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For anyone with the choice of visiting one of the world’s most beautiful islands, it’s likely that you’ll try to spend as much time as possible. Though Koh Samui is one of those destinations that you wouldn’t want to miss, even if you only have two days to spare.

The lush tropical island is one of the most stunning in Thailand. Despite being small, the island is dotted with glorious beaches and breath-taking ocean views. Chasing paradise, travelers flock here from all over the world, the beauty of the island attracting everyone from the budget backpacker to the mega famous.

There is plenty to see and do here beyond beaches and crystal clear waters, so if you know that you have only 48 hours on hand, it’s worthwhile planning your itinerary in advance and booking a luxury villa in Koh Samui.

Even with only two days, you can take in a side of the island that is both varied and interesting! Feel free to use this itinerary.

How to Spend 48 Hours in Koh Samui

Koh Samui Longtail Boat Thailand RF

Day One in Koh Samui

Morning: Hit the Beach

Exploring the island is a great way to kick start your first day, and the fastest way to do this is to rent a scooter. Personal transport is far more flexible and convenient than joining group tours, especially when you have to make the most of every second of your day.

There are many pristine white-sand beaches along the east coast. Lamai Beach and Chaweng Beach are the most popular, but the benefit of a scooter is that you can spend time cruising the coastline until you find a beach that is right for you.

There are plenty of opportunities for watersports on Koh Samui beaches, including diving, kitesurfing, snorkeling, and other beach activities. Though many travelers enjoy just lazing around on the sand and enjoying the stunning view!

If you’re heading to a more secluded beach, make sure you visit a market in the morning for a DIY morning tea or lunch. Keep in mind that there will be no facilities, so be sure to take with you everything you need for a beach day.

If you’re visiting a popular beach like Lamai, you’ll have dining options, food carts, bars, shopping, and convenience stores just steps from the beach.

Afternoon: Cultural Sightseeing

Thai Temple RF

If you’re able to tear yourself away from the beach in the afternoon, you can dedicate some time to cultural sightseeing around the island’s many remarkable temples.

Koh Samui is bursting with Buddhist temples. You can marvel at stunning architecture, and even pay visit to see a mummified monk!

The most well known is the Big Buddha temple (Wat Phra Yai). Sitting on a little tiny island, this is a 12 meter tall statue of Buddha sitting in the Mara position, made of gold. It’s usually the first thing you spot if you fly into Koh Samui airport. It shows a time when Buddha was rejecting all temptations.

Other temples worth seeing include Wat Plai Laem, Hainan Temple, and Hin Lad Waterfall Temple. Each of these carries unique attractions, and there are many beautiful sites around the island like Grandma and Grandpa Rocks, Hin Lad Waterfall and Hin Lad Waterfall to catch along the way.

Evening: Shopping & Beach Parties

Thailand beach full moon party

Since you’ve been scooting around all day, it’s a good idea to save your shopping for the evening. Koh Samui boasts a great number of shopping opportunities, and it’s an absolute must to explore the Fisherman’s Village Walking Street.

Other popular venues among shoppers include Central Festival Samui, Lamai Night Plaza, Elephant Walk, and Chaweng Walking Street. The markets are crowded and filled with locals as well as the tourists.

When you explore the market’s and shop, do not forget to bargain and walk away with some steals. If you’ve still got energy left to burn, as evening turns to night you can either choose to unwind, or head down to one of the island’s famous beach parties.

Arrive early to grab the first rows with cushions for the best views of the fire dancers. Chaweng Beach is one of the most popular beaches for nightlife, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants here that cater to different tastes.

Every night is a party in Koh Samui!

Image: Joe Stump (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Day Two in Koh Samui

All Day: Jeep Jungle Tour

Couple waterfall love romance RF

After a good nights sleep, it’s time to take the Jeep Jungle Tour: Koh Samui offers dense lush jungle, and it would be a shame to completely miss this from having spent all your time at the beach!

If you’re a nature lover, this is a great way to find those hidden waterfalls and experience some rugged hiking trails on a limited timeframe. And lunch is provided as tours usually last all day.

This is also a great way to get off the beaten path, and jeep tours are always kept to small intimate groups of no more than 15 people. Typical activities throughout the day include swimming underneath waterfalls, or getting your adrenaline fix on manmade waterslides.

Jungle tours will drop you back at your hotel around 4.30pm. Once you’re back, have a refreshing bath before heading out for your last evening.

Evening / Night

This evening, take the time to experience something truly Thai. You can catch a Muay Thai boxing match, or perhaps a flamboyant cabaret show. Koh Samui has plenty of shows and events running most evenings.

After the show, there are many top beach clubs which offer prime viewing to watch the sun set. Some good options are Bangrak Beach Club, Beach Republic, and KC Beach.

End the last night of your trip on the island with a memorable dining experience. Koh Samui is a culinary destination in its own right, and you’ll come across a wide range of world-class restaurants that serve both genuine Thai cuisine and international flavors.

Some good restaurants are Boudoir, Chez François, and Tree Tops. Enjoy great views and a fantastic choice on the menu.

Koh Samui is definitely worth a visit even if you only have two days. Though after the above action packed itinerary we have no doubt that you’ll leave having made a fervent vow to return! If you’re tempted to stay, your next read might be about the living costs on Koh Samui.

Image: John Shedrick (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr


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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. Far and away, the best way to see most if not all of Thailand is by scooter. Especially on islands. We rent ’em in Phuket and Koh Lanta, and cruise around the islands freely. Perfect way to enjoy the Land of Smiles. Super post Meg.

    • Thanks Ryan! Scooters are definitely the best … we did the same and just the freedom it gives, especially when you’ve got a pretty tight timeframe and have to make the most of every minute :)

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