Koh Samui has long been a popular destination for getaways with friends and family. It ticks off all the right boxes- charming beach towns, unspoilt nature, plenty of dining and lifestyle venues and a wide selection of activities and attractions. If you’re still in the process of planning your itinerary, check out our guide about things to do in Koh Samui below. We’ll share about the 10 things you can’t miss out on during your stay, along with our favourite local haunts. Let’s begin!
1. Enjoy Samui’s postcard-perfect beaches
Blessed with a plethora of beaches, Samui offers something for every beach-goer on the island. The hotspots in town are the beaches of Chaweng and Lamai; these two are places where party-goers gravitate towards.
For a vibrant, family-friendly atmosphere, our favourite spots are Mae Nam Beach, Bophut Beach or Choeng Mon Beach – all three boast a postcard-pretty setting, are lively yet not overly crowded and offer a wide range of dining and local amenities. And if you’re looking to escape the crowds, you’ll enjoy the serenity of Thong Krut Beach or Lipa Noi Beach.
2. Explore the best natural attractions in Koh Samui
Bask in the beauty of nature! There are cascading waterfalls, offshore islands, jungle treks and sparkling lakes to discover.
- Na Muang Waterfall – There are two Na Muang Waterfalls in Samui. The first, Na Muang 1 is smaller and the more easily accessible attraction of the two – it takes a quick walk into the jungle from the car park to reach the waterfall. The second, Na Muang 2 requires about a 30-minute trek from Na Muang 1 to arrive at the attraction.
- Hin Lad Waterfall – It takes a 30 to 40-minute hike through a dense jungle path to arrive at Hin Lad Waterfall. The attraction is best visited during the rainy season, where it is at the peak of its beauty. Just before the trail, stop by for a quick visit at the Hin Lad Waterfall Temple to take in its scenic garden and serenity.
- Angthong National Marine Park – An archipelago of 42 islands, the Angthong National Marine Park is a popular destination offering myriad activities and world-renowned attractions, such as the Emerald Lake and Wua Ta Lap Island. Day-trippers come to enjoy the beaches, go island hopping, swim and snorkel.
Related: When is the best time to visit Koh Samui for your favourite activities?
3. Discover Koh Samui’s must-see cultural attractions
Beautifully constructed temples aside, Samui is also home to fascinating cultural centres and attractions. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Big Buddha – If you had to visit just one temple in Samui, make it the Big Buddha. Also known as Wat Phra Yai, it’s the island’s landmark attraction. While it’s known for its golden 12-metre seated Buddha statue, the attraction offers much more – take a stroll across the compound to take in the colourful architecture, or ascend to the viewing platform at the top for breathtaking vistas over the island.
- Wat Plai Laem – A striking 18-arm Guanyin statue, a temple design fusing together Thai and Chinese elements and colourful images are just some of the highlights of Wat Plai Laem. Combine your visit here with a trip to the Big Buddha; both attractions are located within a five-minute drive of each other.
- Secret Buddha Garden – The Secret Buddha Garden is a private sculpture park located in a tucked-away setting atop Khun Nim Peak. Come here to view the fascinating collection of statues, as well as to enjoy the serene ambience and hilltop vistas.
4. Take in sweeping vistas from a viewpoint
Samui has no lack of viewpoints where you can enjoy stunning panoramas over the island and capture postcard-pretty images. Here are some of our go-to spots for unbeatable views:
- Lad Koh Viewpoint – Lad Koh Viewpoint is a great spot to visit for uninterrupted panoramas over Chaweng Beach, but do note that it can get crowded as it’s popular with travellers and tour groups.
- Lamai Viewpoint – Lamai Viewpoint offers amazing photo-taking opportunities. There’s a hilltop bar to enjoy the views and take a break after the climb up to the summit, as well as natural attractions and a zip line.
- Maenam Viewpoint – It’s a fairly easy and short hike up the trail leading to the summit of Maenam Viewpoint, but proper shoes are recommended as the sand can get slippery at certain spots. You’ll enjoy vistas out to the coastline and the Big Buddha.
5. Explore a walking street
Samui’s walking streets are abuzz with activity and energy; you’ll find street food stalls, mobile cocktail bars, live music, performances and shopping stalls selling just about anything – from local wines, to aromatic oils and Thai silks. It offers a great family experience and a way for vacationers to discover the local food and culture.
- Fisherman’s Village Walking Street – 38/2 Moo 1 Bophut Fisherman’s Village. Open Fri 5pm – 11pm.
- Mae Nam Walking Street – Mae Nam town centre. Open Thu 5pm – 11pm.
- Chaweng Walking Street – Chaweng Beach Road. Open 5pm – 10pm daily.
- Nathon Walking Street – Nathon Road, Ang Thong. Open Sat 5pm – 11pm.
6. Sweat it out in a fun-filled sports activity
Sweat it out in a Muay Thai session at Yodyut Muaythai Gym, a facility that offers modern amenities, a spacious, airy setting and excellent trainers. Group and private training sessions are available for both adults and kids.
Looking for an outdoor game you can play with friends and family? Here’s where disc golf comes into the picture. Think of it as playing frisbee while completing a round of a golf course – you’ll throw a disc through a series of baskets on an outdoor course, with the goal of completing the golf in a few throws as possible. At Laem Sor Disc Golf, you’ll enjoy playing at a scenic course that stretches out towards the beach.
- Yodyut Muaythai Gym, 76 / 77 Moo 5, Choeng Mon, Bophut, p. +66 90 797 4940. Open Mon – Sat 8am – 8pm. Closed on Sun.
- Laem Sor Disc Golf, 25/4 Moo 4, Tambon Na Mueang, Koh Samui, p. +66 81 007 8921. Open 9am – 11pm daily.
