Koh Samui is a little island in Thailand that’s easy to go around by car or motorbike. In this list of 20 Things toDo in Koh Samui, I’ve listed mostly things I’ve done. But surely there’s more than 20 things to do in Koh Samui right ? So, at the end of the list, I’ve listed 21 other things that I did not get to try with their (official) website information to make the list more comprehensive. I’ve also put down transportation information at the bottom of the list in case you are wondering whether you should rent a car or not in Koh Samui. Enjoy Koh Samui 🙂
1. Be a Beach Bum.
Hang out at the beach for the whole day. Sleep, read a book, kayak, swim, build a sand castle, sip some cold beer, or dine by the beach. You’ll find that the day passes by very quickly while you indulge yourself in vitamin sea. Popular beaches on the island include Mae Nam, Bo Phut, Chaweng and Lamai.
2. Go Coconuts
With millions of coconut trees on the island, Koh Samui is a major supplier of coconuts not just for Thailand itself, but for export as well. Everything is related to coconuts – coconut juice, coconut fried rice, coconut ice cream, coconut slushies, utensils / dining ware made of coconut shells, coconut-oil-based shower gels and more – just decide on how coconuts you want to go.
We ate this coconut fried rice in a restaurant near our hotel Manathai (sorry I forgot the name of the restaurant).
3. Visit the Big Buddha (at Bophut, no entrance fee required)
Also known as “Wat Phra Yai”, the 12 meters golden Buddha is a prominent landmark that you might have already seen before even landing foot on the island, because it is visible from the plane just before touch down. Temple-etiquette should be observed when visiting by not wearing short skirts and short pants. Wraps are provided at the base of the stairs should you need to cover yourself better. No entrance fee is required.
4. Visit Wat Plai Laem
Plan to visit both the Big Buddha and Wat Plai Laem in one go because they are nearby each other. Wat Plai Laem houses the 18-arm Guan Yin and the Laughing Buddha.
5. Check out the local market for some local food such as BBQ pork skewers, banana pancakes and coconut slushies.
The market is located on Route 4169, situated in between a Toyota showroom and Tesco Lotus Express.
6. Eat Thai food.
I guess that’s a no brainer ! We had one of the best meals at the market above (Go into the market, turn left and go straight to find the stall). The meal consists of 2 coconuts, 2 rices, 1 basil pork, 1 egg omelette, 1 prawn dish, 1 tom yam soup and 2 rices, costing only 450 Baht. Can you believe that !! The same meal in Malaysia would have easily cost twice as much. I would say this is one of the most affordable place to eat because it caters mostly to locals. You’ll need your own transport to get there as it’s not within the vicinity of any hotels. I would definitely recommend this place for food if you are looking for something authentic and “off-the-eaten-path”.
The Pad Thai Restaurant attached to Manathai hotel (hotel we stayed at on Lamai Beach) is also excellent. Love their pad Thai that’s wrapped delicately in egg laces ! If you are nearby lamai beach, give it a try.
7. See “Hin-Ta” and “Hin-Yai”(Lamai Beach, no entrance fee required)
Mother nature obviously has her way of designing these rocks. The two rocks are within 500 meters of each other and closely resemble the female and male genitalia. These rocks are also known as Grandfather & Grandmother’s Rocks from a local folklore. The Grandfather Rock is obviously easy to spot while the Grandmother’s Rock might take some to for you to locate. These rocks are located at the end of Lamai Beach.
8. Visit the Nathon Night Market for Food & Shopping (Nathon, no entrance fee required)
Go with an empty stomach because you’ll be stuffing yourself with Thai pancakes, pork ribs, grilled fish, crackers, worms, insects, seafood and a lot more of other things too. Shopping is not too bad for beach essentials such as slippers, handbags and swimsuits.
9. Visit the Namuang Waterfalls (Route 4169. Waterfall 1 does not require entrance fee; Waterfall 2 THB 50 for entrance fee)
The reason I say “Waterfalls” is because there are two Namuang Waterfalls, and simply referred to as Namuang Water Fall 1 and Namuang Water Fall 2. You can get to the waterfalls via Route 4169.
