Following the reopening of Phuket, Ko Samui is now open to international travelers! Under the Samui Plus program, vaccinated tourists traveling from low-risk countries can visit the beautiful tropical paradise of Ko Samui. What’s more, travelers can also visit surrounding islands, including Ko Tao and Ko Phangan!
While there is much to see and do in Ko Samui, there are many islands around Ko Samui that offer more adventure, relaxation, and exploration.
Thailand Insider is thrilled to share a few tropical paradises around Ko Samui for you to visit when traveling to Thailand!
Ang Thong National Marine Park
Made up of 42 islands, Ang Thong National Marine Park covers a vast amount of land and sea with an area of 102 square kilometers. Towering limestone cliffs are dotted across the archipelago with caves and cliffs for visitors to explore.
Within the dense jungles are hiking trails and a variety of flora and fauna, while in the ocean inhabit exotic sea creatures. If you love to hike, make your way up to one of the island’s many viewpoints for panoramic views of the cliffs. If you’re more of an ocean explorer, take a snorkeling or sky diving excursion through the turquoise waters. There are a variety of ways to get there, including by ferry and speedboat from Ko Samui.
Ko Mae Ko
Within Ang Thong National Marine Park is a vivid emerald green lagoon, Talay Nai, at the tiny island of Ko Mae Ko. Surrounding the lagoon are tall limestone cliffs for you to hike up and witness panoramic viewpoints of the island. Underground tunnels connect the lagoon out into the sea. In addition to its famous viewpoints, the island is also a great destination for kayaking or relaxing at the beach bars.
After a short long-tail boat ride from Ko Samui, find yourself greeted by some water-loving cuties: pigs! Yes, you heard that right. The small island of Ko Madsum is home to a family of pigs that nap in the shade under the swaying coconut trees and cool off in the waters while greeting island visitors!
Ko Madsum is on the smaller side and a popular destination for a relaxing day trip. Visitors can unwind on the beach or go kayaking across the sea.
Located across from Ko Madsum is Ko Tan, a diver’s paradise. A designated coral reserve lies on the eastern side of the island, with marine life swimming about. Divers will find giant clams amongst the vibrant coral reefs and much more. The island is unspoiled and unknown to tourists, making it a hidden gem worth adding to your travel itinerary. To get there, take a small boat ride from Ko Samui’s south coast.
Ko Nang Yuan
Three exquisite islands connected by sandbar beaches make up an island that will take your breath away: Ko Nang Yuan. There are many activities to enjoy on the island, but one of the most popular and must-see experiences is hiking a quick 15 minutes up to the peak, where you’ll find 360° views of the island. Visitors can also take an exhilarating adventure from one island to the other on a zip line! The island is also known for its amazing dive sites for scuba diving beginners.
The best way to get there is a quick 15-minute ride via the Lomprayah Ferry from Ko Tao. The island has a no plastic bottle rule and pack-in pack-out policy, so remember to bring all trash back out with you!
Another fantastic dive spot you won’t want to miss is Ko Tao, or Turtle Island. Visitors can scuba dive amid a wide variety of marine life, including turtles, stingrays, reef sharks, and colorful coral beds on the seafloor! The water is crystal clear for full visibility of its inhabitants paddling around.
This beach bungalow is both charming and welcoming, greeting all who visit with open arms. Accommodations across the island vary from simple to luxurious. In addition to scuba diving, there are many hidden gems around Ko Tao to explore. To get there, take the Lomprayah Ferry.
Ko Phangan is the fifth largest island in Thailand and the largest island near Ko Samui, covering an area of 167 square kilometers! Visitors can hop on a quick ferry ride to the island paradise with nearly 20 nearby dive sites. Party-goers seek out this island for its full moon and black moon parties at Haad Rin Beach and wellness-lovers seek out this paradise for the amazing yoga retreat programs on the island.
As dawn approaches, tranquility returns, and the island is quiet, with only the sounds of the waves crashing to shore. Enjoy its pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and untouched wilderness.
The island includes sustainable experiences such as farm to table restaurants, areas of meditation, and more wellness-focused experiences. Be cognisant of the full moon and black moon parties, as the flights and hotels are harder to book due to their popularity. To get to Ko Phangan, take a speedboat or ferry from Ko Samui.
Stay Tuned for More Hidden Gems Around Ko Samui!
While Ko Samui offers a plethora of exciting things to do and see, there are also many opportunities for further exploration around the island! Whether you’re looking to party it up on Haad Rin Beach or go zip lining across Ko Nang Yuan, your vacation to Thailand will be truly unforgettable. Stay tuned for more hidden gems in Ko Tao and Ko Phangan!