Exploring the island of Koh Samui, Thailand. ☼
Koh Samui, Thailand.
☀︎ In Thai, the word “koh” means: island.
☀︎ Island dimensions: 15.5 miles (L) x 13 miles (W).
☀︎ Surrounded by more than 60 other islands, (some smaller, some bigger) such as Koh Tao & Koh Phangan.
☀︎ Fishing & coconut plantations were the previous major sources of income on the island, but tourism has become the #1.
HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND.
Yes, there is actually an airport in the northeastern sector of the island in which you can book a flight to & from most major cities in Thailand (seriously, the Samui airport is the cutest & most stress-free of airports)! If you’re coming from Krabi, a flight from KBV (Krabi) airport to USM (Samui) is less than 1 hour! Quick & worth the extra $ to get to the island faster…the more time, the more sunshine ☼! We suggesting making your search on Google for the latest flight options/deals!
KRABI TOWN ⇢ KOH SAMUI: Both ferry & speed boat options. Check out scheduling & time tables here. Duration of trip is anywhere from 4-5 hrs!
PHUKET ⇢ KOH SAMUI: This trip takes longer than leaving from Krabi Town, a total of about 7-7.5 hours, departing from Rassada Pier (Phuket’s main departure point). Check out the travel schedule here for times & other destinations!
HOW TO GET AROUND.
Slip on those sandals & get to walkin’! This is always a great option for exercise & depending on where you are staying in Samui, you may even be able to just walk & see what the surrounding areas have to offer! Personally, one of my favorite ways to explore!
You can find a local shop or even hotel that may be renting bicycles. Be careful when riding along the busy roads, as traffic is intense, even for an island! You will find many dogs roaming around the streets as well!
This is the most common mode of transportation here; prices are very reasonable, running for about 120 baht per day & up! “PLEASE use a helmet & do not drink & drive”-a warning the island gives to all!
Pickup Taxi (“Songtaew”-aka vans with exposed back).
Pricing is dependent on how far you are traveling, but typically we experienced that for a 15 min taxi ride we could get away with paying 200 baht ($6) for 2 people! Stand out on the street, or migrate to a touristy area & you're bound to see a taxi “truck” coming down the road; flag ‘em down!
Most of the taxi cars in Samui do not use a meter rate, but make sure to ask for pricing in advance! Price$ usually start at 100 baht & go up based off of distance traveled.
Grab is the "Uber” of Thailand & one of our favorite transportation options. Reliable rates, route tracking & easy to use through their app, which you can download here!
Car rentals on the island start at around 700 baht a day for a smaller 4 door vehicle, which we had the experience of renting. The car service dropped it off at our hotel & we had the car in our possession for a 24 hour period. This allowed us to take advantage of one of our days & explore where we wanted to instead of paying for a taxi everywhere!
WHAT TO EAT.
Amazing food, of course! & it can be found ALL around you from restaurants to street food vendors- who you will find selling foods such as: satay, grilled seafood, khao phad, pad thai, & sweet treats from coconut ice cream to rolled ice cream! SO DELICIOUS! With being on an island, surrounded by fresh fish & sea creatures, we highly recommend scoping out a restaurant that is known for their seafood selection! Check out a top 10 list of seafood restaurants from Trip Advisor here!
OUR RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATION
“Handcrafted cocktails, all day dining & epic sunsets…”
Yes, yes & YES! Most delicious drinks I’ve ever had, including the BEST piña colada (sorry, Mexico!). Since we stayed at the hotel next door (“Tamarina Bed & Beyond”) we ate here everyday & almost every meal! Their food is flavorful, well priced, fresh, & of generous portion size! Seeing the pictures even now is making my mouth salivate (can you tell I am missing it?!)! When you arrive you have array of seating to choose from including: a classic table top, a comfy couch dining experience, to even a floor bean bag chair facing the sunset! Great music, great service, & amazing views!!!! Did I mention throughout the whole day you get to experience airplanes fly overhead as they prepare to land at Koh Samui airport?! #LivinTheLife
*P.S. If you stay at the hotel next door, it makes waking up for breakfast very exciting & easy to walk to, as they are a connected structure! My morning usual included: a fresh berry smoothie (non-dairy) & Avocado toast with egg on top! YUM!
