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Koh Samui – The Big Daddy of all Islands in Thailand

I took almost 3 years for my first ever visit to Koh Samui. I usually avoid those places where ‘everybody’ goes but I simply had to check it out once. A short public holiday (Asanha Bucha) and the visit of my sister from Germany formed the perfect opportunity for a short trip to the Grand Daddy of all Thai Islands: Koh Samui.

First things first: I’m kinda disappointed by Samui – as expected. For me personally it’s to big, to huge, to touristic and to ‘developed’ (but yeah, I’m thankful for the wifi of course). However I prefer smaller islands that are more…adventurous. At least somehow. So my personal ranking would still see Samui, Samed and all the others in front of Samui. However that doesn’t mean that Samui is all bad. There are some pretty nice spots too and if you prefer real roads to sandy paths or on tour with a family, etc. Samui is the way to go.

So let’s have a brief look into Koh Samui and its attractions and must see sights.

1.) Big Buddha Temple

big buddha temple koh samui
big buddha temple koh samui

Not as big as some Buddhas elsewhere but still pretty impressive and in a nice location with a great view attached. If you visit it during a Thai public holiday the experience will be even more special. Definitely a must see and one of the most famous sights on Koh Samui.

 2.) Na Mueang Waterfall

Nice and touristic – especially the area around the waterfall. Safari, Elephant trekking, etc. I’m not recommending this stuff of course but the waterfall itself is pretty nice and a cool sight. It’s free to walk there (don’t let anybody else tell you anything else!) and even a little exciting when climbing through small pathways and over rocks etc. – If you’re injured or not well on your feet, don’t go there. if you are halfway able to walk, don’t let anyone sell you stupid 4×4 rides there. You can walk there within 20 minutes.

Na Mueang Waterfall Koh Samui
Na Mueang Waterfall Koh Samui

3.) Hin Ta & Hin Yai.

Well. See for yourself. Personally I don’t like when there’s so much fuss about stones or trees that look like genitals and boy, do they make a fuss about it here. However it’s a nice spot to enjoy the view and to see some crazy people (yep, you’ll see them) and some cool bars and shops made into the stone walls. So if you’re on the way anyways, take a look but don’t expect tooooo much. After all, it’s just stones.

hin ta hin yai koh samui
hin ta hin yai koh samui

4.) Bang Por

The bay that you won’t find in most tourist guides. It’s not Chaweng, Lamai or Nathon – the big players of Samui – that made us go ‘wow’. It was tiny Bang Por that was our home and made us feel happy and super relaxed. Almost no tourists, quiet spots and no Jetskis or annoying vendors. Thanks for that!

Bang Por Beach Koh Samui
Bang Por Beach Koh Samui

5.) Motorcycle Tour around the island. 

Not a special ‘Koh Samui Thing’ but definitely worth doing! Rent a motorcycle and simply check out cool spots along the way. Love doing this on all islands I visit – also on Samui. So many nice things to see and to discover.  Go for it.

 

Best Beach on Samui: Thong Ta Kien (Crystal Bay).

More quiet, no walking vendors, less tourists (few resorts). All in all a great place to hang out and to relax, snorkel and charge batteries.

thon ta kien koh samui
thon ta kien koh samui

Worst Beach on Samui: Lamai. Pretty close to Chaweng and with a lot of stuff going on around Lamai appears to be a decent holiday spot. However, when entering the beach, you don’t feel like you’re in Thailand but more like you just entered the worst area on Ibiza or Mallorca. You can’t even see the beach clearly thanks to all the chairs, people and rubbish there. So my advice: Don’t go to Lamai. Just skip it, it’s not worth your time!

How to go to Koh Samui?

We went there by plane which is, obviously, the easiest part. However cheap airlines like AirAsia and Nok Air don’t fly directly to Samui. They will bring you to Nakhon Sri Thamarat or Surathani Airport and then have a bus take you to the ferry and to Samui. Such a trip lasts, from BKK, around 6 hours. If you want it quicker, go for direct flights (1 hour) which are, of course, more expensive in return.

The way back then was taken on by bus. That’s between 600 and 1,000 THB per person. Depending on the bus and takes around 14 hours with ferry and everything combined.

Another alternative would be the train that goes to Chumphon or Surathani. From there you would have to catch a bus to the ferry and then find your way over to Samui.

samui_468x49

How to go around?

As mentioned above: I’m a motorcycle fan. Especially on islands. Otherwise you could go for taxis or minivans or, as used from other cities, Songtheaws (Minibuses) that frequently pass between Nathon, Chaweng and Lamai.

All in all Samui is a decent trip even though it’s not that kind of ‘paradise’ that offers complete quiet and remote spots combined with amazing sunsets and incredible adventures. Nevertheless it’s a nice island to spend a few days at the beach without having to pass on ‘civilized’ life. Happy we went there.


More pictures, as always, on Facebook.

 

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at My-Thai.org
Sascha is the publisher of my-thai.org and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

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