Koh Samui is one of the most visited islands in Thailand. This little tropical paradise has a lot to offer to any kind of traveler. Discover the best beaches, viewpoints, restaurants and other places you must visit during your stay on Koh Samui. We spend almost 20 days on the island and had more than enough time to explore it’s every corner. These are the amazing things to do on Koh Samui.
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How to get to Koh Samui
Since Koh Samui is an island, there are only two ways of getting here – by plane or ferry.
Traveling by plane
Koh Samui island has it’s own international airport. There are direct flights from a few cities including Bangkok. You can get your plane tickets at skyscanner.com. Flights are usually not too expensive. It is the most convenient mode of transport which can save you a lot of time.
How to get from the airport your hotel
We read that Grab works on the island but our experience was different. It works but we could never find anyone to take us 😀 So that means you only have two options – taxi or songthaew. If you haven’t heard about songthaew yet, it’s a little car which can usually take up to 10 people or so. Usually it’s the cheapest way of transport around the island. Expect to pay around 300-500TBH for the transport. The price depends on where exactly you’re staying.
Traveling to Koh Samui by ferry from Surat Thani
Price: 9-14€ including bus+ferry
Duration: 3 hours (including bus transfer)
All the ferries heading to Koh Samui depart from Donsak pier (map) near Surat Thani. When buying a ticket via 12go.asia you have bus transfer from Surat Thani town included. It is actually 65km to pier and takes 1 hour. You can purchase tickets with transfer from airport, train station or office of the company you choose.
There is also an option to get to pier yourself and only pay for the ferry. But taxi driver asked 600TBH for this ride, which is the price we paid together for bus and ferry. So I think it might not be cheaper after all.
Arriving to Surat Thani airport?
If you are flying to Surat Thani, you will need to get a taxi or Grab to get to town. Grab drivers are actually banned from taking passengers from airport (taxi mafia I guess). So expect your driver to ask you to go to departures entrance. We paid 330TBH for a ride to town.
How to get from port to town or your hotel
Once you arrive to Koh Samui island you have few options to get to your final destination:
We went to Chaweng with Songthaew for 200TBH each. The driver took us directly to our hotel which was amazing! There are also taxis available but those cost between 400-600TBH. You can also go with a minivan. We are not sure about the price.
Best time to visit Koh Samui
Koh Samui has a bit different weather than other parts of Thailand. The high season falls between December and March. The weather is nice and sunny with little to no rain. The prices are higher and everything is more crowded.
Between March and August there is dry and hot season. The waterfalls are dry during this time so don’t even bother to visit them. We came in June and it was raining in the evenings for a bit some days. So you can not rely on this 100%. And lastly the wet season is between August and December. That’s when the island is hit by many heavy rains. It is not a good time to explore Koh Samui.
YOU SHOULD KNOW: Not many people realize this but Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and Koh Tao do not have typical 4 tides per day. There are only 2. The high season between December and March is also a high tide season. This means high tide is stronger and water is deeper than in the other season. During summer months it’s low tide season and water is too shallow on some beaches. Some months you only get low tide during daylight. Then it’s really important to choose the right beach to actually enjoy swimming.
How to get around Koh Samui
Koh Samui has no public transport. The only way to explore the island is Songthaew or motorbike. Being limited to songthaews routes can completely change your plans. To be honest we think we would never be able to really enjoy the island without having our own motorbike.
- Motorbike – by far the best way to explore Koh Samui is on two wheels. You can easily rent bikes everywhere around the island. The prices start at 150TBH per day. You only need to give them your passport or cash as a deposit.
- Songthaew – if you don’t feel confident riding a scooter you can use songthaews. They can be found in many places around the island, especially the most touristy ones. But you are for sure gonna pay more than for a bike rent. And it might also be harder to find one during certain hours, especially in the morning.
17 Things to do on Koh Samui
If you book any of the tours below, we will earn a small comission. You still pay the same.
1. Relax on Silver beach - the most beautiful beach on the island
Silver beach is number 1 on the whole island. It is a beautiful white sand beach with nice and calm water. There are huge rocks on both sides of the beach. It is not very big but certainly worth a visit. You can find a few restaurants here as well as massage or water activities. There are also rocks in the sea so be careful or wear water shoes. The atmosphere here is very peaceful and we just loved it!
TIP: Feeling brave enought for a nudist beach? Good news! There is one on Koh Samui! You can easily get there on a scooter. This is the exact location on a map. The beach is not so good for swimming though.
