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You want to visit Koh Samui and need some tips about sights and activities? You want to discover the beaches of Koh Samui? Or you want to explore the fascinating Buddhist temples and countless markets? In this case you are absolutely right here!

Sights and tips on Koh Samui

The tropical island Koh Samui is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand and has a lot to offer so that you almost can’t get bored during your stay. You can do and explore a lot on Koh Samui. Below you can find 16 tips, which will make your vacation on Koh Samui an unique experience.

Many of these can be explored on your own, but also organized tours are popular or hiring a private driver on Koh Samui to get to know the island.

How to get to Koh Samui

The easiest and fastest way to Koh Samui is with a direct flight from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. The international airport of Koh Samui was built by Bangkok Airways and therefore the price for a flight ticket is kind of more expensive, because they preserve a monopoly – with a few exceptions.

It’s cheaper when you go to Surat Thani or Nakhon Si Thammarat on the mainland of Thailand. Airlines like AirAsia, Thai Lion Air and Nok Air fly to those cities from the Don Mueang airport in Bangkok. At the destination airport you can take a bus to the Donsak Pier or Tapee Pier and from there a ferry to Koh Samui.

You can find the cheapest flights to Koh Samui on Skyscanner. I absolutely can recommend Thai Lion Air by the way.

Note: Bus and train connections are also available if you want to arrive even cheaper. However, the travel time increases a lot. Tickets and information on times can be found at our partner 12go.asia.

Accommodation in Koh Samui – our hotel tip

One hotel where we felt comfortable from the very beginning was the Amari Koh Samui. If you want to stay at the beautiful Chaweng Beach, but not directly in the relatively busy center, the Amari is just right. Despite the central location you will have your peace – we liked it very much!

The hotel offers 2 swimming pools and beautiful, modern furnished rooms of different categories – depending on your budget. We definitely recommend this hotel and would stay there again anytime. Find more hotels on Koh Samui here.

1. Dreamlike beaches

The Lamai Beach at the east coast of Koh Samui
Lamai Beach at the east coast of Koh Samui

Koh Samui’s coastline is almost completely covered with beaches. You can find some calm and quiet, as well as some vibrant beaches. According to what you are looking for, you will definitely find the right one. The most popular and sometimes crowded beaches are Chaweng Beach and Lamai Beach in the east of the island. The towns of those two also offer the most things to do for their guests.

If you like a more calm atmosphere, I can recommend for example the Bophut or Maenam Beach. You can even find some lonely beaches on Koh Samui like the Bang Por Beach. More information about the beaches of Koh Samui can be found in our comprehensive beach guide.

2. Buddhist temples

The Laem Son Pagoda in the south of Koh Samui
The Laem Sor Pagoda

Are you into culture and temples? No problem. The temples of Koh Samui are really beautiful. But there are more to see than the famous Big Buddha, the Wat Plai Laem or the Wat Khunaram with the mummified monk. You can find some infos on those three temples in our 7 free sightseeing tips for Koh Samui article.

In my opinion, the Laem Sor Pagoda and the Wat Rattanakosin, close to the pagoda on a small hill, belong to the most beautiful temples of the island. You can reach them best with a motorbike because they are located deeply in the south.

The Big Buddha at the Wat Rattanakosin, Koh Samui
The Big Buddha at the Wat Rattanakosin

But we are not finished yet. With the Wat Kiri Wongkaram close to the Elephant Gate in Taling Ngam, the Wat Samret or the Khao Hua Jook Pagoda with a view at the airport of Samui, you can find a number of further temples.

3. Walking Streets and night markets on Koh Samui

Collage of walking streets and night markets on Koh Samui

If you’re into Thai markets, then you’ve come to the right place with our Koh Samui things to do. Here, you’ll find plenty of them scattered across many locations. In addition to various Thai delicacies you can try there, you can buy clothing, cocktails, souvenirs – simply everything your heart desires.

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you’ll find a huge walking street in Bophut at The Wharf Samui near Fisherman’s Village. On Thursday, for example, there is another small walking street at Chaweng Lake opposite the Central Festival Mall from 5.00 PM to 10.00 PM, and there is also a small night market in the mall’s parking lot daily.

The Lamai Night Market in the evening on Koh Samui
The Lamai Night Market

Another night market to check out is the Si Khao Night Market. It’s located in Chaweng, but a bit away from the hustle and bustle. You can find it by following the roundabout at Central Festival towards Khao Hua Jook Pagoda. Keep going along the road, and you will discover the night market with its white tent-like stalls on the right. In Lamai, there is also the small Lamai Night Market on the Beach Road every evening, featuring live music and various food stalls. Additionally, there is the daily night market near the pier in Nathon, for example. The stalls open at 4.00 PM, and tables are set up in the middle where you can enjoy your meals.

