15 Things to Do In Koh Samui Thailand
| Digital Travel Guru Guest Post|
Koh Samui, an island in Thailand, also known as the coconut island. Travel time is only1 hour by flight from Bangkok. This is the ultimate tropical beach paradise island. Koh Samui has everything you could ever dream of all on one island to cater for all your requirements, from partying all night to having a romantic getaway, exploring historical and cultural sights, endless places to eat and things to do, this is one place that you will find hard to get bored in. There are many parts to the islands depending on what type of holiday you want and it has a huge range of places to stay ranging from £10 a night up to £6000 a night for the exclusive villas. We wrote a post on the history of Koh Samui which you can read here: History of Koh Samui:
History of Koh Samui Island – Thailand
Here are 15 things we have put together for you to do and see when you visit Koh Samui.
Big Buddha temple is the biggest landmark on Koh Samui and can be seen from the sky as you fly into the island. It sits north of the island and is 12 meters high it was built in 1972. The area is known as Big Buddha. The locals call this temple Wat Phra Yai. The temple itself is reached by a small road over the sea which connects the Big Buddha temple with main land Samui. There are a lot of small stalls and shops and places to eat on this site and you can receive a blessing from the monks that live there for a small donation to the temple. Please ensure you adhere to temple rules of covering your shoulders and legs. To climb the steeps to Big Buddha you have to take off your shoes so take some anti slip socks as the ground can get very hot. From the top you will see views across parts of Samui and the sea, which is a great place for photography.
Wat Plai Laem
Wat Plan Laem Temple is about 5 minutes drive from Big Buddha, it is a Buddhist temple with the 18 arm Guanyin goddess. There is also a huge Buddha statue on the same site, which has a beautiful compound with a small lake with fish with walkways A lovely place to have a picnic under the trees whilst seeing the temples. There are also beautiful murals and temple arts to see. Please ensure you are dressed appropriately to enter the temple, covering shoulders and legs.
Entrance is free, hover you can make donations to the temple.
Hin Ta and Hin Yai
Located 5 minutes from Lamai beach towards the south of the island, Hin Ta and Hin Ya re also known as the grandfather and grandmother rocks. The rocks are famous for resembling genitalia. There is parking nearby and it’s easily accessible by local transport. The amazing rock formations are a popular attraction on the island. You can easily spend 1/2 a day here looking at the various stalls and shops and there are lots of dining options also including a reggae rock bar. Be sure to try out the famous coconut ice-cream, If you bring your swimwear there is a small cove for swimming.
Secret Buddha Garden
Located high up on the hills above Koh Samui, Secret Buddha Garden was built by Nim Thongsuk, who started building the garden in 1976. The site is full of statues and a little templs. Nim passed way at the age of 91. The garden are a beautiful place to visit, with a waterfall and small stream running through it, surrounded by jungle. The road can be difficult to navigate and if going on motorbike you need to be extra careful as the path can be very steep in places. The trip is best taken in a 4×4 car. There are many tour operators on the island that can bring you here. Khun Nim was a farmer. When he retired he began sculpting these figures that represent Buddhist folklore. The are lots of stop off points on the way here to take in the scenery and views.
Entrance: 80bhat approx
Dusit Dhewa – Samui Cultural and Fine Arts Centre
Located about 35 minutes from the centre of Koh Samui (Chaweng area) the cultural centre, was built and opened by Khun Chart who was born and raised in Samui. His idea behind building the cultural was for people to learn about culture and heritage of Thailand and it’s heritage. Khun says the centre will never be completed as he states he will never stop collecting items that are of historical or cultural significance. In the grounds you can take lots of beautiful photos of statutes, and with the peacocks that live there. The land back onto a jungle and has a lovely stream and bridge on the grounds. There is a pagoda with numerous buddha ornaments and other buildings wit artefacts. If you pay a small fee you can dress up in Thai traditional wear and have photos taken. The site is popular with photographers and for wedding photos. It is a truly stunning location with a stunning collection of ornaments and sculptures.
Entrance 150 Bhat approx
Fisherman’s Village Walking Street
Located north of the island in an area called Bophut, Fishermans village is a very narrow road that looks over the beach area, it is full of little boutique shops and many famous resturants and beach open air bars. The area used to be a traditional fishing village. There is market here on certain days of the week. The area usually becomes busy in the evening and there is also a newly opened area at the end of Fisherman’s village called the Wharf (which is a shopping mall and market). This is a great place to spend the afternoon / evening or night, it has a chilled relaxed atmosphere and is away from he party area’s of Chaweng and Lamai.