WHERE TO STAY:
Airbnb rentals, hotels, boutique hotels, hostels, villas, etc. Your options are pretty open & chances are, you will be within walking distance to the waves! ♒︎ You really can’t go wrong! Check out booking through travel sites such as Expedia, Hotels.com, or even Booking.com for some possible discounted deals!
OUR HOTEL RECOMMENDATION
Everything I have to say about this hotel & our experience here during our 5 day trip in Samui, is that is was simply, AMAZING. From the room, to the sea views, the infinity pool, the dining experience, & the staff! It’s not often that you have hotel staff go above ⇡ & beyond to help you & make you feel right at home (just what they did!). Any question we had or advice we needed on how to travel somewhere on the island, what beach to go to, etc. came with a response that was genuine & resourceful; doing everything they could to help us out! They even upgraded our room when they found out we were on our honeymoon ☽! NOW, THAT’S SERVICE!
*This hotel is in a great location!: 5-10 minute drive from the Samui airport, 5 minute drive to Fisherman’s Village, & a 5-10 minute walk to the big buddha down the street!
WHAT TO DO.
THAI COOKING CLASS.
We learned how to cook our 1st Thai meal together in Koh Samui with a company called “Infusion Cooking Class.” The great thing about this company is that they use a lot of their home grown resources from their gardens as well as local organic produce! Not only are you getting great quality, but the intimate class setting allows you to ask questions & really learn about what you are working with! View the schedule here, & sign up for your cooking class in Samui now! Garden Tour + 2 hr class is: 990 Baht/person ($30).
VISIT BIG BUDDHA OR WAT PLAI LAEM.
Located in Samui’s northeastern corner, the golden Big Buddha or Wat Phra Yai, is one of the first landmarks people can see as they fly into Koh Samui. Food stalls & shops are located at the base of the temple, just outside the gates, so no need to worry if you feel rumbly in your tummy! Also located in the northeastern part of Samui is Wat Plai Laem, which is a Buddhist temple featuring “a striking white 18-arm image of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy & Compassion.” For information on this temple, continue reading here.
SOAK UP THE SUN, SWIM IN THE SEA.
One of my top missions on this trip was finding all the beautiful beaches I could & laying out out on every.single.one.of.them & to come back to snowy wintery Chicago as tan as I could (haha, #lifegoals). We found a handful of beaches around Koh Samui, & those top recommended were: Chaweng & Lamai.
From our experience, Chaweng was pretty busy as it is lined with many hotels & resorts that lead right to the waters. We found a hotel that let us rent their sun chairs for a cheap rate, laid out & took a dip in the waters! Lamai is said to be marketed more towards the “honeymooners.” Although it wasn’t as populated here, it was still nearby many hotels. We can’t deny the sights were beautiful (because let’s be honest, who can complain when there is sunshine ☀︎ & fresh seas in sight), but it was hard to find comfortable areas to lay. Due to the high tide/low tide changes, the waves ♒︎ came up really high, some even touching the hotel structures (which amounted to not much beach estate!)! As for the beach itself, we noticed a lot of trash & felt that most of the sand textures were rather rough & rocky! Owch! Regardless, you’ll find your spot & there is no doubt that you will see the beauty beyond all the other “obstacles” you may face!
SNORKELING TOUR TO SURROUNDING ISLANDS.
