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Ko Samui

Things to see and do

  • (Stand Up Paddling) at Naish SUP
    3.5 stars

    The newest craze to hit Ko Samui's beaches is SUP, or stand-up-paddling, an easy-to-learn sport that entails standing on long surf boards while paddling across the water. It's easy to learn, and those with a little experience can try their paddle at smaller and faster boards. Some boards even ... read more

  • Guan Yu Shrine
    3.5 stars

    An ongoing project first instigated by Samui islander of Chinese descent, Virach Pongchababnapa, the Guan Yu Shrine will likely be one of Samui's most popular cultural attractions once a 16-metre high bronze statue of Guan Yu is completed. For now, you'll have to settle on an enormous red statue of ... read more

  • Paradise Park Farm
    3.5 stars

    This spacious and colourful farm/petting zoo occupies 20 acres of tropical forest atop Khao Pom mountain, some 600 metres above Lipa Noi. Adults will appreciate the cooler air and spectacular views over Samui's west coast and the Five Islands, while kids will be engrossed by the furry and feathery ... read more

  • Coco Splash Waterpark
    3 stars

    Coco Splash is a small water park that's fun for kids and pleasant enough for adults. Only three slides of varying speed and intensity were on offer when we last visited, but word is they have two more on the way. There's also a huge jacuzzi, paddle pool, and water playground for kids complete ... read more

  • Muay Thai
    3.5 stars

    While on Samui, it's impossible to avoid the trucks that roam the island blasting the Rocky theme while promoting the night's Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) events. Two large stadiums are found in Chaweng: Petch Buncha stadium is near Laem Din market and the newer Chaweng Stadium behind Solo Bar in ... read more

  • Thong Krut
    3.5 stars

    Thong Krut is the place to head to get a taste of relaxed island life -- use it as the launching point for the islands nearby. There’s not a lot in Thong Krut but that’s not a bad thing; anyone who complains that Samui has become too developed and commercialised need only head down to Thong ... read more

  • Detox programmes
    4 stars

    While Ko Samui may be known for partying, several places offer opportunities to sign yourself up for days-long, live-in detox programmes. While the touristy areas of Ko Samui can be known for their partying, the island is also popular for its detox retreats. Here are a few to choose ... read more

  • Big Buddha, Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Finished in the mid 1970s, Big Buddha (Wat Phra Yai) is the most visited attraction on Ko Samui. Located on tiny Ko Phan Island and accessible via a causeway and a long staircase protected by two colourful naga serpents, Big Buddha sits around 15 metres tall and 12 metres wide and is depicted in ... read more

  • Waterfalls on Ko Samui
    3 stars

    Inland Samui is dotted with a few waterfalls, most of which can be reached by motorbike followed by a short walk. All are far more impressive in wet season. Both Na Muang 1 and 2 have pools to swim in when there is enough water, and the former also has elephant riding nearby. Hin Lad requires ... read more

  • Mummified monk at Kunaram Temple
    3.5 stars

    Kunaram Temple is home to Samui's most famous mummified monk, Luang Pordaeng. Although this temple is popular with locals, sensitive visitors may be a little disturbed by the open display of the monk's well-preserved body, still sitting in a meditation position -- he died more than 20 years ago. ... read more

  • Viewpoints on Ko Samui
    4 stars

    Samui has a number of excellent viewpoints, though you'll either need to be on a tour or have your own transport to reach some of them. The most popular is Secret Garden, a large sculpture garden off the airforce road towards the centre of the island. Built by a fourth generation Samui native who ... read more

  • Thai boxing on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Muay Thai is Thailand's national sport, and locals frequent the stadiums almost every night, placing illegal bets on fight outcomes. Two large stadiums, one in Chaweng near the lake, and one in Lamai, host fights between foreign and local champions. The bigger matches are broadcast live on UBC and ... read more

  • Hin Ta Hin Yai
    2 stars

    Just south of Lamai Beach, one of Samui's natural wonders can be found. Hin-Ta and Hin-Yai, called Grandfather and Grandmother rock respectively, have been naturally formed by the elements to resemble male and female genitalia, and are sometimes referred to as the 'rude rocks'. This is a ... read more

  • Wat Hin Lad
    3.5 stars

    Wat Hin Lad is set in forest-type gardens that boast gigantic trees with exposed twisted roots, vines with scented blossoms and fruit trees. Hear the waterfall and river in the background as you walk on moss-covered paths, past inspirational signposts nailed to trees and visit several temples on ... read more

  • Chinese Temple at Mae Nam
    4 stars

    Ornate dragons adorn and protect the Chinese temple at Mae Nam, which has a distinctly different look to Thai temples. This temple is Samui's focal point for Chinese New Year celebrations in February, with lion dancing, drums, acrobatic performers, and the smell of sulphur heavy in the air from ... read more

