The island of Koh Samui is interesting primarily for beach holidays, and they have all of its three dozen beaches. If you objectively look at the nature of the island, then the first thing that catches your eye is simplicity. There is nothing to call «awesome», «mind-blowing» or «I have never seen anything like this in my life». The center of Koh Samui is high hills and mountains overgrown with jungle. All this is surrounded by endless beaches, well, and in the mountains in some places there are beautiful places where streams fall from stones and they are called waterfalls. So Samui residents had to attend to the construction of artificial sights, and here there is already something to see on Samui, even for a sophisticated tourist. Below I tried to compile some TOP of the most-most, or as our colleagues in England say - «must see» places and attractions of Koh Samui.
The content of the article
- one Excursions on Koh Samui
- 2 What to see on Koh Samui
- 2.1 Namuang Falls and Safari Park
- 2.2 Rocks Grandmother and Grandfather (Hin Ta & Hin Yai)
- 2.3 Khin Lad waterfall
- 2.4 Guan Yu Chinese Sanctuary
- 2.5 Angthong Marine park
- 2.6 Magic Garden - Magic Garden
- 2.7 Mummified monks
- 2.8 Paradise park
- 2.9 Fisherman’s Village - Fishing Village on Bophut
- 2.10 Big Buddha - Big Buddha
- 2.11 Plai Laem temple complex - Wat Plai Laem
- 2.12 Red Temple and Serpent Stone Pagoda
- 2.13 Khao Hua Chook Chedi Pagoda
- 2.14 Viewpoints Samui
- 2.15 Samui Aquarium And Tiger Zoo - Zoo and aquarium
- 2.16 Standing Buddha in the Lamai Mountains
- 2.17 Lam So Pagoda and Rattanakosin Pagoda
- 3 Attractions Map
Excursions on Koh Samui
Knowing the skeptical attitude of our person to paid services abroad, I assume that a bunch of people in pursuit of a penny spoil their unfortunate two weeks of vacation in an attempt to save money. It's good if you are okay with your driving skills and you can rent a cheap scooter for two - I myself am. But if you do not know how to drive, if you want to be in time more for the time allotted by the vacation schedule, then take excursions, this simplifies everything for you. They take you to the most popular places, help you in case of incomprehensible situations, and all connections and key points for visiting are verified by the time and experience of the office. That is, you will not climb into the grotto before the tide starts, for example.
Guided tours are sold on every corner, including at the hotel reception. The only caveat is that you need to find out if there will be a Russian-speaking guide. This is relevant in cases where the excursion involves some kind of story, in other cases the excursion will essentially be a transfer and what language the guide will speak is no longer important, since then his task will only include bringing you on the spot and picking you back.
What to see on Koh Samui
Namuang Falls and Safari Park
Two waterfalls, Namuang-1 and Namuang-2, belong to the same river, but they are fundamentally different in appearance. The lower waterfall, Namuang-1, is an almost sheer rock about 20 meters high, from which water falls into a beautiful font, like in a movie (you can swim). And the upper waterfall, Namuang-2, is a sloping wall along which water smoothly, breaking into dozens of streams, flows down to Namuang first. You can also swim here, although all decent places are located above the tourist trail, but this will not stop you? Just keep in mind that the most spectacular period for waterfalls on Koh Samui is September-October and the end of January-February. In all other months, either masses of yellow rainwater are waiting for you, or vice versa - the waterfalls will dry up from the heat. I wrote more about waterfalls in the post. «Waterfall Namuang 2 and Namuang 1 and how to get there».
Rocks Grandmother and Grandfather (Hin Ta & Hin Yai)
One of the most famous attractions in Koh Samui, although it is slightly scabrous in nature. On the outskirts of Lamai, there is a section of the coast where the waves washed out a group of boulders of different sizes, one of which looks like a phallus, and the second - well, in general, it has a pair of boulders. Tourists like such things very much, it is enough to remember at least the Leaning Tower of Pisa and pictures of visitors. Hin Ta Hin Yai translated from Thai means Grandmother and Grandfather, now you know why. The place is very beautiful, authentic, but extremely crowded and the best time to visit is in the morning. Why I think so - see the article «Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks on Koh Samui - Observation Deck and Stone Dick».
