A popular destination with both local visitors and international guests, Koh Samuai (Thailand) has something for everyone. Thailand is known for it’s great beaches (don’t worry we will get into it!) and as a result has great snorkeling and diving. We have composed a list of Koh Samuai activities to keep you busy when you are visiting.
Ang Thong Marine Park
The 42 islands included in the Ang Thong Marine Park is a must on the Koh Samuai activities list. It provides guests with more secluded beaches than those found on in the popular areas of Koh Samuai. Swimming is nonetheless not allowed in the Emerald Sea, a peppermint hued lake in the center of Ko Mae Ko Island, but guests are welcome to capture it on film. This island is also well-known for inspiring the landscape featured in the film and book “The Beach”.
Sleeping Cow Island (Ko Wua Talab) is an excellent place for fit people. A half-hour trip each way will take guests to the island’s peak and then back again. While the trek out there is referred to as a “hike” it is basically climbing a series of steep staircases. The nearby Tham Bua Bok caverns are worth a visit as well. This route is more strenuous and takes about 40 minutes on a round-trip journey. If visiting in September, be on the lookout for the indigenous lady’s slipper orchids which dot the landscape.
Snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming are all popular pastimes in the Marine Park. Dolphins and variety of fish make their homes here as do macaws, monkeys, and other wildlife. The limestone formations are also spectacular sights. Thai Island Cruising’s Private Day Tour and those tours by Blue Star are both recommended for the journey out to this archipelago. Visitors should bear in mind that the ride out to the islands not only takes a while, but also crosses over seas that can be rough at times. If you are prone to seasickness, don’t forget to take some seasickness tablets.
If one is arriving by air, the 15 meter tall statue of the Buddha might be the first thing travelers see upon reaching the island. Built in 1972, the statue has since become a famous Thailand landmark. Many devout Thais make pilgrimages to the site so it is certainly worth a look. A good view of the surrounding area can be found on the covered terrace before visitors arrive at the statue. The Big Buddha can be accessed via the causeway on the island’s northwestern coast. As it is located in a monastery, modest dress is required. An 18 armed Buddha statue can be found inside the adjacent Wat Phra Yai temple, which is also a good place to visit. A short drive from either spot will bring visitors to the colorful and uncrowded Wat Plai Leam temple where there is plenty to see.
The Na Muang Waterfalls
Located about five kilometers from Ban Hau Thanon, there are two gorgeous waterfalls that visitors to the island should certainly check out. Route 4169 has an offshoot road leading to each site and these are well signposted.
Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts
While in Thailand you must learn to cook the local cuisine, which means taking a Thai food class is a must do on the list of Koh Samuai activities. For about $60 USD, visitors to can learn how to cook Thai food from locals. Classes are available showcasing basic Thai cooking methods as well as more complex skills, such as carving fruits and vegetables. Dinner classes start around 4 p.m. and lunch classes begin around 11 a.m. Both courses last about three hours. At the end of the course, guests can enjoy sampling their handiwork. They are also allowed to invite a friend to join them for the meal. Bonus features of the lesson include information about procuring common Thai ingredients at a home and also free DVDs which cover the material what the students have learned. Twelve and six day cooking course programs are also available. The business is closed on Sunday, but is open every other day of the week.
Most people that visit will find the beaches near the touristy area of Chaweg to be pretty good, but fairly crowded. We will have a look at some of the other less crowded beaches scattered around the island.
Silver Beach has an avid fan base but it lacks some of the amenities of the bigger and more popular beaches. There are still nearby places to get food and drinks. Silver Beach also has the occasional problem with litter and when the weather is bad it tends to be muddy. However, on fair weather days, this is a beautiful white sand beach that is littered with boulders. There is a relaxed atmosphere and the beach is not typically crowded with hawkers.
Bang Po Beach is a small and somewhat average Thai beach, but it is nonetheless peaceful and relaxing. It is not as crowded as some of the larger sites. The water here is shaded by palm trees and is quite shallow. A lot of tasty food options can be found nearby. Island Hoppers is recommended for their delicious Thai cuisine. There is a reef nearby for snorkeling purposes.
Quieter, cleaner, and friendlier than the main beach at Chaweg, the Lamai Beach is somewhat similar in features but less crowded. This beach features pleasantly warm waters and beige sand. The south and north ends of the beach are much quieter than the middle, which is full of restaurants and bars. Further down the beach, guests will find the Hin-Yai and Hin-Ta (“Grandmother” and “Grandfather”) rock formations that have been known to cause a chuckle or two. Once you see them, you’ll understand why.
This little gem of an island is located off the coast of Koh Samuai and is easily accessed by 40 minute boat ride from the larger island. The snorkeling here is excellent and the beaches are quite pristine.
Also if you have time, don’t forget to check out Bottle Beach on the near by Koh Phangan
Do you have any other recommendations for Koh Samuai activities to keep a visitor busy? Let us know in the comments.