The best things to do in Koh Samui include the island's varied and interesting highlights that range from splendid natural features to manmade attractions. Beyond the gorgeous beaches to spend a day out under the tropical sun, there are attractive waterfalls and more to explore. There's nothing to stop you from having a blast on Samui.
You can discover from mummified monks to the famous "Grandma and Grandpa" rocks referred to locally as Hin Ta and Hin Yai. For those interested in religious imagery and architecture, the Big Buddha will impress – especially at sunset. Nature lovers can visit Ang Thong National Marine Park on a day trip. It's a great place to enjoy a genuine "get away from it all" experience in the splendid tropical islands it hosts. Check out all the must-see and must-do attractions in Koh Samui below.
What are the best things to do in Koh Samui?
- 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
Interested in this tour? Book it here.
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a pristine archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand. The islands feature towering limestone mountains, thick jungle, white-sand beaches, fertile mangroves, waterfalls, and hidden coves and lakes to explore.
Within sight of Koh Samui, Ang Thong National Marine Park is a protected area covering more than 100 sq km of land and sea. It's home to a rich variety of exotic wildlife and sea creatures. Snorkelling, hiking, sea kayaking, diving, and simply relaxing are the main activities to enjoy at Ang Thong. Read More...
- Location: Ang Thong, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand
The Big Buddha on the northern coast of Koh Samui is one of Thailand's famous shrines and probably Samui's most well-known landmark. The 12-metre-tall golden Buddha statue can be seen from several kilometres away. The Buddha figure sits in the Mara posture, depicting a time during Buddha’s journey to enlightenment where he successfully subdued temptations and dangers thrust at him. The pose is a symbol of steadfastness, purity and enlightenment.
Inside the surrounding temple are many different shrines and other smaller ornate Buddhas. There is also a small market selling a wide range of lucky charms and other souvenirs, alongside numerous food stalls. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 8am to 6pm
- Location: Route 4171, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand
Fisherman’s Village in Samui is a historical part of Bophut, with rustic-style buildings housing boutique stores, trendy restaurants and a small selection of hotels lining the narrow Beach Road. Every Friday, the whole area becomes the site of the Fisherman’s Village Walking Street market, attracting huge numbers of shoppers from across the island for the amazing variety of wares and the lively atmosphere.
This old part of Bophut Beach takes its name from the fact that it was once home to a thriving fishing community. The fishermen have moved on and the main pier has collapsed, but the old wooden shophouses remain, with a warren of narrow alleys running between many of them, giving the village a charming old look and feel. Read More...
- Location: Bophut Beach Road, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand
The Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks are some fascinating rock formations at the southern end of Lamai Beach on Koh Samui. They've been a source of giggles and wonder on the island since they were discovered by the locals many years ago. Known as Grandpa (Ta) and Grandma (Yai), the rocks look, respectively, like male and female genitalia.
A signboard near the rocks tells of the legend of an old couple by the name of Ta Kreng (Grandpa Kreng) and Yai Riem (Grandma Riem) who lived with their son in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat. The views from the rocks and the area around them are spectacular, stretching across the sea to nearby islands. 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
Koh Tao – meaning ‘Turtle Island’ – lives up to its name, being the scuba diving destination of choice in Thailand. The perfect white-sand beaches which ring the hilly 21-sq-km island are surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand. The vibrant coral reefs there is home to a wide range of exciting and colourful sea creatures, including turtles, naturally.
The compact island is 55 km to the north of Koh Samui and supports a varied selection of hotels, from budget guesthouses and beach bungalows all the way up to 5-star luxury resorts. The choice of restaurants and nightlife establishments has also been constantly growing. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84360, Thailand
Wat Plai Laem near the Big Buddha in the north of Koh Samui is a colourful and interesting Buddhist temple. The temple features very ornate decor and art, an 18-armed image of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, and a large white Chinese Buddha set on the lake.
A living and active temple, it's where devotees come daily to pay homage to Guanyin and the Buddha, who is also depicted in a number of statues and murals around the temple. If you donate money for the upkeep of the temple you'll be given a bag of food to throw to the teeming fish in the lake. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset
- Location: Road 4171, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand
The Na Muang Waterfalls are among Samui's several attractive waterfalls, but the 2 waterfalls comprising it are probably the most picturesque. Its name refers to the massive purple rocks at the waterfalls. Rocks and tree roots form a natural staircase that leads to the base of Na Muang 1. A large natural pool sits under the waterfall. A 10-minute walk further up the mountain leads to Samui's most beautiful waterfall, Na Muang 2.
The best time to visit is in the wetter months of September through November, when the waterfalls are in their full-flowing glory. Na Muang is a popular place for families to relax and swim. Many Samui tours include a refreshing stop at the Na Muang Waterfalls on their itinerary. 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
Secret Buddha Garden is a tranquil sculpture-filled garden hidden high up in the hills in Koh Samui's interior. Thanks to its altitude, the unique site offers majestic views and an unusual collection of statues amid lush jungle surrounds. The gardens are a creation of an old Samui fruit farmer, Nim Thongsuk, who in 1976 began erecting several statues and temples around his family's verdant land.
The statues depict several animals, deities and humans in various poses, including one of Khun Nim himself, in a relaxed position sitting on a rock. The garden has a waterfall and stream flowing through, all shaded by thick foliage. With the steep and bumpy road, getting up here is a challenge best done in a 4WD vehicle. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm
- Location: Na Mueang, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand
Wat Khunaram is a temple in Samui that's best known as the home to the island's most famous mummified monk. The monk is Luang Pordaeng, who died decades ago. As per his instructions, his body was placed in a specially designed glass case for posterity. It has remained there ever since and has shown few signs of decay.
Aside from the so-called 'Mummy Monk', Wat Khunaram is a fairly typical Buddhist temple, where local people come daily to make merit and pray. Amulets and other Buddhist artefacts may be bought, and visitors are welcome to join or observe the daily rituals and have a look around. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset
- Location: Route 4169, Na Mueang, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand
Cabarets in Samui might not be everyone's cup of tea, but for fans, Chaweng Beach has plenty to choose from. Samui cabarets are typically live dance shows performed by elegant transgender artists. Thai society is generally more open to gender identity than many other cultures, and its katoey, or the '3rd sex', have played a prominent role in the nation's entertainment industry for generations.
In Chaweng and Lamai, you can enjoy a sparkling evening out with this fun form of entertainment. Most of the cabarets in Chaweng are located next to each other, which makes for interesting competition before the show. Read More...