Why visit Koh Samui?
The island is famous for its pristine white sandy beaches, luxury resorts, spas, and massages, but in truth Koh Samui has so much more to offer. The rich Thai culture itself makes it a fascinating place to visit, with many monuments and temples devoted to the Buddha.
There is also a wealth of natural wonders, and you can discover incredible jungles, waterfalls, and hiking trails, as well as a variety of tropical flora and fauna. Underwater explorers will relish the colourful reefs that await you and the opportunity to dive with whale sharks. Food lovers are also in for a treat with the traditional, local cuisine — but et the restaurant know if super spicy food isn't your thing!
Fisherman’s Village Walking Street
This famous district in Bophut is filled with stores, rustic buildings, boutiques, restaurants, and hotels. If you want to see the a glimpse of genuine local life, or you want to find a range of products from flowers to clothes and delicious food all in one place, this is the place for it. The market takes place every Friday and is usually very crowded.
Big Buddha Temple
Wat Phra Yai, is a 12-metre golden seated Buddha statue and can be seen at a distance of several kilometres. There is a courtyard and vendors selling souvenirs, religious artefacts, amulets, and clothes. If you are hungry or you have a taste for something sweet, there are also food stalls and restaurants. The temple is 3 kilometres from the Airport and is open all day. All are welcome to come and to observe religious rituals, but please be aware you need to dress appropriately, with covered shoulders.
It's not everyone's cup of tea, but if you're feeling adventurous you can enjoy a fun show full of interpretations of popular songs, with wild costumes and make-up, on Chaweng Beach!
Koh Madsum is a small quiet island just to the south of Koh Samui, where you can enjoy a picnic tour or private snorkelling.
How to get there
Koh Samui is the second largest Thai island situated in the Gulf of Thailand, and as a popular island there are a range of travel options. If you are traveling from Bangkok, then the quickest way is to fly direct, which takes 75 minutes — but this is also the most expensive option. Cheaper than flying direct is to fly from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then take a speedboat to Koh Samui, and this option takes 3 hours longer.
From Phuket, the cheapest option is a bus (from Bus Terminal 2) with a travel journey of 8-9 hours. If coming from Krabi (Ao Nang or Krabi Town) we recommend buying a bus & high-speed catamaran combo ticket, which takes up to 3 hours by bus to Tapee Pier (Surat Tani) and then just 70 minutes by speed boat to Nathon Pier in Koh Samui.
When travelling from Surat Thani you have a choice of many different ferries so you should select one that suits you! All companies offer combined bus and ferry tickets, from Surat Thani airport, the train station, or from your hotel in the town, but the different companies offer different pick-up and departure points.
Surat Tani itself has several ports, serving Koh Samui's 4 different ferry piers, so we recommend deciding on your accommodation, finding out which port is closest to your accommodation before you book your ticket! One more option is to catch the night ferry from the Ban Don Pier which takes 6 hours.
Here are some of the routes and journey times:
- Surat Thani (Donsak Pier) — Nathon Pier 1h30
- Koh Pha Ngan — Nathon Pier 3h30
- Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi — Nathon Pier 8h30
- Surat Thani (Donsak Pier) — Lipa Noi Pier 2h
- Koh Pha Ngan — Bangrak Pier 30min
- Koh Tao — Bangrak Pier 2h
- Koh Lanta — Bangrak Pier 8h15
- Surat Thani (Donsak ) — Bangrak Pier 1h30
- Koh Phi Phi — Bangrak Pier 7h
- Krabi (Ao Nang) — Bangrak Pier 6h
- Chumpho (Thung Makham Noi Pier) — Pralarn Pier 3h45