Waterfall 1 is more accessible. There should be an signage to Namuang Waterfall on Route 4169. Be careful as you drive through the entrance because there will be people waiting at the entrance that will insist on you paying an entrance fee for the elephant ride at the waterfall. If you are not doing the rides (please don’t, because a lot of torture needs to be done before you can ride the elephant), just tell the you want to see the waterfall.
To get to Waterfall 2, you have to walk about 20-30 minutes from Waterfall 1 (Some tour companies take you on a jeep if you’ve taken a package from them). There’s and admission fee for waterfall 2 – 50 THB for adults and 30 THB for children.
11. Samui ATV
The Samui ATV is also another activity in the vicinity of Namuang Waterfall 1.
12. Visit Paradise Park Farm (Off Route 4169, Entrance Fee THB 300)
Paradise Park Farm is off Route 4169 in the hilly areas of Koh Samui. If you’ve rented a bike or a scooter, the roads might be too hilly and you might have to park your bike somewhere and walk to the farm.
The park is indeed a paradise as it has one of the most beautiful pools I’ve seen. The pool is perched on the hill, and overlooks the Koh Samui hills and the pacific ocean. Remember to bring a swim suit and your own towel if you are planning to go.
13. Go Snorkelling on Koh Nangyuan & Koh Tao
We took the snorkelling package from a booth nearby our hotel on Lamai Beach for 1600 THB per person. The package included snorkelling at Koh Nangyuan and Koh Tao. Koh Nangyuan is famous for its sandbanks that joins three little islands together while Koh Tao literally means “Turtle Island” because of its shape .There were plenty of fish and corals on both island. It’s a popular tour so expect big crowds on these islands.
14. Visit the Secret Buddha Garden (Off Route 4169. Entrance Fee THB 80)
The garden was built by a durian farmer in the 1970’s. It’s a small garden with many Buddhists statues in harmony with nature. I really liked the atmosphere when I stepped in. There were small waterfalls streaming, and it was cool with the shades from the abundance of trees. Some of the buildings were covered with moss so it created an “ancient civilisation” kind of vibe. The garden is off Route 4169 in the hilly part of Koh Samui. If you are going around Koh Samui with bike or scooter, they might not be powerful enough to for the hilly roads around the garden.
15. Visit Fisherman’s Village in Bophut.
The Fisherman’s Village is a stretch of road filled with boutique stores, quaint cafes and atmospheric restaurants by the sea. The Wharf Shopping Mall is also located here. It becomes livelier at night when more stalls open.
16. Relax, Eat, Sleep, Pool, Beach, Repeat.
If you are the type that thinks holidays should be slow-paced and you just want to relax, do nothing and vegetate; you’ve come to the right place at Koh Samui as there are plenty of resorts on Koh Samui for you to do that. For our trip, we stayed at two hotels – Marriott and Manathai.
Marriott is a huge complex that you might get tired just walking within it. So the best thing to do is just stay within the complex and enjoy the facilities. The room is comfy with an attached balcony that comes with a bath tub.
Manathai Hotel is not as big in terms of compound size, but equally comfortable.
The room is extremely spacious with one king sized bed and a huge day-bed as well. A big happy family of 4 could stay here !
There’s a pool by the beach.
And the dining area is lovely.
17. See the Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram (on Route 4169, no entrance fee required)
The Mummified Monk is the undecomposed body of Monk Loung Pordaeng. He died when he was meditating when he was 79 years old in 1973. The body is still so well preserved after more than 40 years. It’s intriguing for me to see the monk in such state because it’s like he died, but did not die completely. Quite a miracle really.
18. Visit the Samui Snake Farm (on route 4170 in Taling Ngam, entrance fee THB 300)
Reptile lovers, the Samui Snake Farm would be the place for you. The farm houses giant crocodiles and many other reptile species.
I’m not a big fan of reptiles but I was in awe when I saw the rainbow snake. As the name suggests, the snake reflects colors of rainbows when placed under the sun.
There are daily Cobra + Scorpion shows at 11 am and 2 pm, where you see daring close encounters with these fearsome creatures. The snake handler told me that he’s been bitten a few times by the cobra yet he is still fearless !
19. Go Off-The-Beaten Path & Visit Smaller Pagodas & Temples (no entrance fee required)
There are many small temples and pagodas along the island. They are not as popular as the Big Buddha and Wat Plai Laem, but they are less touristy as they tend to be in the middle of nowhere.
