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Koh Samui in Thailand | YOUR Complete Island Guide for 2022

Koh Samui in Thailand is an island worth your time!

From the beautiful beaches to the amazing islands, Koh Samui is one of the most popular islands in Thailand. It is a great place to visit if you want to relax and absorb some sun on white sand beaches.

There are plenty of activities that you can do while visiting this island such as scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, etc.

Koh Samui in Thailand Temple

Where is Koh Samui

Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand and the second most visited island in Thailand. 

But where is Koh Samui?

The island is in the Surat Thani Province, which is about 800km south of Bangkok on Thailand’s eastern coast. 

Where is Koh Samui on a Map?

Looking for Koh Samui on Thailand Map. Here is where the island sits in the gulf of Thailand.

What other islands are nearby Koh Samui in Thailand? 

Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao, are all close by! Other popular islands, like Koh Lanta, and Koh Phi Phi are on the coast of Thailand.

What is Koh Samui Famous For? 

It’s important to remember that Koh Samui is a tropical island, so it has lots of beaches. And it’s no surprise that these beaches are some of the most popular places on the island. The best part about them?

They’re all different and offer something unique. You can find golden sand beaches lined with palm trees, rocky coves with marine life, secluded spots hidden away from civilization… the list goes on!

There are also many things to do in Koh Samui besides just sunbathing and swimming (although those things are great too). Nature lovers will enjoy exploring the many national parks found throughout the island. As well as visiting some waterfalls nearby.

Culture buffs will appreciate learning more about Thai culture at one of its many festivals or markets scattered around town. Those who love food will also have plenty to choose from. Thanks to too many restaurants serving up local dishes made using fresh ingredients grown right here on Samui Island itself! 

Overall, there is a lot of doing and seeing on Koh Samui Island. And it has enough to keep travelers busy for a while.

How to Get to Koh Samui 

Koh Samui in Thailand Beach

Visitors can get to Koh Samui by plane or ferry. The easiest catch is a flight to Koh Samui Thailand, at Samui International Airport. But this is also the most expensive.

Sadly, the airport is small. And there are only a few airlines that fly into Samui Airport. Like Bangkok Airways, and Thai Airways, which makes the flights a little expensive. 

The major hub for Koh Samui Airport is Bangkok. So say you are coming from Koh Chang, then you need to first go to BKK. I think they have also started direct flights from Chiang Mai (so you could hop from Yee Ping Lantern Festival to Samui). 

The most popular way of getting from Bangkok to Koh Samui is via an overnight bus/ferry – or just a ferry. These depart from either Laem Ngop harbor in Hua Hin or Surat Thani pier.

This journey takes about 14 hours. And arrives at Thongsala Pier on the southwest coast of the island. If you have a couple of weeks in Thailand before heading home, then a ferry is your best option.

But if you have limited time, then don’t waste a day on a bus. Bite the price bullet and get the flight. 

Another option is traveling by ferry from Koh Phangan (Koh Pha Ngan) and Ko Tao island. These ferries also stop at Ko Samui along the way; however, this could also take up more time, since a bus/ferry combo can only reach these islands. Which also departs at Surat Thani Pier. Surat Thani is the main ferry hub to reach Koh Samui.

Best Time to Visit Koh Samui

Koh Samui is a tropical island, so the Koh Samui weather can be hot and humid all year round. The rainy season runs from June to October. With June through September being the wettest months.

Usually, the rain only lasts for an hour or two a day. But you’ll need to pack light rain gear if you plan to head out during this time of year.

The best time to visit Koh Samui is between October and April. When the weather is warm but not unbearably hot; plus there is less rain. And there are fewer tourists on the island.

During these months, it’s also less humid than other seasons in Thailand. This makes for easier walking around town for those who aren’t used to humidity or heat.

Where to Stay on Koh Samui 

Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular islands. Because it has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or a couple’s retreat. Or maybe you just want to be close to nature? Whatever you are looking for, there’s accommodation on Koh Samui that will suit your needs.

Koh Samui in Thailand is known for its resorts and luxury Koh Samui hotels. But there is also the area of Mae Nam. This is a more budget and backpacker-friendly place to stay.

Here are some of the best resorts to stay in Koh Samui.

Best Koh Samui Thailand Resorts

  • Bo Phut
  • Silver Beach
  • Amari Koh Samui

Best Things to do in Koh Samui

Big Buddha in Koh Samui in Thailand

Koh Samui Island is big. And there are a lot of things to see and do. From local markets to mummified monks. From Golden Buddhas to towering Waterfalls. Here are some highlights of Koh Samui.

