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Top 5 Amazing Things To Do In Koh Samui

With year-round sunshine, a dazzling array of gorgeous beaches, and a vibrant nightlife, Koh Samui has all of the magical requirements for an unforgettable holiday.

Koh Samui Thailand
Photo: Grinberg News

To find Samui’s unspoiled and undeveloped areas, you will need to get off the beaten track.

The best (and cheapest) way to get around Koh Samui is by renting your own scooter. The roads are mostly very good and you’ll also be able to scout for the best beaches.

koh samui activities
Getting around Koh Samui on a scooter.

This may seem like a daunting idea to most newcomers to Thailand, but it only takes a couple of minutes for you to get the hang of it and feel like a local.

This beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand offers a lot of breathtaking sights to explore and I have finally selected the best of the best.

Where to stay in Koh Samui

The majority of visitors to Samui will more often than not end up staying in Chaweng, Lamai, or Bophut.

Each area has distinct characters, advantages, and drawbacks.

Chaweng is the busiest and largest resort town in Samui and is the center of all attractions regarding dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment.

Lamai is nice all the same, but much much quieter.

koh samui resorts
Lamai

The nightlife in Lamai is not as big as Chaweng’s, but it still has a fair amount of smaller restaurants and bars.

For the more reserved traveler, you can opt for Bophut which is the perfect destination for those looking for a more peaceful vacation.

Bophut is a very nice upmarket village with a big choice of dining/drinking options. it attracts a slightly older, wealthier, calmer crowd than Chaweng and Lamai.

Personally, I like to stay at the southern end of Chaweng which is quiet but close enough to everything (20 min walk to central).

Things to do in Koh Samui

Angthong National Marine Park

Koh Samui day trips
Angthong National Marine Park

The natural beauty of Samui can be seen everywhere but the highlight of my trip was the boat tour to Angthong National Marine Park.

Located one hour by speedboat from Koh Samui, Angthong National Marine Park is a pristine archipelago of 42 stunningly beautiful islands.

Day trips to these islands can be arranged from Samui.

The standard itinerary generally first stops at the park’s largest island, Koh Wua Talab, where a climb up the island’s central peak affords panoramic views over the Gulf of Thailand.

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If you decide to visit Angthong, You’ll thank me later. But be warned that the hike up requires a reasonable amount of effort as a couple of sections can be a bit treacherous.

koh samui angthong national marine park tour
Amazing view from the top of Koh Wua Talab Island.

Thongson Bay

One of the least crowded and in my opinion the most beautiful beach in Koh Samui.

Situated in Samui’s beautiful north coast, this area remains very quiet and peaceful.

The northern part of the bay is good for swimming, while the southern part is better for snorkeling.

Fisherman’s Village, Bophut

If you want to get a true sense of what the island used to be like before the introduction of mass tourism, then head over to the Fisherman’s Village in Bophut.

Lamai Viewpoint

The Lamai viewpoint offers great photo opportunities if you are looking for a beautiful view of Lamai and Chaweng.

koh samui lamai viewpoint
Lamai Viewoint.

Maenam Beach

Jump on your scooter and ride from Maenam in the north to Thong Krut in the south.

You will see many secluded bays and beaches which are generally very beautiful. On some days you could also have a whole beach to yourself.

Taling Ngam, located 20 minutes south of Nathon Town, is often regarded as the best place to snorkel in Koh Samui.

Big Buddha Temple

The best known and most famous of all the landmarks on Samui island is the Big Buddha temple.

This golden statue was built in 1972 and stands an impressive 12 meters tall.

It’s quite over-rated in my opinion, but still worth mentioning as everyone seems to visit it.

How to get to Koh Samui

The quickest and most comfortable way to get from Bangkok to Koh Samui is by flying.

Bangkok Airlines has 19 flights per day and Thai Airways has 2 flights per day.

koh samui airport
Photo: Shutterstock

For a longer and cheaper trip, you can buy a joint (train, bus, and boat) ticket which can be purchased at Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong train station.

You can also buy a ticket at most travel agencies in Bangkok.

The first portion of the journey is an overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Surat Thani which will take around 12 hours.

On arrival at Surat Thani, staff will be waiting for you to board the bus to Donsak Pier which will take around 2 hours.

The third and final part of the journey is the ferry from Donsak Pier to Samui which will take around 2 hours.

An even cheaper option is traveling with Lomprayah who provide a bus-ferry combo service.

The first portion of the journey is by bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani. (9-10 hours).

After you disembark at Surat Thani there will be another bus taking you to Donsak Pier. (90 minutes)

From Donsak pier, ferries depart to Samui every hour and travel time is about 2 hours.

getting to koh samui
Tourists at Donsak Pier. Photo: Shutterstock

Island Hopping Koh Samui

Traveling in Thailand is rather inexpensive, and you will find that many tourists hop from island to island.

Journey times are relatively short and each island offers something uniquely different.

If you don’t fancy the direct route and looking to break up the journey, I would suggest the following itinerary:

Bangkok – Hua Hin (Train)

Hua Hin – Koh Tao (Bus/Ferry)

Koh Tao – Koh Samui (Ferry)

Before Samui, the ferry will stop at Koh Phangan. You could spend a few nights there if time permits.

Koh Samui – Surat Thani (Ferry/bus)

Surat Thani – Bangkok (Bus/Train)

The most popular trips are:

Koh Samui to Koh Phangan

Nathon Pier is Samui Island’s main ferry terminal. Ferries depart from Nathon Pier to Koh Phangan 16 times per day with the journey time being 45 minutes.

Koh Samui to Koh Tao

Ferries depart Nathon Pier 7 times per day with the journey time being 2 hours.

The best way to arrange your transportation to the ferry terminal is through your hotel.

koh samui nathon pier
Tourists catching the ferry to Koh Tao. Photo: Shutterstock