10 Things to Do in Koh Samui, Thailand

For my 21st birthday 4 years ago, my mum and I went to Koh Samui in Thailand. 

Koh Samui is located off the East Coast of Thailand, and is the country’s second largest island after Phuket. It’s a quick flight from Bangkok and package holidays to Thailand will often include a few days in Bangkok followed by a relaxing island getaway to Samui. Of course while flying is the quickest option, you can also opt to take the ferry from Bangkok to Koh Samui if you prefer a more scenic ride. We visited Koh Samui in June at the beginning of the rainy season, and unfortunately the weather was rather wet, but there were still plenty of things to do on the island to keep us entertained.

Here are 10 things to do on your Koh Samui holidays:

1. Visit the Big Buddha

Big Buddha Koh Samui, Thailand

The Big Buddha is Koh Samui’s most famous landmark, and as its name suggests, it’s very…BIG! The 12-metre high golden statue sits at the top of a grand staircase, and it’s big enough to be seen from the sky as your plane approaches the island. The Big Buddha was built in 1972 and is part of the Phra Yai Temple in the northeast of the island. You can walk up the stairs for views from the top, and there are several shops nearby selling good quality Buddha ornaments and statues.

2. Visit the Grandmother and Grandfather Rock

Grandfather Rock Koh Samui

The Grandmother and Grandfather rocks are the Koh Samui’s famous penis and vagina rocks. Yes you heard me correctly! Located at the south end of Lamai beach, these rocks have been shaped by the wind and ocean to resemble male and female…um…private parts.

3. Elephant Trekking

Elephant Trekking Koh Samui

I know there’s a bit of controversy over whether people should do elephant trekking or not, but I’ll leave that one up to you to decide. You can choose a 30-minute or 60-minute elephant ride through the lush jungle, and stop at a waterfall on the way. Our elephant loved stopping to munch on plants and spray itself with water! You can stop to have your photo taken along the way, and afterwards you can feed the elephants with bananas.

4. Do a Kayak Tour

Kayak Tour Koh Samui, Thailand

The Kayak tour was my most memorable experience in Koh Samui. The day trip takes you to Ang Thong National Marine Park which featured in the famous movie The Beach. My good friend tells me that next time, we need to try the paddle boarding in this area in particuar, that the best beginner paddle board is made here! The scenery is beautiful with white sandy beaches and emerald green waters. Sights visited on the tour include the sandy beach of “Ko Mae Ko”, the hidden “Emerald Lake” and the “Praying Monkey” rock.  You’ll kayak through tunnels, caves and bizarre rock formations, and snorkel around the islands of Ko Tai Plao.

5. Have a Drink in the Ice Bar

Ice Bar Koh Samui, Thailand

What? There’s an ice bar in Koh Samui? Yep! Don fur hats, capes and gloves and enter the chilly world of Bar Ice to try some delicious flavoured vodkas and cocktails. In a country as hot as Thailand, it’s weird to swap the humidity of outside for temperatures of -7 degrees Celcius! The best part? The full-size tuk-tuk sculpture made entirely of ice!

6. Send a lantern into the sky

Sky fire lantern Koh Samui, Thailand

If you walk along Chaweng beach at night, there are people selling paper Sky Lanterns, which you can light with a flame and launch into the sky. Watch as the paper lantern ascends higher and higher and drifts away into the night sky.

7. Eat some grilled corn on the beach

Cooking corn on the Beach in Koh Samui, Thailand

I’ll never get how delicious the corn was in Koh Samui. On Chaweng beach there are vendors selling fresh grilled corn and fruits like pineapples and mangoes…yum!

8. Have dinner on the sand

Restaurants on Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui

There’s nothing like dining under the stars listening to the sound of the ocean. Just before the sun goes down, the restaurants start setting up tables, laying out cushions and transforming the wooden sun loungers into comfortable platforms to dine on. At night the beach is lit up with torches, lanterns and fairy lights, creating a romantic vibe. There are lots of restaurants serving Thai food, delicious seafood and cocktails, and there are sometimes live fire dancing shows.

9. Watch a Thai Dancing show

Thai Dancing in Koh Samui

Many of the hotels and restaurants in Koh Samui put on classical Thai Dancing shows, which provide a great opportunity for photo taking. Have a delicious Thai dinner and enjoy an evening of traditional entertainment watching the dancers perform in colourful costumes.

10. Swim Under Na Muang Waterfall

Waterfall in Koh Samui, Thailand

For a change from the beach, head inland to the Na Muang waterfalls. There are several waterfalls on Koh Samui, but Na Muang are the most beautiful. The two cascades at Na Muang can be accessed via a footpath from the entrance to the park, and the pool at the bottom of the first waterfall is a great place for a refreshing swim.

Victoria Brewood

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

  • Galit
    Posted at 17:17h, 28 September Reply

    recommend also the fishermen village on a Friday. A M A Z I N G

  • Ole Nygaard Thomsen
    Posted at 21:15h, 07 December Reply

    Do you think it is crazy to travel alone. My friend do..
    Going to koh samui tomorrow on my one and don’t now if its ..

    I will see the sits you recommend.


    Ole, DK

  • Gerd E
    Posted at 02:18h, 03 December Reply

    My favorite thing to do in Koh Samui…leave. I hate it there now. Never going back.

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