Whether you choose to sip cocktails at a cool beach bar, swim under a waterfall or feast on street food, this tiny Thai island sure packs a punch.
Known for its ultra-luxe beachfront resorts, seductive sands, tranquil greenery, gentle warm waves and Thai cuisine that's big on flavour yet low in price, Koh Samui is a bona fide island paradise. Whether you’re a foodie or culture vulture, this one-time fishing community has something for everyone: local markets, hilltop temples and a rainbow reef for keen snorkellers, just to name a few. If you’re in need of a refresher on how to make the most of your time on Thailand’s second-largest island, you’ve come to the right place. This is our list of the best things to do in Koh Samui.
Discover Koh Samui
Panviman Resort Koh Phangan
Beachfront Thailand Island Retreat with Daily Breakfast, Nightly Dinner, Cocktails & Speedboat Transfers
Six Senses Samui
Koh Samui Five-Star Oceanfront Haven with Clifftop Restaurant & Horizon-Facing Infinity Pool
The Lamai Samui
Pamper yourself with a visit to the spa, which offers massages and facials. After a day at the private beach, you can enjoy other recreational amenities including an outdoor pool and a 24-hour fitness center. Additional amenities at this resort include complimentary wireless internet access, concierge services, and babysitting (surcharge). Getting to nearby attractions is a breeze with the area shuttle (surcharge).
Melia Koh Samui
Pamper yourself with a visit to the spa, which offers massages. You're sure to appreciate the recreational amenities, which include 3 outdoor swimming pools, a waterslide, and a sauna. Additional features at this resort include complimentary wireless internet access, concierge services, and a living plant wall.
The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui
Relax at the full-service spa, where you can enjoy massages, body treatments, and facials. You can soak up the sun at the private beach or enjoy other recreational amenities including an outdoor pool and a fitness center. Additional features at this resort include complimentary wireless internet access, concierge services, and gift shops/newsstands.
Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
Serene Outrigger Koh Samui Five-Star Beachfront Retreat on Lamai Beach
TUI BLUE The Passage Samui Private Pool Villas & Beach Resort
Dip into one of the 3 outdoor swimming pools or enjoy other recreational amenities, which include a 24-hour fitness center. Additional amenities at this hotel include concierge services, babysitting (surcharge), and wedding services.
Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa
Relax at the full-service spa, where you can enjoy massages, body treatments, and facials. After dipping into one of the 2 outdoor swimming pools, you can spend some time at the private beach. Additional amenities at this resort include complimentary wireless internet access, concierge services, and gift shops/newsstands. Getting to nearby attractions is a breeze with the area shuttle (surcharge).
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui
Relax at the full-service spa, where you can enjoy massages, body treatments, and facials. After a day at the private beach, you can enjoy other recreational amenities including outdoor tennis courts and a 24-hour health club. Additional features at this resort include complimentary wireless internet access, concierge services, and babysitting (surcharge).
Spend a day at Maenam Beach
Icing-sugar sand, dense thickets of palm trees, refreshing breezes and a smattering of bars and open-air restaurants… this ticks all the boxes for what makes a heavenly beach. A favourite spot among surfers, bodyboarders and families by day, by night it’s abuzz with patrons who flock to the beach bars, which boast some of the best places in town for sundowners – including La Playa. After your daily dose of vitamin sea, you may find it hard to tear yourself away.
Go for a dip at Na Muang Waterfall
Koh Samui has no shortage of gorgeous natural scenery and bountiful waterfalls, including the likes of this gem. Nestled within lush jungle surrounds and easily accessible by foot, it’s renowned as one of the most dramatic and scenic waterfalls on Koh Samui. What’s more, the waterfall consists of two separate cascades that flow into a natural pool, which invites a cooling afternoon dip. En route to the falls, stock up on snacks and souvenirs at the entrance.
Hike to Wat Khao Hua Jook
It’s a short climb up the hilly terrain that overlooks Chaweng Lake and Koh Samui. Hikers who reach the summit are rewarded with access to the ornately decorated Wat Khao Hua Jook, along with spectacular coastline views. However, it’s not just the views that attract visitors: the temple is also known for its traditional architecture, intricate artwork and mythical sculptures that Thai temples are renowned for. More importantly, Wat Khao Hua Jook is known for its replica of Buddha’s footprint. Whether Buddhist or not, this temple provides a perfect escape for those seeking reflection.
Enjoy a feast at Chaweng Night Market
Feast your eyes and tastebuds on a celebration of Thai street food at Chaweng Night Market. Though Koh Samui has many fantastic foodie attractions, Chaweng consistently draws local visitors daily – a great sign that you’re in for some authentic eats. Located in the centre of the city, the market also offers beautiful sights of Chaweng Lake and Phru Chaweng Park.
Presented as a large outside food court on the banks of Chaweng Lake, the market features both traditional Thai delicacies and mouthwatering mainstream dishes. Plus, it stays open past 10pm — perfect for a late-night snack.
Explore Fisherman’s Village
What was once the centre of fisherman life in Bophut, today’s Fisherman’s Village is the resort island’s heartbeat, where you’ll find streets teeming with cuisine and handicrafts that Thailand is world famous for. Here, wooden shophouses boast boutique stores, trendy eateries and popular drinking posts, while a small selection of hotels lines the narrow yet photogenic Beach Road. Its weekly market draws shoppers from across the island for its stalls of unique wares and sizzling street food — perfect for a leisurely Friday evening exploration.
Visit the Big Buddha
Cast in gold and set on a small rocky island overlooking neighbouring island Koh Phangan, the 12-metre-tall Big Buddha is one of the first landmarks people witness when flying into Koh Samui. Built in 1972, the statue’s iconic Mara posture, with its left upward-facing palm resting on its lap and the right hand facing down, signifies a time of enlightenment and protection from temptation, dangers and purity. Flanked by terracotta-coloured temples and a vivid dragon staircase, Big Buddha is at its dramatic best when it’s illuminated at night, emphasising its mystical lustre.
Dive into Koh Samui’s marine wonderland
Whether you are a novice or an experienced master, the diving experiences that await in the tropical waters surrounding Koh Samui are irresistible. Here, the ocean is calm, the waters are crystal clear, and awe-inspiring wide bays are lined with gorgeous white sand and swaying palm trees.
Now’s the time to dive into the region’s sheltered underwater world, a colourful marine playground where perennially warm water (around 29 degrees Celsius year-round) is home to one of the world’s densest populations of marine life, striking coral structures and submerged pinnacles.