From the busy, tourist-centred Chaweng to quieter, more remote beaches, the mountainous centre of the island, small Thai villages, religious centres and artefacts plus excellent connections to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, Ko Samui is a superb holiday destination.
We also have a handy guide of things not to do in Bangkok and Thailand.
Get a Massage
If you are looking at different areas of Thailand this will be a constant presence. The quality of massages in Thailand is exceptional so don’t wait until the end of your trip to sample a massage, you will want to go back for more. I usually have a massage soon after arriving and another just before I leave, and possibly one in the middle as well. Hotels and spas will all offer massages but there will also be beach stalls and shops in the village.
Standing 12 metres tall you will often see Big Buddha or Wat Phra Yai as you fly in to land at Samui airport.
Standing on a small island reached by a causeway, Big Buddha is made of gold and is sitting in the Mara position it depicts a time when Buddha was rejecting all temptations.
There are a number of market stalls nearby and it is easily reached at the north end of the island.
Wat Khunaram and the Mummified Monk
Wat Khunaram Temple is still a popular temple for local Thais and visiting Buddhists and as part of the temple sits Luong Pordaeng who was a Buddhist monk who died in 1973 while meditating. His body was preserved and has been on display in a glass case ever since. Almost 50 years later his body still sits there with few signs of decaying.
Wat Plai Laem
A much newer temple near to Big Buddha is Wat Plai Laem which features an 18 arm statue of Guanyin the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Contribute to the temple and you receive a bag of food which you can use to feed the teaming shoals of fish in the surrounding lakes.
Angthong Marine Park
Ang Thong National Marine Park sits in the Gulf Thailand and is made up of 42 islands with limestone mountains, white sand beaches, waterfalls, lakes and jungle.
A stunning area for diving and snorkelling, the area is only reachable by boat but is worth the trip.
Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2 are two wonderful waterfalls a relatively short walk from the car park. Often included in island trips the pools offer the opportunity for a cooling swim, but be warned the rocks can be slippery.
Hin Ta And Hin Yai
Also known as the Grandma and Grandpa rocks and are reached by walking through a small market and signs that tell you the folk lore around the rocks which resemble the male and female genitalia
Secret Buddha Garden
Hidden in the hills of Ko Samui are gardens created in the 1970’s which feature many statues throughout the gardens and jungle surrounds.
They are not easy to get to and usually best accessed by a four wheel drive vehicle. The trip is worth is just for the spectacular views and calming surrounds.
Thailand is rightly famous for its beaches and Ko Samui has more than its fair share of wonderful locations.
From the busy Chaweng Beach to secluded coves, chilled out Lamai and the much quieter Maenam.
Koh Phangan or Koh Pha Ngan is a tranquil, mostly unspoilt island 12km from Ko Samui.
Made famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) by Full Moon Parties than can attract tens of thousands of revellers, the island also now hosts half moon parties and other events that attract the party crowd.
Only accessible by boat, the island features lush jungle and amazing beaches as well as some of the best diving in the area.
Sample Thai Food
Fine restaurants to street food, Ko Samui has wonderful food and some exceptional seafood.
Bophut Fisherman’s Village
Sitting at the north of the island featuring traditional homes, trendy restaurants and shops, Bophut is worth a visit any time. On a Friday the market takes place along its Walking Street and the village really comes alive.
Turtle Island is a scuba diving mecca, featuring sandy, secluded beaches. More than 50km north of Samui and only accessible by boat, Koh Tao is more than a day trip but worth at least a few days.
Take a Jeep Safari Tour
Pick your tour carefully as some have a less than acceptable regard for safety. Others will feature visits to Elephant Parks that are less than ethical – see What Not To Do In Thailand. Pick the right tour and you can visit many of the sites and temples, bathe in waterfalls and see the stunning views from the top of the hills.
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