Koh Samui is a combination of beautiful beaches, island hopping, good food and nightlife. There is accommodation for every budget and for only 200baht (€5) you can rent a scooter for one day. In this blog post you will find the 15 best things to in Koh Samui Thailand. We’ve explored the whole island and made our favorite list from these experiences! Read here all the Koh Samui best things to do!
Koh Samui weather
If you are planning to visit Koh Samui, of course you want to go in the best months with the driest days. The monsoon usually lasts from October through December with November as the wettest month. February and March, on the other hand, are the sunniest months. January is (statistically) the coolest month and April the hottest time of the year. Broadly you can travel to Koh Samui from January until October to have the best chance on a sunny vacation.
Where to stay in Koh Samui
This depends on what you are looking for and what your budget is considering the hotels you can choose. If you’re looking for entertainment and nightlife you have to stay around the Chaweng area. But if you’re more into relaxing and quiet beaches, then book your accommodation around the more in the south or around the Maenam beach area as it’s much quieter. The roads in Koh Samui are great, so when you hire a motorbike for 150 – 200 baht you can explore the island easily on your own.
How to get to Koh Samui
Since this is the only island on the east coast that has an airport, it is the most convenient but also expensive way to get to here. You can also come by boat (and bus) from the mainland of Thailand via Surat Thani and Krabi.
Visit the beaches
Beach hopping on Koh Samui is a very good idea! There are plenty of beaches with all their own charms. If you like quiet and empty beaches, you’re better off at Maenam beach. But if you prefer to relax at a beach club or a beach with more facilities you can better head to Chaweng beach. And for one of the best sunsets views, you have to go to Lipa Noi beach.
An adventurous thing to do on Koh Samui is chasing waterfalls! There are some waterfalls and creeks scattered around the island. You can take a dip at the pools of the waterfall or just enjoy the view. But take into account that the waterfalls are only in their full glory during the rainy season. In the dry season, you might be disappointed with what you see as there is almost no water running down the waterfall. So can we even speak about a ‘waterfall’ in that case…?!
Read our complete guide to Namuang waterfall here.
Overlap stone viewpoint
Koh Samui offers some amazing viewpoints. One of them is quite funny as it’s a man-made viewpoint in the back of a Thai house. When you walk over a bridge you get onto the big rocks where you’ll have an amazing view over Koh Samui and the ocean. It’s only a short walk through the jungle to get there and is just located around the corner of Hin Ta & Hin Yai rocks and Lamai beach.
Explore the Ang Thong National Marine Park
You can visit the Angthong Marine Park by catching a boat tour that leaves from Koh Samui. The archipelago is made of 42 islands scattered in the Gulf of Thailand close to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. The islands cover more than 100 square kilometers and consists of mountains, jungles and white sand beaches. There are also caves, waterfalls and lakes to explore on your trip. The area itself is protected and home to a wide variety of exotic animals. If you’re into camping, you can choose to camp the night on one of the islands by hiring a tent. In the novel ‘The Beach’, Ang thong marine park was the location where the backpackers set up their secret camp. However, the movie was filmed on Koh Phi Phi and made it one of the most popular places to visit in Thailand. This full-day tour is a must-do!
Hin Ta Hin Yai rocks
We didn’t even know about this spot before we arrived at Koh Samui, but we soon found out this was a funny thing to visit. The Hin Ta Hin Yai rocks are also known as “Grandfather and Grandmother rocks”. The views from the rocks are spectacular, stretching across the sea to nearby islands. Close to Hin Ta and Hin Yai is a small white-sand beach that offers a refreshing place to cool your feet after a day of island exploration and there are some other small rock pools around to relax in. The pristine waters are so clear that colorful marine life can often be seen from the surface. It’s a cool spot to tick off from your Koh Samui itinerary!
Although the Elephant rock looks nothing like an elephant, the size of the rock formation was where the name originated from. Located in-between Chawang and Lamai Beach, the rock itself is in a very peaceful area. So if you feel like some time away from all the activity this is the place to go. There are plenty of options to hike around this area. And if you climb all the way to the summit, you will be greeted with beautiful views of the Gulf of Thailand.
Go to Fishermans village
Away from the busy streets of Lamai and Chaweng is a gorgeous little fishing village called Bophut. Every Monday and Friday between 5 PM – 11 PM, there is a Fisherman’s Night Market held. You can’t miss this when you’re on Koh Samui! It runs for miles and starts at every entrance until the T shaped junction of the Fisherman’s village. You will also find Bophut beach here which is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the paradise vibes.
