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things to do in Koh Samui

20 Amazing Things to Do in Koh Samui - The 2019 Video Guide

Published on March 6, 2019 by Our Roving Reporter
Thailand is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Asia.

Looking for things to do in Koh Samui, Thailand? This video guide will put you in the picture. Things to do in Koh Samui - Our Video Guide - Thailand is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Asia. Bangkok, the country’s capital, is a hotpot of culture and flavors that makes every visit uniquely Thai. However, tucked in the east coast of the Kra Isthmus is an island considered as Thailand’s most popular tourism gem.

Ko Samui is the second largest island next to Phuket in Thailand. It has a population of only 63,000 on a land that measures 228.7 km2. Nevertheless, the island is never dreary and is always alive because of the tourists, guests, and even celebrities that flock there annually.


Koh Samui features a tropical savannah climate, which makes its beaches, turquoise waters, and palm trees even more attractive. The botanical beauty that is ubiquitous in the island provides a sweet escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life and the stresses of work.


The island may not be as big as the other coveted tourist destinations in Asia, but it sure packs a punch in the diversity of the attractions and activities it offers. Koh Samui has something for everyone and you would find it tough to fit in everything there is to see and do in the island if you are planning to stay for only a few days.

Fortunately for you, we have narrowed it down to 20, so you would know which attractions to see first:

Iconic Things to See in Koh Samui


1. Koh Samui’s Big Buddha

Iconic Things to See in Koh Samui

The most famous and iconic of all the landmarks in Koh Samui that also epitomizes the culture of Thailand has got to be the Big Buddha temple. The towering 12-meter tall statue of Buddha in a seated position draws a lot of visitors who often find themselves astonished at the icon.

The temple of their Buddha statue is known at Wat Phra Yai and is linked to the main island by a bridge. The golden statue of Buddha sitting in the Mara position depicts a time when he was refusing all kinds of temptations that were offered to him.

The status is so huge and attractive that when you fly into Koh Samui, it is commonly the first thing that you will notice. There are also some souvenir and food stalls at the area which are worth a try before leaving.


Unbelievable Things to See in Koh Samui

2. Hin Ta And Hin Yai

Unbelievable Things to See in Koh Samui

There is a lot to marvel at in Thailand and you will see a lot of things that would astonish you, but none would come close to Hin Ta and Hin Yai. These set of rocks were discovered several decades ago and are naturally shaped like the male and female genitalia. The names of these rocks, Ta and Yai mean Grandpa and Grandma, respectively. They are part of the Thai folklore and the story goes that a couple named Ta Kreng and Yai Riem were going to a nearby province to see a man called Ta Monglai to ask that  his daughter marry their son. However, there was a storm that day and their boat sank. The old couple then turned into rocks.


Marvelous Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

3. Na Muang Waterfall

Marvelous Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

Tucked away in a spot enveloped by a verdant and lush tropical jungle are two of the most beautiful waterfalls that you would probably see in your lifetime. The two falls, known as Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2, are some of the attractions that draw thousands of tourists to the island annually.

The first waterfall flows beautifully into a small pool that visitors can swim in, but the second fall, approximately half an hour further uphill, is also just as stunning.
The park that features the waterfalls doesn’t charge entrance fees, so guests could enjoy more of the place without breaking the bank.
Aside from the falls, there are also a plethora of gorgeous spots along the way to snap pictures of, and queues of food stalls and souvenir stands to purchase from.


Entertaining Things to See in Koh Samui

4. Watch the Ladyboys at Chaweng Beach

Entertaining Things to See in Koh Samui

Thailand is not only open to different cultures; it goes as far as embracing and respecting it. The level of acceptance and tolerance that the island of Koh Samui shows also speaks volumes about how it sees gender equality and differences.
If you are near Chaweng Beach, be prepared to get dragged and watch the Ladyboys perform. Their performances include lip-syncing popular songs while donning colorful costumes. These ladyboys are in different stages of their journey, but it is quite difficult to tell that they are men.

The performances are lighthearted and fun, so sit back and enjoy the show!


Breathtaking Things to See in Koh Samui

5. Secret Buddha Garden

Breathtaking Things to See in Koh Samui

Nim Thongsuk, the original owner of the garden, began setting up several charming statues back in 1976, on the parcel of land that he and his family owned. The spot is tucked away in the center of Koh Samui, so it is peaceful there. Aside from the exclusivity, the Secret Buddha Garden also has a lovely stream and a breathtaking waterfall. The path that leads up to the garden is pretty steep, though, but it is okay if you have a four-wheel drive. Nevertheless, whether visitors are climbing on foot or in a vehicle, the view from the top is totally worth it.


