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12 Best Things to do in Koh Samui

August 21, 2020 | Guest post by: Catalin Geangos


Overlooking the coastline of Koh Samui

One of my favourite islands in Thailand to visit is Koh Samui. Koh Samui attracts a wide variety of visitors, including backpackers and those on a budget, to honeymooners looking for a luxury escape. The island is one of contrast, from the busy Chaweng Beach to the more relaxed, tropical feel of Maenam. Today I’m going to share with you some of my favourite activities to do on Koh Samui. Don’t miss these the next time you are on the island!

If you're looking for information on how to get there, we invite you to check out this pageon how to get from Bangkok to Koh Samui

Koh Samui beaches

Visit the Beaches

The number one activity on Koh Samui is visiting the beaches throughout the island. The main beach on the island is Chaweng, although it can become quite crowded at times. I enjoy visiting Lamai beach, which is a little quieter than Chaweng but still offers a great variety of places to eat and drink. If you love swimming in the ocean, the sea here is calm and perfect for taking a dip! Of course, the island has many other options, and other popular beaches include Bang Por and Lipa Noi.


Go Diving

If you aren’t planning to visit Koh Tao during your trip to Thailand, consider taking a diving trip or course while on Koh Samui. Koh Samui offers many reputable PADI diving centres and about 60 kilometres from the island is a fantastic diving area. The marine life in the Gulf of Thailand is just incredible, and one of my favourite things to see in the area.


Cookery Lessons

One of my must-do activities during any trip to Thailand is a cooking lesson. I recommend the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts (SITCA), where you are immersed in Thai cuisine during their hands-on lessons. SITCA’s menus change every day, and they offer vegetarian options. Classes take part in the purpose-built teaching kitchens and are available twice a day. Morning classes start at 11 am, and the afternoon session is at 4 pm, both with a cost of 1,850 baht per person. Following your lesson, enjoy a meal featuring all the delights you have prepared.


Girl relaxing with hat on face and full moon party sticker

Attend Full Moon Party

Even if is not taking place on Koh Samui Island, the famous Full Moon Party attracts 30.000 people every month to party in Koh Phangan. Most of the travel agencies and accommodation providers offer tickets and packages from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan, especially before the Moon Festivals. If it happens to visit Koh Samui around the full-moon date, make sure you add this festival on your calendar.



If you have had your fix of beach time and are looking to go on an adventure, I recommend heading out on one of the island’s beautiful hikes. A lot of the island is covered in jungle, and some of the routes will lead you to beautiful waterfalls and viewpoints. Two of my favourites are the Maenam viewpoint and the Nathon Mountain Ridge trail. Make sure you take adequate water with you and try to time your hike to avoid the midday sun!


Visit the Night Markets

As with anywhere in Thailand, markets are incredibly popular here on Koh Samui. Skip dinner one night and enjoy filling up on the cheap Thai market food. Markets are also the perfect opportunity to buy some locally crafted gifts to take home to your family and friends. Different towns on the island will host markets on different evenings. I particularly enjoy Mae Nam’s Thursday night market and Lamai’s one on Sunday evenings. Markets usually open around 5 pm and close by 11 pm. If you are interested in the vibrant nightlife, check out this Complete Guide to Koh Samui nightlife!


Ang Thong National Marine Park

Ang Thong National Marine Park

One of my favourite day excursions from Koh Samui is a boat tour to Ang Thong National Marine Park. This is one of Thailand’s most beautiful marine reserves and offers visitors the chance to snorkel amongst coral reefs and visit secluded beaches. It is an archipelago consisting of 42 islands, with waterfalls, jungle and mountains.

This is the perfect spot for a hiking or kayaking adventure, or just enjoy relaxing and enjoying the stunning scenery. Ensure you book a trip here with a reputable tour operator, as only government-approved boats may enter the area. If you are visiting between November and January, be aware that the park can close due to incremental weather.


The Fishing Village of Bophut

If you are looking to escape the tourist crowds for a day, I’d recommend heading to Bophut for a few hours. Fishers still work in this area, and you can enjoy their daily bounty at one of the local restaurants. Friday evening sees the night market in this town, so it may be worth coinciding your visit with this.


Man standing by Na Muang waterfalls

Visit Waterfalls

No trip to Thailand is complete without visiting a beautiful waterfall. On Koh Samui, the Na Muang falls are the most popular with visitors, and these offer two waterfalls within a jungle setting. The first one is more crowded as it is accessible by car, so I suggest taking the 30-minute hike to visit the second one. The site is free to visit, and there are snacks and drinks available here.


Wat Khunaram

The Wat Khunaram temple offers a unique display featuring a mummified monk. In 1973, Luong Pordaeng, a Buddhist monk, passed away in a seated position of meditation. His body was preserved in that position and can be seen in the temple today in a glass case. Locals and visitors come here daily to reflect and meditate in front of the monk, and it’s a unique site to visit on the island.


Secret buddha garden

Secret Buddha Garden

You may need a 4WD to get here, but it’s well worth the effort. High on the hills of Koh Samui lies the Secret Buddha Garden, and it offers incredible views of the area. The gardens feature a collection of statues which have been in place since 1976. The statues show animals, humans and Gods, and you can enjoy viewing them in this shaded area.

Koh Samui is one of my favourite places to visit in Thailand, and I hope this list has inspired you for your next visit. Whether you are looking to explore or relax, or have a combination of both, there is something to fill every day of your visit. I hope you enjoy exploring the island and seeing the incredible nature and beaches of Koh Samui.


The Big Buddha

One of the most popular attractions for tourists to visit, and one you shouldn’t miss on any trip is the Big Buddha. You will find the Big Buddha located on the north-east coast of the island, at the Wat Phra Yai temple. I recommend heading here early in the morning to see the monks and locals making their offerings at the temple. As you are entering a Buddhist temple, ensure you wear appropriate clothing and coverings during your visit.

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Hi there! 

We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest. 

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