Koh Samui is nestled in the eastern part of the Thailand. It is easily accessible from the capital by a 40 minute flight or by an overnight bus combined with a ferry. Nestled in the Gulf of Thailand the weather in Samui is pleasant all year around. Along with the nearby islands of Koh Tao and Koh Phrangan, the trio is a tourism hotspots all round the year. Samui is world famous for its full moon parties.
The most happening places in Samui is Chaweng beach when all the party sets in after sundown. It main street is home to innumerable bars, cafeterias and pubs (what about Green Mango!!) where parties go on from dusk to dawn. Bophut, Lamai and Maenam are other popular beaches across the island. The best and the easiest way to travel across the island is to hire a scooter or a bike. A scooter can be rented at a mere 200 Baht a day with a deposit of ID card/ Passport. It can be arranged very easily from the hotel or any nearby shop.
Here is the top tripping points around the island:
1. Chaweng beach and around- Chaweng the most happening place on the island. This is where the party goes on from dusk to dawn. It a paradise for foodies, shopaholics, drinkers and lovers of music. The beach is happening and full of tourist all throughout the year. So just get in and soak the sun.
2. Drive from Chaweng to Lamai– The beach roads heads up south through the relatively peaceful southern part of the island. There are numerous viewpoints across the road to glance at the blue sea. It is always advisable to taste local cuisine in one of the many street shops run by locals. The prices are mostly reasonable. Pad Thai with shrimps @ 50 Baht is always a good deal I feel. We hopped in at one of the street side food joints and had a good friendly interaction with the owner and their family.
3. Hin Ta and Hin Yai– They are a set of rock formations along the Lamai beach on the way to Lamai. It is a good place to hang out in the later part of the day.
4.Hike to the Na Muang waterfall– While on the way south visiting the waterfall is one major attraction in Samui. It is situated inside the Na Muang Safari Park. A 2 km trek through the forest trail is surely a worthy break from the water world. Elephant joyrides are also available to enjoy. Its better to start early in the day and enjoy a dip in fresh waters.
5. Drive to Bophut– The northern part of the island houses one of the major attractions of Samui. A 4 km drive from Chaweng beach takes you to Bophut region. This is home to the fisheries of the island. A walk along the fishing villages is surely an interesting one if you are not a vegan. Early morning and later in the day the fishing boats are lined along the pier here. Ps- Be prepared for the smell of raw fish all day long.
6. Big Buddha temple– One of the major attractions of the island is the iconic Big Buddha locally known as Wat Phra Yai. The 12 meter long statue sits on a small rocky island on the north east corner of Samui and is visible from a long distance. The Buddha statue here is in ‘Mara position’ which signifies enlightenment and restrain. A panoramic view of the Bophut region from the top of the cliff is one to crave for. It’s best to visit the temple in the later part of the day to experience the sunset from its shores. There are several shops making interesting statues and show piece from iron scrapes. Do stay alert for a flight landing on the Samui airport which is just next to the beach.
5. Night markets are a must visit in Koh Samui. We visited one in the Bophut region on our way back. The food is cheap, cheap drinks and live music are always on roll. I bought a Manchester United 2016 jersey for 200 Baht. Now that’s what I think is a fair deal. The food in the market ranges from Pad Thai, grilled non vegetarian items to sushi etc etc- the list is endless. On which grabbed my attention was a flavoured ice cream wrap being made live on one of the counters. I am coming up with a video of the night market very soon !!
Go snorkelling and scuba diving– The water around the northern part of the island is home to the best marine life one could expect for. Day trips for snorkelling and scuba diving are conducted from the innumerable tour companies in the island. Prices range from 1000-3000 Baht. Best dive sites are near Koh Tao and Ang Thong Marine National Park in the northern part of the island. Link here
Koh Tao is a small island north of Koh Samui. It is one of the cheapest places where one can get a PADI certified diving course.
How to Reach-
- Regular flights are available from Bangkok, Phuket at a heavy price.
- Samui is well connected by road and boat combo. A bus and boat combo usually includes a drop to the hotel at Samui (Price- within 1000 Baht). Regular busses are available from Bangkok in the evening. Most start from Khao San Road. Journey takes 10-12 hours including a 45 minute ferry ride. Make sure to check whether a drop to you hotel at Koh Samui is included in the ticket.
- Trains are available from Bangkok to Suratthani from where connecting bus is available to the pier.