Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular islands, located about 80 kilometres from the mainland.
With its pristine beaches, lush jungles, and crystal-clear waters, the island is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
Due to Koh Samui’s popularity as a tourist destination, the island has seen an increase in development in recent years and is much more built up than the less developed neighbouring Koh Phangan.
However, the island still retains its natural beauty, and visitors can enjoy the lively nightlife scene or retreat to a quiet place to escape the hustle and bustle.
We were lucky enough to spend two weeks on Koh Samui, so we really got to explore much of the island.
Here are some of the best things to do on Koh Samui.
Go Beach Hopping
Koh Samui is a true tropical paradise; its beaches are a big part of what makes it so special.
With over 50 km of coastline and around 40 different beaches to choose from, there’s a perfect beach for everyone on Koh Samui.
The island has a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine all year round.
And with so many different beaches to explore, you’re sure to find your own personal favourite.
From the lively Chaweng Beach to the small and family-friendly Choeng Mon Beach, there’s something for everyone on Koh Samui.
Whether you want to enjoy snorkelling, paddle boarding, kayaking, romantic beachside dining, or simply lounge on a sunbed and gaze at the stunning Thai coastline, Koh Samui is the perfect place to do it.
Go Snorkelling At Silver Beach
Silver Beach is a 250-metre long stretch of white sand and clear water located just north of Lamai Beach on the east coast of Koh Samui.
Also known as Haad Thong Ta-khian (in Thai, means ‘the beach of the Ta-khian trees’), Silver Beach is a popular spot for snorkelling and swimming.
There are four resorts at Silver beach – Crystal Bay Beach Resort, Silver Beach Resort, Thongtakian Resort, and Crystal Bay Yacht Club – providing visitors with plenty of options for accommodation and dining.
The beach is well-shaded, with palm trees providing welcome relief from the day’s heat.
Visitors can also rent paddle boards from one of the beach bars or enjoy lunch at one of the beachside restaurants.
Take A Day Trip To Koh Tao
Koh Tao is a 21 square km island located 55 km north of Koh Samui.
Its name, Koh Tao, means ‘Turtle Island’, and it is popular for scuba diving and snorkelling with its coral reefs to explore.
Search for vibrant sea life, including fish and turtles, as you swim through the clear crystal waters of the idyllic white sand beaches surrounding the island’s green hills.
A day trip from Koh Samui to Koh Tao is a great way to experience some of the best snorkelling in Thailand.
The best way to visit if you are staying on Koh Samui is with an organised day tour, as they typically include all the necessary equipment and information.
Tour companies typically depart Koh Samui early in the morning and return around 5 pm, with some stops along the way, including the smaller neighbouring island of Koh Nang Yuan.
However, if you want to see more of Koh Tao or spend more time snorkelling, consider staying for a few days. There are plenty of hotels and resorts to choose from, and the island has a laid-back atmosphere that is perfect for relaxing.
Visit Angthong Marine Park
Ang Thong National Park is an archipelago of 42 islands located about 30 kilometres from Koh Samui.
The name Ang Thong means “golden basin” in Thai, a nod to the park’s stunning scenery.
Visitors can only reach Ang Thong using a tour operator, as private boats are not allowed in the park.
Tour companies typically pick up guests at their hotels and drop them off at the pier, ready to board their boat.
Itineraries to Ang Thong generally include snorkelling at Koh Wao, kayaking at Koh Wua Ta Lup, a Thai lunch buffet, visiting emerald lake and walking up to Pha Chan Charat Viewpoint.
With its turquoise waters, white sand beaches and lush jungle vegetation, Ang Thong is a true paradise for nature lovers.
Visit Na Muang Waterfall
Na Muang Waterfall is located in the centre of Koh Samui, about a 30-minute drive from Chaweng Beach.
The best way to get there is by renting a scooter or hiring a taxi. Once you arrive, you’ll have to walk about 10 minutes through the jungle to reach the waterfall. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, so don’t worry about getting lost.
The waterfall itself is stunning, and it’s surrounded by lush vegetation. There are two tiers, the first about 8 meters high and the second about 12 meters high.
You can swim in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall or climb up to the top for a better view.
Although some people do climb to the top of Na Muang Waterfall in sandals, we recommend you wear sturdy shoes with a good grip.
Visit An Elephant Sanctuary
When most people think of Koh Samui, they picture idyllic beaches, clear blue water, and luxurious resorts.
And while all of those things are definitely true, there’s so much more to this Thai island than meets the eye.
One of the best things to do on Koh Samui is to visit an elephant sanctuary.
But, before you book any tours, it’s important to do your research to ensure the elephant sanctuary you pick is properly run, and the elephants are well cared for.
We visited the Samui Elephant Home on Koh Samui; it was very well organised, and we had an amazing afternoon learning about and spending time with the elephants.
One of the great things about visiting an elephant sanctuary is that you’ll actually learn so much about these incredible animals.
For many people, their only interaction with elephants has been at a zoo or seeing one in a circus act.
But at a sanctuary, you’ll get to see elephants in their natural habitat and learn about their behaviours and habits.
The people who work at an elephant sanctuary are very passionate about the welfare of the animals, and so this is a great opportunity to ask any questions about elephants and dispel some of the myths surrounding these creatures.
Plus, your entrance fee directly supports the important work these sanctuaries do.
Ninja Water Park
Ninja Water Park is located at the Samui Pier Beach Front Resort and offers a variety of activities and attractions, including a floating obstacle course, trampolines, slides, and more.
There is also a pool and beach area where you can relax and enjoy the stunning views.
At the time of writing, there is no need to book in advance, just arrive at the Samui Pier Front Beach Resort, head to the restaurant/bar area, and buy a ticket to go on the obstacle course.
You’ll be given a wristband and an optional life jacket. You can stay on the obstacle course for as long as you want, but a couple of hours is usually plenty of time.
Those who don’t want to go on the obstacle course can grab one of the sunbeds to chill out on and order some drinks and snacks to enjoy while you watch the rest of the family messing about on the inflatables.