Travelers visit Samui, not only for its array of beautiful beaches, but also for the eclectic culture. From the quaint Fisherman’s Village to the tranquility of the Big Buddha, you can really gain a wider perspective of this intriguing island and Thai culture in general. Whether you seek the non-stop party atmosphere of Chaweng Beach, the scenic serenity of island hopping in Ang Thong, or the surreal ambience of Koh Phangan, Samui is the ideal place to commence a thrilling seventy two hours.

Big Buddha (Wat Phra Yai)

The 12-meter tall statue visible from from afar is known as a landmark of Samui island. The temple that houses the statue was built in 1972 as a place for locals and visitors to pay respect to the Lord Buddha and as such it has a rather modern feel; the temple is decorated with murals of the Buddha in different poses, with some depicting stories from Siamese mythology.

For a great vista of the beach, head to the dragon stairway at the courtyard, which will lead you to the platform where the Buddha is sitting. This spot gives a beautiful panoramic view of the beach and the town below.

Big Buddha Temple is located in the northeast of Samui
on Route 4171 near the airport.

 

Chaweng Beach

Chaweng Beach is the largest and the most populated beach on Samui. The seven kilometer long beach is home to the most beautiful waters on the island, rich in coral reefs. There are two small islands close to the reef; the nearest one can be easily reached by a short walk through shallow waters. The further, larger island makes a great spot for kayaking and snorkeling.

Chaweng Beach i s al so l ined wi th var ious accommodations offering visitors anything from budget stays to five-star resorts, making the central part of the beach a little more crowded than the north. Along the beach you will also find travelling vendors offering everything from snacks and drinks to souvenirs and massages.

In the evening, Chaweng is the best place to experience
the nightlife of Samui.

Bo Phut Beach

One of the most serene beaches on Koh Samui, Bo Phut boasts a stretch of white sand over two kilometers long and lined with palm trees. This beach, though not ideal for swimmers and divers, is action packed with sport activities such as jet skiing, kayaking and kite surfing.

The town of Bo Phut itself is also bustling with people as it was once one of Samui’s busiest fishing ports and harbors, with a pier extending toward Pha-ngan Island. The shops along the street still show off a Chinese cultural feel from the old days, with vendors offering food, drinks and places to just chill.

Lamai Beach

 

Lamai is the second largest beach on Koh Samui and is accented by hundreds of coconut trees along the beach. The views of nearby cliffs, make this beach one of the most serene and natural on the island. During the day the beach is ideal for taking a bike tour around i ts f ishing village, or head to the nearby coconut and banana plantations for some natural sightseeing. What cannot be missed when visiting Lamai is the famed Grandfather and Grandmother rock formations with bizarre shapes perfect for a quick once-in-a-lifetime photo op.

Lamai comes to life at night as the beach road is lined with numerous pubs, bars and discos, with live music pumping out dance tunes all night.

Mae Nam Beach

Another quiet and peaceful spot on Koh Samui, Mae Nam still remains largely a traditional Thai village that many long-time residents of Koh Samui call home. Though the beach itself is not as smooth and silky as the other beaches on the island, it still attracts visitors who come for the calm atmosphere. This is also the reason why many of the luxurious and more upscale resorts are set up here, it is a great spot to get some first class treatments in dining and spas. Many come here to relax, before heading to the crazy all-night parties on Phangan via Mae Nam pier.

Choengmon Beach

Close to the airport, this clean, soft-sand beach is rather quiet compared to other bustling beaches in town. There is a small bay with coves and inlets and just off shore there is another island called Koh Farn Noi, which is easily accessible by kayak from the main beach.

The resorts on this beachare more expensive than the ones found in the popular and crowd pleasing beaches like Chaweng, as it offers more peace and quiet to visitors looking to relax. There are not many re s t aur ant s and bars to distract you from enjoying the quiet beach life.

Fisherman’s Village

Though its glory days as a fisherman’s village and busy port are long gone, the area is still bustling with life thanks to its rows of shophouses, cafes and pubs that still retain its olden charms. Fisherman’s Village was established to preserve the distinctive character of this area and to rid of all loud music and go-go bars, making this a sedate destination for all ages.

