Sand and Sea in Koh Samui
Koh Samui holidays will reveal Thailand’s original tourism hotspot, visited for its stunning beaches, underwater adventure and scenic beauty. Thailand has quickly emerged as one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, and it all began on the tiny island of Koh Samui. Once the jaunt of hippies and backpackers, today the island has developed into a modern, resort-based paradise.
Among the secluded areas that thankfully still exist on this evolving island, holidaymakers will encounter buzzing bars, a variety of restaurants and numerous towering hotels and resorts. Chaweng Beach is the heart of this evolution, now home to countless, high-end resorts promising comfort and luxury in an idyllic location – just metres from white sands and clear, blue seas. Whether you choose to seek solace and relaxation during your break on the sand or hope to embrace the vibrant nightlife and action-packed water sports scene, you’ll find a great deal of things to do during your holidays to Koh Samui.
Modernised Beach Paradise
The island is accessed most often from the chaotic capital of Bangkok, with consistent transport taking you away from the bustling streets and into the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand. One thing that visitors flock to the island for during their Koh Samui holidays is the impressive array of paradisiacal beaches. There are countless options for beach bums, whether you’re searching for a little quiet spot in the sun or a lively strip of sand. You’ll find the more sedate locations on the north of the island, with Laem Yai and Mae Nam among the finest beaches on the entire island. Lamai has a younger vibe, welcoming backpackers and inevitably a very active nightlife.
Bophut is an interesting area to visit during your time on the island; home to a fisherman’s village consisting of numerous eateries, bars, shops and pancake stands. You can grab a traditional Pad Thai, wash it down with a coconut shake, buy an obligatory Thailand t-shirt and satisfy your sweet tooth with a Nutella pancake, all in the space of an hour at the village.
If you fancy hopping over to some more of Thailand’s wonderful islands, there are two beautiful destinations within reach of Koh Samui. Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are two very popular islands that promise even more beach paradise as well as some world-class diving and snorkelling. Koh Phangan is also the site of the famous Full Moon Party, providing the ultimate swansong for your holidays in Koh Samui
Things to do in Koh Samui
Some of the most iconic things to do in Koh Samui revolve around its tropical mountain, Khao Pom, which soars out of the island’s heart and is surrounded by quiet villages. The highest accessible point is the Secret Buddha Garden, a beautifully landscaped garden with spectacular views across the whole island.
Perhaps surprisingly, rum is among the main beverages created on Koh Samui, with a distillery hosting tours during the sugar cane season and providing free samples of spirits flavoured with everything from lemon to coconut.
Wine and Dine
Packed full of rich flavours, spices and the finest local ingredients – experiencing the spicy local cuisine should be on everyone’s list of Koh Samui attractions. Inspired by the dishes of neighbouring countries including India and Indonesia, local dishes here vary from tongue sizzling curries to fragrant coconut soups.
Although there are plenty of restaurants on Koh Samui, food is often eaten informally from roadside vendors or local markets. Seafood is understandably a staple of the local diet, and one of the best places to experience it is at the beach side restaurants in Chaweng Beach. Lining the sandy shores with tables and flickering candles, you can enjoy a romantic meal here and dine on the freshest fish caught that very day.
Action and Adventure
Cable rides are guaranteed to get the pulse racing, and the Treetop Tour is one of the finer things to do in Koh Samui. Soaring over waterfalls and jungles at high speed ensures you get a completely unique perspective of the island.
The rather suggestively-shaped male and female rock formations of Hin Ta and Hin Yai are among the most frequently photographed spots on the island They can often be glimpsed while cruising around the island on board a motorboat or catamaran, which is a great way to discover other coastal attractions.
Capitalising on its setting in the Gulf of Thailand, one of the best places to visit is the local waterparks. Coco Splash offers go-karting and bungee trampolining alongside the usual flumes and slides, while the Aquapark allows parents to relax at a bar or get a Thai massage while their children play with huge inflatables.
Other significant attractions around the coastal areas include visiting some of the island’s white sand beaches, which are typically fringed with coral reefs and framed by coconut trees. Choeng Mon Beach is renowned for its restaurants and cafés, often serving highly Anglicised fry-ups, with beach beds on hand for lazing around afterwards.
Chaweng hosts a few of the best Koh Samui attractions in the form of internationally-renowned restaurants, paired with the best live entertainment on the island. Red Snapper is a great spot for a laid-back meal and is perfect for a little people watching.
Recharge and Relax
Together with around 60 surrounding islands, Koh Samui forms part of the Ang Thong Marine National Park. This encompasses numerous tourist hotspots, but more importantly it ensures that this island’s forests and coastline are carefully preserved and protected from harmful over-development. The sea is crystal-clear along the south coast, making it ideal for snorkelling and kayaking.
As a predominantly Buddhist island, it’s unsurprising that Wat Phra Yai attracts so many visitors. This 12 meter tall statue of Buddha occupies a compact island, connected to the mainland by a bridge. Visiting this shrine is among the leading things to do in Koh Samui, and provides an opportunity to quietly reflect and relax on your trip.
Festivals and Parties
On special occasions such as New Year, a buffalo fighting festival takes place. A bloodless celebration of ancient customs, this unmissable Koh Samui attraction sees immaculately decorated buffalo locking horns in an attempt to subdue their opponents. An equally significant date in the local calendar is the island’s regatta – a sailing tournament that attracts competitors from across Australasia.
The party never stops at Chaweng Beach, where visitors and locals alike dance the night away to the best dance music and fire shows along the beach. Explore the hidden nightclubs and bars across the island to find the perfect spot for you and party until the sun comes up.