Koh Samui

koh samui

Koh Samui

Welcome to Koh Samui

If you’re looking for an idyllic tropical paradise with stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant culture, look no further than Koh Samui. This beautiful island is located in the Gulf of Thailand and offers visitors a range of activities, from snorkelling and scuba diving to hiking and exploring the local culture. We were taken by the warmth of the friendly locals and its genuine traditional culture that we could have stayed longer!

One of the highlights of Koh Samui was its beautiful beaches. From the popular Chaweng Beach, with its white sand and crystal clear waters, to the quieter and more secluded Lamai Beach, there’s a beach for every type of traveller. Many beaches offer a range of water sports, including snorkelling and scuba diving, so be sure to bring your gear if you’re interested in exploring the underwater world.

Beyond the beaches, Koh Samui offers a range of other activities. One of the most popular is hiking, with several trails that provide stunning views of the island’s landscapes and coastline. You must explore one of the most popular trails, the Hin Lad Waterfall Trail, which takes you through lush forests and past a beautiful waterfall.

If you’re interested in the local culture, explore some of the island’s temples and markets. The Big Buddha Temple, with its giant golden Buddha statue, is one of the most popular attractions on the island. In contrast, the island’s markets, such as the Fisherman’s Village Walking Street, offer a range of local foods, crafts, and souvenirs. It opens on Fridays and is the biggest market in Samui.

Whether you’re seeking to relax on the beach, explore local temples and cultural attractions, or party the night away, the island has something to offer. We recommend Koh Samui for its remarkable natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, the perfect destination for a unique and memorable vacation experience.

How To Get There

Getting to Koh Samui is relatively easy, with regular flights from Bangkok and other major cities in Thailand.

Flight: Air is the easiest and most popular way to get to Koh Samui. Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways operate daily flights from Bangkok to Koh Samui. The flight takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes, and several flights are throughout the day.

Bus & Ferry: Another option is to take a bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani, followed by a ferry to Koh Samui. This option is generally cheaper than flying, but it takes longer and can be more tiring. The bus journey takes 10-12 hours, and the ferry takes 1.5-2 hours.

Train & Ferry: You can also take a train from Bangkok to Surat Thani, followed by a ferry to Koh Samui. This option is more comfortable than the bus, but it takes longer and can be more expensive. The train journey takes around 9-12 hours, depending on the type of train you take.

Private Transfer: You can also arrange a private transfer from Bangkok to Koh Samui, which offers the most convenience and flexibility. This option can be expensive, but it’s ideal for those who want to avoid the hassle of public transportation. Check with your hotel.

Once you arrive on the island, the warmth of the friendly locals will greet you with open arms and will be eager to share their culture.

Getting Around Koh Samui

Being a relatively small island getting around is easy. The best way to travel around Koh Samui depends on your needs and preferences. Motorbikes and taxis are the most popular options, but songthaews, private transfers, and bicycles can also be good alternatives depending on your budget and itinerary. Below, I have listed in more details some of the most popular ways to get around the island:

Taxi: Taxis are widely available on Koh Samui and are a convenient option if you don’t want to drive yourself. However, taxi prices can be high, especially for longer distances or during peak tourist season. Negotiating the price before getting in the taxi and ensuring the driver turns on the meter is essential.

Songthaew: Songthaews are shared taxis running on fixed island routes. They are a popular, affordable, short-distance option and can be chartered for private tours. However, they can be crowded and uncomfortable during peak tourist season.

Private Transfer: If you’re travelling with a group or have a specific itinerary, consider hiring a private transfer. Private transfers offer comfort, flexibility, and privacy. Organise this through your hotel or a local tour operator; however, they can be expensive compared to other transportation options.

Bicycle: If you want a more eco-friendly and active way of exploring Koh Samui, rent a bicycle from a local rental shop. Bicycles are a great way to explore the island at a leisurely pace, get some exercise, and enjoy the scenic views. However, being aware of traffic and road conditions is essential, as some island areas can be hilly or busy.

Motorbike: Renting a motorbike is one of the most popular ways to explore Koh Samui. With a motorbike, you can explore the island at your own pace, visit remote beaches and attractions, and avoid traffic. However, wearing a helmet and driving carefully is essential, as accidents are common on the island.

