Koh Samui is undoubtedly one of the most popular and beautiful islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Samui itself is the third largest island in Thailand after Phuket and Koh Chang, and it is surrounded by small islets with a lot of beautiful scenery waiting for you to explore.
If you’re headed to Koh Samui for a beach holiday, make sure to check out our top recommendations on the best things to do in Koh Samui.
1. Visit 3 popular beaches
Spending some time on the beach is probably one of the main reasons most people visit Koh Samui. And this stunning island won’t disappoint you when it comes to white sandy beaches and emerald waters.
Koh Samui’s coastline is almost completely covered with beaches, and you can find some calm and quiet beaches, as well as some vibrant beaches, depending on your preference. The most popular beaches in Koh Samui are Chaweng Beach and Lamai Beach in the east of the island.
Chaweng Beach is the most popular beach in Koh Samui. It is a party hub in Koh Samui, and it can get pretty busy during day and night. You can find the majority of services and amenities for tourists here, from the hotels to the bars and restaurants. The beach is also the place to go if you want to enjoy the nightlife on the island.
Lamai Beach is the second most popular beach in Koh Samui and as developed as Chaweng. Despite that, it has a bit more laid-back vibe to it, with travelers either sunbathing or enjoying a dip in the greenish-blue waters.
If you’re looking for a bit of rest and relaxation, you can head on over to the other beaches to get some peace and quiet. Our top pick for the quiet and secluded beach is Bophut Beach.
Bophut Beach is a great place to experience the local lifestyle. The beach is way quieter than Chaweng or Lamai, thus you will feel like you are at a private beach. Also, there is Fisherman’s Village near the beach which is a quaint village which still retains the authentic Thai-Chinese atmosphere.
2. Observe the panoramic view at Samui Viewpoint
To capture the bird’s-eye view in Koh Samui, make sure to stop at the Samui Viewpoint, which is only 2 km away from Chaweng Beach. There is a parking lot for those who rent a car. Also, you can find a small walkway from the viewpoint to walk down to the beach.
3. Go on an island hopping
There are more than 50 islands and islets scattered across the Gulf of Thailand, and Koh Samui is a perfect base to explore these neighboring islands. To the north of Koh Samui, there are Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and Koh Nang Yuan which are the must-visit islands nearby. Also, to the south of Koh Samui, there are Ko Tan (Koh Taen), Koh Mat Sum, and Koh Rap, which are also worth visiting for some snorkeling and quality beach time.
1) To the north of Koh Samui
Koh Phangan is the famous party island known for the epic Full Moon Party. During the day, travelers lounge on its world-class beaches, explore the islands and discover waterfalls and jungles on motorbikes. Koh Phangan is much more vibrant at night as there is always a party on this island.
Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan are located right next to each other, and they are both known as the best snorkeling spots near Koh Samui. It’s one of the few places where you get to dive with a whale shark. Its waters are crystal clear, the corals and a diverse marine life are just mesmerizing. Needless to say, diving here will surely be the highlight of your Thailand trip.
Besides snorkeling, Koh Tao also offers breathtaking natural landscape as it is less developed compared to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
Koh Nang Yuan, which is located on the northwest corner of Koh Tao, features a very unique scenery not to be missed where three small islands are connected with one beach. Its water is so clear that you can even see the tropical fishes by the beach. It can get quite busy with tourists who come to see the spectacular environment, but it’s still worth checking out.
Koh Phangan and Koh Tao (+ Koh Nang Yuan) both can be done as day trips from Koh Samui, but if you want to experience the best of what these islands have to offer, then it’s recommended to spend at least a couple of days in each place.
2) To the south of Koh Samui
South of Koh Samui there are two small islands located in the Gulf of Thailand, which are Koh Tan (Ko Taen) and Koh Madsum. You can actually see them from Koh Samui, and they are great destinations for a day trip. These small islands are great places for those who like snorkeling and pristine white sandy beaches. Most of the day trips to Koh Tan (Ko Taen) include neighboring islands such as Koh Madsum and Koh Rap as they are located very close to each other.
4. Take a day trip to Ang Thong Marine Park
Ang Thong National Marine Park is one of the largest national parks in Thailand. While Ang Thong means ‘golden bowl’ in Thai, this place was designated as a national park in 1980, and its ecosystems have been well protected since then. It is a beautiful archipelago of 42 islands located to the west of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. Here, you will be able to admire the beautiful natural scenery of the thick jungles, towering limestone mountains, white-sand beaches, and lagoons.
The best way to absorb the beauty of this national park is by kayaking in its waters. Kayaking lets you witness the beauty of this park more up close and personal, especially the famous limestone cliffs that pop out of the ocean. While you are mesmerized by this magical place, remember to take some cool photographs. In a place as surreal as this, it’s almost impossible to get a bad photo.
If you don’t want to do kayaking, you can also have the opportunity to go trekking and climb to the observatory of this national park to admire the beautiful scenery of the whole park from above.
5. Explore the natural route in the forests
If you are looking for a pleasant alternative to swimming and relaxing on the beach in Koh Samui, head to Na Muang waterfall 1, 2 in the south of Koh Samui! Na Muang Waterfall 2 is the tallest and most beautiful waterfalls in Koh Samui, and it has natural pools and two sets of thrilling water slides. Taking a dip in its cool waters in the middle of the island’s jungle is an absolutely refreshing experience.
Besides relaxing by the waterfalls, you can also drive the ATV in the jungle or zip through the mountain savoring its view. Here are the best Koh Samui jungle tours.
- Koh Samui Adventure: Jungle Safari Tour
- Koh Samui Adventure: Zip Line Tour (Half Day)
- Koh Samui Adventure: Zip Line + Waterfall + Local Market Tour (Half Day)
- Koh Samui Adventure: ATV + Zipline + Waterfall Tour (Half Day)
6. Enjoy the exhilarating watersports
If you love unique watersports, Koh Samui is a perfect place to go as there are numerous watersports to enjoy.
One of the coolest things to do in Koh Samui is riding a jet ski. You can even go on an island-hopping trip driving a jet ski by yourself or simply rent a jet ski for 30-minute/60-minute on your choice.
Flyboarding is something you should try if you are a watersport fan. With the strong water shooting out from the bottom of your feet, you will feel the excitement as you are lifted higher into the sky. There are professionally trained staffs to support and teach you how to enjoy the excitement of flying!
If you have wondered what views are like under the sea but not dared to dive yet, try sea walking! No swimming or diving skills needed as a professional instructor and a custom-made oxygen helmet are provided. It will be a truly magical experience as you can breathe and walk on the ocean floor.
Fishing is a quite relaxing experience to try in Koh Samui. On the fishing trip near Koh Samui, you will get to be on an authentic Thai wooden boat that provides shade cover keeping you from the sun and rain. The most popular fishing spots in this area are the islands located to the south of Koh Samui such as Koh Taen, Koh Mat Sum, and Koh Rap.
Last but not least, don’t forget to visit Trazy.com for more travel tips and ideas for your next trip to Thailand!