With Ko Samui’s beautiful beaches and generally calm waters, there is a lot more to do than just lay on the beach. Samui offers opportunities to try kayaking, kiteboarding, stand-up paddling, jetski-ing and sailing (among other water sports) and here’s a round up of how and where to check them out.
Kayaks are available to rent on most beaches for around 200 baht per hour. This is great upper body exercise and an interesting way to see the shoreline. Single and double kayaks are available on many beaches, and most will provide life jackets (on request). For something more packaged, Blue Stars Kayaking offers trips to the Ang Thong National Marine Park starting at 2,500 baht for adults and 1,600 baht for kids for a daytrip to the park – you don't kayak the whole way there though! Once at the park, you'll be able to explore unusual rock formations, hidden caves and inlets. See marine and bird life without disturbing it, and see where pirates used to hide their loot.
As Samui generally doesn’t have strong and reliable winds, kiteboarding is more popular than windsurfing, as less wind is required. Kiteboarding locations vary depending on the prevailing winds, taking place either near Nathon on the west coast between May and October, or by Hua Thanon at the south east (south of Lamai), between October and April.
SUP or stand-up paddling is another popular option on Samui. Basically standing atop an oversized surfboard and paddling as if on a gondola, SUP is an easy skill to learn for beginners, as the large boards are stable, and with little wave action, it’s hard to capsize. SUP can be hired at Lipa Noi via Samui Paddleboard. In the northeast of the island, iSUP Samui rent boards, offer lessons and can also organise SUP tours to Ko Som (a small island off the coast of Plai Laem Beach).
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. Samui Ocean Sports offer half-day and sunset cruises (starting from 5,800 baht for two people) through to overnight trips to Ko Pha Ngan (starting from 22,000 baht for two people).
Unfortunately jet skis (also known as scam skis) are available for rent on many beaches on Ko Samui, including Chaweng, Lamai, Choeng Mon and Bophut. Rates vary but average around 1,000 baht for half an hour. Be sure to check your jet ski well for scratches and dents before signing the form, just as one would do before hiring a car. Take photos of any damage – regardless of how minor – to avoid a situation where you're accused of doing the damage and charged an outlandish sum for it. Look out for swimmers and only speed up once clear of the swimming area to avoid accidents. Samui Jet Ski Adventure offers full and half-day tours around the southern part of Ko Samui including runs out to Ko Taen and the Five Islands, starting at 3,990 baht twin share.
Blue Stars Kayaking 83/23 Moo.2, Chaweng Lake Road, Chaweng Beach T: (077) 300 615 http://bluestars.info/
I SUP Samui T: (092) 737 9705 http://www.isupsamui.com/
Kiteboarding Thailand T: (083) 643 1627 http://www.kiteboardingasia.com/locations/koh-samui/
Samui Jet Ski Adventure T: (081) 893 8317 http://www.samuijetski.com/
Samui Ocean Sports T: (081) 940 1999 http://www.sailing-in-samui.com/
Samui Paddleboard Lipa Noi T: (086) 282 7023 http://samui-paddleboard.com/
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 22nd September, 2016.