Hiring A Motorbike

There are many places to hire a motorbike in Koh Samui. Most tourist areas on the island have rental shops where you can rent a motorbike for a day, a week, or even longer. Here are some of the most popular areas to rent a motorbike in Koh Samui:

Chaweng: This is one of the busiest and most popular areas of Koh Samui and also a great place to rent a motorbike. Many rental shops are located along the main road and side streets, and prices are generally competitive.

Lamai: This is another popular tourist area in Koh Samui and an excellent place to rent a motorbike. Many rental shops are located along the main road and near the beach, and prices are generally similar to those in Chaweng.

Bophut: Bophut is a quieter and more laid-back area of Koh Samui, but the perfect place to rent a motorbike if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere. Many rental shops are located along the main road and in the Fisherman’s Village area, and prices are generally reasonable.

Maenam: This area is a peaceful and less-developed area of Koh Samui, and it’s an excellent place to rent a motorbike if you’re looking to explore the island’s natural beauty. Many rental shops are located along the main road and near the beach, and prices are generally lower than in more touristy areas.

Tip:

When renting a motorbike in Koh Samui, choosing a reputable rental shop and checking the bike’s condition before renting it is essential. Ensure the brakes, tires, and lights are working correctly, and take photos of any damage before you ride off. It’s also vital to wear a helmet and drive safely, as accidents are common on the island.

Places Of Interest

Koh Samui is a beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand, known for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and lively nightlife. Here are some of the top places of interest which we recommend:

Chaweng Beach

Chaweng Beach

This is the most popular and busiest beach on Koh Samui, known for its crystal-clear waters, soft white sand, and wide range of water sports and activities. Many restaurants, bars, and shops are located along the beach, making it a great place to spend a day or evening. Book tour here.

Big Buddha Temple

Big Buddha Temple

Located on a hill overlooking the sea, also known as Wat Phra Yai, an iconic landmark in Koh Samui. The temple is home to a giant golden Buddha statue, which stands 12 meters tall and is visible from many parts of the island. You can climb the stairs to the top of the temple for stunning views of the surrounding area. Book tour here.

fisherman's village Samui

Fisherman’s Village

This charming village on the island’s northern coast and a picturesque area of Koh Samui is known for its narrow streets, traditional wooden houses, and quaint shops and restaurants. The site is trendy for its Friday Night Walking Street Market, where you can sample local street food, listen to live music and browse handmade crafts and souvenirs.

Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks

Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks

The Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks, also known as the Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks, are natural rock formations located on the southern coast of Koh Samui. The rocks are said to resemble male and female genitalia, and they are a popular spot for photos and sightseeing. It’s a popular selfie spot and a quirky attraction. Book tour here.

namuang waterfall Samui

Namuang Waterfall

This island’s largest waterfall is a beautiful two-tiered waterfall in the heart of Koh Samui’s rainforest. You can swim in the natural pool at the waterfall’s base or hike to the top for panoramic island views.

Ang Thong National Marine Park

Angthong National Marine Park

ngthong National Marine Park is a group of 42 islands off Koh Samui’s coast. The park has pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and diverse marine life, making it a popular destination for snorkelling, kayaking, and hiking. Book tickets here.

Koh Tao & Koh Nang Yuan

Koh Tao & Koh Nang Yuan

These islands are famous for day trips from Koh Samui, offering some of Thailand’s best snorkelling and diving spots. Here you will be amazed by beautiful white sand beaches and stunning views. Book tour here.

Elephant Sanctuary Koh Samui

The Samui Elephant Haven is a sanctuary that provides a safe and healthy environment for rescued elephants. It offers visitors the opportunity to interact with the elephants responsibly and sustainably. The sanctuary is located in the hills of Koh Samui and is surrounded by lush jungles and stunning scenery. You can book a tour and walk through the jungle to see the elephants engage in an educational talk about the elephants and their history and the opportunity to feed and interact with them in their natural habitat. Interacting with and learning about these gentle giants at one of the island’s elephant sanctuaries is fantastic. Getting close to these magnificent creatures is a great experience, but you can do it responsibly and ethically at the sanctuary. Book tickets here.

Where To Stay

Chaweng Beach: This is the most popular and developed area of Koh Samui, with accommodation options from luxury resorts to budget guesthouses.

Lamai Beach: This area is quieter than Chaweng but has many accommodation options, including resorts, hotels, and guesthouses.

Bophut Beach: This area is a more laid-back atmosphere, popular for couples and families, with several resorts, hotels, and villas in the area.

Luxury Hotels

The Beach Samui:

A luxury boutique hotel with a herbal dispensary, perfect for wellness-seekers. Set in a traditional fishing village, close to a tranquil beach, this natural well-being hotel where rituals and retreats provide balance everyday, functional fitness practices and trusted, pure plant medicines under the guidance of Herbal Pharmacists and Guest Practitioners to aid healing and supercharge our lifestyles 

Mid-Range Hotels

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa:

Step into an oasis at Nikki Beach Resort Koh Samui, surrounded by almost 60 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The hotel is known for its upscale beach club atmosphere, emphasising music, entertainment, and luxury. You will find a variety of elegant accommodations, including villas and suites, and boasts stunning ocean views, a world-class spa, and exceptional dining experiences. 

Budget Hotels

The Nest:

A boutique hotel next to an array of trees 100 meters from Bangrak beach, just opposite Big Buddha pier, which sends passenger ferries to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao several times daily. The Nest is known for its stylish design and intimate atmosphere, featuring comfortable rooms and suites, an outdoor pool, a cosy restaurant, and a beachfront bar offering stunning ocean views.

Santiburi:

Located on the north shore of Koh Samui, amid 23 acres of tropical foliage and shady trees, Santiburi overlooks one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. Enjoy activities from golf, Thai boxing, jogging and tennis, sailing and fishing. This five-star Mae Nam Beach hotel has luxurious villas, suites, and wellness facilities.

Bo Phut Resort:

The Bo Phut resort is situated on the northern tip of the island, approximately 5 km from Samui International Airport and is known for its stunning beachfront location, beautifully landscaped gardens and luxurious villas and suites. Bo Phut Resort & Spa is a fine attribute of traditional and contemporary Thai design with a tranquil setting.

Dvaree Hotel:

A well-established resort near Koh Samui’s hottest spot and entertainment belt, ideally suited for a relaxing getaway, set amidst a lush tropical garden in the Chaweng area. It is within 5 minutes of walking distance to the beach and is only a 15-minute drive to Koh Samui International Airport.  

We stayed at the iconic Kamalaya wellness sanctuary and holistic spa for a well-deserved rest while indulging in pure relaxation. This beautiful resort is located amongst a tropical landscape and offers a synergistic wellness experience to help rejuvenate. Its authentic architecture and environment, therapies and services are available to enhance well-being. The highlight of our stay was immersing ourselves in a meditative retreat at the heart of the resort, in a centuries-old cave that Buddhist monks once used. Enjoying this healthy environment was a beautiful experience combined with complimentary wellness consultations and daily holistic classes. 

Kamalaya Koh Samui

Where To Eat

Bophut Fisherman’s Village: This is a charming and historic area on Koh Samui’s northern coast known for its excellent seafood restaurants. Some top picks include The Shack Bar & Grill, Ocean 11 Seafood and Cafe, and Happy Elephant.

Lamai Night Market: This bustling market occurs every Sunday evening and is a great spot to try local street food. Some standout dishes include grilled squid, mango sticky rice, and fried chicken.

Prego Italian Restaurant: If you’re in the mood for some Italian food, Prego is an excellent choice. They have many pizzas, pasta, and other Italian classics like osso buco and tiramisu.

The Jungle Club: This restaurant is high up in the hills and offers stunning island views. The food is also delicious, with a mix of Thai and international dishes on the menu. Some must-tries include the green curry and the seafood platter.

2 FishesA beachfront restaurant located on the peaceful Choeng Mon Beach, 2 Fishes is known for its fresh seafood and international cuisine, elegant yet laid-back atmosphere, and stunning views of the ocean, making it a popular destination for a romantic dinner or a relaxed meal with friends and family.

Final Thoughts

We enjoyed the island’s natural beauty, from its beaches and waterfalls to its hiking trails and viewpoints. Koh Samui is a place that will impress you with unforgettable memories and a desire to return. So whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an active adventure, you’ll find it on this island paradise in Thailand. Why not pack your bags and head to Koh Samui for your next vacation? You won’t be disappointed!

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