Koh Samui Thailand: A Guide to the Coconut Island Paradise

Koh Samui is a relaxing paradise island in the Gulf of Thailand, Surat Thani province. It is the second largest island in Thailand after Phuket, with an area of 247 km2 and seven administrative regions: Maenam, Bophut, Maret, Taling Ngam, Namuang, Lipa Noi and Angthong. The island has been inhabited for about 1500 years by fishermen. It is known as “coconut island” because coconut plantations and fishing have been the main livelihoods of the locals for centuries. Now, tourism is also a major source of income for the islanders.

Koh Samui may not be the country’s most beautiful island, but it is still an oasis of natural beauty with its white sand beaches, crystal clear water, corals, lagoons, waterfalls and coconut trees. Nowadays, many tourists from all over the world add this paradise island to their destination list.

Best time to visit Koh Samui

There are three seasons in Koh Samui: dry season, hot season and rainy season. The average temperature here is about 30 degrees Celsius, the overall weather is hot.

Dry season lasts from December to March. The rain stays away and the temperatures are slightly lower (from 28-35 C). This is the best time to visit the most beautiful island of Koh Samui because the sea is calm, it’s perfect for swimming and kayaking, you can immerse yourself in the sea.

Hot season lasts from March to August with the temperatures over 30 C all the time and high humidity. This period is very good for snorkeling, diving, and kayaking and your best chance to spot whale sharks here. However, at that time, the sun is intense, you need to prepare to avoid the peak sunshine

Rainy season is from September to December. It’s monsoon season with many strong tropical storms. During October and November, it can rain for several days in a row-though, so it’s not recommended for visiting in this season.

Attractive places in Koh Samui

Koh Samui has many beautiful beaches and impressive destinations, however if you do not have much time, you can choose attractive and popular places as below:

Chaweng and Lamai beach

About 10 minutes driving Chaweng town, Chaweng is the most popular beach in Koh Samui with long beach and smooth white sand. The beach has plenty of activities such as lounging about on sundecks or beach watersports. At night, the beach sparkling with sun loungers are replaced by neon lit beach bars.

Lamai is the second most popular beach in Samui, after Chaweng. This beach is more comfortable than Chaweng so most visitors come here to relax, sunbath or enjoy a dip in the greenish-blue waters.

Koh Samui Lamai Beach
Lamai beach

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Koh Phangan & Koh Tao

Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are two islands closing to Koh Samui. Koh Phangan is known for its epic full moon parties. In fact, every night here is a celebration. And Koh Tao is the famous diving spot in Thailand, its mesmerizing water attracts visitors from across the world. Even if you are not a fan of diving, you can come to the island for rock climbing to zip lining over oceans to hiking to enjoy great views. Koh Phangan can be reached in half an hour by ferry, while Koh Tao can be reached by ferry in 2.5 hours. So, both can be done as day trips.

Koh Samui Koh Tao
Koh Phangan sapphirine water

Ang Thong Marine Park

Ang Thong Marine Park consists of 42 small but lush islands scattering over sapphirine water. Blessed by nature, this place is famous for its limestone monoliths, thick green jungles, pristine white sand beaches, unbelievably green lagoons, stunning waterfalls and hidden coves. It’s such a pinnacle of natural beauty. The park also attracts visitors by the jungles is home to various animals such as macaque monkeys, iguanas (a special species of lizard) and python snakes. Angthong Marine National Park should not be missed for natural lovers when having a trip to Koh Samui.

Koh Samui Ang Thong
Ang Thong Marine Park panorama view

Big Buddha Temple

The Big Buddha temple is located in the northeastern part of Koh Samui, this is one of must see places on the island. This temple has a statue with 12 meters high, built on a hill which gives you a panoramic view of the scenic surrounding. Because this is a religious place, visitors have to wear long pants and revealing shirts. It is also intended to pay homage to the monks here, as well as the beliefs of the local people. One interesting experience you should try is admiring the view at sunrise or sunset here, very stunning.

Koh Samui Big Buddha Temple
Big Buddha Temple

Na Muang Waterfall

Located on the beautiful Koh Samui island with fine white sand, clear blue sea and coconut palms, Na Muang waterfall appears with pristine and stunning beauty. Located inland about 12km southeast of Nathon Bay, Na Muang is a twin cascading waterfall that takes the plunge over purple hued rocks, also called “Purple WaterFalls”. The trip to Na Muang waterfall is one of the interesting things in Thailand that many people have experienced. Coming to the waterfall, you not only enjoy the natural beauty but also can immerse yourself in the cool water, climb the mountain, explore the beautiful forest.

Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks

In the South of Lamai beach, you can see two huge stones that locals often call with the names Hin Ta and Hin Yai, it means "Grandfather rock" and "Grand mother rock". The reason for such name is because the shape of these two stones looks quite similar to the male and female genitalia. It’s also said that these rocks have a mythical story that is based on a couple Ta and Yai. The couple was caught by the sea storm and transformed into these rocks. For those who are interested in the cultural aspects of this city, this place would definitely be worth the visit.

Koh Samui, Hinta and Hinya Rocks
Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks

Interesting activities in Koh Samui Water Sports

The pristine beaches in Koh Samui are ideal places that you can spend the whole day soaking up the sun and discovering the colorful underwater life. This is a place that you can do the water sports such as kayaking, jet-skiing, standing up paddleboards, snorkeling, diving, sailing, … Especially, the weather and water in Koh Samui is perfect for snorkeling and diving. So you are able to find many diving schools offering fun diving sessions easily, or go on a day trip to visit beaches and smalls islands around Koh Samui.

Admire sunset in Koh Samui

It can be said that your trip wouldn’t be complete without the stunning sunset in Koh Samui. The West side of the island is the best place to enjoy the sunset in Koh Samui, it’s opposite to Chaweng Beach. Anywhere around Lipa Noi Beach, Nathon Town or Taling Ngam Beach will also offer stunning views. You can have a beer or drink on the shore, under fancy sunset. It’s an unforgettable moment.

Koh Samui sunset
Beautiful sunset in Koh Samui

Enjoy seafood here

Seafood in Koh Samui is very fresh, delicious and cheap. So this is one that you must try when travelling in Koh Samui. It doesn’t matter which restaurant you choose, if you go for a local restaurant, in a hotel or at the night market. The fishing village is also a place where you can visit to choose and enjoy the freshest, tastiest seafood dishes. It’s a great idea if you wish to enjoy seafood in the beach, under the stars in a quiet atmosphere.

Koh Samui Seafood
Koh Samui is a paradise of fresh seafood

Shopping at night markets

There are a lot of markets in Koh Samui, but the most popular are Chaweng Night Market and Walking Street, and the Lamai Night Market. The Lamai market is bustling but more charming, interesting and traditional than the others. The markets do not only provide local Thai food but also serve the Italian, cocktails to sip on the go, knock-off designer goods and handicrafts but also offer an authentic experience of Thailand’s market culture. Coming here with an empty stomach, you should try all the local dishes because it’s an interesting experience.

Koh Samui Night market
A vendor in Koh Samui Night Market

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Spa and Thai massage

Spas and massages in Koh Samui are popular activities. These activities always attract visitors who wish to relax and recharge. You can find spas and massages near the hotels, resorts, centers or on the beaches.

Each place offers plenty of package for you to choose: from Asian beauty secrets, traditional massage, de-stressing body treatments or a simple reflexology session,… Any of them is sure to make you feel more comfortable.

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