Visiting Koh Samui

By Matt Tewhatu

Visiting Koh SamuiKoh Samui is one of the largest and one of the most well known islands located in the Gulf of Thailand. Famous for offering a plethora of white sandy beaches, it also offers a tropical beach paradise existence often sought after by most of its visitors.

With Thailand’s tourist market exploding in the past two decades, Koh Samui now attracts an interesting mixture of backpackers looking for a cheap beach existence for months as well as wealthy empty-nesters.

Here’s a list of the must-visits while you’re on the island other than the beautiful beaches.

Big Buddha

One of the most popular attractions in Koh Samui, the Big Buddha sits in a very picturesque position, on a small rocky island off Samui’s north-easting corner. Known locally as Wat Phra Yai, the 12m golden seated Buddha statue was built in 1972 and can be seen from several kilometres away. In fact, it is most often the first landmark people see from the air as they arrive on the island.

Ang Thong National Marine Park

Situated off Koh Samui, Ang Thong National Marine Park is made up of approximately 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand and it is every bit as untouched as you may imagine. The islands are adorned with towering limestone mountains, powdery white sand beaches, gorgeous scenic waterfalls, thick jungle undergrowth and a plethora of lakes.

A visit to the National Marine Park will give you a great idea of why the area is vehemently protected. Home to hundreds of species of exotic wildlife and marine life, snorkelling, hiking, sea kayaking, diving, sailing and simply relaxing on one of its idyllic beaches are the main activities to enjoy on Ang Thong.

Hin Ta and Hin Yai

Definitely one of the most well known attractions of the island, Hin Ta and Hin Yai are some very interestingly shaped rock formations on the island’s south coast. With the name referring to the rocks as Grandpa (Ta) and Grandma (Yai), they’re very scenically located on the water.

There’s no reason to be too embarrassed when visiting the attraction despite the rock formations looking very similar to male and female genitalia. They’re definitely like to induce a chuckle or two but while you’re visiting, take in the surroundings, get some photos with the rocks and breath in the scenic location.

Namuang Waterfall

One of many waterfalls on Koh Samui, this waterfall is reached by a comfortable walk from the entrance to the park. There are few more photogenic places in Thailand than this waterfall and once you visit it, you’ll understand why.

Made up of two main waterfalls, Na Muang 1, flows down into a pretty natural pool that provides a cool escape from the heat. About 30 minutes by foot further uphill is the smaller Na Muang 2.