4. Amazing viewpoints

The view of the west coast of Koh Samui from Wat Rattanakosin
The view of the west coast of Koh Samui from Wat Rattanakosin

Due to the many hills, Koh Samui offers a range of view points at the island and the Gulf of Thailand. Wether it’s the view from the Wat Rattanakosin or the Khao Hua Jook pagoda. I just love view points and I always try to visit every view point when I visit a place.

View from Lamai Viewpoint on Koh Samui

I can also recommend some more view points like the Samui Viewpoint between Chaweng and Lamai at the ring road or the Lamai Viewpoint. You can find the view point from the second picture, if you follow the signs inside Lamai heading to the Valentine Stone. After a short way up you can find a small café and a beautiful view.

5. Tarnim Magic Garden

Statues in the Tarnim Magic Garden in the mountains of Koh Samui

The Tarnim Magic Garden, also known as Secret Buddha Garden, is located on a hill (Khun Nim Peak) inside the island. You will find the street to the hill opposite the Wat Khunaram. When you arrive, there will be a big garden which is decorated with many statues. Many Buddha statues, but there are also some other like snakes, birds or legendary creatures.

Although some websites claim the contrary, you can definitely go there with a motorbike. The streets are really in a good condition. Many websites state that you can only go there with a tour and a jeep. The entrance fee is 80 baht per person, which is used to maintain the garden. In my opinion it’s absolutely worth a visit.

6. Motorbike trip on Koh Samui

Street between Chaweng and Lamai on a motorbike trip on Koh Samui

A trip with a motorbike is perfect if you want to explore Koh Samui on your own. You can rent a motorbike at the most hotels or in one of the plenty shops around the island. The rental fee is about 150 – 300 baht per day.

There is a ring road around the island on which you can drive to Chaweng, Lamai, Nathon, Maenam or Bophut. It’s very easy to navigate around Koh Samui. If you need a map, you can get one at most hotels or you can make a stop at a travel agency and pick one up.

7. Waterfalls

The Na Mueang Waterfall 1 on Koh Samui
The Na Mueang Waterfall 1

On Koh Samui, you can also find several waterfalls. At Namuang Waterfall and Namuang Waterfall 2, you’ll also discover refreshing natural pools where you can cool off. Thanks to the fresh water, these pools are genuinely cool. However, it’s best not to jump in from the edge, as you never know what rocks might be hidden beneath the water. You don’t want to get injured during your vacation or trip. You can explore these waterfalls as part of a tour.

Apart from these two most famous waterfalls, you’ll also find a few more on Koh Samui. Near Nathon, there’s Hin Lad Waterfall, for example, or Wanorn Waterfall near Lipa Noi. However, during the high season from December to February, these waterfalls often have little water flow. Another great waterfall is Tan Rua in Maenam. There, you’ll also find Tree Bridge Coffee and zip-lining on-site.

8. Muay Thai at Petch Buncha Samui Stadium

Like in many places in Thailand, you can of course see some Muay Thai fights on Koh Samui as well. Almost every night there is a tournament at the Petch Buncha Samui Stadium in Chaweng. There you can see some fights and normally the event takes about 2-3 hours.

9. A trip to the Ang Thong Marine National Park

The Ang Thong Marine National Park off the coast of Koh Samui

The Ang Thong Marine National Park with its many islands and snorkeling areas is located off the coast of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. Most of the speedboat tours are starting at the Big Buddha Pier in Bangrak, but there are also some cheaper tours with wooden boats. The cost for a speedboat tour is about 2000 baht (50 €), but definitely worth it.

You will get to amazing snorkeling sites, to Koh Mae Koh with its blue lagoon, see the monkey rock (the picture above) and much more. In our article about the Ang Thong Marine National Park you can learn what it’s like to go on a tour like this.


If you would like to plan your stay in Koh Samui in advance, you can also book these tours online.

10. Party on Koh Samui: nightlife, clubs, bars

The nightlife of Koh Samui largely centers around Chaweng. Here, you’ll find many bars scattered along the Chaweng Beach Road, but there are two main areas. Firstly, there’s the Soi Reggae at Chaweng Lake, where you’ll find many so-called beer bars.

The second main area is located in Soi Green Mango, where you’ll find the nightclub of the same name. However, it usually gets crowded only after midnight. If you want to party a little earlier, it’s best to visit Ark Bar on Chaweng Beach, with nightly fire shows and a DJ. When Green Mango starts to empty around 3.00 AM, you can move a few meters further to the Soundclub or Black Bamboo. The party there usually continues until dawn.