7. Discover yoga and alternative healing therapies at a yoga studio
Stretching it out on a yoga mat is just what the doctor ordered; by the end of the session, you’ll leave your mat feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. And if you feel inclined to try out alternative healing therapies, the yoga studios we’re sharing about below also offer a wide range of treatments.
- The Yogarden Samui – Located in Fisherman’s Village, Bophut, The Yogarden Samui is cosy and serene. You’ll find open-air yoga pavilions surrounded by lush foliage, and an on-site cafe serving up smoothies, juices and healthy cafe fare. There are a wide variety of classes and therapies here, including yoga (kids yoga classes are available too), meditation, Zumba, massages, facials and Reiki sessions. 7/8 Moo 1, Laan Thong Road, Fisherman’s Village, Koh Samui, p. +66 85 790 3409. Open Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm, Sat 9am – 1pm. Closed on Sun.
- Yoga House & Spa – Located in Lamai, Yoga House & Spa offers a range of yoga and meditation classes, along with spa treatments and healing therapies such as acupuncture, Reiki and sound healing sessions. 145/1 Moo 4, Maret, Lamai, Koh Samui, p. +66 82 427 1284. Open Mon – Sat 9am – 7pm. Closed on Sun.
8. Indulge in a spa treatment
Get ready for blissful pampering at some of the best spas on the island, where you’ll enjoy nothing less than top-of-the-line service and amenities. If you’re staying in one of our Samui villas, you’ll also have the option of enjoying in-villa spa sessions – just let your villa manager know!
- Anantara Spa – Anantara Spa is the perfect option for a day of personal pampering; you’ll get to enjoy picturesque water gardens, alfresco tubs and award-winning Elemis spa products. Choose from the spa’s incredible-sounding treatments like the ‘Coconut Dream’, an ancient Thai treatment. 99/9 Bophut Bay, Koh Samui, +66 77 428 300 ext. 1801. Open 10am – 10pm daily.
- Baan Thai Spa – Baan Thai Spa is nestled in a prime hilltop venue within the InterContinental Samui. The venue is immaculately furnished, featuring Thai-style decor and a luxurious, wood-clad setting. The service is top-notch, and treatments range from massages to body exfoliation, masks, herbal steams and facials. 295 Moo 3, InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort, Koh Samui, p. +66 77 429 100. Open
- Tamarind Springs Forest Spa – With beautifully landscaped grounds and abundant greenery, Tamarind Springs is a day spa that leaves vacationers feeling deeply relaxed and connected with nature. The spa menu lists a selection of massages and facials. Facilities include herbal steam caves and rock plunge pools. 205/7 Moo 4, Maret, Koh Samui, p. +66 80 569 6654. Open 9am – 8pm daily.
9. Join in a cooking lesson or cocktail masterclass
Beyond learning how to whip up your favourite local dishes, a Thai cooking class is also a great way to discover more about the Thai culture and tradition, as well as to meet fellow travellers. And while you’re at it, why not learn how to mix up a cocktail or two too?
- InFusion Cooking Classes – InFusion is a great bet for villa vacationers in North Samui looking to try their hand at Thai cooking. The classes are suitable for participants across ages and include a tour of the on-site organic garden or local markets. InFusion also offers walking food tours. 149 Moo 1, Soi Khao Phra, Cabana House, Bophut, Koh Samui, p. +66 9 37 84 89 76. Open Mon – Fri 7.30 am – 2.30 pm & 5pm – 7pm, Sat 7.30am – 7.30pm. Closed on Sun.
- Island Organics – Classes at Island Organics are a fun-filled an education experience. Taking place in a well-appointed kitchen, you’ll learn to make ingredients like coconut cream and milk from scratch. Beyond cooking, chef Lat also shares her knowledge on eco-garden topics and takes participants on a tour of the on-site eco-garden. 24/1 Moo 4, Chaweng, Bophut, p. +66 89 731 6814. Open Mon – Fri 10am – 3pm. Closed on Sat & Sun.
- Hemingway’s on the Beach Cooking School – This popular beachfront restaurant in South Samui also offers cooking classes. Attendance is capped at a maximum of four participants per class to ensure that everyone gets personal attention from the chef. 79/1 Moo 5 Baan Taling Ngam, Hemingway’s Restaurant, Thong Krut, p. +66 88 452 4433. Open Thu – Tue 10.30am – 12pm.
- Crafty Cocktail Company – Crafty Cocktail specialises in pop up bars and cocktail masterclasses. The latter is conducted in a well-equipped Masterclass lab down at the Crafty HQ in Bophut. Stay on after the Masterclass to sip cocktails at the venue’s speakeasy cocktail bar. 239 Moo 6 Bophut, Koh Samui, p. +66 87 883 8459.
10. Dig into a decadent brunch spread at a beach club
Lazy brunches are all the more enjoyable when accompanied by extensive sea views. Here are a couple of our favourite Sunday brunch spots:
- Nikki Beach Club – Don’t miss out on Sunday brunch at Nikki Beach Club: there’s a live DJ, you’ll enjoy the beach club’s ultra-chic setting and feast on a delectable spread. We can’t say enough about the food, which ranges from the usual brunch items (waffles, omelette, made-to-order crêpes) to Wagyu beef sliders, deviled eggs, beer can chicken and more. 96/3 Moo 2, Lipa Noi, Ko Samui, p. +66 77 914 500. Open 8am – 1am daily.
- Beach Republic Ocean Club – Beach Republic offers spacious daybeds, private cabanas, infinity pools, great cocktails, live performances and entertainment for kids during its weekly Sunday Brunch Club. ‘Nuff said. 176/34 Moo 4, Tambon Maret, Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, p. +66 77 458 100.