This list of cheap things to do in Samui (or almost free) gives you a great opportunity to discover some of the most iconic landmarks on the island without spending too much of your hard-earned cash. Those of you who have a taste for adventure and exploration will just need a small amount of baht per day to spend on a motorbike to discover all of these wonderful attractions.
From secret beaches to splendid Buddhist temples and from outstanding panoramic viewpoints to kinky rock formations, Koh Samui has a good range of attractions that can be visited even if you’re on a budget. Check out the best of them below…
What are the best things to do in Koh Samui on a small budget?
- Ang Thong Adventure Tour
- Ko Tao & Ko Nang Yuan Snorkeling Tour
- Jungle Adventure
- Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong Marine Park
- Around the Island Tour
- Temples & City Tour
- Big Game Fishing Full-Day Tour
- 4-Wheel ATV Adventure
- Red Baron Junk Sailing Tour with Transfers
- Guided Photography Tour with Golden Pagoda & Big Buddha
Samui Secret BeachesSamui's main draw, free to enjoy
Beaches are obviously the main asset of Koh Samui and the reason why so many people visit the island each year. The most popular beaches in Samui – Chaweng, Lamai, Bophut, and Maenam – offer all that is required to spend a memorable holiday in Samui, but people who have an explorer’s spirit can still find small coves and strips of sand off the beaten track.
From Samrong to Thongkrut and from Laem Yai to Ban Tai, the choices are plenty. You can spend a great time discovering beaches you’ve never heard of before at no cost except your motorbike rental. Read More...
Samui Big BuddhaA majestic landmark on a rocky island
Big Buddha temple sits majestically on a small rocky island off Koh Samui’s north-eastern corner. Known locally as Wat Phra Yai, its golden, 12-metre seated Buddha statue was built in 1972 and remains one of the island’s most popular attractions.
As at most Buddhist temples in Thailand, there’s no entrance fee, but you’re welcome to make a donation. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm
- Location: Route 4171, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand
Secret Buddha GardenA unique garden up in the hills
Secret Buddha Garden is a secluded garden of statues high in the hills in Koh Samui's interior, to the northwest of Lamai Beach. The garden offers majestic views and an unusual collection of statues amid lush jungle surrounds.
The gardens were the creation of an old Samui fruit farmer, Nim Thongsuk, who in 1976 began erecting several statues and temples around his family's verdant land. A small entrance fee applies. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm
- Location: Na Mueang, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand
Hin Ta and Hin YaiFascinating rock formations
Hin Ta and Hin Yai are some fascinating rock formations located at the western end of Lamai Beach, reachable from Samui Ring Road. There’s no entrance fee to visit them.
These rocks, known as Grandpa (Ta) and Grandma (Yai), look, respectively, like male and female genitalia, and have been a source of mirth and wonder on the island since they were discovered by the locals many years ago. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Sunday–Friday from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 7 pm
- Location: 126/92 Moo 3, Lamai, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84310, Thailand
Namuang WaterfallsSamui's natural beauty beyond the beach
Na Muang Waterfalls are 2 cascades located inland, about 12 km southeast of Nathon Bay. They show that the island’s beauty is not limited to its beaches. The Na Muang falls are reached on foot, after you left your vehicle at the park entrance. The access is free.
The first waterfall, Na Muang 1, flows down into a pretty natural pool that provides a cool escape from the heat. About 30 minutes by foot further uphill is the smaller yet equally inviting Na Muang 2. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 5.30 pm
- Location: 37/1 Thawi Rat Phakdi Rd, Na Mueang, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand
Wat Plai LaemA temple with Chinese and Thai elements
Wat Plai Laem is a Buddhist temple compound located on the northeast coast of Samui. The temple features a striking white, 18-arm image of Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and Compassion.
Close to the Big Buddha Temple, Wat Plai Laem offers visitors a view into Chinese-Thai beliefs as well as some elaborate Buddhist-themed art and architecture. You can visit the splendid temple for free, and just make a donation if you wish so. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset
- Location: Road 4171, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand
Bophut's Fisherman's VillageA rustic, historical area in Bophut
The Fisherman’s Village is a historical area in Bophut. It obviously went through transformations through the years, but still retains some of its original looks thanks to rustic-style buildings.
Nowadays, boutique stores, trendy restaurants and a small selection of hotels occupy most of the street. Every Friday, the whole area becomes the site of the Fisherman’s Village Walking Street market which attracts huge numbers of visitors. Read More...
- Location: Bophut Beach Road, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand
Jungle Club ViewpointGreat views for the price of a drink
Jungle Club Viewpoint is one of the most scenic spots on Samui. The drive up to this hillside resort restaurant may be hair-raising but it’s worth it for some of the best views on the island. The northerly views from Jungle Club are of Lamai, Chaweng, Bang Rak and the airport and, at midday on a sunny day, they are quite simply unbeatable.
Jungle Club is a hotel, but you can just have a drink or a meal at its restaurant built out of completely natural products to enjoy the view. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Saturday–Wednesday from 8 am to 10 pm (closed on Thursdays and Fridays)
- Location: 44/11, Soi Panyadee, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)81 894 2327
Mummified Monk at Wat KhunaramAn unusual but interesting sight
Koh Samui’s Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram is an unusual sight yet it offers a unique insight into Buddhist and Thai culture. The monk Luong Pordaeng died in 1973 in a seated meditative position, and ever since his body has been on display in an upright glass case at the temple. Remarkably, after more than 30 years, the monk’s body shows little sign of decay.
Entry is free, though donations are welcome to support the temple’s upkeep. It’s a sacred place of worship, so be sure to dress politely by wearing trousers or skirts that cover the knee and covering bare shoulders with a shirt, scarf or sarong. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset
- Location: Route 4169, Na Mueang, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand
Samui Overlap StoneScenic balancing boulders
The Samui Overlap Stone are visually striking 'balancing boulders' and a scenic spot in Koh Samui. It is quite a challenge to get up to these impressive boulders, but the spectacular views on arrival make it worthwhile for the adventurous traveller.
The steep, rough, dirt-track road leading to the viewpoint should only be attempted on a dirt bike or with a 4x4, and the last stretch may have to be walked, depending on conditions. Alternatively, it is a hard 20-minute climb on foot, but there is a refreshment stall at the top and it is an exhilarating experience. A modest sum is asked to cross the small bridge that leads to the stone. Read More...
- Location: 438/35 Moo 1, Maret, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84310, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)62 120 7838