2. Enjoy other beaches - Lamai or Chaweng
Lamai and Chaweng are on the second place when it comes to the most beautiful beaches on Koh Samui. They are both very similar – long beaches lined up with water activities, bars, restaurants and some resorts. The water here is the cleanest compared to other beaches. They are both great places to relax during day, have fun on water or party in the evening. Lamai has more laid back vibe and Chaweng is more of a party place.
YOU SHOULD KNOW: We visited all of the “best” beaches around the island. Silver beach, Lamai and Chaweng beach are the best. The water on other beaches was dirty, sometimes there was mud at the bottom too. Bo Phut beach actually has black mud at the bottom and water is grey. Maybe it was only during the time of our visit.
3. Visit Hin Ta & Hin Yai (Grandma & Grandpa rocks)
Price: free, 10 TBH for parking
Opening hours: it’s a public space, you can come anytime
Time to visit: 30 minutes
Visiting Grandma and Grandpa rocks is a unique experience. The rocks have these names for a reason. They resemble male and female genitalia. Crazy, isn’t it? But apart from that the area is really beautiful. The majestic rocks laying around the beach are amazing photospot. You cannot really swim here since water is a bit dirty and there are many rocks. But you will certainly enjoy this beautiful spot!
4. Enjoy the views at Lad Koh viewpoint
Lad Koh Viewpoint on Koh Samui is a must-visit spot for breathtaking views. Situated high up on a hill, it offers panoramic views of the island’s coastline and Chaweng area. It’s a perfect spot for some photos or to chill and take in the views. You will not be able to miss it, but this is the exact location on a map.
5. Night market
Visiting a night market in Thailand is a must-do. When the sun sets, these markets light up with a vibrant atmosphere. You’ll find delicious street food and a chance to immerse yourself in Thai culture. From haggling for unique souvenirs to trying mouthwatering dishes, the night markets offer an unforgettable experience.
6. Namuang waterfall
Price: 30 TBH
Opening hours: 9am – 5pm
Time to visit: 2-3 hours
Visiting Namuang Waterfall on Koh Samui is a must for adventure seekers. Tucked away in a lush tropical jungle, the waterfall offers a refreshing oasis. The cascading waters create a picturesque scene, perfect for cooling off and taking memorable photographs. You can also take a dip in the natural pools formed by the waterfall. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, there are opportunities for zip-lining and hiking in the surrounding area. There is also a waterslide. We recommend visiting Namuang viewpoint 2.
7. Ang Thong Marine Park
Visiting Ang Thong Marine Park on Koh Samui is a true paradise for nature lovers. Exploring the park offers a range of activities, from snorkeling and diving to kayaking and hiking. You’ll have the opportunity to discover hidden lagoons, white sandy beaches, and awe-inspiring limestone formations. The only way to explore this area is by joining a boat tour or organizing a private boat trip. You can organize your trip in any booking office on the island or join some of the tours below.
8. Swim with pigs at Koh Madsum
Okay, seriously. There aren’t many places on earth where you get to swim with adorable pigs! Enjoy this unique experience by visiting Koh Madsum island. You can easily organize a boat tour on Koh Samui. The tours include a few other stops for snorkelling. If you prefer to organize everything up front, we recommend the tour below.
9. Tarmin Magic Garden
Price: 80 TBH
Opening hours: 9am – 6pm
Time to visit: 30 minutes
Tucked away in the jungle Tarmin Magic Garden is a truly unique place. It is a little lush green garden full of wonderful statues. It offers very calming and realxing atmosphere. During hot and sunny days this is the best place to cool down combined with a visit to waterfalls.
IMPORTANT: Some websites say that you can only get here by 4×4 jeep. That’s NOT TRUE! The road leading to the garden is a normal concrete road without any holes. It’s just a bit steep, but nothing a normal rental scooter couldn’t manage.
10. Jungle 360 road
Jungle 360 road is a road high on a hill in the middle of a jungle. It’s full of trees so view is not really 360, but still worth it! It feels like you’re on a highest point of the island. Jungle 360 road offers stunning panoramic views over different bays and beaches on the island. You can stop by at Mountain Jungle restaurant for a lunch or a drink with the best views on the island! They even have a swimming pool.
IMPORTANT: The road is okay if you feel confident on a scooter. Make sure you have good brakes since the hills are very steep. There are section of concrete road as well as dirt road.