Cultural Things to See in Koh Samui

6. New Temple at Wat Plai Laem

Cultural Things to See in Koh Samui

Beautiful ancient temples are rather ubiquitous all over Thailand, but in Koh Samui, there is a fairly new temple that could still measure up to the older temples. This new temple at Wat Plai Laem still uses the old techniques from decades of years ago. It boasts of a stunning 18-arm monument of Guanyin, the Thai Goddess of Mercy and Compassion.

This temple is still functional and it draws many visitors who wanted to pay their respects to Guanyin and Buddha. The beautiful temple is surrounded by waters and donating to the temple coffers include a bag of fish food to feed those that live in the lake.


Fun Things to Do in Koh Samui

7. Enjoy the Night Life at Chaweng Beach

Fun Things to Do in Koh Samui

Chaweng is the holy grail of night life and party lovers in Koh Samui. It is the largest town in the island and is the busiest, since the most beautiful beach in Samui could be found here. There are plenty of restaurants and bars located in the area, so the night life is pretty much bustling in this part of town.

The strip in Chaweng is almost three kilometers long and this is where both the young and young at heart hop from one bar to the next, enjoying cheap drinks and vivacious music. However, for guests who prefer a more serene mood, there are also some relaxing waterfront bars that offer a calming view of the ocean that help guests wind down after hours of exploring.


Adventurous Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

8. Dive in the Gulf of Thailand

Adventurous Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

The Gulf of Thailand is every diving fanatic’s dream come true. There are several tours in Koh Samui that lets visitors dive with trusted PADI certified instructors who will take them to see the Thai marine life on a more personal level.

The ideal diving area is around sixty kilometers from the shores of Koh Samui, so guests usually go out on a huge boat with other divers to take part in a two-hour diving course. Each dive normally takes approximately forty to fifty minutes and it is suitable even for newbie divers. However, make sure to check that the school certifications are updated and that their safety protocols and procedures match with your preferences.


Gastronomic Things to Do in Koh Samui

9. Enjoy a Meal at the Thai Experience

Gastronomic Things to Do in Koh Samui

Your Thai experience would not be complete without trying The Thai Experience. It is a dining experience unlike any other. Everything is social from the beginning and guests are sure to enjoy meeting new people aside from the delicious food that the restaurant serves. Guests are greeted with a cocktail and introduced to the other guests.

Unlike ordinary restaurants with separate tables, diners here are seated at a large communal table. More cocktails are served before letting guests concoct their own. The Thai food here is also exceptional. This is a great and unique experience to meet people especially if travelling alone.


Relaxing Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

10. Maenam Beach

Relaxing Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

Koh Samui is one of the most expensive destinations in Thailand, but it does not necessarily mean that one cannot enjoy the splendor that the island has without breaking the bank. For a more affordable spot to enjoy this tropical paradise, the Maenam Beach is an ideal choice. The shore stretches out to up to kilometers long of seemingly untouched beauty, since there aren’t a lot of vendors here.

It is quieter in this beach than in Chaweng where the night life is very much alive. Bars and establishments close earlier, but the prices are relatively lower and the locals are just as friendly and welcoming.


Best Things to Do with Kids in Koh Samui

11. Lipa Noi Beach

Best Things to Do with Kids in Koh Samui

Travelers with kids will enjoy spending time at the Lipa Noi Beach. It is actually the most kid-friendly beaches in Koh Samui; the turquoise water is absolutely clear of rocks and jagged corals that could wound kids and the beach has a beautiful white sand shore.

The water is almost always shallow until over a hundred meters from the shore. This spot is still remote so there are only a few establishments open that are worth stopping for a meal at. The vibe on this beach is more of relaxing than partying, so it is ideal for visitors who just want to unwind and enjoy the peaceful breeze.


Luxurious Things to Do in Koh Samui

12. Nathon Town

Luxurious Things to Do in Koh Samui

Nathon Town is the capital town of Koh Samui. It is a bustling town, but you may never get to see it if you arrive on the island by plane. Nathon Town is located near the car ferry port and is popular for the wide array of shops, cafes, restaurants, and souvenir stores it offers the visitors.

Most of the commercial establishments in the area like banks are also located in this town.  The kind of shop that draws the most tourists, though, is the Chinese shop houses that sell a variety of goods including real gold. Nathon Town is a local town, so the prices here are the cheapest in the island.


Cultural Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

13. Bophut

Cultural Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

Bophut is a quaint but gorgeous fishing village in Koh Samui. Unlike Lamai and Chaweng that are always bustling and busy, Bophut is fortunately tranquil. The popularity of this village among tourists is growing, but it is still remote enough that travelers could still enjoy the serenity of the beach or sip your coffee in peace in one of the charming cafes they have.

In Bophut is where you could also see vintage wooden houses that were constructed in the 19th century by a group of Chinese folks that made the town their home. If you are up for a cultural and historical trip, consider visiting Bophut, too.