  • Wat Plai Laem
    3.5 stars

    Wat Plai Laem, a few hundred metres past Big Buddha, is probably Samui's most colourful temple. Repainted and repaired after the March 2011 floods, the wat houses two impressive statues vying for attention – the laughing Buddha, and the 18-arm strong Buddha. Each statue is approached by way ... read more

  • Thai cooking classes
    4 stars

    Many cooking classes are available on the island, with several resorts and restaurants jumping on the bandwagon to offer this add-on service to guests. Samui's most famous cookery school is SITCA – the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts. SITCA offers two cooking classes a day from Monday to ... read more

  • Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts
    4.5 stars

    Beach holiday destinations like Ko Samui aren't usually bastions of authentic Thai cuisine, yet this extremely professional and well-respected cooking school is among the top choices in all of Thailand for those who are serious about learning to cook Thai. A course at SITCA doesn't just show ... read more

  • Buffalo fighting
    3 stars

    Less bloody than the Spanish equivalent, Samui-style buffalo fighting involves two buffaloes coming head to head. No spears, swords or people -- except for those bellowing from the sidelines -- are involved, and neither buffalo ends up dead. There are a few buffalo rings scattered around the ... read more

  • Sailing
    4 stars

    Samui's weather conditions make it an ideal sailing location year round. Northeasterly winds are predominant between December and April, with stronger westerly winds from May to November. Several sailing charter companies exist on the island, but the best by far is Samui Ocean Sports. The ... read more

  • Diving
    3.5 stars

    Several dive schools and charter companies are located across the island. Many offer PADI dive courses, with training in resort swimming pools before venturing into Samui's clear waters. Once you are qualified, join a dive charter to explore excellent diving locations not far from Samui. These ... read more

  • Elephant trekking on Ko Samui
    3 stars

    Elephant trekking is offered in several locations on Ko Samui, the most popular being either at Namuang 1 Waterfall or at Wat Hin Lad in Nathon. Visitors get a chance to explore the forest atop Asia's giants, in specially designed seats strapped to the elephant's back. Despite their huge size, ... read more

  • Massages
    4 stars

    As with the rest of Thailand, Samui is famous for its massages. Options range from cheap beach sala massages starting at only 200 baht, to those on offer at exclusive spas and hotels, each vying for customers with their signature treatments. While a treatment can set you back thousands of baht, ... read more

  • Canopy rides
    3.5 stars

    See Samui the way a gibbon does! Explore the jungle while whizzing along a zipline. The trip included a 4x4 ride to the location, a short trek through the forest, followed by six cable rides to platforms high up in the trees. At the end, cool off in the waterfall, or calm the nerves in the bar next ... read more

  • Kayaking
    4 stars

    Kayaks can be rented quite cheaply from most beaches. This is a fun way to see the sights from the water while getting a good upper body workout. Blue Stars Kayaking offers trips to the Angthong National Marine Park. Explore bizarre rock formations, hidden caves and inlets. See marine and bird life ... read more

  • Shell museum
    2.5 stars

    William Thomas owns this treasure trove of sea relics, artefacts and an impressive collection of shells. For 100 baht, visitors gain entrance to this fascinating place, and William offers a tour, sharing his vast knowledge of the ocean and marine life. His passion is contagious as he tells you ... read more

  • Magic Alambic Rum Distillery
    3 stars

    Sample locally brewed rum, flavoured naturally with fresh fruits or coconuts at this distillery open to the public. Magic Alambic is a small Ko Samui distillery producing exceptionally good rum in various flavours. Stop by and see how they produce their rhum agricole by distilling fresh, ... read more

  • Monkey work coconut
    2.5 stars

    Dotted all around the island you'll see signs along the lines of "Monkey work coconut" where you can stop and for a small fee watch monkeys climb up coconut palms and hurl down coconuts at you or their keeper. It might be fun for kids, but otherwise it's not really worth stopping to see. Real ... read more

  • Butterfly Farm
    2 stars

    Opposite Central Samui Village in Laem Set the Samui Butterfly Farm is located on a steep hill, in a pleasant floral garden covered by a high net to contain the star attractions. The farm breeds its own butterflies, and has a fair selection of caterpillars, cocoons and adult butterflies. Go early ... read more

  • Chai Dee Samui
    3 stars

    Part petting farm, part cookery school and part restaurant, Chai Dee is a good spot to bring kids for a pat, play and meal. Part small petting farm, part cookery school and part restaurant, Chai Dee is a good spot to bring kids for a pat, play and meal, though you'll want to be the kind of person ... read more

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