Top Things To Do in Koh Samui
Wat Phra Yai – Big Buddha Temple
The Big Buddha temple is one of the main cultural attractions that is located on a small island linked to the main island through a narrow path. Within walking distance from the Big Buddha are another 3 attractions. Wat Plai Laem, Chinese Laughing Buddha and Guanyin (an 18 armed goddess) sit gloriously inside a lake.
The lake is also home to hundreds of catfish. To see the sheer amount of fish you just need to throw in some food as all the fish will start jumping on one another to get their fair share of a meal.
Wat Khunaram and Mummified Monk
Koh Samui’s most famous temple attracts visitors every day, most of which local people who pay their respects to Loung Pordeang. Loung Pordeang is a mummified monk who died back in 1973 whilst meditating. The monk is displayed in a glass casket surrounded by flowers and incense sticks. The body has surprisingly preserved ‘well’ though it might be an uncomfortable sight for some.
Hin Ta Hin Yai – Grandfather & Grandmother Rocks
Two bizarre natural rock formations attract loads of visitors every day for the reason that they resemble the male and female genitalia. Giggles and chuckles while visiting these rocks are seen on some embarrassed visitor’s faces especially while taking some awkward pictures. Apart from these rocks the area is gorgeous and there is also a natural pool fed by seawater.
Jungle Club Viewpoint
One of the most stunning viewpoints was recommended to us by a friend. The Jungle Club is a resort along the hills and greenery above Chaweng Noi. The view from this point is breathtaking and travels all the way over Chaweng and right up to the Big Buddha. No need to mention that the resort itself is also one of a kind. Bungalows, lodges and pool villas are beautiful and for a unique location like this, prices are very reasonable.
This temple is one activity that rarely comes up when searching for ‘things to do’ in Koh Samui but you will probably pass by it at some time. We just happened to stumble on this temple while driving around the island. The red temple which looks like it has been moulded out of clay is covered in beautiful engravings. A plus to this temple is that it is close to other sightseeing spots and beaches.
Thong Krut Village
Thong Khrut is a fishing village on the south end of the island. This village has that authentic touch of Thai lifestyle.
Stilted houses are lined along the small beach and fishermen are seen with their nets a few metres away from the shore. The beach here isn’t the greatest for swimming but as you walk further away from Thong Krut pier the scenery gets more beautiful.
The sea here is very shallow and for a long distance with sea currents creating patches of sand islands. Small trees grow in the seawater whilst the sandy shore is dotted with coconut trees and the horizon is packed with small islands.
Sunsets over the West Coast
While in Koh Samui we were lucky to experience one epic sunset from the beach where Jawat Seafood restaurant is located on the west coast of the island. As the sun started to set and the tide was low we could hear the crackling sound of shellfish from within the rocks which were, some time before covered by the sea. These sounds coupled with the spectacular sunset made this experience one to remember.
Lad Koh Viewpoint
Lad Koh is Koh Samui’s most easily reached viewpoint and offers a nice view over Chaweng Noi, Chaweng and the sparkling turquoise waters. Accessing this point is pretty easy as all you need is to park along the road heading to Lamai from Chaweng beach.
A rum distillery in the south of Koh Samui offering a selection of rum is an interesting experience to have whilst on the island. The distillery offers a tour of the rum making process and tasting of a few different rum at a cost of 100 Baht per person. On our visit no rum was being produced at the factory but we had an informative conversation with the owner on rum making and the place itself is quite nice with a lovely garden and a pool.
Na Muang Waterfall
Na Muang 1 waterfall is easily accessible as it is just a 5 minutes walk from the parking area. We weren’t much impressed by this waterfall though Na Muang waterfall 2 seems to be nicer but we did not climb to this second waterfall. One downfall is that the place is quite littered and not taken care of much. Furthermore, elephants are held captive and don’t seem to be treated well.
Secret Buddha Garden
Hidden within the hills and lush greenery is this one of a kind attraction, offering majestic views and a surprisingly huge collection of statues. The creator of this garden was a farmer who in 1976 decided to start erecting a multitude of statues and temples around his land. The statues depict a number of animals, humans, Buddhas and of course there is also a statue of the creator himself. Another trail leads to the golden sleeping Buddha and offers exceptional sunrise and sunset views.
We did not experience this activity first hand but it’s highly recommended.
This rock is one of Koh Samui’s natural wonders and is still a not so popular tourist spot. The rock rests high above the turquoise waters of Lamai offering a spectacular backdrop. Getting to and from the rock is challenging as the roads are very steep and wouldn’t be advised for inexperienced riders.
We did not experience this activity first hand but think it’s worth a visit
Mu Koh Angthong National Park
>>Other Gulf islands include Koh Tao and Koh Phangan and reaching these two other islands from Koh Samui is easy. We island hopped from Koh Tao to Koh Phangan and Koh Samui by ferry. Check the ferry schedules for the 2 major ferry companies, Lomprayah and Songserm here.
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Koh Samui Best Beaches
While on the island we visited 11 beaches in total. Some we really loved and others not so much. The beaches are picturesque and the reason we didn’t enjoy a few beaches is due to the very low visibility in the water. These are our top picks for beaches.
This is the most popular beach in Koh Samui. The beach is lined with trees, massage options, bars and also a good number of resorts are found along the bay. The water is crystal clear but isn’t deep enough to swim comfortably, at least not until a long way out.
Coral Cove Beach
At 10 minutes drive from Chaweng, Coral Cove is the perfect spot to beat the busier beaches nearby. The beach is taken care of by a family who runs a restaurant and bungalows and thus is kept in pristine condition. The water is clear and just deep enough for swimming.
Just a 5 minute drive from Coral Cove, Silver beach is just as beautiful. Forming part of a resort and thus being very well kept. The beach is also perfect for snorkeling especially around the boulders on either side of the bay. Reaching the beach is through the resort and is free.
Samrong beach is on the tip of the peninsula northeast of the island. Samrong is part of two resorts and thus is very well kept. Not so many people venture to this secluded beach making it a quiet spot to just lay back and relax.
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