Architectural Marvels to See in Koh Samui

14. Laem Sor Pagoda

Architectural Marvels to See in Koh Samui

Laem Sor Pagoda, one of the attractions in Koh Samui that reflect Thai tradition, is located in the south west corner in a more isolated and less visited part of the island. The pagoda is guarded by two colorful yaks carrying a sword. From a distance, the establishment looks gold, but it is actually made from yellow-colored tiles that glisten and glitter as the sun reflects the sea onto them. Just a few steps down the pagoda is a small lobby that features a wax casting of the monk who constructed the pagoda. Locals come here to pray and pay their respects to the monk.


Natural Wonders to See in Koh Samui

15. Elephant Rock

Natural Wonders to See in Koh Samui

Elephants are one of the most celebrated animals in Thai culture, but Elephant Rock in Koh Samui does not really look like an elephant. The size of this rock, though, is so massive that it could measure up to the size of actual elephants.

This attraction is found between Chawang and Lamai Beach. Although these two beaches are tourists’ favorite, the spot of Elephant Rock is quite peaceful, so this is the place to go for visitors looking for some quiet time. There are several hiking spots and paths around the area, and view of the Gulf of Thailand from the summit is absolutely breathtaking.


Instagrammable Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

16. Take A Climb To See Khao Hua Jook Chedi

Instagrammable Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

Sitting at the top of a charming hilly terrain near Chewang Lake is Khao Hua Jook Chedi. It is a stunning temple that has an amazing view of the coast and the valleys beneath. The Khao Hua Jook Jedi is one of the architectural man-made wonders to see in Koh Samui.

It has intricate and very detailed carvings, as well as several gold sculptures of Buddha. However, it could be quite tough to go here since the structure is not near any roads, so if the visitors are traveling by car, they would have to park their vehicle at the bottom of the hill and hike up to where the temple is.


Culturally Significant Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

17. Learn About Chinese-Thai Culture At Wat Jee Kong

Culturally Significant Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

When the Chinese immigrants came into the island through Koh Samui, they decided to  settle at Chaweng. They built the beautiful Wat Jee Kong temple and if ever you are in the area, you should really stop by and visit. The Wat Jee Kong temple is adorned with intricate sculptures and gold decorations which made the temple even more stunning and stand out.

After marveling at the beauty of the temple and its surroundings, visitors can go to the market adjacent  to Wat Jee Kong to check out and purchase traditional items and different crafts and products.


Bizzare Things to See in Koh Samui

18. See a Mummified Monk At Wat Khunaram

Bizzare Things to See in Koh Samui

Luong Pordaeng was a Buddhist monk and in 1973 he died whilst in the seated meditative position, it was decided that his body would be preserved and he has been on display in a glass case ever since, forty years later the body is still in excellent condition with no signs of degradation at all.

Unlike westerners most Buddhist Thais are not frightened of dying as they believe it to be one step closer to enlightenment, seeing the dead body gives them something to reflect on. The body is stored in the Wat Khunaram temple and local people visit the temple daily to pray and make merit, visitors are very welcome to come and look around the temple.


Breathtaking Things to See and Do in Koh Samui


19. Take A Boat To Ang Thong National Marine Park

Breathtaking Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

The Ang Thong National Marine Park, an archipelago of forty-two island on the Gulf of Thailand, can only be accessed by a boat that leaves from Koh Samui. The park covers around a hundred square kilometers and has undulating hills and mountains, verdant jungles, and white beaches. Moreover, there are also caves, waterfalls, and lakes to see during your trip.

The entire park is protected by the government as well as the exotic wildlife that call the park their home. Visitors can choose to hire a tent and camp the night on the island. The novel “The Beach” mentioned Ang Thong National Marine Park as the location where the campers set up their camp, although the film adaptation was shot on Koh Phi Phi.


Romantic Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

20. Enjoy Dinner on the Sea

Romantic Things to See and Do in Koh Samui

If candle-lit waterfront dinners  fall short on your standards of romantic, consider dining ON the water with your beloved. Earn extra brownie points and prepare to be impressed by the best dining experience that you can share in Koh Samui with your significant other. Dining in the waters on a floating deck is an experience offered by Chaweng Regent Resort.

The package includes a private table decorated with lanterns and flowers are peppered on the deck. Authentic Thai cuisine is served and you only need to enjoy the moment  without  worrying that you’d get swept in the middle of the sea because the deck is tied to the beach by a strong rope.


From magnificent beaches, to man-made architectural wonders, to an intimate time with your loved ones to acceptance of diversity, Koh Samui still delivers. It is safe to say that whatever your interests are, even your orientation, Koh Samui has a lot for everyone. It is a bit on the luxurious side cost-wise, but there are still plenty of activities and sights to enjoy without spending too much.

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