13 Best Places To Visit in Koh Samui
Koh Samui is the epitome of a perfect beach holiday. Postcard perfect coasts aside, travelers are spoilt by its line of uber luxury villas, posh beach resorts and Michelin starred restaurants. Once out of your cozy abode, you will be amazed by the number of incredible attractions the island offers . So jump right in and check out our list of the 13 best places to visit in Koh Samui for a memorable trip.
1. Ang Thong Marine Park
Ang Thong Marine Park is a group of 42 petite, lush green islands scattered over sapphire blue waters. Each of these islands is blessed with hidden coves, unbelievably green lagoons and white sand beaches. Its truly a pinnacle of natural beauty.
The show stealer is the Emerald lake view point on Koh Mae ( Mother Island). A flight of steep stairways leads to this point.
While certainly not for the faint of heart, the view of the glistening lake wrapped by limestone cliffs on one side and a birds eye view of all the islands on the other side is definitely worth the effort.
The best way to absorb the brilliance of this national park is by kayaking in its waters. Kayaking lets you witness the beauty of this park from close quarters, specially the famed limestone cliffs that pop out of the waters. While you swoon over this magical place, remember to take some cool photographs. In a place as surreal as this, its hard to get a bad shot.
How to get there: You can take a speed boat from Koh Samui.
Cost: Starts at INR 3950/ USD 60
2. Big Buddha Temple
The Big Buddha is the most popular landmark in Koh Samui. In fact, while you are landing, you can catch a glimpse of it from the flight. The sun rays bouncing of its shimmering golden surface are hard to miss.
Its beauty though is best appreciated up close. Its just not imposing to look at, its location on a small hill gives a panoramic view of the scenic surroundings. The best time to visit the Big Buddha is before sunrise or sunset.
Note: Its a religious site, so ensure you cover yourself properly.
How to get there: It can be reached from Chaweng in 30 minutes by Cab/ Songthaew.
3. Secret Buddha Garden
High in the hills lies this unusual garden, which has a collection of statues of animals, deities and humans in various poses. The secret Buddha garden is called the magic garden, fittingly so, due to the lush greenery around and a picturesque view from the top.
You can trek to this garden in 2-3 hours, or take the road, if you are not one of the active ones. Since the roads are bumpy, its better to drive to the top in an SUV.
How to get there: Rent a bike and ride uphill through the jungle clad mountain.
Cost: The entrance fee per person is INR 160/ USD 3
4. Na Muang Waterfall
Na Muang is a twin cascading waterfall that takes the plunge over purple hued rocks, also earning it the nickname “Purple Falls”.
There are two waterfalls on the route, the first one can be reached easily, while reaching the second one is slightly more challenging. The trail can be a bit slippery, so ensure you have shoes with a good grip.
Hiking here is a great way to escape the tourist crowd and soak in the company of nature. And hey, nothing beats the tropical heat like a splash in the cool waters of the fall.
How to get there: It can be reached from Chaweng in 40 minutes by Cab/ Songthaew.
5. Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks
These amazing rock formations prove that nature has a dirty sense of humor. Hin Ta and Hin Yai (Grandfather and Grandmother rocks) are rocks that resemble the male and female genitalia, a constant source of wonder and amusement for the locals and now travelers.
How to reach: It can be reached from Chaweng in 30 minutes by Cab/ Songthaew.
6. Chaweng and Lamai beach
Chaweng is the most popular beach in Koh Samui. Fringed by swanky resorts, the beach is a beehive of activity. You will spot people lounging about on sundecks or trying their hand at watersports. At night, the beach transforms into a dance floor, with sun loungers making way for neon lit beach bars.
Lamai is the second most popular beach in Samui and as developed as Chaweng. Despite that, it has a more laid back vibe to it, with travelers either sunbathing or enjoying a dip in the greenish-blue waters. But don’t venture too deep, as poisonous jellyfishes are frequently spotted close to the shore.