Ang Thong National Marine Park

Ang Thong National Marine Park in Koh Samui in Thailand is one of the most famous destinations. And a haven for scuba diving and snorkeling in the Gulf of Thailand. Ang Thong National Marine Park covers a total area of around 50 square kilometers. And features a wide range of islands, islets, and rocks.

Na Muang Waterfalls

Na Muang Waterfalls are a popular tourist attraction on Koh Samui in Thailand. The waterfall is near the coast and it’s a short walk from the parking lot. The waterfall has two levels, so it’s possible to take a refreshing swim in the upper pool or just relax on the rocks at the bottom.

Big Buddha

If you are planning a trip to Koh Samui in Thailand, you must visit the Big Buddha. This is one of the most important tourist attractions on the island.

The Big Buddha is a giant statue that is sitting on top of a hill. They built this statue in 1972 and it measures over 20 meters tall. It’s one of the tallest statues in Southeast Asia, and it’s found near Wat Phra Yai Temple.

They built this statue in honor of Lord Buddha’s teachings on compassion, love, and peace. It’s also meant to inspire people to practice Buddhism in their own lives. So they’ll be able to reach enlightenment through meditation and other practices. 

Secret Buddha Garden

This peaceful sanctuary is located on the east coast of Koh Samui and offers stunning views of the ocean and mountains, as well as plenty of space to relax.

A hidden gem in Koh Samui, this place is a Buddha garden containing a small temple. It is located near Chaweng Beach and can be visited during any part of the day.

The garden is open to both tourists and locals alike, so it is not difficult to find. The place has a peaceful ambiance which will help you relax after a long day at the beach.

Bophut’s Fisherman’s Village

Bophut on Koh Samui is one of the most popular destinations for tourists on the island. This small fishing village has turned into an upscale beach boardwalk.

With several restaurants, cafes, and bars along its main road. The chief attraction here is the food market. Which is open daily from 7 am until 11 pm. There are several stalls selling fresh fish, seafood, and produce.

The market also has some souvenir shops selling local crafts and artwork. However, the major attraction, at least for me, is street food.

The beaches in Bophut are some of the best on Koh Samui. As they are relatively quiet compared to nearby Chaweng Beach or Lamai Beach, but can still get crowded. 

There are several large resorts along the beach front but unlike some of the more remote parts of Koh Samui. 

And at night there is the fishermans village food market. Here you can find the best street food on Koh Samui Island. 

Hin Ta and Hin Yai

Hin Ta and Hin Yai in Koh Samui in Thailand are two of the most famous and popular temples. They are on the east coast of Koh Samui, Thailand. These two temples are within a short distance of each other. But they have very different stories to tell.

Hin Ta Temple

We know the Hin Ta Temple as the oldest Buddhist shrine on the island. It dates back to the 7th century when it was built by monks.

This stunning temple offers visitors a peaceful place to meditate and reflect on their life choices and actions.

They built Hin Ta Temple over a natural spring that flows into nearby mangroves. And provides clean water for people living nearby. The location of this temple also means that it gets lots of wind protection from surrounding trees and hillsides. Which makes it an ideal spot for meditation.

Hin Yai Temple

The Hin Yai (Big Sister) Temple is located just 500 meters away from its little sister, Hin Ta (Little Sister). Both temples were built at the same time. But unlike Hin Ta Temple, Hin Yai has become known as a tourist attraction rather than a place for locals to relax or meditate.

Lamai Overlap Stone

Lamai Overlap Stones is a set of impressively balanced boulders. They are a popular photo location for people traveling to Koh Samui in Thailand. But it is not the easiest place to get to. It’s a hard 20-minute climb on foot, but there is an amazing view, and the one-of-a-kind rock formation makes it an exhilarating experience.

Choeng Mon Beach

Choeng Mon Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Koh Samui, Thailand. The beach is on the island’s southwest. And it has fine white sand and shallow lagoons. When you visit this beach, you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or even diving in the lagoons.

The best time to visit Choeng Mon Beach is at low tide. This is when you can walk out to see coral reefs and sea life. You can also take boat trips from Choeng Mon Pier to explore other nearby islands, you might even come up with your own  explorer quotes. Such as Koh Rang Yai or Koh Rang Nok (for more information, please click here).

Wat Phra Yai Temple

Wat Phra Yai Temple Koh Samui has exquisite architecture. Which comprises several buildings and structures. There are also many beautiful paintings, sculptures, and carvings that are placed around the area of this temple.

The primary structure at this temple is called “Phra Yai” which means “Big Buddha” in English. This statue of Buddha weighs around five tons and they created it from copper alloy or bronze. Which makes it very heavy indeed!

Big Buddha Temple is arguably the most famous site on Koh Samui in Thailand.

Spa

We also know Koh Samui for its spas and resorts. Koh Samui has a reputation as a couples island after all. 