The village is growing in popularity but it is still quiet enough that you can enjoy the tranquil beach or a coffee in one of the nearby restaurants. When you are in the village you will see there are various original wooden homes, these were built in the 19th century by a group of Chinese immigrants that set up home here. The village is worth exploring and even has its own walking street full of eating places, food stalls and cafés.
Visit the temples of Koh Samui
There are a few temples which are really worth to visit on Koh Samui. The Big Buddha Temple is an absolute must-do while you’re on Koh Samui. In Thai, this temple is also called Wat Phra Yai. But there are also other temples really worth to visit. Next door of Wat Phra Yai you will find Wat Plai Laem with the 18 arms of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. This impressive statue is together with the white laughing Buddha part of a beautiful lake and some huge carved teak doors. You might even see some turtles swimming in the lake! It’s really worth it for a quick stop. Other temples which are worth to visit are Wat Khunaram where you can see a mummified Monk. In 1973 he died whilst in the seated meditative position.
Watch the sunset at Lipa Noi beach
Facing the west, Lipa Noi beach is the perfect place to watch the sunset. It’s a bit off the beaten path and not the first beach that comes to your mind when beach hopping in Koh Samui. But this beach is a true piece of paradise and one of the best spots for people in search of a quiet and (almost) private beach. There are no bars or food stalls around, so if you head to this beach to watch the sunset, take some drinks with you and just enjoy a private beach sunset!
The long stretched white sand beach has a beautiful view on limestone cliffs further in the sea. When the sun has set and the soft pastel colors appear in the sky, this beach becomes even more magical!
Eat cheap Thai food at the night markets
Walking street food markets are very popular in Thailand and one of the attractions you can’t miss on the island. You can find a night market in Koh Samui every day of the week with food, souvenirs and street performances. Below you will find a selection of the 6 night markets in Koh Samui:
- Fisherman´s Village Market in Bophut
- Lamai Night Market in the Southeast of the island
- Maenam Walking Street on the North
- Choeng Mon Night Market located on the Northwest tip of Samui
- Chaweng Night Market on the East in busy Chaweng
- Central Festival Market, next to the popular Chaweng shopping mall
These markets give you an excuse to visit different locations on the island. Each location has its own charming vibes and gives you the opportunity to meet with the Thai local people, taste their food and have fun with their entertainment.
Visit a Muay Thai competition or training
Muay Thai is the National sport of Thailand. Muay Thai or literally Thai boxing is a combat sport that finds its origin in a noble art with antique traditions. If you’re into it, you can visit a training or competition to integrate yourself in the local life of Thai people. In every city or on every island you will find Muay Thai camps. On Koh Samui you will find on the website of Samui Thai Boxing all the upcoming events.
Go shopping at the local markets or shopping mall
A nice variation from all the beach hopping could be to spend some hours shopping. At local markets, you will find the best bargains. Souvenirs, hand made products or a funny Thai elephant pants. But if you are more in need of Western products, or when it’s a rainy day, you can head to Central Festival Samui where you will have plenty of options to buy stuff you don’t need 😛
Thai cooking classes
If you want to learn how to cook like a real Thai, you have to take a Thai cooking class. There are many options possible. But if you want to learn how to make art from food, you have to take a class at the Thai culinary arts studio. Their menus change for every day of the week Monday through Saturday, and almost all their recipes can be adapted for vegetarians and those with allergies or other dietary restrictions. Students who participate in 3 or more classes receive a certificate of achievement. The costs are 1850 Baht per person per class.
Visit the secret Buddha garden
The Secret Buddha Garden is a private sculpture park surrounded by lush forests on top of Pom Mountain, one of the highest peaks of Koh Samui. The journey to the garden is a challenge as the road leading to it is very steep. But from the top, you will be treated with beautiful panoramic views over the island. You have to pay 80 Baht admission fee before you enter a beautiful piece of nature with a stream of water and small Buddha statues scattered around the garden. The area is very peaceful and has a stream and waterfall. Absolutely worth to visit when you’re close and in search for some quietness.
We hope you enjoyed reading our blog post about the best things to do on Koh Samui. From this island, you can easily hop on a ferry and explore the neighbor islands Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
Read here the other blog posts about Koh Samui:
Or if you’re planning to explore more of Thailand, head over to our other blog posts which will tell you: