Introduction to Koh Samui
Welcome to the tropical paradise of Koh Samui, Thailand’s hidden gem waiting for your discovery in 2023. With unique attractions that extend far beyond its crystal-clear water beaches, there’s never a dull moment on this beautiful island.
Nestled in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is the second-largest island in the Thai Kingdom, boasting lush forests, stunning viewpoints, and a rich cultural heritage.
Get ready to immerse yourself in its delightful blend of culture, adventure, and relaxation as we guide you through the 17 Best Things to Do in Koh Samui that promise a truly unforgettable journey.
The 17 Best Things to Do in Koh Samui in 2023
1. Relax on the Beach
Why jet off to the Thai island Koh Samui, you ask? Picture this: you reclining on pristine white sands with clear emerald waters lapping at your feet. These beaches are jewels teeming with colorful marine life, perfect for snorkeling or just calming swims.
- Affordable beachside massages? Check.
- Laidback paddleboarding? Absolutely.
- For an expert tip, hit Silver Spoon for delicious, budget-friendly meals.
Remember, relaxing on these beaches isn’t just an activity, it’s an immersive experience to delight your senses in ways you’ve only imagined. So pack your bags and lose yourself in this tropical paradise.
Also read my article on Thailand’s Best Beaches.
2. Visit the Big Buddha
Embark on an awe-inspiring journey to the iconic Big Buddha, one of the top attractions in Koh Samui. This 40-foot-tall golden marvel, situated inside the Wat Phra Yai temple, emanates a tranquil aura, capturing the enlightened Buddha’s journey.
Imagine being sprinkled with holy water by a monk, receiving an exquisite woven cotton bracelet, and basking in overhead views of the neighboring island.
- Find the Big Buddha off Route 4171 at Big Buddha Beach, Bophut
- Arrive bright and early, ideally before 8 AM, for a peaceful experience
- Remember, it’s a sacred site – cover your shoulders and knees. Shawls can be borrowed free of charge.
- Enjoy your sojourn, filled with tranquility and reflective moments!
3. Watersports Galore
Adventure seekers, delight! Soak in the thrill of Koh Samui, Thailand’s dynamic hub of watersports. From kayaking excursions to adrenaline-rushing jet skis, Samui promises a blend of exhilaration and ecstasy.
- Kayaking: Navigate crystal clear waters and discover secluded beaches with popular kayaking tours from Koh Samui. Head to Angthong National Marine Park for a unique experience.
- Jet-skiing: Revel in speed? Venture on a jet-ski tour along the coastline for a breathtaking adventure.
- Snorkeling & Scuba Diving: Explore fascinating marine life under warm, clear waters. Ideal for beginners and experts, Samui’s visibility conditions are perfect.
- Stand-up Paddleboarding: Looking for a family-friendly sport? Try stand-up paddleboarding near Chaweng Beach for a leisurely experience. Rent equipment on-spot or book tours in advance.
4. Practice Yoga
Practicing yoga in Koh Samui is an incredible way to unwind, reconnect, and experience the serene beauty of Thailand. It is a unique blend of relaxation and adventure, offering the perfect balance for your travel experience.
In Koh Samui, you’ll find numerous places to practice yoga, but one of the most popular spots is Shahda, a boutique beach resort where peaceful yoga sessions meet stunning ocean views. The Future Hippie retreat stands out with its beachside pavilion yoga experience, enhancing your session with the soothing sounds of crashing waves.
To get the most out of your yoga experience in Koh Samui, try a sunrise session. As the first light of day gently illuminates the island, you’ll find a renewed sense of presence and tranquility.
5. Take a Hike
Dive into the heart of Koh Samui by exploring its untouched jungles and awe-inspiring viewpoints. Put on your hiking boots and venture on exciting trails like the Nathon Mountain Ridge or the Maenam Viewpoint. Each offering unique terrains, breathtaking views, and close encounters with nature, they propel your adventure spirits.
Ensure a safe and enjoyable hike by setting off early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the peak sun. Don’t forget your essentials – water, sunscreen, and bug spray. For those who enjoy company and guidance, join the group tours by Hiking on Samui.
Get ready to earn that relaxing Chang beer and savory Pad Thai post that sweaty hike!
6. Visit the Fishermen's Village
Step into the picturesque charm of Fisherman’s Village in Koh Samui, a once-thriving fishing village, now a vibrant hotspot brimming with exceptional experiences. Serene narrow streets, enticing cafes, and boutique shops await you in this quaint gem nestled on Bophut Beach Road.
Expect to indulge in irresistible Thai cuisine, engage in exciting beach activities and explore trendy boutiques teeming with unique treasures and souvenirs. Make sure to traipse into the bustling Night Market, fragrant with delicious Thai food on a Friday evening.
Don’t miss the mesmerizing sunset at Summer by Coco Tam’s, and rejuvenate with a tranquil foot massage at Cyan Spa. An absolute must-visit in 2023, Fisherman’s Village encapsulates the true spirit of Koh Samui.
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7. Get a Massage
Getting a massage in Koh Samui is a revitalizing experience you should not miss. With trained masseuses applying ancient techniques to target tense points and rejuvenate your body, it’s an essential indulgence for every traveler.
- Start your day with a beach massage. Masseuses strolling the sands offer an unforgettable oceanic backdrop with their services.
- Anodas Spa offers deep tissue massages and acupressure techniques that will leave you feeling revitalized.
- Spa Cenvaree is for those seeking tranquility, coupling aromatherapy with Salt Pot Muscle Melter therapies.
- Sakura Spa offers budget-friendly treatments without compromising on quality.
Embrace this tradition of wellness and relaxation; delight in massages that are not just affordable but also a sumptuous treat to your tired senses. Experience a truly Thai therapy in the tropical paradise of Koh Samui.
8. Hit The Night Markets
Can you resist the vibrant allure of Thailand’s sprawling night markets? Koh Samui invites you to indulge in an otherworldly night market exploration. At dusk, lively markets wake up in different towns. Mae Nam sparkles on Thursdays, Bophut on Fridays, and Lamai holds the Sunday spotlight.
Savor cheap, tantalizing local foods; jewels lie hidden among a fascinating array of handicrafts. Each market offers its unique charm: Nathon’s abundant produce, Lamai’s pulsating music, or Chaweng’s food-dominated streets.
Think strategically and travel via scooter or taxi to march straight into the energetic bustle. End the evening with keepsakes in your bag and peculiar tales to tell.
9. Take a Sunset Cruise
Imagine cruising across the sparkling waters off the coast of Koh Samui, Thailand, basking in warm evening hues as the sun sets. A sunset cruise is an unrivaled experience you shouldn’t miss. Savor local Thai cuisine onboard and engage with fellow travelers while you gaze at the majestic twilight sky.
Typically, packages include meals, drinks, a guided tour, and hotel transfers, making it an unforgettable evening of relaxation and exploration. Consider booking with renowned operators like the Red Baron for an unmatched experience.
Don’t forget to secure your seat in advance to catch this daily spectacle of nature’s beauty – it’s a memory you’d certainly wish to capture and cherish.
10. Marvel at a Mummified Monk
Venture off the beaten path on your next Thai adventure and discover the unique marvel of the Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram temple in Koh Samui. This unnerving yet fascinating attraction features the preserved body of Luang Pho Daeng, a revered Buddhist monk who passed away in 1973 while meditating.
Adhere to Thailand’s customs by covering your shoulders and knees while visiting. You’ll only need around 5 minutes to take it all in, yet, this mystifying sight will surely stay with you for a lifetime.
Wat Khunaram is a swift 10-minute drive from Lamai, but before you head out, remember – a visit here is as much a lesson in Buddhism as it is a unique tourist experience.
11. Go on an ATV Tour
Seeking an adrenaline-filled alternative to routine sightseeing in Koh Samui? We’ve got just the solution: an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) tour! Pull on your adventure boots and dash through the verdant jungles, catching spectacular views and passing by seasonal waterfall sights, all from the seat of a rugged quad bike.
Whether you choose a 1-hour quick spin or a half-day exploration, an ATV tour perfectly marries thrill and beauty for a unique Koh Samui experience.
Just remember, while refreshments are typically provided, it’s best to have your eye protection and be sure your travel insurance covers such action-packed journeys. Get set for the wild side of Koh Samui!
Make sure you don’t forget a thing on your Koh Samui adventure by reading my Complete Packing List for Thailand.
12. See a Ladyboy Cabaret Show
Step into the dazzling world of Ladyboy Cabaret Shows in Koh Samui, Thailand! Imagine yourself surrounded by a spectacle of colors, music, and high-energy performances as Thai men transform into glamorous divas, redefining nightlife entertainment.
Whether you choose the lively Paris Follies or the radiant Starz Cabaret, you’re in for a night full of singing, dancing, and intriguing performances. These shows, a testament to Thailand’s openness, are a must-watch, offering not just entertainment but a cultural lens into the vibrant Thai society.
Top tip: the entry is often free, but the drinks might be pricey, so brace for a small splurge and immerse yourself into the infectious charm of the ladyboys – an evening you won’t forget!
13. Check Out the Secret Buddha Garden
Ready to explore one of Thailand’s hidden gems? The Secret Buddha Garden in Koh Samui promises a soul-satiating journey!
Nestled in lush forest hills, this garden exhibits magnificent sculptures amongst the vibrant local flora and calming waterfalls. Venture here with a 4×4 for an exciting drive or guided tour up the steep hill.
Get here from Route 4169 at Baan Saket and aim to arrive between 10 am-5 pm. Remember, it’s only 80 Baht and don’t forget your comfy shoes.
Top tip: Pause to absorb the tranquil atmosphere and incredible views! Your journey awaits!
14. Take a Thai Cooking Class
Embarking on an adventure to Koh Samui and addicted to the symphony of flavors that Thai cuisine offers? Seek no further! Enroll in a traditional Thai cooking class – a delightful and tastiest journey you can embark on this island.
Here’s how you get started: simply book a class that includes a market tour. The fun begins with a trip to the local market, where you will discover and learn about various fresh Thai ingredients.
Once the shopping is done, you’ll retreat to the kitchen to cook popular Thai classics under professional guidance, culminating in a joyous feasting of your own creations.
This experience, suitable for all ages, turns a holiday into an unforgettable culinary adventure. Remember to book your spot promptly and relish the world-renowned Thai dishes back at home!
15. Go for a Round of Golfing
Golfing in Koh Samui is an unparalleled experience, combining athletic challenges with breathtaking natural beauty. With a variety of world-class golf courses, it’s no wonder this activity is a top recommendation!
The Santiburi Country Club, set amidst a preserved coconut plantation, offers spectacular views along with a professional standard golf course.
For a faster-paced game, try the exciting Football Golf, a unique fusion of golf and football. Remember to reserve a slot in advance to secure a time that suits your vacation plans. From the seasoned players to the beginners, Koh Samui’s golf courses have something for everyone – it’s a golfers’ paradise!
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16. Take an Elephant Experience Tour
Step into 2023 with a thrilling adventure in Koh Samui! Embark on the Elephant Experience Tour, a unique journey that takes you through the island’s lush tropical forest on the back of these majestic creatures.
Marvel at exotic flora, enjoy the thrill of cascading waterfalls and take part in the ethical care of these noble animals at Samui Elephant Haven. With offerings like feeding, watering, and ethically interacting with these wonderful creatures, it’s an experience unlike any other.
Insider tip: Opt for the jungle safari experience for an extra dash of adrenaline and uncover the island’s hidden gems. Don’t miss out!
17. Enjoy the Nightlife and Restaurants
Experience the intoxicating blend of Thai culture and dynamic nightlife in Koh Samui, Thailand. Dive headfirst into a world of lively cabaret shows, picturesque beach dinners, bustling night markets, and sizzling beach parties that will stay with you forever.
Start your journey with a glitzy Ladyboy cabaret at “Paris Follies”, or a glamorous night at “Starz Cabaret” – both known for their flamboyant and lively performances. Hungry after the show? Head over to “Nathon Night Food Market” for a melange of tantalizing Thai flavors.
Cap off your nocturnal adventure by immersing yourself in a beach party at “The Ark Bar” or walking down the vibrant “Soi Green Mango” strip. Don’t forget to visit “Fisherman’s Village Walking Street” on a Friday night for shopping, food, and music.
Welcome to the heart of Thailand’s vibrant nightlife.
Which attractions should I visit in Koh Samui?
If you’re planning a trip to Koh Samui, a treasure trove of attractions awaits you:
- The star attraction is the 12 ft Big Buddha Statue at Wat Phra Yai, for its captivating spiritual atmosphere.
- Angthong Marine National Park is ideal for sea adventures like kayaking and snorkeling.
- Immerse in the local flavor by exploring Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village with shops, street food, and beach walks.
- Take a dip into underwater wonders with a day trip and a scuba dive at Koh Tao.
- The Secret Buddha Garden offers serenity amid lush jungles with unique Buddha statues, streams, and waterfalls.
These breathtaking sights promise a diverse blend of adventure, culture, and peace that make Koh Samui’s canvas vibrant and memorable.
What is the best way to get around Koh Samui?
The best way to get around Koh Samui is by renting a scooter or hiring a private driver. Biking gives you the freedom to explore this beautiful island at your leisure.
If you’re traveling with children, hire a driver to take you to the sights. For short rides, catch a songthaew, Koh Samui’s public transport. Also, bear in mind that traffic can be heavy, and driving is on the left. Always wear a helmet and be safe.
For instance, you could begin with a scooter ride through Chaweng town’s energetic streets, then gear down at the laid-back western coast.
What is the best time of year to visit Koh Samui?
The best time to visit Koh Samui is between February and August, with the pinnacle being in April. During these months, you’ll enjoy plenty of sun and very little rain, perfect for exploring the island’s attractions and taking part in water activities like snorkeling and scuba diving.
However, keep in mind that while April does have fewer tourists and lower prices, it’s also slightly hotter.
March and April are particularly notable for whale shark spotting. If you’re planning a trip outside these months, you can still expect decent weather but be ready for potential rainfall, especially during the monsoon season from October to December.
How much do the activities in Koh Samui cost?
The activities in Koh Samui are not as expensive as you might think. For instance, spend a day kite surfing at Maenam Beach for just $100, which includes instruction and equipment rental.
If you are a golf fan, enjoy a round at the Santiburi Golf Club for 50% off on Wednesdays.
A game of football golf is a fun family activity at just $23 for adults and $10 for kids, while a go-karting experience costs varying by skill level.
Fancy a thrilling ride? Rent a jet ski at Lamai Beach for around $65 for half an hour. So, plenty of options for every budget!
Are there any special cultural activities I can do in Koh Samui?
Koh Samui brims with unique cultural activities that ensure an enriching travel experience. Enjoy the authentic Thai appeal wrapped in its varying customs and traditions.
- Admire the 12 ft Big Buddha statue at Wat Phra Yai to experience a spiritual retreat.
- Explore Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village for shopping and sampling local street food.
- Attend a lively Lady Boy Cabaret Show for a night of dance and entertainment.
- Watch or participate in exciting Muay Thai matches at Chaweng Boxing Stadium.
- Get a Traditional Thai massage to relax your mussels after a long day.
Related Article: Best Places to Visit in Thailand.
Is there snorkeling or diving in Koh Samui?
Yes, there is both snorkeling and diving in Koh Samui. The Gulf of Thailand’s crystal clear waters, teeming with colorful wildlife, make it a paradise for underwater exploration. Koh Samui’s neighboring island, Koh Tao, is a particularly popular spot for these activities. So, dive in and embrace the enchanting world beneath the waves.
Are there any special beaches in Koh Samui?
Absolutely, Koh Samui boasts a collection of beautiful and unique beaches that cater to different interests and preferences. The island’s crystal-clear waters and white sands are the epitome of a tropical paradise.
- Chaweng Beach: Known for its vibrant nightlife and various attractions.
- Lamai Beach: A less crowded space where serenity is a guarantee.
- Coral Cove Beach: Ideal for snorkeling, nestled in a small bay.
- Choeng Mon Beach: Located near the Big Buddha, housing lovely hotels and beach bars.
- Lipa Noi Beach: The best kid-friendly beach with shallow, clear water.
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The Best Things to Do in Koh Samui
In conclusion, there’s no shortage of exhilarating sights and activities in Koh Samui, as outlined in this detailed guide. From fascinating cultural immersion to adrenaline-filled adventures, this paradise island has something for every kind of traveler.
The variety and richness of experiences are stark, so don’t wait! Start planning your ideal trip now, and we promise Koh Samui will leave you with lifelong memories. Safe travels, and enjoy every moment!
And if you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!