Khin Lad waterfall
Khin Lad is a waterfall, which is located two kilometers from the main road, and there is no convenient path with railings to it. A full-fledged trekking awaits you for an hour and a half, so do not come here in slippers and summer dresses. Only sandals, and better in jeans and closed clothes - whatever one may say, but this is the wild jungle. But at the end you will find a rare bonus on Koh Samui - a forgotten corner with a small waterfall and a font. For two kilometers around - not a soul, only birds and cicadas. The water is clean, there are no farms or dirty farms upstream of the river, like on Namuang-1, where elephant turd from the Namuang-2 elephant farm can always come. Read more about Hin Lada here - Hin Lad waterfall on Koh Samui: path through the jungle + secret place
Guan Yu Chinese Sanctuary
The building was large-scale and promising, it was built for several years, and the money was given by the residents of Samui. At the moment, the sanctuary itself has been built with a huge statue of the red-faced god Guan Yu, part of the interior is finished, tea rooms, parking and shopping arcades are waiting for visitors by the road. The organizers plan to complete the construction of a large shopping center in the vacant lot behind the sanctuary, and in general, the attraction is very spectacular, photogenic and free. You can safely lay about an hour for the inspection, and if you come here on your own, then guess at lunchtime, and at the same time have a snack. I would like to immediately dump you the secret mission of this sanctuary, but better follow the link and read my post dedicated to Guan Yu and the Hainan community of Samui - «Guan Yu Shrine on Koh Samui - a place where generations communicate».
Angthong Marine park
Angthong Marina Park consists of a scattering of islands of various sizes that lie in the sea west of Koh Samui. This is one of the few places where you can get only as part of an excursion (although if you have a lot of money, you can also hire a private boat). Now I'm not going to tell you about the volcanic origin and historical facts - who cares about what the rocks are made of and who found them? The guides will tell you about it. Another thing is much more important - Marina Park, it is a tropical «Lost World», with islets noisy from birds, secret lakes, many caves and grottoes, wild beaches and stunning panoramas. Remember, at the beginning of my post, I wrote about the simplicity of Samui's nature? So in Marina Park everything is strictly the opposite: bright, beautiful, sunny, breathtaking, you have never seen anything like this! Do not give up your trip in any way.
Magic Garden - Magic Garden
It's a small, quirky, but photogenic attraction. In a picturesque mountain hollow, along the bottom of which a river runs, one aging planter decided to take up sculpture. He was not a professional, so it took a long time to create Magic Garden, and some of the figures look awkward or disproportionate. Thanks to the humid climate and the jungle, the cement quickly darkened, in places it even turned green, and the whole composition began to look like a completely ancient creation. After the author's death, his ashes were buried in one of Magic Garden's houses, and the heirs decided that the place could bring money. This is how one of the iconic sights of Samui appeared, where the entrance costs 80 baht. Read more about how to get to the garden here - «Magic garden on Koh Samui - Buddhas and bungalows in a mysterious forest».
There are two mummified monks on Koh Samui. One has proven to be a very popular attraction due to the location of the Khunaram Temple. It stands on the main road near the bends to the Namuang Falls, so the temple is not deprived of the attention of tourists and travel agencies. And the second temple, Kirivongkaram, very old and really authentic, stands on the other side of the island, on the seashore. In terms of size and architecture, both temples are very similar, the mummies are also not particularly different, except that the second mummy does not wear sunglasses. Therefore, you have the opportunity to look the deceased in the eyes, if you do not feel disgusted. My personal opinion is that Kirivongkaram was undeservedly bypassed, if only because it is located in a picturesque place, and not far from it there are several small grottoes on the banks of Taling Ngam. More details about all the mummies I wrote here - «Mummified monk on Koh Samui - how many there really are».