11. Visit Wat Plai Leam temple
Opening hours: 6am – 6pm
Time to visit: 20 minutes
Wat Plai Laem temple is a piece of art if you ask me. This temple is known for its striking architecture, intricate details, and vibrant colors, which showcase the rich traditions of Thai Buddhism. Apart from few smaller temple buildings you can find 3 majestic and beautiful statues here. Visiting the temple is a captivating cultural and spiritual experience.
IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that this is a religious place and dress properly.
12. Marvel at Big Buddha statue
Opening hours: 7am – 6:30pm
Time to visit: 20 minutes
Visiting the Big Buddha Statue on Koh Samui is a must. This impressive landmark offers a peaceful atmosphere and stunning views. It’s a significant site in Thai Buddhism, where you can learn more about Thai culture and enjoy the beauty of the statue. Whether for spiritual or aesthetic reasons, a visit to the Big Buddha Statue is a memorable experience on Koh Samui.
13. Have breakfast or a drink at Jungle club
Price: no entry fee, you pay for drinks and food
Opening hours: 8am – 11pm (check on Google)
If you are looking for a restaurant with amazing views head up to Jungle club. There is no entry fee, you only have to buy something. We recommend coming here for breakfast and enjoying slow morning with the best panoramic views of the coast. There is a huge wooden platform with some seating bags!
14. Lamai viewpoint
Opening hours: 9am – 7pm
Time to visit: 1 hour
Lamai viewpoint is a good place if you want to have nice views but you don’t feel like visiting Jungle 360 road on your own or with a tour. For 3€ you can climb around 300 stairs and enjoy amazing view of the nearby beaches and villages. You can buy some food or drinks at the top.
15. Watch fire show at night
Watching a fire show at night on a beach on Koh Samui Island is a mesmerizing experience. As the sun sets, talented fire performers take the stage. They skillfully twirl and manipulate fiery props, creating a captivating spectacle of light and movement against the backdrop of the sea. These skilled artists will leave you in awe with their daring performances. Watching a fire show on Koh Samui Island is a magical way to end your day, creating memories that will flicker in your mind long after the show is over. You can enjoy watching the show with a cocktail or shisha. We recommend visiting Elephant beach club.
16. Party till the morning
Koh Samui’s nightlife scene is renowned for its vibrant energy and legendary parties, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe. As the sun sets, the island transforms into a hub of excitement and music. From lively beach bars and clubs to neon-lit streets, there is something for everyone. The iconic Chaweng Beach is a popular hotspot, pulsating with music and a bustling crowd. Here, you can dance the night away to the beats of DJs, sip tropical cocktails, and mingle with fellow party-goers. You might have heard about Full Moon parties on Koh Phangan as well. Another crazy experience.
17. Trip to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao
A trip to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao islands is a tropical adventure offering the perfect blend of natural beauty and vibrant island vibes. Koh Phangan is known for its legendary Full Moon Party (south) and hippie vibe (north), while Koh Tao is a haven for divers and snorkelers. Both islands offer stunning beaches, delicious seafood, and a laid-back island lifestyle. It’s a getaway that combines adventure, relaxation, and the beauty of Thailand’s tropical paradise. You can easily organize a day trip to the islands on a ferry.
Where to stay on Koh Samui
If you use the map above to book your stay you pay the same and we earn a small comission.
Low budget - Arina boutique residence
Arina boutique residence (book here) is amazing place to stay on a low budget. Whether you’re a couple or a family they have rooms for everyone. Good AC, hot shower and amazing family that will make sure your stay is enjoyable. The rooms are spacious with good and reliable wifi. It is in less lively and noisy part of Chaweng but still close to the nightlife. The only downside is that you need to walk 15 minutes to the beach. The hotel is only 1 minute away from the beach but the access is blocked by many beach resorts.
Mid budget - Nora Chaweng
If you are looking for a nice comfortable hotel we recommend Nora Chaweng (book here). It is right on the main street full of bars and restaurants. The street comes to life at night. But don’t worry, you won’t be disturbed by a street noise at night. Nora Chaweng offers amazing location and it’s very close to the beach. The rooms are very spacious and comfortable.
Luxury stay - Explorar Koh Samui
If you are looking for an unforgettable luxury experience we recommend staying at Explorar resort (book here). It is amazing 5 star resort locaterd on Maenam beach. The resort has amazing pool where you can relax whole day. If you get bored no worries. Explorar has many activities during whole week – mixology class (making cocktails), yoga, thai cooking class and various live music events. You have acces to gym and they also have amazing spa.