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Ko Samui

Things to see and do

  • Guan Yu Shrine
    3.5 stars

    A big red head. That’s what you see poking through the top of a building when driving along Ko Samui‘s ring road in Hua Thanon, just south of Lamai. For now, you'll have to settle on an enormous red statue of Guan Yu's head, which peeks over the top of the new Chinese-style shrine where the ... 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

  • Must-do activities on Samui
    3.5 stars

    Ko Samui is packed with things to do — so many that it can be a bit overwhelming if you’re on your first visit here. ... read more

  • Tennis and badminton on Samui
    3.5 stars

    If you enjoy a good game of tennis and can brave the tropical heat, Ko Samui offers several places to play tennis, many of which are floodlit, enabling you to play in the evening when it’s cooler. ... read more

  • Beach massage on Samui
    3.5 stars

    There’s nothing a weary traveller likes more than a good shower and a cheap massage to ease aching muscles from lugging around a heavy backpack ... read more

  • Things to do off the beach in Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    If you’ve topped up your tan and had your fill of sand and surf, consider what there is to do away from the beaches of Ko Samui. Here are a few suggestions. ... read more

  • Where to do yoga on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Yoga studios on Ko Samui welcome short-term visitors, allowing holiday-makers the opportunity to carry on with their yoga routines from back home or to get involved for the first-time if they’re looking to do something different while away ... read more

  • Samui Go-Kart
    3.5 stars

    If you’re after an adrenaline rush and want to let out your inner Lewis Hamilton, then Samui Go-Kart in Bophut is the place to go on Ko Samui ... read more

  • Aquapark Chaweng
    3.5 stars

    Sitting at home on a cold, wet drizzly day while pondering where to pursue adventures abroad, it may seem obvious that you wouldn’t want to go to Cambodia, or Siem Reap, at the height of the rainy season, but actually it’s not nearly as bad as people imag ... read more

  • Samui Dog and Cat Rescue
    3.5 stars

    Samui Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation has been improving the lives of Ko Samui’s animals for 13 years, and is a cause well worth supporting ... read more

  • Spark! Circus
    3.5 stars

    Spark! (that’s with the !) is a group of volunteer circus performers who try to add a little sparkle to the lives of disadvantaged children in refugee camps, migrant schools, hospitals and orphanages along the Thai-Burmese border ... read more

  • The Virgin Coast, Taling Ngam, Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Many feel that Ko Samui has become too developed, and in part, that may be true. Luckily it’s possible to escape the crowds and discover the Samui of yesterday only a 45-minute drive from popular Chaweng beach. ... read more

  • Akiira Spa at New Star Beach Resort, Chaweng Noi
    3.5 stars

    Akiira Spa is located within New Star Beach Resort & Spa on the hill overlooking Chaweng Noi bay. ... read more

  • Golf on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Ko Samui has much to offer golf fanatics, whether they are pros, or just looking to whack a few balls for exercise. ... read more

  • Rainy season indoor activities for families on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    With Samui’s rainy season on the doorstep, it’s best to be armed with a few bad weather alternatives — even if they are not exactly authentically Thai — for when the heavens open up ... read more

  • Weddings on Samui
    3.5 stars

    Thinking of a beach wedding? Ko Samui has a selection of professional wedding planners you can turn to for all the organising, and with postcard-view beach backdrops, it makes an ideal wedding location. ... read more

  • Photo essay: Offbeat Samui
    3.5 stars

    Exploring Ko Samui’s beaches, towns and interior makes for uncovering quite a few out-of-the-ordinary sights ... read more

  • Yogarden
    3.5 stars

    A funky new yoga studio-cum-cafe has opened down a quiet back street of Ko Samui’s cosmopolitan Fisherman’s Village. ... read more

  • The best places to watch sunset on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    My house is perfectly positioned to appreciate Samui’s sunsets, and it seems as though each night — insert your favourite deity here, perhaps the Goddess Ra — tries to outdo her sunset creation from the previous evening. ... read more

