Dreamy beaches, spiritual sanctuaries and traditional island life make Koh Samui an idyllic island getaway. Whether you’re looking for your own piece of zen, or want to throw yourself into the bustle and vibrant culture of the island’s traditional towns, check out the best things to do in Thailand’s gorgeous island escape.
Koh Samui is now welcoming back international travellers! Find out more info at: https://fanclubthailand.co.uk/. Please always follow your local government’s guidance on international travel.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
This enchanting archipelago makes for an intrepid adventure. Head out by boat and explore over 40 jungled islands, jutting from the blue sea sheltering hidden-away coves and jaw-dropping beaches. The landscape is utterly enchanting, having inspired Alex Garland’s cult novel The Beach.
Head for this thriving little town, a boho outpost on the north coast of the island. Walk streets lined with historic townhouses, where trendy eateries and boutiques invite exploration. All roads lead to the old waterfront, from which a warren of wooden shophouses shapes narrow alleyways that are irresistibly pretty. Don’t miss Fridays, where the Walking Street Market takes over the town.
Wat Plai Laem
This magnificent Buddhist temple complex is a feast for the senses. Lavishly adorned temples sit atop a still lake, in Thai-Chinese style. A towering statue of Kwan Im, the bodhisattva of compassion, fans her many arms in a spellbinding display. It’s a captivating sight, one that culture-lovers won’t want to miss.
Na Muang waterfalls
Koh Samui is more than just pretty beaches. Head inland and take a hiking trail to the Na Muang waterfalls. This pair of cascading falls are a welcome sight after a hot jungle walk, with cool pools offering refreshing dips. The second, further waterfall is worth the hike to the top, where gorgeous jungle views complement your swim.
One of the island’s most cherished beaches, the pace is slow and the views astounding. Pitch up on the long, crescent sands, glancing over to Koh Phangan island and sinking into the wonderfully clear waters. This is a rare paradise, with a small town great for supplies and a palm-fringed beach offering a lengthy chance at finding your very own idyll.
Ban Hua Thanon
In the southeast of the island lies this traditional fishing village, a gem for those wanting a rare glimpse into an island life seemingly unchanged for centuries. It’s also a predominantly Thai Muslim spot, a rarity for the island, signalled by the emerald green mosque and the many kufis you’ll see resting on men’s heads. Don’t miss a trip to the seafront, where traditional fishing boats are left to sink into the sand; it makes for an enchanting photo opp.
Hat Lamai Beach
Beaches, beaches and more beaches. Koh Samui is truly blessed with some of the country’s finest, and Hat Lamai is no exception. A bursting line of palms stops dead at the golden sands of Hat Lamai, with deep-green hills at one end, and rocky pools at the other. The atmosphere is temptingly laid-back, with beachside restaurants perfect for sun-down feasts with views to boot.
Wat Phra Yai
Don’t miss Koh Samui’s most spiritual centre, the remarkable Buddhist temple Wat Phra Yai. The centrepiece is undoubtedly the towering golden Buddha, sat atop a series of steps flanked by two decorated temple buildings. The views over the islet of Koh Fann, surrounded by beautiful blue and green waters, are soundtracked by the collection of gentle swaying bells that surround the Buddha. The site is rather popular, so a sundown visit – when the temple is at its most ethereal – is best if you wish to beat the crowds.
A modest, 250-metre stretch of sand is perfectly paired with a breathtaking backdrop at this beach, known locally as Haad Thong Ta-Khian. Here, tropical mountainous backdrops cut a quiet bay off from the more popular Chaweng area on the island’s eastern coast, for a picture-perfect palm-tree beach scene.
Sponsored article in collaboration with Tourism Authority of Thailand.