You’re on an island, what do you do?! SNORKEL, baby! Hubby & I went on a full day snorkeling adventure with a company called: “Grand Sea Discovery.” If you visit the website, you will see that there are multiple snorkeling destinations & itineraries to choose from! We decided to visit Koh Tao (aka “turtle island”) & Koh Nang Yuan (amazing sand bar beach & hiking view point!), where we boarded our designated speed boat & sailed away to our destination (about 3.5 hours of boat travel total!). Whats included: light breakfast, travel insurance, snorkeling gear/life jackets, lunch buffet, & bus transfer to & from hotel Package total per person: 2,200 Baht ($70, but I’m pretty sure we got a cheaper deal on the island!)! It was definitely worth it for us as we got see two surrounding islands & made a whole day out of it! Definitely recommend it! Other destination options: Ang Thong National Marine Park, Koh Pha Ngan (where you can also pay a visit to the full moon ☽ party!).
FISHERMAN’S VILLAGE (BOPHUT).
Every Friday from 5 P.M.- 11 P.M. the streets of Bophut come alive! Walk the stall-filled streets where you will find many vendors selling food, clothing, & various other crafts! Of course as you walk, you will start to notice the same items being sold here & there- so if it tickles your fancy, step into one of the boutique shops that lines the town streets! So many unique finding to take back home with you! Music, street entertainment, & many people roaming about! It’s definitely a fun experience & a must see (& taste) while in Koh Samui! ☺︎ Click here for more info on Fisherman’s Village!
HIN TA & HIN YAI.
Do you like rocks? Weird question, let me start over. Would you like to see geological rock formations that have formed to look like a man’s private parts & a woman’s private parts (keeping this PG, obviously)? Yea, this is a thing here on the island of Samui & actually has become a pretty popular tourist spot! We went to visit these two rocks that when translated basically mean: “Grandma & Grandpa.” There is history behind these rocks you can read more about here. Entry is free, & the grounds are open all day during daylight hours. Have fun & take some pics!
NA MUANG WATERFALL & NAMTOK NA MUANG.
In addition to the beautiful beaches, the island also offers stunning waterfall views. Although we did not make our way to see these sights, Na Muang & Namtok Na Muang are said to be the most scenic on the island. Na Muang consists or a set of cascades that lead to a pool of water that many people take advantage of swimming in! Apparently there are two separate waterfalls here about 30 minutes (by foot) in distance. Namtok Na Muang or “purple waterfalls” is admired & named this because of the striking purple shades on the faces of the rocks. Visiting these waterfalls is a great way to dive into nature, take a hike in the jungle & get fit all while doing it!
GO FOR A GOLF.
As a gift for my husband’s birthday, I set him up with a golfing experience in Koh Samui at a course of his choice! My 1st time tagging along as a “spectator” (cheering him on of course ☺︎), was at the Santiburi Samui Golf Club & yes, the views were beautiful (cool fact: we actually spotted our 1st real life scorpion roaming the course!). This island has some hot golfing real estate, ranging in different prices, but I am sure great views are included in any package! Check out some of the best places to golf on the island here.
THAI BOXING STADIUM.
Muay Thai or literally Thai boxing is a “combat sport of Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques.” When in Koh Samui, you have a few places to choose from if you are interested in taking a class or witnessing a traditional fighting event. If you want to visit a gym or training camp: Jun Lai Thai Camp, Lamai Muay Thai Camp, Superpro Samui- to name a few. If you want to see a live fight in action: Chaweng Stadium is where it’s at!
Go karting?! When in Thailand! Always a fun thing to do, especially if you have a competitive travel buddy with you! Check out Easy Kart located in Chaweng or Samui Go Kart in Bophut, to view pricing & book your experience!
There is SO much to do, so much to see & so much FOOD to try (my favorite part!)! When in Koh Samui definitely do your best to explore the island, take advantage of spending time in nature & meet amazing locals. Also, if you are a visitor, do the island a favor (& the world for that matters) & help keep the island clean! This is SO important for the environment, the sea life & overall helps to make it a more enjoyable experience for us all!