  • Salsa dancing on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Walking down Plai Laem’s main road and hearing sultry sounds winding through the palms and banana trees, it would be easy to forget the location and imagine you were in Cuba or perhaps Columbia ... read more

  • Garra rufa fish spas on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Garra rufa fish spas have been used in the Middle East for centuries but Southeast Asia has fairly recently jumped on the bandwagon and you’ll find them right across the region, including in Thailand. ... read more

  • Na Muang One Waterfall
    3 stars

    Na Muang One Waterfall at Baan Thurian, about 10 kilometres south of Nathon, is a popular tourist attraction on Ko Samui that can easily be reached by vehicle. ... read more

  • Learning Thai on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Learning a new language is hard enough at the best of times and Thai is so different from English and the Romance languages that for a farang (Westerner), learning Thai can seem a little overwhelming. ... read more

  • Wat Plai Laem, Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Wat Plai Laem may not be the oldest temple on Ko Samui, but it’s probably the most spectacular, and a good place to take children for a bit of Thai culture and a break from the beaches. ... read more

  • Stand-up paddling (SUP) on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    SUP, or stand up paddling for those not in the know, is the latest water sport activity to hit Samui’s shores. ... read more

  • TEFL in Thailand
    3.5 stars

    TEFL is Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This acronym describes the industry, the profession and all the courses you can take to qualify as a teacher. ... read more

  • Ko Samui’s Big Buddha and surrounds
    3.5 stars

    Big Buddha (Wat Phra Yai) is an iconic Ko Samui image. Located on the 4171 at the end of Bang Rak, as one rounds the bend to Plai Laem, this huge statue is glimmering gold and visible from kilometres away. ... read more

  • Thailand’s Ang Thong National Marine Park
    3.5 stars

    Ang Thong (Golden Bowl) National Marine Park is located north and west of Ko Samui, and is within sight of Samui on clear days ... read more

  • Muay Thai training on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Some people like to go on holiday to relax or explore and discover a new place. Others prefer more purpose-orientated holidays: volunteering or perhaps improving a skill such as cooking or writing ... read more

  • Samui’s water buffalo: Gentle giants or battering beasts?
    3.5 stars

    Khwai is the Thai word for water buffalo. The water buffalo plays a big part in Thai culture and daily life, and they are a common sight here on Ko Samui. ... read more

  • Thai spirit houses and spirit trees
    3.5 stars

    One of the first things travelers to Thailand may notice about their surrounds are the colorful and ornate spirit houses resembling miniature temples that are strategically positioned outside every home, business, school and in public areas. ... read more

  • Best of Ko Samui’s Bang Rak
    3.5 stars

    Bang Rak is located on the northern coast of Ko Samui, with Bophut to its west and Plai Laem to its east. ... read more

  • The best of Samui’s Choeng Mon and Plai Laem
    3.5 stars

    Although not far from the main tourist drags, Plai Laem just past Big Buddha is often devoid of tourists who seem oblivious to its existence and quaint charm. ... read more

  • The best of Fisherman’s Village, Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    In Ko Samui’s Fisherman’s Village, you’ll find old Chinese shophouses that are well preserved, interspersed with tasteful modern buildings to create a real ‘Mediterranean meets the East’ vibe. ... read more

  • Temple touring on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Those in search of a spiritual experience on Ko Samui will not be disappointed, as the island offers many temples and religious sites to explore. ... read more

  • Animal activities for kids on Samui
    3.5 stars

    Although Ko Samui does not have much to offer in the way of true ‘wildlife’ experiences, a few activities will keep animal-loving kids entertained ... read more

  • Outdoor Samui for kids
    3.5 stars

    Besides the obvious choice of endless perfect beaches to visit on Ko Samui, the island offers a slew of daytime activities for families. ... read more

  • Samui Ocean Sports
    3.5 stars

    Seeing the sights around Ko Samui powered by only the wind in your boat’s sails, rather than a noisy engine, can be truly rewarding. ... read more