People partying at Green Mango in Chaweng, Koh Samui
The Green Mango in Chaweng

In addition to these two “party hotspots,” there are also several bars, for example, in Lamai along the Beach Road and the road that leads to the Ring Road after Pizza del Sol. You can also find a few pubs and bars in Maenam or Bophut to spend the evening. However, if you’re looking for a real nightclub experience, you’ll need to head to Chaweng.

11. Massage on Koh Samui

Of course you can find countless massage parlors around Koh Samui to relax. If you like your massage a little bit more strong, then you should try a Thai massage. Or just a back, neck or shoulder massage. Prices start at 250 baht for an hour, but vary from shop to shop. Really good and trained masseuses you can mostly find in the bigger Spas for example in Chaweng.

12. Chaweng Go Kart

The Easykart racing track in Chaweng on Koh Samui

If you like speed, then I recommend you to take a look at Easykart at the Chaweng Lake. You can start a race with your friends and have a lot of fun. The race track is opened daily from 10.00 A.M. to 1.00 A.M. For further information about the race track and a gallery check out the website of Easykart.

13. Grandmother and Grandfather Rock (Hin Yai and Hin Ta)

Grandmother and Grandfather Rock (Hin Yai & Hin Ta) on Koh Samui

One of the most famous sights of Koh Samui you definitely shouldn’t miss. The Grandmother and Grandfather Rock, in Thai known as Hin Yai and Hin Ta, are the most popular photo scene. They are located south of Lamai Beach and represent the male and female sexual characteristics. You can find some more information regarding the history of the Grandmother and Grandfather Rock in our article about 7 free sightseeing tips for Koh Samui.

14. Jeep tour across Koh Samui

4x4 jeep tour on Koh Samui

If you don’t want or can’t explore Koh Samui on your own with a motorbike, then an off-road jeep tour would be the right fit for you. You will be picked up at your hotel with a jeep and discover many sights of the island, like the ones I mentioned above.

On a tour like this you will visit the Grandmother and Grandfather Rock, the Namuang Safari Park with the Namuang Waterfall 2, the Wat Khunaram with the mumified monk, the Tarnim Magic Garden and finally have a magnificent view from the hills at Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. A lunch is normally included. The whole trip will cost about 1600 baht (40 €) and is a good alternative to a motorbike trip on your own.

You can book the tour almost in every hotel and in many of the small travel agencies around Koh Samui. You can also get sometimes cheap tickets for the tour online in advance.

15. A trip to Koh Madsum or Koh Tan

View from Koh Samui at Koh Madsum and Koh Tan
View from Koh Samui at Koh Madsum and Koh Tan

South of Koh Samui, there are three more islands in the Gulf of Thailand that are not as frequently visited. Koh Rap, Koh Madsum, and Koh Tan are already visible from Samui and make for a great destination for a day trip. They are very quiet and unspoiled. In the village of Thong Krut in the southern part of the island, you can rent a taxi boat for around 400 Baht (always try to negotiate) to take you to the islands, or you can book a tour online or at one of the travel agencies on Koh Samui. These tours often start from 2000 Baht and up. Definitely one of the Koh Samui things to do, away from the tourist crowds.

By the way, on Koh Madsum, there is also a hotel called The Treasure Koh Madsum on the paradise island, so you can spend a few peaceful days there.

16. Cabaret Show

Visiting a cabaret show is another entertainment option on Koh Samui. In Thailand, you’ll see many ladyboys, who are essentially considered the third gender in Thai society, comparable to drag shows in Germany. When you stroll along Chaweng Beach Road in the evening, you’ll already see many of the performers distributing flyers and inviting visitors to their show.

In these shows, famous songs are performed as acts, but there are also choreographies to traditional Thai songs. On Chaweng Beach Road, you can find Divas Cabaret, which offers two family-friendly shows each evening. One at 8.30 PM and another at 9.30 PM. Admission is free, but the drinks have higher prices, which helps support the cabaret.

Tip: If you don’t want to discover Koh Samui by scooter, but still individually, you will find many interesting excursion options at Get Your Guide. Here you will also find another overview of interesting tours on Koh Samui.

Plan your trip to Koh Samui now

Koh Samui: Tours and Tickets

Do you prefer to travel with a guide who knows the area very well? Then we recommend a guided tour with a local. This way you can get to know Koh Samui in a completely different way. GetYourGuide offers a wide selection of exciting tours for Koh Samui.

Have you already been to Koh Samui? Did you like the island? Are there some more activities we should add to this list? Just leave us a comment right now. We’re always happy to hear your opinion!


Hi, I'm Tobi, a passionate travel blogger and freelancer in translations and copy writing. Mostly I travel around Southeast Asia and work remotely from different locations. If you want to know where I am or what I'm doing, just follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.