Considering a vacation in Thailand? Koh Samui, an island in theGulf ofThailand, has got to be on your list of possible destinations. Whether it’s just an option at the moment or you’ve already booked your tickets there, you can check out the most essential things to see and do on the island by reading below.
Beaches with quirks
Ok, so beaches might seem like a bit of a no-brainer for an island – but I don’t think anyone can talk about the top spots to go to in a destination like this and not mention beaches, so hear me out. As you’re probably aware, Koh Samui is famous for its stunning turquoise waters and incredibly soft white sand, so I’ve tried to point you to some stretches that also have some more unusual points of interest (just as a note, the most popular beaches are Chaweng and Lamai – and are also well-known resorts).
Lamai beach is one of the first places you should head to from some strange seaside sights, since it is home to some colossal boulders that are usually referred to as the ‘grandparent rocks’. If that sounds a bit weird, bear in mind it is common in south-east Asian Muslim culture to give rocks human characteristics, hence naming them things like grandmother and grandfather.
Meanwhile, head to Hat Choeng Mon beach at low tide and you’ll actually be able to walk to an island just offshore (Ko Fan Yai) – a pretty awesome experience. Plus, this place is really clean and fairly quiet and sheltered, so it’s good for families and anyone keen to relax.
Historical and cultural sites
These days, it’s easy to look at Koh Samui as somewhere for sunbathing and partying, but there are actually a number of historical and cultural sites worth looking out for during your stay. Head to Wat Phra Raow Taow in Ban Harn, for instance, and you can see an absolutely massive sculpture of the sole of Buddha’s foot. No one knows exactly how old it is, but it’s thought to date back around 100 years.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
If you’re into scuba diving and snorkelling, heading to Ang Thong National Marine Park is an absolute must. This incorporates around 40 isles and regular boats from Koh Samui will take you there. Expect to see a hypnotic mix of white sand beaches, lagoons and dense greenery. The reef is on the south-east side of the park and it’s pretty narrow, but it is well worth just taking a boat trip round here to see the scenery – it’ll blow you away.
Waterfalls and lakes
Koh Samui is home to a couple of great waterfalls, and if you’re keen to discover the local scenery, I definitely think they’re worth visiting. The twin falls of NamTok Na Muang are a safe bet – the first is easiest to reach (as well as free), while the second takes a 30-minute walk and an admission fee, but is more spectacular. Take your pick!
In terms of lakes, check out Chaweng Lake. Now, this isn’t particularly impressive – especially during the day – so I’m not suggesting you go here for the scenery. Instead, it’s a good place to come in the early evening just to watch some authentic local life unfold. Thais head here for walks and to take exercise classes, so it’s a good spot just to take a sneak peak at the island away from its touristy side.
You can’t go to Koh Samui without getting a taste for the nightlife – it’d just be a waste. So, strap on your party shoes and head to one of the many awesome clubs or bars or, if you want the ultimate experience, take a boat out to Koh Pha-Ngan (around half an hour away by boat).
Once you’re there, get yourself over to Hat Rin beach, where the island’s infamous Full Moon Parties take place. Obviously check a calendar before you go though, because these are only held when the full moon is out!