largest resort area, is home to a unique pair of rock formations dubbed “Grandpa” and “Grandma” (Hin Ta & Hin Yai). If you’re looking for a place to stay nearby, Rocky’s Boutique Resort offers four-star accommodation on the beachfront or you could opt for the five-star villas at Banyan Tree Samui. Head northeast and you’ll come across Silver Beach (Haad Thong Ta-khian), an idyllic cove lined with palms and surrounded by smooth boulders – perfect for snorkeling in its peaceful bay.
On the north side of Samui you’ll find a wide range of accommodations at Maenam Beach, from backpacker bungalows to midrange boutique hotels to 5 star luxury resorts.
On the unspoilt southeast coast lies Laem Setbeach, with its inviting palms and coral garden. Off the shoreline are unusual rocky formations that make for a thrilling sight. If you’re looking to capture a beautiful sunset, Phang Kabeach to the northwest is your perfect spot.
Ang Thong National Marine Park Tour
The breathtaking archipelago of Ang Thong National Marine Park consists of 42 islands, including Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. It’s arguably the best tour you can take while visiting this area so if you are in Samui then anyone who has been would recommend taking the tour and witnessing the beauty and magnificence of Ang Thong. A number of tour companies offer one-day packages, which can be booked on Samui or online – also usually available through your hotel or guesthouse.
You will be taken to spots where you can hike through spectacular viewpoints providing amazing views of the chain of islands and great photo opportunities, you can also take part in acivities such as snorkelling and kayaking if you wish. All in all the Ang Thong tour is a unforgettable experience and is very high up on the list of things to do on Koh Samui.
Visit Big Buddha
This Buddhist temple is located in Ko Phan, less than three kilometers from Koh Samui which is like a tiny island of it’s own that is connected via a small road. The whole surrounding is comprised a somewhat majestic mix of reds and golds and is definitely a sight to behold. In addition to having a massive gold Buddha statue that stands 12 meters high at the top of a staircase, Phra Yai (also known as Big Buddha Temple) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Koh Samui.
The temple grounds also contain smaller statues and bells in addition to the main Buddha statue.
During their daily prayers, monks can be seen by visitors who arrive in the early morning. After a stroll around the grounds, you can buy food or Buddhist statues and meditation supplies to take home. A visit to Ang Thong National Marine Park and Wat Plai Lem are also worthwhile.
Head To Koh Tao To Do Some Diving And Snorkling
When flying over the islands, if you see Koh Tao (the smalles island) you will see that it’s comprised of lush green jungle, drifting on a jade-green sea and linked by grorgeous sweeps of white-sand beach.
This is the ideal destination for diving enthusiasts for a few reasons, one is that its clear waters provide an unforgettable view making it one of Southeast Asia’s best diving spots. Also one can spot a plethora of colourful coral reefs and sea creatures such as stingrays, schools of fish, brightly-hued anemones and even whale sharks. Additionally, Koh Tao is an affordable and popular place to obtain a PADI (scuba diving) certification.
Even though it’s far from a “off the beating path” destination, tourists visiting here will still usually find less crowds than that of Samui or Phangan. Accomodation here consists mostly of villas and bungalows built on jungly slopes that offer breathtaking views over the bay; such as Monkey Flower Villas or The Place Luxury Boutique Villas.
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