When dreaming of an island paradise, one of the first Thailand destinations we think of is the palm-tree-lined haven of Ko Samui! Tucked in the Gulf of Thailand, Ko Samui offers something for everyone, whether you’re an ocean lover or mountain adventurer! Summer is coming to a close, but in Ko Samui, all year round feels like summer vacation.
Thailand Insider’s very own On Thai Time publication recently touched on all you can see and do to rediscover yourself in Ko Samui. Let’s take a look at the insider tips of some of the most exciting activities for you to add to your travel itinerary!
What to Do
All around Ko Samui are adventures for you to experience, whether exploring a new museum or walking the many street markets. Let’s take a look at a few must-do activities!
Fun fact: Ko Samui is one of Thailand’s largest coconut suppliers! For travelers that love a little bit of history and culture, the Coconut Museum is an attraction to add to your list. The museum offers many activities for you to become educated on Samui history.
Learn the traditional ways to open and release the milk of a coconut by scraping the flesh out and kneading it with warm water. After straining, wait for the liquid to begin separating and enjoy a refreshing beverage! Other activities include making a decadent Thai dessert called Khan Khi Man, properly climbing a coconut tree, and more classes for cooking with coconuts!
What was once a fisherman’s village is now a charming walking village lined with cafes, restaurants, shops, and more. Beachside restaurants are entirely open, facing the water for you to enjoy a traditional Thai seafood meal with tranquil views of the sea.
Also lining the streets are boutique shops and the weekly market, one of the village’s biggest attractions. On Fridays, visitors flock to the walking street market to shop and dine, bringing the atmosphere to life. The market starts around late afternoon into the night with cooler temperatures great for shopping, eating, and entertainment.
Wat Plai Laem
On the northeast coast of Ko Samui is one of the island’s most beautiful temples, Wat Plai Laem. Within the center of the temple stands a striking statue of an 18-armed Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. This relatively new Buddhist compound is also famous for its Laughing Buddha statue.
The temple was constructed with colorful art and architecture to celebrate the joint beliefs of Thai and Chinese Buddhism. Visitors can discover artistic techniques that are centuries old. Remember to dress appropriately, as the temple is a sacred place of prayer for devotees who come to pay homage to Guanyin and Buddha.
What to Eat
Local cuisine in Ko Samui is influenced by the mainland and Chinese immigrants from Hainan. Here you’ll find some of Thailand’s freshest seafood with the local delicacies infused with spice from fresh herbs, turmeric, and black pepper. Here are a few food gems you won’t want to miss.
For over 70 years, this local restaurant has welcomed its patrons with decadent dishes and a charming atmosphere. The Chinese influence on Ko Samui inspires the flavors with dishes such as fried rice with roasted pork and a roasted pork marinade that brings the rice to life!
A celebrity hotspot, Long Dtai serves authentic southern Thai seafood on Cape Fahn Hotel Private Islands. What’s especially unique about this restaurant is that Chef David Thompson and his team emphasize the importance of marine conservation and sustainability.
While we’ve only touched on a few local favorites, there are many more restaurants to discover the flavors of Ko Samui, including at Central Festival Samui, the largest mall complex on the island! Read more about this food court fiesta in the On Thai Time issue.
What to See
You now know what to do and eat, but there is much more to discover and see! From the viewpoints to the natural phenomenons on the island, Ko Samui has much more to offer.
Hin Ta & Hin Yai Rocks
When making your way toward the southern end of Lamai Beach, you’ll be met with fascinating and oddly shaped rock formations called Hin Ta and Hin Yai, or Grandpa and Grandma Rock. The rocks were discovered many years ago by the locals and are set on the rocky coastline with the waves crashing over these exquisite rock formations.
Taling Ngam Viewpoint
One thing you cannot miss when in Ko Samui is the vibrant sunsets, and one of the best places to do so is at Taling Ngam Viewpoint. High into the sky, you’ll see panoramic views of the sea as well as Ko Chuak, Ko Som, and Ko Nok Phao rising in the distance. The sunset is truly a sight to behold as the sky glows an orange hue and the sun reflects across the sea.
Surprise, there are more fascinating rock formations in Ko Samui! Overlap Stone is just off the beaten path and leads to one of Ko Samui’s best viewpoints. Surrounded by the lush jungle, walk across a man-made bridge to find this hidden natural phenomenon. After witnessing the enormous rock, you can look out to see 360° views of island paradise.
Start Planning Your Ko Samui Vacation!
There are many more hidden gems in Ko Samui for you to discover. Ko Samui is now open under the 7 + 7 and Samui Plus program, and the island is ready to welcome you back safely. Check out On Thai Time’s July Issue to learn more about all things Ko Samui, and check out our travel page to find out more information on travel to Thailand!