A great place to see an interesting engraved foot print of Buddha. From this location you will see some specular views of Koh Samui island. It can be a difficult place to find , however you can book a tour guide to take you or even find it yourself if you have your own transport and have a tourist map of the island. Please remember to wear appropriate clothing as it has the same rules as visiting a temple Also be warned there are 163 steps to climb. The grounds have a beautiful temple of course the magnificent 4 Buddha footprints with engravings.
Entrance Free (when I last visited)
Hainan Temple (Chinese)
Is a Chinese Temple in Nathon the main town of the island.
It was built on 1862, by the many Chinese who moved to Koh Samui island. A lovely temple with two golden lions that guard the gate. Nathon is also a great area for shopping and for places to eat, you can see lots of the old Samui architectural buildings here and Nathon is also a main port area of the island and has lovely views of the coast line. Buy things and shopping here is cheaper than the other areas on the island.
Entrance was free when I visited
Laem Sor Pagoda
Located on the south of the island, on Bang Kao Beach. This a tranquil spot to visit to see the golden pagoda, with 360 views of the ocean. The entrance has two warrior statues. And you can see the Pagoda and Buddha – a great area to explore and find off the beaten track beaches and small secluded restaurants.
Located about about 25 minutes from Koh Samui, Wat Khunaram, is a Buddhist temple site. The mummified monk is of Luong Pordaeng who died in 1973, his body is seated in the sitting position in a case in the temple. The site has lots of information about the temple and the history of the monk that lived there. Entrance Free
Wat Sila Ngu Wat Sila Ngu also known as Wat Ratcha Thammaram
Known as the snake temple – Was Sila Ngu is located about 10 mutes from Lamai. Sila Ngu translates into “stone snake” in English. There is a huge red clay temple with carvings of snakes and a pagaoda. The walls inside the temple are spectacular to see as the carvings tell you a story of Buddhas life. On the temple grounds you can also see beautiful sweeping views of the ocean.
Entrance is free.
Located high in the hills about 5 minutes from Chaweng Not beach is Jungle Club, which initially started as a small off the beaten track accommodation for backpackers. Throughout the years the site has had a lot of refurbishments and it is now a mid range property to stay in, which has luxury bungalows you can book.
The buildings are built out of bamboo and other natural products and has some of the best views on the island. The Jungle club is famous for it’s bar, lounge and swimming pool, which are built on the edge the huge mountain. The views from here are breathtaking on a clear day you can see most of the western and northern part of Koh Samui island as well as the ocean. This is a top spot to have a drink or two whilst taking in the views whilst relaxing on the comfy beanbags and hammocks.
Guan Yu Koh Samui Shrine
The Chinese were one of the first expats to arrive on Koh Samui in the 1800’s. In 2008 the design for the temple and shrine were completed and building work commenced. It was opened officially in 2016. The shire and temple was built to celebrate Chinese history and heritage on the island. Guan Yu is a Chinese warrior that died 2000 years ago. The shire and temple when you visit has the history of the warrior inscribed under its magnificent statue. There are a few shops on the site selling Chinese food, other products and souvenirs.
Entrance was free when I visited.
An amazing half day trip by long tail boat from the southwest of Koh Samui, which you can do from a area called Taling Ngam. You can see the five islands from the beach and taking a long tail over is a fabulous experience. The islands are habitat to protected birds and the only people that are allowed to live there are the sea gypsies. You can visit by boat and see the caves of the islands and huge rocks which are in the middle of the ocean as well as the hidden cove beaches. Some trips allow you to snorkel the waters around the islands. A great time to take the trip is late afternoon just before sunset. Most of the local beach side restaurants in the area can arrange a boat trip for you.
Cost: 4000 to 6000 Thai Baht for two people
Koh Samui is located very close to many islands and Ang Thong National Park.
You can book various tours as day trips to visit neighbouring islands such as Koh Tao, Koh Phangan
Ang Thong National Park is home to 42 islands wth a spectacular emerald lagoon, you can snorkelling at various beaches and do sea canoeing and of course exploring the various islands the tour boat stops at.
Cost approx: £25-30 for a full day tour with lunch and drinks included
Koh Tao is located approx once and half hours from Koh Samui. It is a
Popular diving location and known for it’s stunning beach areas and diving sites.
Cost Approx £25-30 for a full day tour including lunch and drinks.
Koh Phangan about 45 minutes to 1 hour from Koh Samui.
Home to the full moon party and jungle parties, as well as the beautiful beaches all around the island. Cost approx £6.00 return
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