  • Where to find books on Samui
    3.5 stars

    Sure, many people now travel with their kindles or iPads, but sometimes there’s nothing better than paging through a real book while swinging in a hammock. ... read more

  • Bophut shopping, Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Travelling from Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village towards Mae Nam, near Peace Resort & Spa, you’ll see a modern strip of shops and coffee houses that are worth a poke around. ... read more

  • Souvenir shopping on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    We have all done it. Far in the back of a cupboard lies a box of corny oh-my-word-what-was-I-thinking souvenirs from past holidays. Some things feel so right in the heat of the moment and we end up buying useless junk that is not a true reminder of our ad ... read more

  • Dao Siam Cosmetics
    3.5 stars

    When you enter the new showroom for Dao Siam Cosmetics in Ko Samui‘s Choeng Mon you’ll suffer in the best way possible: from olfactory overload, as scents of predominantly citronella with undertones of white orchid and Thai herbs waft through the air. ... read more

  • Shopping at Ko Samui’s Fisherman’s Village
    3.5 stars

    Thailand’s known for its cheap clothes shopping, brand-name knock-offs and haggling to get already low-priced items at a steal ... read more

  • Bird-singing competitions, Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Driving around Samui, you’ll often see men on scooters steering with one hand and carrying a covered birdcage in the other hand ... read more

  • Lunar New Year on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    In 2013, Lunar New Year — Chinese New Year to the Chinese — falls on Sunday, February 10, and ushers in the Year of the Snake ... read more

  • Staying fit on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Being on holiday on Ko Samui doesn’t mean you have to give up on your exercise routine; you may even find inspiration to start one. ... read more

  • Deck chairs on Samui’s beaches
    3.5 stars

    One of the great things about Ko Samui is that deck chairs and sun-loungers are free to use at most resorts and beachfront restaurants — with the understanding you’ll buy drinks and perhaps snacks from the provider — making beach chilling sessions cheap a ... read more

  • Elfe’s World dog and cat refuge, Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Elfe’s World is a dog and cat refuge on Ko Samui where Elisabeth Feigl — known as Elfe — takes care of more than 300 dogs, mostly rescued on while being smuggled to Vietnam as part of an illegal international trade in dog meat. ... read more

  • Courses on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Rather than a silly souvenir that will lie in the back of the junk cupboard once home, a new skill is a souvenir that might come in more handy ... read more

  • Above-water water sports, Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    With Ko Samui’s beautiful beaches and generally calm waters, trying out some sort of water activity is a must ... read more

  • Ko Samui’s Five Islands, Ko Tan and Ko Matsum
    3.5 stars

    Ko Samui is neighbour to a few small islands in the southwest: the Five Islands, known in Thai as Ko Si Ko Ha, which means Four Islands-Five Islands — one island is hidden behind another — plus Ko Tan and Ko Matsum. ... read more

  • Samui Football Golf
    3.5 stars

    Located near the family-friendly beach of Choeng Mon, Samui Football Golf makes for a great family daytrip, or a good outing for a group of competitive friends, too ... read more

  • Photo essay: Circumnavigating Ko Samui by boat
    3.5 stars

    Viewing Ko Samui from the sea offers quite a different perspective from traipsing around the island on foot. We recently did a trip around the island, in a clockwise direction, starting from Fisherman’s Village, where old Chinese shophouses are neighbour ... read more

  • Swimming pools on Ko Samui
    3.5 stars

    Some of the best-value resorts on Ko Samui are great in most departments, but lacking a swimming pool ... read more

  • Making the most of Ko Samui’s coconuts
    3.5 stars

    The coconut tree and its products play a big part of tropical island life and just the image of a coconut palm conjures up thoughts of tropical holidays and palm-fringed beaches ... read more

  • The Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts
    3.5 stars

    Can one ever get bored of sitting on a postcard-perfect beach? ... 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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