Best Things to do In Koh Samui ✔️ The 2024 Guide

Ready to plan your days in Koh Samui and want to know what there is to do?

Koh Samui island in Thailand is a tropical paradise known for its palm fringed stretches of powdery white sand spilling into tropical waters, an energetic nightlife scene and a hospitality sector that caters to various tastes and budgets.

When it comes to things to do in Koh Samui there is no shortage. You can spend a day laying on one of the many gorgeous beaches while sipping on your favorite cocktail. And at night go to a club with load music.

There’s also countless sightseeing spots like the 20 meter buddha, a pink temple, and even a mummified monk in a glass casket. If you’re adventurous, there are various activities to do in Koh Samui. Rent a scooter and drive up the steep mountains to the secluded Secret Buddha Garden. Or do a day trip to the nearby pig island and the stunning Angthong Marine Park or end the day on a romantic sunset cruise.

Best things to do in Koh Samui. Aerial view of Angthong Marine Park, a cluster of islands covered in lush jungle jutting out of emerald waters
Ang-Thong Marine Park

Things to do in Koh Samui – Planning

If you’re ready to start planning your Koh Samui itinerary, before getting started on all the activities and Koh Samui tourist spots, below is a list of resources that will help you put together your Koh Samui travel plan.

Bangkok to Koh Samui ferry. Tourists walking on wooden pier going to catamaran

How to get to Koh Samui

Most tourists visiting Koh Samui are traveling from either Bangkok or Phuket. Regardless of where you’re coming from, the journey is straightforward and there’s 2 options.

By Air

The fastest and easiest option is to book a direct flight. There are regular direct flights from Phuket airport and flights from both airports in Bangkok with a travel duration of around 1 hour.

View Bangkok to Koh Samui flight schedules
View Phuket to Koh Samui flight schedules

Budget

If you’re on a budget and don’t mind a slower journey, the best option is to book an all inclusive bus+ferry combo ticket. It’s affordable and hassle free.

View Bangkok to Koh Samui combo tickets
View Phuket to Koh Samui combo tickets

For you → Best beachfront resorts in Chaweng for any budget

Best things to do in Koh Samui

Whether you’re on a family vacation, a relaxing holiday or you’re a traveler looking for fun things to do, you’ll find a lot of opportunities in Koh Samui. So what are the best things to do in Koh Samui? Scroll down to find out.

Beach Hopping

Jacqueline on a tree swing on one of the beaches in Koh Samui
Jacqueline on the swing at silver beach

You’re literally in tropical paradise. It’s hot and humid and the scents of suncream and ocean fills the air and you’re never too far from a palm fringed beach with calm waters lapping over white sand. Hit the beach, dip your toes into the hot sand and take a dip. Maybe find a patch of shade under a palm tree. “But make sure it’s not a coconut tree, it’s common for coconuts to fall down and they’re heavy”. Buy a cold mango smoothie from one of the beach vendors that for reason are always covered up and wearing a jacket. Without a doubt one of the best things to do in Koh Samui is to explore the beaches. And there’s many. Check out the best beaches in Koh Samui here. Rent a scooter and visiting them all because they’re all gorgeous.

The Big Buddha

A big Buddha statue perched on a slope
Jacqueline on the swing at silver beach

The Big Buddha, also known as Wat Phra Yai, is a prominent landmark located on the northern coast of Koh Samui. As the name implies, it’s an enormous Buddha that was built in the 1970’s and is symbol of enlightenment. This popular tourist attraction form parts of a larger religous area in the Bophut region where you’ll find various other Buddhist shrines and structures. There’s also a number of souvenir shops along with small cafes.

Hin Ta and Hin Yai

The Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks are located at the end of Lamai beach. These strangely formed rock formations have always lead to many giggles by both tourists and locals. The rocks are often referred to as Grandpa (Hin Ta) and Grandma (Hin Yai) because they have an uncanny resemblance with a male and female genitalia.

The story of these is that the parents went to mainland Thailand to propose for the marriage of the son. On their way back their boat sank and they drowned. After being washed up to shore their bodies were turned into these interesting rock formations.

Wat Ratchathammaram (Pink Temple)

Jacqueline standing in front of the pink temple in Samui

If you’re passing by the mainroad in Lamai you’ll most likely be drawn by the contrasting color of this temple. Unlike the majority of temples in Thailand which have contrasting green, red and gold colors, Wat Ratchathammaram is covered in just a single color and in contrast may seem boring. This temple is built in terracotta and has that really deep pink color.

