7 Unusual Things to Do in Koh Samui

by Asako Maruoka /
Asako Maruoka's picture
Nov 20, 2013 / 0 comments

It seems that everyone’s going to Koh Samui these days, and raving about it. An island in Thailand (actually, the second largest island, after Phuket), Koh Samui has beautiful white sandy beaches, coral reefs, and Plenty of coconut trees. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, the island features both lowland and coastal areas, and a central (mostly uninhabitable) central mountainous area (complete with tropical jungle!). But Koh Samui can be crowded, and the main tourist attractions might not be worth braving those crowds.

You can still experience the beauty of Koh Samui – off the beaten path.


7 unusual things to do in Koh Samui

Flickr creative commons: O. Ortelpa, adapted by Wandering Educators


Visit a Magic Garden

Near the top of Koh Samui is a place with few tourists and more butterflies. It's the Magic Garden, also called the Secret Buddha Garden! Built by a local Durian farmer in the 70s, it’s a refreshing walk, with hidden statues on the trails and a waterfall at the end.


Explore a village

There are many small villages to explore, if you can pull yourself off the beach. Try visiting Hua Thanon village, which is welcoming and the only majority Muslim village on the island. You’ll be able to see beautiful fishing boats, and then reap the rewards of those fishing boats by dining on fresh seafood, seaside.


Fly through the Sky

On a zipline, that is. There are several ziplining options for exploring the rainforest from up high. You can book them at Chaweng Beach, or online.


Find Buddha’s Footprints

Near the Butterfly Garden, in a hilltop shrine, you can find not one but FOUR footprints, layered on top of each other. You’ll have to climb many stairs to the top, but you’ll be rewarded with the artistic beauty (and incredible detail) of the footprints, as well as the scenic beauty from the lookout.




The most popular beaches on Koh Samui are Chaweng Beach and Lamai Beach. White sand and open spaces make these popular. But look around the island – there are many more beaches with less people, and just as beautiful views. Try Mae Nam Beach on the northern coast, Laem Yao on the northwest tip of the island, Choeng Mon (north shore), or the many small beaches on the southern coast, including Lipanoi.

You can do plenty of watersports, but for diving, hitch a ride to nearby Ang Thong National Marine Park, or Ko Tao. You can book day trips for diving at Chaweng.


View to Chaweng beach from between Lamai and Chaweng.

View to Chaweng beach from between Lamai and Chaweng. Wikimedia Commons: Maksim Sundukov


Ride on a Traditional Thai Longtail Boat

Arrange for an outing to Koh Tan Island on a traditional Longtail boat. This expat shares an extraordinary day out, and things that most people will never see.


Traditional Thai Longtail Boat

Wikimedia Commons: Kallerna


Take a Drive

If you’ve got a car, drive around the island. Take it slow! See what you can find (beaches, local restaurants, interesting shops and people). I guarantee, this sort of exploring will be what you remember, long after you come home.


Flowers, Koh Samui, Thailand

Flickr creative commons: Nitram75



Koh Samui Tips


Getting there

Fly in through Koh Samui Airport, or take a ferry from the mainland.


Getting Around

Take your car, on the car ferry, or use public buses or private taxis. You can rent a motorbike or bicycle. The island is about 60km around.


Where to stay

Head to the Banyan Tree Samui, overlooking Lamai Bay. It’s a five star tropical getaway, combined with secluded haven of tranquility. You might not want to leave, it’s that peaceful.


Don’t drink the water

Make sure you’re drinking bottled water from sealed bottles, and avoid ice. Brush your teeth with bottled water, too.


Bottled Water, Koh Samui, Thailand

Flickr creative commons: jetalone



There are plenty of internet cafes, to connect with home (and gloat about how wonderful Koh Samui is). Or, purchase an inexpensive local SIM card for your phone.