How to get there: It’s a 10 minute drive from Chaweng town. Lamai beach is a further 30 minute drive from Chaweng beach by cab/Songthaew.
7. Wat Khunaram
Wat Khunaram is the most intriguing temple on the island, thanks to a mummified Buddhist monk wearing a pair of sunglasses.The body on display is that of Koh Samui’s most famous monk, Loung Pordaeng.
It’s been 40 years since his death and yet the body remains well preserved. A miracle or the monk’s strict diet and meditation is the reason, is anybody’s guess.
How to get there: It can be reached from Chaweng in 45 minutes by Cab/ Songthaew.
8. Wat Plai Laem
Wat Plai Laem is known for the imposing 18-arm statue of Guanyin, considered to be the goddess of mercy and compassion.
The bold use of colors and the intricate artwork on the sculptures makes this place a visual treat. You can also sit by the lake surrounding the temple, admire the fishes and just bask in the tranquility of the place.
How to get there: It can be reached from Chaweng in 30 minutes by Cab/ Songthaew.
9. Fisherman’s village
Fisherman’s village has a quaint town feel to it, made up of old wooden Chinese shop-houses. Its a world apart from the otherwise glamorous vibe of the island.
Every friday, the place comes alive with the walking street market. It transforms the place into a bustling marketplace full of stalls, selling everything from handicrafts, herbs and spices, high quality local fabrics, jewelry to interesting fashion designs. If you want to pick up some cool stuff on your way back home, this is the place to be.
Also don’t forget to pamper yourself at one of the many massage parlors dotting the beach side.
How to get there: Its walking distance from Bophut beach
10. Laem Sor Pagoda
Laem Sor Pagoda is a small golden pagoda, set on a stunning oceanfront location, overlooking a calm sandy beach. Its luminous presence against the stark blue ocean makes quite an impression. Shutterbugs can take some really cool photographs here.
How to get there: It can be reached from Lamai in 20 minutes by Cab/ Songthaew.
11. Chaweng Walking Street
Chaweng walking street is the go to place to get some cheap finds. You can get everything from T-shirts, sunglasses, knockoff watches, copied Ralph Lauren polo shirts, flip-flops to cool wooden souvenirs.
If you are not able to find what you want, doesn’t matter. Just hop into one of the countless food stalls for some mouthwatering chicken grills, authentic Thai cuisine and smoothies.
How to get there: It’s a 15 minute walk from Chaweng town
12. Lad Koh View Point
Its one of the most serene places on the island. The viewpoint affords a panoramic viewpoint of Chaweng Bay, with cyan skies and azure blue waters painting a surreal picture.
If you want to escape the bustling crowd of Koh Samui, head to this viewpoint. Don’t forget to carry your camera for some stunning landscape shots.
How to get there: It can be reached from Chaweng in 15 minutes by Cab/ Songthaew
13. Island Hopping to Koh Phangan & Koh Tao
Close to Samui, lie two amazing islands – Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Koh Phangan is known for its epic full moon parties. In fact, every night here is a celebration.
During the day, travelers lounge on its world class beaches, explore the islands interiors and discover waterfalls on motorbikes. The mantra here seems to be chill by day and let loose at night.
Koh Tao is the epicenter of diving in Thailand, its mesmerizing waters drawing travelers from across the world. It also happens to be the cheapest place to scuba dive in Thailand.
If you are not a fan of diving, don’t worry, there are plenty of things to keep you busy during the day, from rock climbing to zip lining over oceans to hiking to the island’s numerous view-points. Or like most travelers, you will succumb to the island’s mellow vibe and end up lazing on its secluded beaches all day.
Koh Phangan and Koh Tao both can be done as day trips, but if you want to experience the best of what these islands offer, then its recommended to spend at least a couple of days in each place.
How to get there: Koh Phangan can be reached in half an hour by ferry, while Koh Tao can be reached by ferry in 2.5 hours