Wat Khunaram

If you’re looking for an unusual place to visit in Thailand, check out Wat Khunaram. This Buddhist temple is home to the mummified remains of a monk named Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat.

The monk was born in Laos. And came to Thailand as a refugee at the age of 13. He studied with monks at Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. Before, traveling around Southeast Asia, or crossing off your Vietnam Itinerary. And eventually settled down in Koh Samui.

Day Trip to Nearby Islands

There are a few ferries a day to get to the other islands, like Koh Tao. And while it is too far to get to islands on the other coast. (You can’t get from Phuket to Koh Samui on a day trip.)

The islands you can reach are worth it. Koh Tao is great for diving. And Koh Phangan is famous for its full moon parties

Wat Plai Laem

Wat Plai Laem temple Koh Samui is near the beachfront of Na Thon. It is the largest and most famous Buddhist temple in Koh Samui.

The Wat Plai Laem temple is a very popular tourist attraction and can be easily reached by tuk-tuk or songthaew from the main pier in Na Thon.

The Wat Plai Laem temple comprises two main buildings. One is an old wooden building and another is made of concrete bricks. They decorate both structures with colorful paintings depicting various Buddhist figures. Such as Buddha himself as well as other deities such as angels and demons (also known as devas).

Koh Taen

Koh Taen is a tropical island near Koh Samui. And is a great place for snorkeling and island hopping.

The island is only about 3 km long and 1 km wide at its widest point. But it offers beautiful views of the surrounding islands and the sea. There are two beaches on the island: one at each end of the island. The western beach has clear water and many coral reefs nearby, while the eastern beach has some rocks but has fewer coral reefs nearby.

Nightlife

Koh Samui’s nightlife isn’t as crazy as its nearby island neighbors. But it still does have decent nightlife in certain areas of the island. 

Check out our full list of things to do on Koh Samui here.

Best Beaches on Koh Samui in Thailand

Thailand Beaches

Chaweng Beach

Chaweng Beach is the most popular beach on Koh Samui, and for good reason. It’s got turquoise waters, lots of accommodation options, and even a few bars to quench your thirst after a long day at the beach.

Nathon

Nathon is another popular destination for beach lovers. The water here isn’t as blue as in Chaweng. But it’s still beautiful, especially when you consider that this part of Koh Samui has much less developed than its neighbor to the north.

Lamai Beach

Lamai Beach is known for having some great resorts along its shoreline. But if you don’t want to spend money on accommodation. (or are trying to save up for other parts of your trip). Then head just south, where there are smaller guesthouses in town instead!

Bophut Beach

Bophut Beach is perfect if you’re looking for an escape from touristy areas; it has beautiful white sand without all those crowds! If you’re staying at one of these hotels nearby. Expect there will be many more tourists than usual since they have direct access through their grounds onto this lovely strip 🙂

Wat Bo Bay

Wat Bo Bay may be small compared with some other beaches, but don’t let its size fool ya. Its clear blue waters are worth experiencing! 

Maenam beach

If you are looking for a quiet place to relax on your holiday, then Maenam Beach on Koh Samui could be the ideal location. It’s not as busy as Chaweng Beach, but still has plenty to keep you entertained.

There are several restaurants, bars, and shops along the beach front so there is plenty to do without having to leave the area. Mae Nam beach is a must when visiting Koh Samui Island.

Lipa Noi Beach

The white sands of Lipa Noi Beach, Koh Samui in Thailand, are a sight to behold. This pristine beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island because of its beautiful scenery and calm water. Lush green hills surround the beach, making it an ideal location for those who love nature.

The crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand at Lipa Noi Beach are great for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. As well as other water sports. There are also plenty of resorts near the beach where you can stay for the night. Or longer if you wish to enjoy all that Lipa Noi offers.

Taling Ngam Beach

Taling Ngam Beach is a great place to visit for those who want to escape the crowds of Koh Samui. It is in the island’s northeast. And there are no roads leading to the beach, so you need to get there by boat or by hiking. The beach is not as popular as other beaches on Koh Samui. But it still gets plenty of visitors every day.

Taling Ngam Beach has white sand and clear water and offers some great snorkeling opportunities. (if you are willing to take a boat ride over to nearby islands). 

The best time to visit Taling Ngam Beach is during low tide when there is more sand exposed and less seaweed on the beach. You can also walk out into the water quite far at low tide. Which makes it easier for taking pictures or just have fun in the water!

And that’s it! You now have everything you need to know about Koh Samui in Thailand. If you need help planning your trip, reach out and let us know what questions we can answer for you. 

We hope this guide has helped make your decision easier when traveling to Koh Samui in Thailand. And find the best things the island offers. As well as how much time should be spent here during each day of your stay.

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