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When it comes to choosing a destination in Thailand, you can’t really beat Koh Samui. One of the world’s most beautiful islands, this small gem is jam packed with glorious beaches, lush tropical rainforests, spectacular Buddhist temples, and mummified monks.

Yes – mummified monks! Well, there’s one.

Whether you’ve only got 48 hours, or ready to spend a full week, Koh Samui is always a good idea when you’re visiting Thailand.

If you’re not already convinced, by the end of this article you will be!

Reasons to Pick Koh Samui

#1 Beaches in Koh Samui

Situated in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui doesn’t just have great beaches; it’s famous for them; think fine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters fringed with nodding coconut trees.

More than 1.5 million tourists visit the island to enjoy the kind of tropical coastline and beaches you find featured in ads and postcards. Though despite the crowds, there are so many options that you can usually find something secluded.

Some of the most popular beaches in Koh Samui are Choeng Mon Beach, which offers isolation while being close to the busier hub of Chaweng, and Chaweng Beach, which is without a doubt the most popular part of the island for tourists.

Also check out Lamai Beach, Thongtakian Beach, and Maenam Beach, where you can find low budget beach bungalows which has made it Samui’s last predominantly backpacker beach.

#2 Cultural Sightseeing

If you’re able to tear yourself away from the beaches, Koh Samui has a huge range of cultural sightseeing, especially the island’s many remarkable temples; this is a place that is absolutely bursting with Buddhist temples.

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, 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.

#3 Accommodation

Resort hotel RF beach

A really great reason to visit Koh Samui is that there are many different types of accommodation to choose from, and whether you’re a backpacker or an A-Lister, there’s something to suit everyone.

Backpackers tend to be drawn to the many budget beach bungalows and hostels that are placed in pockets throughout the island, but there are many luxury rentals in Koh Samui which include villas for as little as 2 people.

While the 5 star luxury on offer throughout the island draws Hollywood stars and some of the world’s biggest celebrities, these can be surprisingly affordable if you’re living in the middle class and have saved up for a worthwhile splurge.

You can find modern beachfront rentals that open up onto a private part of the ocean, or villas that are more enclosed and higher up on the island; depending on your choice, some of these rentals even come equipped with their own pools.

#4 An Exciting Nightlife

You don’t have to be a party animal to enjoy Koh Samui’s nightlife; there are a diverse range of exciting activities that happen after dark, from fire twirlers on Chaweng Beach, to your more traditional restaurants and bars.

If you’re after an experience that is 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.

If you’re early to bed for an early morning, 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.

Of course, if you are a party animal, it’s probably worth aligning your trip to coincide with the full moon. Happening as you guessed it, on the night of each full moon, Koh Samui’s Full Moon Party is completely off the charts; an all night beach party which sees up to 40,000 people show up each month.

The party begins at dusk and the beach explodes into a dancing frenzy as different DJ’s play their mix, drunken backpackers cover their bodies in neon paint, and limbo under kerosene soaked ropes.

Image: John Shedrick (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

#5 Natural Wonders

Walking waterfall shoes RF

If you’re a nature lover, Koh Samui is a great choice of destination; you’ll have the opportunity to find  hidden waterfalls, dive with giant stingrays, and experience rugged hiking trails.

Jungle Jeep Tours are a great way to get off the beaten path; you’ll jump in an open top jeep with no more than 15 people, and pack in a huge day of activities, from swimming underneath waterfalls, or getting your adrenaline fix on manmade waterslides.

Na Muang Waterfalls are the biggest draw; a majestic set of two cascades known as Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2. The first flows into a small pool that you can swim in, and the second is about thirty minutes further uphill, just as stunning.

But don’t miss Anthong Marine National Park. One of Samui’s most famous surrounding attractions, the park is lined with spectacular and remote beaches, and has day trip opportunities to visit up to 42 beautiful smaller islands. There’s beautiful swimming here in the crystal clears waters of the Gulf.


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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. Maybe one day I can visit.
    Congrats ??

    • I hope you can too! :)

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