Top 12 Fun Things to Do in Koh Samui, Thailand for An Unforgettable Trip

Top 12 Fun Things to Do in Koh Samui, Thailand

From beach spas to adventure sports, Koh Samui has it all!

Already seen all of Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai? Fly to Koh Samui to explore the myriad wonders this hidden gem has to offer! Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand and located off the kingdom’s east coast. Boasting pristine beaches, majestic waterfalls, and historic Buddhist temples, the island is a dream destination for avid travellers. Read on to discover the best things to do in Koh Samui!  

Also read: 15 Unique Airbnbs in Thailand — From Beachside to Mountain Getaways!

1. Chill out on Chaweng and Lamai Beach

Chaweng Beach | Image credit: Hajime Nakano

Chaweng Beach and Lamai Beach are the two most popular beaches in Koh Samui. With kilometres of pure, white sand, turquoise waters, and stunning boulders, it’s easy to see why they are so beloved. 

Some resorts along Chaweng Beach rent out sun loungers and umbrellas to non-staying guests. As the island’s most visited beach, Chaweng is frequented by vendors selling everything from ice cream to henna tattoos. 

Lamai Beach | Image credit: jibe7

Lamai Beach holds attractions similar to those of Chaweng Beach. The waters in the middle of the beach are deep and ideal for water sports. Visitors with small children should head to the northern side which has calm, shallow waters. 

2. See the Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks

Image credit: Thailand Tourism

Hin Ta and Hin Yai are a pair of rocks shaped like male and female genitalia found on the southern end of Lamai Beach. These curious rocks are the subject of a local legend. According to myth, an old couple wanted to marry their son to the daughter of a man in a neighbouring province. While sailing there, their boat capsized in a storm. The drowned couple turned into these rocks to prove their sincerity to the girl’s parents. 

Apart from these unusual rocks, visitors can appreciate the scenic coastline. The Muslim fishing village of Hua Thanon is nearby, and worth a visit for those who want to see the idyllic side of Koh Samui. 

Also read: 10 Best Islands in Thailand for a Beach Getaway

3. Visit the Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai)

things to do in koh samui

Image credit: bloodua via Canva Pro

The Big Buddha Temple or Wat Phra Yai is situated on a small isle known as Koh Fan, which is connected to the main island by a causeway. 12m-tall and seated, the Big Buddha statue depicts a scene of enlightenment. Leading up to the statue is a magnificent dragon staircase with intricate details. 

If you visit in the early morning, you can see locals bringing offerings and hear the chants of monks. Since the temple is a religious site, remember to dress modestly. What’s better? The entrance to the temple is free! 

Also read: 10 Best Destinations in Thailand for Culture and History

4. Kayak and snorkel at Ang Thong Marine National Park

things to do in koh samui

Image credit: 35007 via Canva Pro

Ang Thong Marine National Park is an archipelago of 42 unspoiled islands famed for its emerald waters, dense rainforest, and limestone rock formations. Tour this nature paradise by kayak to get up close with limestone sea caves and secluded lagoons. 

Most day tours to the park provide kayaking and snorkelling equipment, roundtrip transfer, and food. Dive underwater to meet species such as green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, and yellow-spotted trevallies. The best visibility for snorkelling is from March to April. 

5. Shop at night markets

things to do in koh samui

Fisherman’s Village Walking Street Market | Image credit: Vla di Marque

What would a Thailand trip be without night markets? Like Bangkok, Phuket, and other Thai destinations, Koh Samui comes alive with buzzing bazaars after dark. 

The must-see Koh Samui night market is in Bophut Beach Fisherman’s Village. Fishermen no longer live in this area but their rustic wooden houses still stand. Every Friday, the village hosts the Fisherman’s Village Walking Street Market, drawing shoppers with a dizzying array of goods and vibrant atmosphere. 

You can find rare products here such as musical instruments, local handicrafts, and quality fabrics. Lucky visitors may catch muay thai and Thai dance performances on the street. 

Image credit: Goh Rhy Yan

Other night markets in Koh Samui include the Lamai Night Market and Chaweng Night Market. In these markets, you can get souvenirs, food, clothes, and electronic goods. Don’t feel shy to haggle, but do so politely. If you know how to bargain, shopping at these markets is one of the best cheap things to do in Koh Samui. 

Also read: Thai Street Food Guide: 12 Best Things to Eat & What to Expect

6. Marvel at the Na Muang Waterfalls

cheap things to do in koh samui

Image credit: T_o_m_o via Canva Pro

Na Muang Waterfall is actually two waterfalls in one: Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2. Both are accessible by foot from a car park roughly 12km from Nathon Bay. Na Muang 1 has a crystal-clear pool at its bottom that you can swim and play in. 

