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Koh Samui

Attractions > South > Koh Samui
 

Attractions in Koh Samui in Thailand

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Koh Samui is Thailand's third largest island at 247 sq.km., and during the last decade it has become one of Southeast Asia's premier tourist destinations.

Samui sits snugly in the Gulf of Thailand, surrounded by other island gems like Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao, and is located 84 km. east of Surat Thani, the provincial capital on the mainland. With soft sandy beaches shaded by towering palms, delicious fresh seafood and a vibrant nightlife, Samui has a magical formula that seems to cast its spell on everyone. Many visitors are content to laze their days away on the beach, soaking up the sun and cooling off in the turquoise waters, but for action enthusiasts there are plenty of choices like diving and snorkeling, windsurfing and paragliding, beach volleyball, off-road driving, and other similar activities.

One of the island's most appealing features is the loop road, which makes a 50 km. circuit around the island, giving a glimpse of superb beaches on the north, east and west coasts. It runs past sleepy fishing villages and through seas of coconut palms, passing Samui's most impressive waterfall and tempting turn-offs into the highlands along the way. Other attractions on or near the road include a butterfly garden, a snake show, a monkey training centre, and health spas dedicated to pampering the body.

There is plenty on Samui to keep even the most jaded traveler happy for a week or two, but for anyone spending even a few days here, an opportunity not to be missed is a trip to the emerald islands of the Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park, which offers another perspective of a tropical paradise.

Hat Chaweng

 

Hat Chaweng

 

Hat Lamai

 

Hat Lamai

 

Wat Phra Yai

 

Namtok Tat Fa

 

Hin Ta and Hin Yai

 

Na Thon

 

Monkey Training

 

Koh Samui

 

Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park

 

Hat Rin, Koh Pha–ngan

 

Koh Samui

 

Ao Muang, Koh Tao

 

Koh Tao

 

Cruising in the Gulf

 

Koh Nang Yuan

 

Beaches in Koh Samui

Hat Chaweng

Situated on Samui's east coast, this is the island's longest and most beautiful beach, a 6-km. strip of powder-soft sand fronted by crystal-clear water. At Hat Chaweng, there is plenty of accommodation, ranging from five-star resorts to simple bamboo bungalows. In the day time, Hat Chaweng is the centre for water sports such as windsurfing and jet-skiing and also a great social scene at night, when the dance clubs pulsate to the latest rhythms.

Hat Chaweng

 

Hat Lamai

Also on the east coast, just south of Hat Chaweng, the playful waters of Hat Lamai always attracts surfers, as they run a little deeper than any other beaches in Koh Samui. Behind the beach are several spas where visitors can treat themselves to an herbal sauna, a relaxing Thai massage, or even a mud facial.

Hat Lamai

 

Hat Maenam, Hat Bophut and Hat Bang Rak

These are all located along the north coast, and are ideal places for those who want to get away from it all. Bang Rak is often called "Rig Buddha Beach" because of the huge Buddha image at the eastern end of the beach (particularly impressive at sunset.)

Hat Bang Rak

 

South and West Coast Beaches

On the south and west coasts are very isolated beaches not linked by the island's ring road, yet access is easy enough for those in search of tranquility. At Laem Set in the south, the sea is too shallow for swimming. However, the huge smooth boulders on the beach and the coconut palms leaning over at impossible angles make it look spectacular. In the island's southwest, Hat Taling Ngam may not be quite as perfect as Hat Chaweng, but has a long strip of sand that is often deserted and makes an ideal spot for a beach ramble. At the northern end of the bay, the luxurious Ban Taling Ngam Resort has several swimming pools and villas set on a hill with great views of the beach.

 

Sports in Koh Samui

With such clear waters and an abundance of marine life, water sports are very popular On Samui, and the hottest one is diving. Around a dozen dive companies based on the island offer a chance for experienced divers to join them and for beginners to learn how to dive, which can be arranged through the hotels and bungalows. If diving sounds too challenging, then snorkeling is your second choice. Join a trip to one of the nearby coral reefs, put on a mask, a snorkel and fins, then go floating above the reefs and discover colourful fish. For those who would rather keep their head above water, then maybe sea kayaking is the sport for them. Once they have mastered how to propel this small light craft, they can explore the shoreline in perfect peace. For more thrills try windsurfing, jet-skiing or paragliding, and feel the tropical breeze. For those who are watershy, just hang around the beach in the evening and join in one of the spontaneous games of beach volleyball, or even Takro, a traditional Thai take on the game, using feet, elbows and shoulders. If exploring the island's interior sounds like fun, hire a 4WD vehicle and try off-road driving on the bumpy trails leading to the highlands.

