When it comes to breathtaking tropical island holidays, Thailand is a true paradise. Thai islands such as Phuket, Koh Lanta, Koh Phangan, Koh Samed, and Koh Chang are simply stunning. Thailand is the ultimate destination for a tropical island holiday. One of the most visited and special Thai islands is Koh Samui.
Sat in the heart of the Gulf of Thailand and known for its vast abundance of natural beauty, fantastic beaches, 5-star beach clubs, world-class resorts and scintillating holiday atmosphere, when you want to bask in tropical brilliance while enjoying all the modern amenities a holidaymaker can imagine, Koh Samui Island is a holiday destination for the ages. Here are some of the most famous and popular things to see and do in Koh Samui. We hope you enjoy our Koh Samui attractions guide.
#1 – Koh Samui Big Buddha Temple
The impressive giant golden statue of Big Buddha is probably one of the most well-known Koh Samui attractions and is located at the north of the island at the north-east of the island near to Bophut. Visitors flock from around the world to pay respect to this 12-meter-tall representation that also sits on a raised peninsula, giving visitors a fantastic view of Koh Phangan and the surrounding beaches. Due to the positioning of the structure, you can actually see it from some distance away which makes it an excellent landmark to get your bearings!
The statue itself was built in 1972 and is reached by climbing a long staircase that has carved dragons flowing down. At the top, there are several bells hanging surrounding the statue that you can gently ring and sound out your prayers to Lord Buddha. Leaving your shoes at the base of the steps is expected so be careful on a hot day as you may find the steps a little warm, to say the least! If you want to sample the most fascinating Buddhist monument in Samui, nothing can match the amazing Big Buddha temple and monument.
#2 – Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks (Hin Ta Hin Yay)
Hin Ta Hin Yay is an unusual rock formation on the outskirts of Lamai and is a great spot to visit during your stay on Koh Samui. To reach the rocks, you need to watch for a small road about 1 kilometer west of the end of Lamai. The Grandfather and Grandmother rocks are so named for two reasons. First reason is their quite graphic similarity to the human genitalia, and the second is that the Samui people believe that they were born from the rocks themselves.
There is a tale of how the rocks came into existence. There was a young couple desperately in love on the mainland, but their families refused to let them marry. They ran away and came to the island of Samui, so they could be together, but their families chased them and instead of being separated they threw themselves from the cliff. After which, the Hin Ta and Hin Yay rocks sprang up as the representation of the young lovers. A sad story – kind of an Asian Romeo and Juliet!
At the rocks, you will also find lots of small cafes and shops. Take some time to have a browse around all the knick-knacks and unique gifts that you can bring home for mementos of your holiday. Or you can just sit in a café and enjoy a cool fruit shake in a completely different type of environment!
#3 – Na Muang Waterfall Koh Samui
There are several waterfall locations on the island of Koh Samui and certainly, Na Muang is one of the most impressive and well developed. When it comes to Koh Samui attractions, waterfalls are one of the most popular. Located in the southern part of the island, this famous Koh Samui Waterfall is about 10 kilometers away from the port town of Nathon. The waterfall is actually in two parts. The first is very easily reached by car while the second is much further upstream and involves a bit of a walk to reach it.
The first waterfall is around 18 meters in height and is also well catered for with lots of small stalls and a café to sit and enjoy a cool drink after a dip in the water. The second waterfall is a bit more isolated but is much more dramatic with a height of 80 meters. You will find plenty of the locals here on holiday as they all love a dip in the cool stream waters. Always be sure to take note of the season when you are visiting the waterfalls as in rainy season a heavy downpour can make these waterfalls a bit dangerous, so we would not advise visiting at that time. May to November is the best time for visiting waterfalls.
#4 – Suwannaram Temple (Wat Plai Laem) – Koh Samui
This amazing temple is located just a kilometer from Big Buddha on the north-eastern coastline of the island, but it is often overlooked by the tour companies which really is a shame. Upon arriving at the temple, you will see the giant Buddha statue in white with its many arms which are around 20 meters in height. Each arm represents a different area of Buddhism. To get to the statue, you cross a charming white stone and marble bridge as the statue itself is located in the center of a lake. It certainly is a stunning representation and one that you would definitely want in a backdrop of your holiday photos!
There is more to see within these amazing temple grounds. A second temple is also on the lake which has hundreds of tiny golden bells hanging from the roof that makes a delightful sound in the breeze. If you are looking for the most breathtaking Koh Samui temples or you only have time to visit one while you are here, a journey to Samui without coming to see Wat Plai Laem Temple would be a real shame.
#5 – Lad Koh Viewpoint Koh Samui
The Lad Koh Viewpoint is also known as the Zenith Viewpoint and is one of the most stunning Koh Samui attractions. It is probably one of the easiest to reach and breathtaking viewpoints on the island. It is located just 2 kilometers from Chaweng as you are driving along the ring road towards Lamai. Samui really smartened up this viewpoint several years ago where they made it far more modern and easy to find. You can park relatively easily and walk to the edge to see a spectacular view of the whole of the Chaweng bay area.
Looking down you can see the crystal-clear water crashing onto the rocks at the bottom of the viewpoint. It really is a stunning sight, so do try to get there on a clear day to get the full view of the lush green island, golden sand beaches and the warm blue sea and sky!
Don’t be surprised at the cars and bikes all beeping their horns as you are enjoying the view. A few meters along from the viewpoint is a small temple that was set up in respect of all the people who have lost their lives on the ring road. A few years previously there were many spirit houses set up to house these souls, now since the renovations there is a well-maintained shrine that you will see Thai people visiting and leaving flowers.
When you want to experience one of the most aesthetically brilliant Koh Samui attractions, Lad Koh Viewpoint is highly-recommended.