Located 30 minutes walk from Na Muang 1, Na Muang 2 is quieter and a great place for photoshoots. The pool here is smaller but just as beautiful. Soak in Na Muang 2’s waterfall pool to enjoy sweeping views of the jungle and the refreshing sound of birdsong. 

7. Pamper yourself at a spa

Yes, there are spas everywhere along Koh Samui’s beaches but the best services are found at dedicated spa facilities. On a rainy day, treat yourself to luxurious Thai massages, facials, dipping pools, and body wraps. At Tamarind Springs, Samui’s first dedicated day spa, guests can look forward to dipping in serene rock pools, getting a stone massage, and trying organic Southern Thai cuisine at the spa’s cafe. 

Eranda Spa is another outstanding place to get some pampering. Touting themselves as a “spa with a view”, Eranda offers massages in thatched roof huts surrounded by forest and cascading waterfalls.    

8. Attend a Thai cooking class

Thai food is loved all over the world for its zesty flavours and spice. Go one step beyond sampling your favourite Thai dishes and learn to make some of them yourself. Tour operators in Koh Samui run Thai cooking classes for visitors that will let you immerse in this fascinating culinary culture. 

Island Organics is a farm-to-table Thai cooking school housed on an organic farm. Students will follow Chef Lat on a tour of the school’s organic farm before whipping up tasty pad thai, yellow curry prawns, and other dishes in the kitchen. 

At Smiley Cook, you can tour a local market with Chef Bung and Monk to learn about Thai herbs and spices. After the market tour, you’ll be taught to prepare four Thai dishes of your choice. The kitchen is a sheltered area in a garden, allowing you to get close to nature while cooking up a feast. 

9. Find inner peace at the Secret Buddha Garden

The Secret Buddha Garden is called ‘secret’ for a reason. This tranquil landscape garden is only accessible via a 4×4 ride up Khun Nim Peak. To visit the site, join a day tour or rent your own 4×4 vehicle. Once you get there, you’ll be rewarded by numerous statues of Buddha, angels, and animals bringing to life scenes from Buddhist mythology. The sculpture garden is tucked away in verdant forest, making it one of more unique things to do in Koh Samui. 

Also known as Tarnim Magic Garden and Heaven’s Garden, this site is the private project of a retired durian farmer named Khun Nim Thongsuk who began building it in 1976, at the age of 77. He continued working on the garden until his death at the age of 91. Visitors will feel the devotion behind his work through the exquisite statues on display.  

10. Watch a Muay Thai match

Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport and a quintessential experience for any visitor to the kingdom. The fervour for Muay Thai is just as strong in Koh Samui as in other major Thai destinations. Catch a Muay Thai match at the island’s three biggest stadiums: Chaweng Stadium, Phetch Buncha Stadium, and International Samui Stadium

The electric atmosphere of traditional Thai music and the adrenaline-pumping fights will give you a night to remember. If you’re up for it, join a Muay Thai class at one of the island’s world-class gyms. Gyms here offer classes for all levels, so don’t feel intimidated as a beginner. 

11. Pay respects to a mummified monk

Image credit: Sergey

Wat Khunaram is the site of one of the most unique things to do in Koh Samui. In this temple, you will find the mummified body of a monk, Luong Pordaeng, who died in 1973 at the age of 79 in a meditative position. Stored in a glass case, the body reminds people to reflect on Buddha’s teachings. 

The mummified body has been miraculously preserved, save for the decomposing eyes, which are covered by sunglasses. It is believed that the monk’s healthy diet and meditation contributed to his body’s preservation. 

12. Zipline through the jungle

End your Koh Samui trip with a bang by ziplining through the jungle. There are various zipline operators to choose from. Tree Bridge Zipline lets you soar above the rainforest and take in ocean views from the mountain. The zipline agency also runs an IG-worthy mountain-top cafe where you can cool off after your adventure. 

Looking for an all-inclusive zipline experience? Lamai Viewpoint runs package tours where guests can go on a cable car ride, a zipline, and soak their feet in a fish spa in one fun-filled day. After the tour, you can unwind at their al fresco cafe and restaurant. There, you can take in breathtaking mountain and ocean views over a cup of coffee. 

Also read: A 3D2N Guide to Koh Samui’s Marine Parks, Natural Wonders & More

That’s all for our list of top things to do in Koh Samui. From mouthwatering delicacies to thrilling activities, this island has it all! The best part is that most of these activities are very budget-friendly too! Getting from Bangkok to Koh Samui is as simple as hopping on a one-hour flight, so what are you waiting for? Save this incredible island for your next escape and get planning! 

Brought to you by Tourism Authority of Thailand

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Joyce Lee
Joyce Lee

Joyce is an aspiring writer who lives on black coffee and Netflix. In her free time, she reads, goes for long walks at sunset, and dreams of faraway places.