 

Other attractions in Koh Samui

Hin Ta and Hin Yai

Meaning "Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks", these unusual rock formations were named after their similarity to sexual organs, and they are located at the south end of Hat Lamai. The site is one of Koh Samui's most photographed features.

Namtok Na Mueang

There are two levels to this attractive waterfall, which tumbles down out of the highlands. The nearest one to the road has about a 20-metre drop and a refreshing pool for relaxing. A steep side road leads to the higher level, which is even more impressive. Here, elephant treks are also possible.

Na Thon

This is the island's main town and port, situated on the west coast, and is constantly bustling with visitors arriving and departing. This is the place to go shopping for beach gear, extending visas or just watch the goings-on at the port from a street cafe.

Samui Butterfly Garden

Set on a gentle slope in the southeast corner of the island, the garden contains a wide range of bright and unusual flowers. Up in the air flit hundreds of butterflies, creating a captivating environment beneath meshed nets. There is also a display of insects, moths and some beehives.

Snake Shows

For anyone fascinated by snakes, a visit to one of the island's snake shows is a must. The fearless handlers play with deadly species, and offer visitors the chance to get up close and touch their slithery skin.

Monkey Shows

The monkeys' famed ability as coconut collectors once formed the basis of Samui's economy. During the performance, all their skills are shown to ludicrous effect.

 

Shopping in Koh Samui

There are plenty of shops behind Hat Chaweng where visitors can buy beachwear, and tailors will measure them and make up a suit or dress while they are relaxing on the beach. For those looking for souvenirs, there are so many options, ranging from colourful carved soaps to chopsticks and coasters made from local coconut wood. There are also several an shops selling reproductions of famous works of art at very reasonable prices.

 

Nearby Samui island

Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park

Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park

Situated about 35 km. west of Koh Samui, this archipelago of 42 islands fits everyone's image of a tropical paradise, with huge limestone rocks covered in virgin rainforest rising out of the aquamarine waters. Most people come here for a day trip tour from Koh Samui, which is easy to organise. There is a fantastic viewpoint on Koh Wua Talap, just above the park headquarters, looking out over the uninhabited, pristine islands. Trips around the park usually include a visit to a delightful concealed lagoon on Koh Mae Ko, as well as the opportunity to paddle a sea kayak around the strange limestone formations.

For more information, contact the National Park,
Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department
Tel. 0 2562 0760 or Mu Ko Angthong National Marine Park
Tel. 0 7728 6025, 0 7728 6588, 0 7728 0222.
Website: www.dnp.go.th

 

Koh Pha-ngan

Hat Rin, Koh Pha–ngan

Just 20 km. north of Koh Samui and a short boat trip away, Koh Pha-ngan is a mountainous island ringed by secluded bays that offer ideal getaways. Its only town of any size, Thong Sala, has a bank, a post office, supermarket and shops selling beach equipment and souvenirs. Many of its beautiful beaches are accessible only by boat, though pick-up trucks and motorbikes also ply the island's rough roads. Its most famous beach is Hat Rin, in the southeast corner of the island, which is the location for the world-famous full moon parties that attract thousands of visitors each month to dance the night away on the beach. The island's most picturesque beach is Thong Nai Pan, a double bay in the northeast of the island, which has good swimming and snorkeling, as well as the island's most comfortable accommodation. A little south of Thong Nai Pan is Than Sadet, the island's most impressive waterfall, which was once King Chulalongkorn's favourite place .

 

Koh Tao

Koh Tao

"Tao" means turtle, and the island is named for its shape when seen from out in the waters of the Gulf. Smaller than Samui and Pha-ngan, Koh Tao lies about 40 km. northwest of Koh Pha-ngan, and is also easily accessible from Chumphon. The island is particularly popular among divers, and has a reputation for some of the most exciting underwater excursions in the entire Gulf. Several dive companies based at Mae Hat, the island's only town, can arrange underwater excursions for beginners and experienced divers. There are many peaceful and idyllic beaches on the island such as Hat Sai Ri, the island's longest beach on its west coast, Hat Chalok Ban Kao and Hat Sai Daeng on the south coast. There is also a unique geological phenomenon at Koh Nang Yuan, a tiny cluster of islets just off the northwest coast of Koh Tao, where stunning causeways of sand join the islands, offering visitors the choice of two seas to swim in.

 

Accommodation in Koh Samui

Koh Samui has a variety of hotels and guesthouses to suit all budgets, ranging from luxurious five-star hotels to simple bamboo bungalows on the beach. Koh Pha-ngan and Koh Tao also have many attractive places to stay. For further information, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Samui Tourism Coordination Centre Tel. 0 7742 0504 or 0 7742 0720-2.

 

 

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