Contact zoo. I don't know how you personally feel about this kind of entertainment, but the place is for children, and children have much less troubles, and they like it. And against the backdrop of a general Samui shortage of children's entertainment, Paradise Park is becoming a must-see place at least once. Painted pigeons, unpainted deer, parrots, turtles, other safe and cute animals are available for «touch» and «cuddle», although the fun is not free. The park is located high in the mountains, the road leads there with good coverage, it is not dangerous, so it is not necessary to take an excursion there, it is easier to get by on your own in a rented car. Learn more about how much a ticket costs, how to get there, etc. read in my review -
Paradise Park on Koh Samui (Paradise Park) - a mini zoo on the island.
Fisherman’s Village - Fishing Village on Bophut
The fishing village on Koh Samui is one of the very first settlements on the island, which has long ceased to be a fishing village, despite the presence of two piers. Now it is a kilometer long street full of cafes, restaurants, shops and other tourist attractions. The street runs along the coast, so the side facing the sea is mostly restaurants. In 2016, the beautiful shopping complex The Warf was built, where on a small territory there are premises of one or two floors, stylized as a fishing village. A very cozy place with cool restaurants and a cool beach bar - highly recommended for visiting in the evening at sunset. The embankment was also domesticated, covered with a lawn, tables and hammocks were installed. On Fridays, Fisherman hosts a weekly night fair, when an already cramped street is packed with collapsible stalls from street vendors..
Big Buddha - Big Buddha
The Big Buddha statue is located in the northeast of Koh Samui, on a small island that is connected to a large island by an embankment with a road. The height of the statue is about 12 meters, not very large from what I have seen, but the largest on Koh Samui. 60 steps lead to it, and the staircase is divided by a railing into three rows and the central row, as I was told, is intended only for monks. Around on the territory you can find other statues of Buddha, smaller, different figures from Thai mythology, Chinese and Indian deities - Thais are very tolerant in matters of religion. Wat Phra Yai Buddhist temple is located next to the statue, and clothes and souvenirs are sold on the street leading to the Buddha. At the end of the street, opposite the Big Buddha, there is a sculptural composition from Thai tales in the water. If you are interested in the details, then read my post - «Big Buddha on Koh Samui - not very big, but under the protection of transformers».
Plai Laem temple complex - Wat Plai Laem
Not far from the main attraction of Samui, the statue of the Big Buddha, there is the Plai Lam temple complex, undeservedly deprived of the attention of travel agencies. The complex is an artificial reservoir on which three concrete foundation platforms are built. In the center, the Plai Lam temple was erected, to the right of it is the multi-armed Chinese goddess Kuan Yin, and to the left is the Hindu Hottei, surrounded by smaller deities. Play Lam is a good example of how the three main Asian religions easily coexist in Thai culture. There is another temple and an elementary school next to the reservoir. Entry to the territory of the complex is free, there are many tourists, but it cannot be compared with the number that pushes around Big Buddha, although in my opinion Play Lam is much nicer and more comfortable. All the details and many pictures of this attraction - Plai Laem temple complex is a tourist, but very beautiful place.
Red Temple and Serpent Stone Pagoda
Not far from the rocks of Hin Ta Hin Yai, the original Wat Ratchathammaram temple was built, painted in red. Ratchatammaram is a remake, which is in the stage of protracted construction, but on its territory there is a much older Buddhist shrine. The Sila Ngu Pagoda, or the Serpent Stone Pagoda, has attracted pilgrims here for more than 250 years, both mere mortals and members of the royal family. The place is not to say something awful, but it is located very conveniently near the road, it looks extremely photogenic in the pictures, and the first farang tourist on Koh Samui is buried on the territory of the temple cemetery, who made a lot of efforts to make the island known to the world. More details and photos can be found in the article. «Red Temple on Koh Samui and the First Tourist - a time of amazing stories».