This temple is really a sight to see both from the outside and in. The terracotta roof and walls are covered in intricately engraved bas reliefs. And as you walk inside it’s just as stunning with a big golden Buddha sitting in heart of the temple.

Rum Tasting and Distillery

La Rhumerie De Koh Samui is located in southern portion of Koh Samui. It’s a distillery where they produce 2 rums. One of them is strong, the other sort of sweet. It’s a nice ride down there as you pass through uninhabited parts of the island, amazing countryside views and through local villages. The places is nestled among a tropical landscape where they also have their distillery which they usually let you visit.

Coco Tams

Coco Tams is arguably one of the most famous lounges in Koh Samui. Located in the fancy Fisherman’s village in Bophut, this on the beach lounge really bring together luxury with laid back beach vibes thanks to the Balinese inspired designed yet elegant soft furnishings. It’s a place to chill out and relax during the day, enjoy a good cocktail and nibble on something equally good.

But it’s when the sun goes down that Coco Tams is most popular. Every evening they host a spectacular fire show. The performers set stage on the beach as guests, on their bean bags watch the dancing fire. There is 2 shows every day evening at 7:15pm and 9:15pm. It would be best to reserve a spot in advance or come here early between 5:00 and 5:30pm if you want to find a good spot.

Enjoy the Nightlife

It comes as no surprise that some of the best things to do in Koh Samui happen at night. Specifically if you’re already in Chaweng, you’re in for a treat because this is where all the action happens. I’m referring to the central area near The Green Mango Club and up to a few hundred meters in either direction.

The 2 most famous venues are The Green Mango Club which is located in a side street and at the end of many other smaller clubs where the party keeps going until the early hours. Ark Bar is where the warm up starts. It’s a big beach club with a pool and tables on the beach and lasers shooting into the ocean. Drinks, especially at Ark Bar are quite expensive and honestly, the cocktails aren’t that great. My suggestions would be to have a few pre-drinks at Ark Bar store across the street. I have no idea if this place is related to Ark Bar itself, but the drinks are a lot cheaper.

Ta Nim Magic Garden (Secret Buddha Garden)

The Secret Buddha Garden is a serene garden filled with various sculptures in the mountains of Koh Samui. The garden depicts various animals, deities and humans in various positions including a complete dance performance. The garden is shaded by thick trees which has resulted in everything being eerily covered in moss. There’s a small waterfall and a stream passing through the garden.

The garden is located at the end of some really steep roads where the air is cooler and your ears will pop a few times until you get there. There roads are well maintained though.

Note:there are 2 routes to get here. 1 of the routes passes from near the overlap stone. Do not take this route! We accidentally took this route after visiting the overlap stone. It was pretty obvious from the start that it wasn’t a safe route but we pushed forward on a tiny scooter until the road turned into something suitable for a dirt bike“.

Overlap Stone

A different perspective of overlap stone 😀

Overlap stone is impressive rock balanced on another rock. Actually rock and stone are understatements. It’s a huge 2 story+ massive boulder that rests right on the edge of underlying rock. You’ll get some pretty amazing views from up there all the way over the lush jungle and onto the emerald ocean. Overlap stone and the surrounding was a raw experience that had a small fee. Today all around the rock has been developed and what was once a challenging place to reach is easy peasy so you may come across a number of tourists. There is a fee of ฿200 ($6) which is quite steep for a rock ;D.

Overlap stone 2 has a better view

Further up there is Overlap stone 2. It’s short ride up the hill and then about a 10 minute walk up a dirt path. It’s pretty much the same as overlap stone but in its raw version. There’s a platform near this equally big boulder and the view is better and there is no development around it. The fee is also a more reasonable ฿20 ($0.60).

Koh Madsum (Pig Island)

Koh Madsum is an island paradise just off the southern coast of Koh Samui. This little slice of paradise has only recently started becoming famous. Not only because the island is gorgeous and almost uninhabited but because you don’t typically go to a beach and see pigs roaming around, soaking up the sun and wading along palm fringed beaches.

While Koh Madsum is still a relatively new destination and tourist attraction in Koh Samui, it can get busy especially around mid day. There’s a small beach bar on the island fairly reasonable prices for cold drinks and food. You can book a join in boat tour to get there which will include snorkeling along the colorful reefs around Koh Tan island before docking at Koh Madsum and also having lunch. If you’re a group, family, or want something more private there is always the possibility to book a private tour.