Sitting in the heart of Bo Phut, Fisherman’s Village is now a favorite among tourists and locals alike for its beautiful Chinesestyle buildings that seem to take you back in time. The area makes a great sanctuary for peaceloving night owls who want to get away from the commotion of the island’s more populated beaches.

Fisherman’s Village is located on the east end of Bo Phut Beach Road.

Hin Lard Waterfall /Nah Muang Waterfall

There are two waterfalls on the island worth checking out. Instead of cascading from high cliffs, Hin Lard is full of low ridge waterfalls, rendering it a more tranquil. It is not too far from Nathon Beach.

The more popular waterfall, Na Muang, is a favorite among tourists as there are two places where you can get a glimpse of these tumbling waters. This waterfall is much higher and has a large basin for visitors to swim. For a more fun and entertaining means of traversing the waterfalls, go elephant trekking, where trusty pachyderms take you on a ride around the peaceful surrounding groves.

 

Hua Thanon Beach

The name of this beach comes from its location, which is sitting at the “head of the road” on the south coast of Samui island. What brings travelers to this quiet spot is the unique community and culture of a fishing village. Keep in mind that there is not much to do here but observe the way of life of the local fishing village, the only Muslim community on the island.

There are about 500 people living in this area, whose wooden houses line the beach road, making this a charming l i t t le spot for t raveler s who crave authenticity and life. There’s a Muslim temple in the center, which was built by the early settlers who came from nearby Pattani.

Here , visitorscan also savor the local delicacies, from fresh catches to Muslim treats and meals like Khao Mhok Ghai, or yellow curry rice with chicken. 

Hin Ta Hin Yai Rock Formations

Lamai Beach’s famed rock formations, the Hin Ta or Grandfather rock and Hin Yai, (Grandmother rock), always provoke a chuckle and naughty thoughts from curious visitors. According to the local tales , an old couple was shipwrecked in the area, and their bodies were washed up ashore, creating the rocks that mark their fate. These natural format ions bare uncanny resemblances to male and female genitalia, making this site one of the most photographed spots in Samui.

Hin Ta Hin Yai is located on the southern edge of Lamai Beach.

Ang Thong Island Group

Ang Thong is another popular island group off of Koh Samui. Meaning “golden bowl”, Ang Thong spans over 250 km2, including 50 km2 of jagged limestone islands. Ang Thong is a great spot to see wildlife such as dolphins, stingrays, and tropical fish (even black tip sharks) that inhabit the area. This cluster of 40 or so islands of different shapes and sizes, with the mustvisit being Mae Ko Island for its emerald seawater lake that lies in the middle of the island, is a picturesque attraction. Ang Thong National Marine Park is where you can climb to the edge of the lake for a breathtaking view.

Ang Thong is also a favor i te di ve spot thanks to underwater scenery with caves and rock formations highlighting the marine life. Coralreefs surrounding the beaches are also ideal for snorkeling. The best way to experience Ang Thong is on a private speedboat tour that also includes a snorkeling stop. For those who can’t get enough of this waterborne sanctuary, there are also modest accommodations on Sleeping Cow Island.

Koh Phangan

From Samui it is an easy jaunt to visit nearby Koh Phangan. The island known for partying does have more to offer than trance music and dancing until past the break of dawn. Koh Phangan is covered in natural terrain, and is preserved as a national park, so rich wildlife and beautiful flora can still be witnessed.

For those who want to boogie, the most happening scene is at Haad Rin Nok where the infamous Full Moon Party is held. With over 20 years of reputation, the island attracts thousands of visitors from all over the globe who come here to enjoy the festivities with international and local DJs.

Not up for the frenzy? For those looking to relax, Koh Phangan is also home to luxurious resorts offering world class spa and health treatments. Divers and snorkelers can also explore Neptune’s realm, as the coastline is surrounded by coral reefs waiting to be visited.

To get there, express boats, catamaran, and ferry services depart several times daily from Samui’s major piers such as Nathon, Bo Phut, Mae Nam and Big Buddha.