Khao Hua Chook Chedi Pagoda
The second largest (after the Lam So pagoda) Buddhist stupa on Koh Samui. Situated on the top of a low hill in the Chaweng area, from which, however, stunning panoramic views. From the Khao Hua Chok pagoda, you can see the airport runway, Lake Chaweng, and Chaweng itself with beaches, as well as Play Lam, Big Buddha, Bo Phut and Menam beaches. If not for the shrine, this place could be called the main viewpoint of Samui. The entrance to the territory is free, there is parking for equipment, and it is not a problem to enter here on your own. After the reconstruction in 2016, the bells were removed on the upper platform, which rang from the wind, which made the place lose its charm, but still for me it remains in the top of the most interesting sights of the island. I have a post with details about the pagoda - «Chaweng Pagoda - 360 degree viewpoint».
Due to the relief of the island, Koh Samui has a lot of observation decks, popularly referred to as «viewpoints» from the English view point. As you can imagine, there can be only four types of viewpoints on the island - in accordance with the cardinal points, so there is no need to visit all of them (you will find them on the map at the end of this post), it is better to go to the most famous and easily accessible ones. The main places that you definitely need to get to with a camera: Gecko bar - in the north, in the east, the dawn viewpoint - Samui camp bar, on South - Rattanakosin pagoda, and in the west it is good to watch the sunset on the Stone Chair. And, as a panoramic viewpoint, I would recommend the observation deck around Khao Hua Chok pagodas on Chaweng. All five viewpoints are located in beautiful locations that can be easily reached on your own.
Samui Aquarium And Tiger Zoo - Zoo and aquarium
Despite the presence of tigers in the name of the attraction, it is more of an aquarium than a zoo. The place is well-known, popular, but sad from the point of view of animal lovers. The attraction is located ten minutes drive south of Lamai Beach and has its own territory with a large parking lot. The entrance costs not quite adequate money, but as I wrote above, against the background of a shortage of children's entertainment, tourists even agree to such prices. Inside you can see a variety of marine life and a couple of tigers, tormented by the heat. Adults usually come out of AquaZoo with mixed feelings, but kids love the fun. There is a daily show with tigers, birds and seals. Many photos and my detailed impressions of this place - «Koh Samui aquarium and tiger zoo - sad and expensive».
Standing Buddha in the Lamai Mountains
Buddha Teepangkorn or Pra Putta Teepangkorn is an attraction available either to those who bought a jeep excursion or to desperate daredevils who independently conquer not the best road on Koh Samui. The statue is located at the second highest point on the island, along with a history museum and a building for Buddhist events. The views here are simply fantastic, the main thing is to be lucky with the weather. The area around the standing Buddha is constantly being updated, new statues appear, and the road surface around the summit is being improved. But the rest of the road, several kilometers of mountain serpentine, constantly suffers from rains, which makes a trip to Tepangkorn Buddha a real adventure even for experienced motorcyclists. There is no need to rent something super-powerful, even a Honda Click will be drawn here, the main thing is to stop more often on the descent and then cool down the brakes. Passenger cars are ordered here - only four-wheel drive.
Lam So Pagoda and Rattanakosin Pagoda
The place is remote from the main tourist routes, and therefore unloved by travel agencies and deprived of the attention of the masses. And in vain, because the Lam So pagoda is the number one stupa on Koh Samui in terms of its size, it has an interesting history and a beautiful location - right on the shore of the sea. In the vicinity of Lam So there are three interesting Buddhist sights that very few people know about: a boat temple, a statue of a monk on a ship and Rattanakosin pagoda. This pagoda is also called Buddha Chedi or Little Buddha, because of the statue of the little Buddha, which first meets you at the very top of the hill next to the Lam So pagoda. In addition to the little Buddha, there are quite large statues of sitting and reclining Buddhas, as well as a place for meditation and a magnificent view to the south and east. I will say more - this is a great viewing platform for those who want to watch the sunset without leaving the west coast of Koh Samui. Check out the details in this post - «Laem Sor Pagoda and Little Buddha is a very atmospheric place».