The pristine beaches lined with coconut palms entice tourists from all over the world to visit the beautiful island of Koh Samui, but lazing on the beach all day is not the only thing you can do here. Scuba dive or snorkel in the most stunning lagoons, traipse through its virgin rainforests, visit temples and markets, and take in the nightlife. You’ll find details of all these and more on our list of top 5 things to do in Koh Samui.
1. Ang Thong National Marine Park
Ang Thong National Marine Park was made famous by the movie “The Beach” but this was an amazing place to visit long before that and remains amazing to this day, despite the increasing visitor numbers. Protected as a national marine park, there should never be major developments taking place around the 42 islands that the marine park encompasses so this stunning part of Thailand will remain stunning for future generations. It’s a good idea to join a guided tour to get the most out of this Koh Samui attraction in the shortest time, and there are numerous different tours available so you should do some research to find the one that suits you best.
One way is to travel by speed boat and you’ll still have plenty of time to snorkel, swim, kayak and sightsee. Be sure to include a hike up Mae Koh to the viewpoint. The hike can be a little strenuous if you’re not used to lots of activity, but the view from above is definitely worth all the effort. See a large area of Ang Thong from up there, including the stunning green-colored lagoon. Ang Thong National Marine Park does have some services including a shop and restaurant, and a limited number of bungalows to stay in.
2. Fisherman’s Village
What was once a traditional corner of Koh Samui has been developed into an upscale place to shop and dine, giving a best of both worlds attraction. The traditional atmosphere is still here in the architecture but now the charming collection of old Chinese shophouses has been redeveloped into one of the island’s trendiest places. If you’re looking for affordable things to do in Koh Samui, don’t let this put you off. Prices are still reasonable if you want to shop or eat out, and you’ll have the opportunity to try several different cuisine experiences, from fresh fish cooked right in front of you on a street stall to a posh restaurant with sea views.
Any day is a great day to visit Fisherman’s Village but if you come Friday night there’s a night market that brings an even more vibrant atmosphere to this Koh Samui attraction. To be clear, Fisherman’s Village and Bophut (the town it’s in) are much quieter alternatives to places like Chaweng. There’s a laid-back atmosphere here and a lovely beach to go with it. There are places to enjoy an evening out, but this isn’t a partying destination and, as a place to stay, will suit families and couples who want a relaxing vacation.
3.Big Buddha Temple
Officially named Wat Phra Yai this major Koh Samui attraction is more popularly known as the Big Buddha Temple and when you visit this temple you’ll soon see why! The 15 meter high gold painted Buddha statue is easily the island’s most famous landmark so when you’re considering what to do in Koh Samui this is an attraction not to be missed. Of course with fame, comes crowds so be prepared for the many hundreds of tourists and locals who visit the temple every day, and if possible, come as early in the day as you can to avoid the worst of those crowds. Spend a few hours here before walking over to the quieter Wat Plai Laem, just a short distance away.
Big Buddha Temple is actually located on a little island just off the northern coast of Koh Samui and is reached via a causeway. The Buddha was constructed in 1972 and sits in the Mara posture and it’s the main feature of this fairly large temple complex which also includes a few shops and places to grab some food. Be sure to take time to enjoy the sea views and views out to Koh Phangan from the temple.
Koh Samui is largely known for two things: beaches and nightlife, and when you visit Chaweng Beach you’ll be able to enjoy both these things in one place! The first of two beaches to appear on our list of things to do in Koh Samui, Chaweng Beach is lively but it’s also amazingly beautiful. Its powdery soft sand stretches far into the distance and it features lovely clear water, but being such a popular beach remember that you will be sharing the sand with hundreds of other sun worshippers! Sections of the beach and water are also busy with jet skiers and people trying out other water sports and you’ll always find locals selling you little souvenirs and trinkets as well as drinks and food along the beach.
When you want a meal or to sit down at a bar overlooking the beach, there are close to a hundred places to choose from and there are options for all different tastes, whatever you’re looking for, both in terms of the cuisine and the atmosphere. By night, the area around Chaweng Beach really comes to life – there are plenty of bars, clubs and cabarets to be entertained in, and again, there’s something for everyone.
5.Chaweng Boxing Stadium
No visit to Thailand would be complete without taking in the traditional sport of Thai kickboxing, known around here as Muay Thai. It is the “art of eight limbs” as contestants use many different parts of their body in this popular national sport. If you’re wondering what to do in Koh Samui and you want to experience something a little different to the norm, head to the Chaweng Boxing Stadium for an interesting and unique experience. There’s always a fun and friendly atmosphere at these contests even though the sport itself is taken very seriously. On any evening you’ll usually see a variety of different levels including children and women and different weights for men.
Seat prices vary and bear in mind that if it’s a quieter night you’re more likely to get a good deal on the tickets. There are general admission tickets as well as more expensive tickets that get you the best seats in the house, and once you sit down you don’t even have to get up to order drinks as they’re brought right to you.