Join in boat tour →Click here to check your dates
Private boat tour →Click here to check your dates

Angthong Marine Park

Angthong. A cluster of islands covered in lush jungle

The Angthong Marine Park is a cluster of 42 islands just off the coast of Koh Samui. The islands are mainly massive limestone cliffs jutting out of the emerald water and covered in thick jungle. It’s quite stunning and also exciting to sail through these daunting cliffs where you can even hire kayaks which is even more thrilling.

The land and sea has a rich biodiversity. Hiking the up the cliffs to the sweeping viewpoints and snorkeling along the colorful reefs are the main activities.

Getting here requires taking a boat from Koh Samui. You can find many tour operators in the tourist areas in Koh Samui. Before booking anything always make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company. Another option is book an online tour as you can see the price upfront without needing to negotiate and also read the reviews from previous tourists.

Join in tour →book an affordable Angthong boat tour
Semi private tour →book an all inclusive boat tour

Final Notes

In this article we went over the best things to do in Koh Samui. Also a few suggestions for places to stay which will help you to get started when planning your trip. Obviously there are many other things to do in Koh Samui. But since many people are visiting only for a few days, we didn’t want to create a never ending list of mediocre activities as it would feel as if you’re missing out.

If you’re visiting Koh Samui and have and have any questions, just let us know in the comment section below. We respond in a few hours.

Where to stay in Koh Samui

Koh Samui is a big island with various areas and neighborhoods catering to different tastes and budgets. Choosing the right place to stay that is in line with your travel style and what you want to do is an important decision. Below is a quick overview covering the 3 main areas along with accommodation suggestions. →If you need more details read this guide that covers all areas.

Chaweng – for everything

Chaweng beach in Koh Samui. Tourists walking on tropical white sand beach.

Chaweng is the main tourist area in Koh Samui. The beach is gorgeous. Think of white powdery sand spilling into crystal clear water. The definition of tropical paradise. The beach road runs parallel with the coast and is lined with restaurants, bars, beachfront resorts and the area around the The Green Mango Club offers a lively nightlife scene.

$$$NamePriceRating
$COSI Samui Chaweng Beach$298.8/10
$Montien House Hotel$328.3/10
$$Ark Bar Beach Resort$528.1/10
$$OZO Chaweng Samui$718.7/10
$$$Muang Samui Spa Resort$1208.6/10
$$$Banana Fan Sea Resort$1859.1/10
All select hotels are in a great location in Chaweng and close to amenities, restaurants, bars and the beach.

Lamai – for affordability

A white sandy beach with emerald water and rock formations

Lamai is a favorite with both holiday makers and travelers. It’s a nice area with the main tourist area parallel with the long beach. With lots of dining options, a decent nightlife scene and a mix of tourist amenities combined with local Thai charm and affordable accommodations, Lamai offers a broad appeal for various reasons.

$$$NamePriceRating
$Lamai Inn 99 Bungalows$328.3/10
$Marina Villa$388.3/10
$$Am Samui Palace Hotel$498.7/10
$$Samui Jasmine Resort$788.9/10
$$$VILLA BLUE LAGOON$2109.8/10
$$$Banyan Tree Samui$4909.2/10
All select hotels are in a great location in Lamai and close to amenities, restaurants, bars and the beach.

Bo-Phut – for luxury

Bophut beach in Koh Samui. A beach with sand spilling into crystal clear water

Bophut often referred to as the fishermans village is a beautiful beachside area loved by families and couples. A pedestrianized streets runs along the beach and is lined with beautiful old wooden buildings turned into some of the islands finest restaurants, chic cocktail bars and sunset lounges. There’s some really nice beachfront resorts. If you’re searching for an upscale neighborhood in Koh Samui and want all amenities within a short walk, this is the place.

$$$NamePriceRating
$Enjoy Beach Hotel$298.1/10
$Dreamcatcher Boutique Hotel$379.1/10
$$Riviera Beach Hotel$599.4/10
$$Hacienda Fisherman’s Village$648.7/10
$$$Hansar Samui Resort$1259.0/10
$$$Bo Phut Resort & Spa$1299.3/10
All select hotels are in a great location and along the pedestrianized walking street in Bophut and close to amenities, restaurants, bars and the beach.

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