Thailand is one of the best places to have a vacation in. From its beach resorts to the fantastic natural retreats, it’s a place that has something for everybody. It also has plenty of places to visit, and one of the most popular ones is Koh Samui, an island in the Gulf of Thailand. Its broad appeal attracts visitors of all sorts, from budget backpackers to the mega wealthy.
Koh Samui has plenty of sights on practically every corner. Places like religious architecture, and unique towns, and plenty of tropical getaways. It’s possible to do different things every day and not be bored at all for the duration of your stay, whether you’re staying in luxurious hotels, or you’ve found some local Koh Samui house rental.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
A pristine archipelago with 42 islands dotted in the Gulf of Thailand, the Park is filled with towering limestone Mountains, white-sand beaches, waterfalls, hidden caves, and all around beautiful nature in every direction. It’s within sight of Koh Samui, the park is a protected area of more than 100 square kilometers of land and sea, and it hosts plenty of marine and exotic life.
The Big Buddha
Koh Samui’s most known landmark, it’s located on an island off the north-eastern coast. Locally known as Wat Phra Yai, its golden 12-meters tall seated Buddha statue was built in 1972 and to this day is one of the island’s most popular attractions. Because of its size and stature, it can be seen from pretty far away, and is usually one of the first things visitors see when arriving by air. Set on Koh Faan island, the Big Buddha temple can be reached by a causeway from the main island. The statue itself depicts a sitting Buddha in the Mara Posture, and shows a time during Buddha’s journey to enlightenment when he successfully subdued all temptations cause by the devil-figure Mara.
Hin Ta and Hin Yai
Some of the most fascinating rock formations in the world, the Grandpa (Ta) and Grandma (Yai) rock formations are located off the southern coast of Koh Samui. It’s generally said that this unique rock formation seems as if nature imitates art, because the two rock formations represent male and female genitalia, respectively. They are set in the rocky coastline between Lamai and Hua Thanon, and there is no consent among the community how these rocks came to be formed. But despite that, they remain a popular attraction.
The aptly named Turtle Island, Koh Tao Island is a perfect scuba diving destination in Thailand. The small hilly island is surrounded by crystal clear waters in the Gulf of Thailand, and the white-sand beaches are perfect for a tropical getaway.
Two beautiful waterfalls set in jungle scenery, Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2 are definitely worth a visit. The first waterfall flows into a small pool that you can swim in, while the second one is about thirty meters further uphill and allows for some stunning natural sights. Visiting the waterfalls is completely free of charge, and plenty of food stands and souvenir shops are located around the waterfalls for some convenient shopping.
A unique looking aquarium, it’s designed to look like an old fishing village. In this aquarium, you can take a tour and learn all about the native marine life, all whilst observing them. The leopard shark, manta rays, catfish, and many others are found here, and there is a section where you can feed the turtles. After the aquarium you can also visit the adjacent zoo which hosts plenty of different animals, and offers a wonderful photo opportunity.
The Buddha Garden
Back in 1972, a family started putting up many beautiful statues in their personally owned land. The garden is hidden away between lush forests in the middle of the island, in a peaceful and calm place which has its own stream and waterfall.
Thailand is a place that has a lot of snakes, and most of them can be seen at the Koh Samui Snake Farm. The Farm puts shows on display by professional handlers, and they use snakes such as the king cobra and giant python. The wrangles find a way to show off their snakes’ fighting moves, while an excited audience watches.
Diving in the Gulf
The Gulf of Thailand allows for some fantastic scuba diving. It’s an absolute paradise for any diving enthusiast, and plenty of reputable PADI diving instructors can take you on a boat trip so you can see the marine life for yourself. 60 kilometers out of Koh Samui is what’s considered the best diving region, and there you can take two different dive courses, each one taking about 40-50 minutes. They’re perfectly suitable for beginners, but if you are one, always remember to check the schools’ certificates are up to date.
The hub of Koh Samui, it’s the largest town on the island and has the busiest and most beautiful beach. This is the place to go when looking for night life, as it has plenty of bars and restaurants to visit. The Strip is nearly three kilometers long where you visit most of the bars, and meet lots of people doing the same thing you are – having fun at Koh Samui.