Koh Samui is an outdoor lover’s paradise. It has an extensive shoreline of pristine sandy beaches that surround an amazing mountainous jungle. All the ecosystems have an abundance of natural life to discover, with the landscape dotted with various historical and religious landmarks.
As the second-largest island in Thailand, it is not surprising that the tourism sector here is well developed. There is good infrastructure in place and plenty of options when it comes to accommodation. Whether you prefer the luxurious or are a budget traveller, you can find something within your price range. Either way, chances are you came to have fun and fun you shall have. Here are some of the best things to do while in Koh Samui.
1. Snorkelling and Scuba Diving
Koh Samui has earned an enviable reputation for having some of the clearest sea waters in Southeast Asia. This and its warm water temperatures make it fairly easy to explore both shallow and deeper depths at just about any of its popular diving sites. It also helps that there is an abundance of sea life including different kinds of fish, crabs, sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, and much more.
The Gulf of Thailand waters are unpolluted and with so many options when it comes to diving sites you can comfortably explore without worrying about crowding. You can choose to explore the waters right off the beach or join a boat tour that will take you further offshore. If you have never tried diving before, there are plenty of PADI certified instructors who can train and accompany you to explore the amazing marine life.
Water babies will love travelling to Koh Samui. Being an island it is surrounded by beaches and ocean waters that are consistently warm throughout the year, even during the monsoon weather. It also has several beautiful waterfalls with cooler waters that make for a stunning backdrop.
If ready to do a little hiking, be sure to visit the thrilling twin Na Muang Waterfalls or if looking for a more cultural experience, try the Hin Lad Waterfall which is located at a Buddhist shrine surrounded by tropical jungle.
Most hotels also have their own pool facilities, so whether you remain on land or go out to sea, you will not lack the opportunity to enjoy a dip and a splash.
3. Sea Kayaking
This is another popular water activity that is great for exploring more secluded coves and the many surrounding islands. You can easily travel on your own as a couple, or in a group. The waters are often calm, allowing kayakers to easily get around such notable sites as the Angthong National Marine Park and Koh Tan. You can discover secluded beaches on which you can land and enjoy some sunbathing and swimming away from the more popular and crowded sites.
4. Elephant Trekking
Thailand has a rich culture surrounding its national animal, the elephant. It is a history steeped in royalty and strength that has since evolved into a passion for conservancy. Elephant trekking trips are a great way to get closer to these majestic animals as they take you on a journey through the dense tropical forests and beautiful waterfalls. Gigantic yet surprisingly gentle, you will never forget this experience. Besides the trek, you will have the chance to feed this and other animals like crocodiles and monkeys. Be sure to carry a camera to capture all the memories.
5. Visit The Markets
Along the northern coast of Koh Samui is the famous Fisherman’s Village Walking Street market. It is a weekly market held every Friday evening till about 11 pm. Here you will find all kinds of vendors selling their wares, including clothing, artwork, and street food. It offers a good opportunity to pick up souvenirs for family and friends while indulging in the cheap and delicious local cuisine. Make it a great night out by enjoying the local entertainment including live music and other street performances. Also, be sure to check out the Lamai Night Walking Street market or if looking for a more westernised shopping experience, visit any of the popular malls.
6. Secret Buddha Garden
Surrounded by dense and lush forest vegetation, towards the centre of the island, is a secret garden of meticulously sculptured Buddha statues. Built in 1976 by Khun Nim Thongsuk, it has steadily grown in fame and structures of statues and temples around the family-owned farmland.
Also known as Heaven’s Garden, it features an idyllic setting that includes a waterfall and stream as part of its backdrop. Located on a steep hill, it also offers wonderful panoramic views of the island. Though not quite a secret, it can be difficult to get to and may require engaging a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get through the bumpy terrain to its location.
While diving and hiking will allow you to explore the environment from the ground, thrill-seekers will no doubt love a chance to do the same from above by zip-lining over Koh Samui’s dense forest. There are several zip-lining locations around the island including Choeng, Maenum and Bophut. It is an exhilarating experience that allows you to soar over the rainforest and waterfalls while admiring the ocean waters glittering in the distance.
These sites also have sky-bridges where you can explore the canopies at a slower pace. Do not worry if you have never tried it. There are always trained and certified instructors on hand that will guide you through the process and ensure your safety.
8. Take A Spa Day
For a more relaxed vacation experience, be sure to try one of the local spa treatments and full-body massages. It is particularly enjoyable during the duller rainy days. You can likely find these facilities available at your hotel, or travel to one of the many standalone spas or wellness centres.
Indulge in some pampering and relaxation with massages, facials, body scrubs, herbal steams, whirlpools, manicures, pedicures and so on being on offer. There are many treatments to choose from, some that are also kid-friendly so all the family can enjoy them. Not just a great way to ease pain and tension, you will also leave feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.