The Laem Sor Pagoda is located off Route 4170. It’s a little pagoda that stands alone in its golden shimmer next to the sea. Wat Laem Sor (Temple) is not too far away from it, which enshrines a preserved body of a monk.
20. Visit the Samui Cultural Center (on Route 4169 at Ban Lipa Noi, Entrance Fee THB 80)
The Samui Cultural Center is an interesting one. It does not only showcase Thai culture, but it showcases the Asian cultures such in the form of Balinese architecture, Chinese Chambers and more.
21 Other Things to do in Koh Samui
I hope this list of 20 Things to Do in Koh Samui is useful for you. If you are looking for more things to do, see more activities below that I did not experience but might be activities that you are looking for.
1. Anthong Marine National Park (We wanted to visit this one but because the weather was not favorable, we went snorkelling instead). Contact a local travel agency to make arrangements.
2. Aquapark Chaweng: http://www.aquaparkchaweng.com/
3. Buddha’s Foot Print : http://www.kohsamuipoint.com/attractions/buddhas-footprint/
4. Butterfly Garden : http://www.kosamui.com/attractions/samui-butterfly-garden.htm
5. Canopy Adventures : http://canopyadventuresthailand.com/secret-falls-koh-samui/
6. Chaweng Lake : http://www.kohsamuipoint.com/attractions/chaweng-lake/
7. Coco Splash Adventure and Water Park: http://www.samuiwaterpark.com/
8. Elephant Gate : http://www.kohsamuipoint.com/attractions/elephant-gate/
9. Karting : EasyKart.Net
10. Magic Alambnic Rum Distillery : rum-distillery.com (We went to this place, but it was closed)
11. Muay Thai Class (there are quite a few places on Koh Samui that offer this) : http://www.lamaimuaythaicamp.com/ , http://www.junmuaythai.com/, http://yodyutmuaythai.com/, http://superprosamui.com/ , http://kohsamui-muaythai.com/home/
12. Mini Golf : minigolfsamui.com
13. Outlet Village Samui for Shopping, located on Chaweng Beach Road at Lyara Hotel : http://www.outletmallthailand.com/our_branch/4
14. Paris Follies Cabaret at Chaweng : https://www.facebook.com/parisfolliescabaret/
15. Play Golf : http://bophuthillsgolf.com/ http://www.santiburi-hotel.de/index.php/en/home-golf-en
16. Samui Aquarium Tiger Zoo : http://www.samuiaquariumandtigerzoo.com/
17. Samui Crocodile Farm (near the Airport). http://www.samuicrocodilefarm.com/eng/engstart.htm
18. Samui Football Golf (Near Big Buddha, it’s the same as golf, but you kick the football in the hole) : http://www.samuifootballgolf.com/
19. Sea Walking : underseawalkingsamui.com
20. Thai Food Cooking Class : http://arunatsamui.weebly.com/
21. Watch Muay Thai Boxing in Samui Stadium : http://www.samuipedia.com/things-to-do/muay-thai/chaweng-stadium-boxing/
There is no public transport in Koh Samui. You’ll need to either rent a bike or a car to get around. If you are planning to just relax in the hotel and enjoy the pools and the beach, then just take the airport transfer will do. If you are planning to take tour packages from tour companies, there’ll be no need rent because the tour companies will take you around.
For motor bike rentals, I didn’t see any at the airport, but there were plenty of bike rental stores around the island.
For us, we explored the island on our own with a Nissan March from http://www.budget.co.th/ which we booked online in advance. There are also a few more car rental companies at the airport : Car For Rent, Sixt and Hertz. The rental came up to a reasonable RM 70 per day. We figured that our airport transfer (to Lamai Beach) would be THB1400 to and fro, we were better off renting our own car. With our car, we were also able to explore more hilly places such as the Magic Garden and Paradise Park Farm; these places may not be as accessible if you are on a bike.
For driving around Koh Samui, we used both WAZE and a map. Most of the time, WAZE was sufficient to take us to the places that we wanted. There were times when there was no line and we had to use a map. It would be great if you could get hold of the map shown below. There were many versions of maps on Koh Samui and we found this one the best because it is detailed, to scale and it had all the smaller attractions listed. I’ve found some other maps not as detailed and have omitted a lot of information.
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