Thailand is one of the most visited countries in the world. Its capital, Bangkok, tops the charts as the most visited city on the planet, three years in a row. One of the reasons the country receives many visitors is Koh Samui, a picturesque island with turquoise waters and tall striking palm trees on its coastline.
The island falls in all travel brackets, be it budget backpackers or super-rich Hollywood elites. The island has a great deal of stunning natural beauty as well as artificial attractions, despite being arguably the most overdeveloped of all islands in the Gulf Coast of Thailand.
There are plenty of things to do and see in Koh Samui, that creating a list of only 15 entries is almost an impossible task, but here we are, the 15 best things to do in Koh Samui.
15 Best Things to Do in Koh Samui, Thailand
Check out the 18-armed sculpture of Guanyin
Thailand is known for its many awe-inspiring temples, but the most striking of all is the Wat Plai Laem in the northeastern shore of Koh Samui. The temple is popular thanks to the giant 18-armed statue of Guanyin, an ancient Chinese goddess of mercy and compassion. Set aside a few hours in the afternoon to explore the Wat Plai Laem temple and it’s surrounding for some of the most long-lasting images of the island that you will have in your entire trip.
Take pictures of Hin Ta Hin Yai rocks
The whole of Thailand is nature’s wonder, but still, you will be surprised by the Hin Ta Hin Yai rocks south of the Samui shore. The rocks are also known for attracting thousands of tourists annually, making them one of the tourist hotspots on the island.
Swim in Na Muang Waterfalls
As if a single waterfall is not jaw-dropping enough, Na Muang waterfalls come in two. They stand out as two of the most striking natural wonders of the island. The waterfalls can be reached easily thanks to the noticeably worn out trail. There are pools at the bottom of the fall that is ideal for relaxing and cooling down.
Visit the “magic garden” of Buddha
Koh Samui is full of surprises, but as you keep exploring the island, you will surely run out of ways to express how surprised you are. In the jungles and on top of the hills in Samui, you will find a Buddha Garden. It is quite a task to reach it, but the views or shocks, are worth all your efforts. The garden is packed with Buddha statues as well as various sculptures from Buddhist folklore and exudes the feeling of antiquity despite not being around until 1976.
Shop at Central Festival
Koh Samui is not known for being a commercial hub, but thanks to the Central Festival shopping mall, you can buy virtually anything. The shopping center includes some of the most popular international brands like Adidas as well as indigenous ones such as Jim Thompson. There are also plenty of fine restaurants from which you can munch some of the island’s finest delicacies.
Pay Big Buddha a visit
Located in the northeastern section of Samui, Big Buddha is also one of the most dominant attractions. The Buddha is sitting at the top of the stairs in a Mara posture, and the figure, as well as the bright temple and smaller statues, are worth your time here.
Discover flora and fauna at Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park
If you are curious about what Thailand has to offer in terms of wildlife, a visit to the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park will answer all your questions. There are many ways to explore the park – snorkeling, swimming, and hiking – the choice is yours.
Comprising of archipelagos of breathtaking, unoccupied islands, stunning caves, waterfalls, and quiet, beautiful, empty beaches, this national park is a must-visit particularly for nature lovers.
Interact with elephants at the sanctuary
Thanks to the Elephant Sanctuary in Samui, you don’t have to travel all the way up to Chiang Mai to the north to interact ethically with the elephants. Enjoy an up-close encounter with elephants, some of which are rescued, in their natural environment.
Go on a jungle safari tour
Another perfect way to explore the highlights of Samui Island is by taking a Jeep Safari tour. The expedition takes you through attractions such as Namuang Waterfall, Mummified Monk, and the aforementioned Buddha Garden.
The best part of the tour is that you will have a guide all through, who will tell you about the history of the sites as you pass by.
Watch ladyboys show
Thailand is also famous for its large population of ladyboys and in an area around Chaweng Beach, they usually stage a show. The competition for tourists’ money is so fierce as the ladyboys are here to primarily to make money. The shows are usually live performances in beautiful outfits and makeup.
Explore the Chaweng Beach
As the largest beach on the island, Chaweng has virtually everything you will want in a beautiful beach – restaurants, bars, shops, and plenty of tourist facilities. It is also the center of the island’s nightlife.
The strip stretches almost three kilometers, lined up with all types of bars.
Relax at Lamai Beach
If the fast-paced vibe of the Chaweng Beach is not of your liking, Lamai Beach is a great alternative. It is quieter and less crowded with deep waters that are ideal for swimming. It also has beachfront restaurants and bars selling cold cocktails and tasty food.
Or the Maenam Beach
If I haven’t mentioned it, Koh Samui is quite a luxurious island in Thailand. Luckily, it has something for everyone, and Maenam Beach is for budget travelers and backpackers. Stretching around 7 kilometers, the beach is lined with tall palm trees while most of its sections remain undeveloped.
Wander around Nathon Town
If you are not keen, you might miss the capital of Samui. Nathon Town is located near the port in a laidback setting.
It has a wide range of restaurants and shops as well as banks. The highlight of the town is the many Chinese shop buildings that double as shops selling gold and other range of products.
Products in Nathon are cheap, so if you want some souvenirs, this is a great place to buy them.
Discover new things at Bophut
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the Chaweng and Lamai is a gorgeous communal called Bophut. Though this fishing village is slowly becoming a tourist hotspot, it is still serene enough to enjoy a quiet beach or a nice beverage in many restaurants nearby. The village also has a lot of ancient wooden homes that were constructed by Chinese immigrants in the 19th century.
Last but not least, the village also has a pedestrianized street with plenty of eateries and cafés.
To help you plan out your next holiday to Koh Samui, we gathered a list of best places to visit as well as other amazing activities to include on your Koh Samui itinerary. We also listed some of the best Koh Samui travel and tour packages, as well as excellent flight deals and accommodation options.
Searching for the best Koh Samui hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Koh Samui hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.
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