In every destination, there’s always a favorite spot for foreigners to visit. In Koh Samui, Thailand, here are some of the must-visit sites that will sure entertain, relax, or amaze you.
1. The Big Buddha
Remarkably located on the small rocky island off Samui Island’s northeastern, the Big Buddha or Phra Yai is sure one of the must-see landmark of the island. The Big Buddha is famous for the stunning Buddhist arts and the gigantic size of the Buddha image.
Sitting in the Mara Posture, the Big Buddha can be seen from afar with the size of 12-metre high. Samui Big Buddha is situated in Faan Island which is connected to Samui Island by a causeway. This is a good place for you to see Buddhist way of life, their belief and also a great venue for the photo as the temple is delicately decorated with cheerful colors and refined Thai arts.
Apart from the main attraction, this temple also has another highlight – the staircase with the statue of dragons where it leads to the Big Buddha.
Souvenir, amulet shops, and restaurants can be found around the site where some of the restaurants provide a nice view of Bang Rak Beach or Big Buddha Beach which is next to the temple.
Wat Phra Yai opens all day daily. However, if you would like to see Buddhist way of life, you should come to the place before noon. Visitors are advised to dress properly since Phra Yai is located on religious site. No beachwear and shorts when visiting the temple.
2. Hin Ta Hin Yai
If the Big Buddha is a religious landmark of Samui, Hin Ta Hin Yai is definitely a touristic landmark of the island that you shouldn’t miss. Sit on the rocky coastline between Lamai and Hua Thanon, Hin Ta Hin Yai is amazing rock formations which look like male and female genitalia.
It’s wonder nature has brought hundreds of tourists to see and experience whether they really look like human private parts. The word Hin Ta which means grandpa rock refers to the one that look like the man’s part while Hin Yai means grandma rock hints to one that looks like the lady’s part.
Hin Ta Hin Yai has an interesting legend that there was an old couple who had a son. Their son had come of age and they would like to find a bride for him so they sailed the sea to see their friends who they promised their son to their daughter.
During their journey, they were caught by a storm causing boat wreck. The old couples couldn’t make to the shore and died at sea They turn to rocks as a proof to the couples’ friends that they came as promised but couldn’t make it.
Despite the colouring story, Hin Ta Hin Yai offers a great spot for photography as well as to take in the view and beautiful surroundings of the traditional fishing village of Hua Thanon featuring the lush landscape of plantations and buffalo.
For those who love to shop, the entrance alley has many shops selling souvenirs, snacks, postcard, drinks and food.
The most famous and beautiful beach on Samui Island is Chaweng. The beach is clearly famous for its beautiful long beach with white powdery sand. It is the longest beach on the island with the length of 6 km. The beach is separated into 4 sections: North Chaweng; South Chaweng; Central Chaweng and Chaweng Noi. Chaweng beach also features many accommodations, restaurants, pubs and bars.
4. Bophut Fisherman’s Village
Bophut Fisherman’s Village is famous for its beautiful traditional Thai-Chinese wooden buildings.This area of the island is the most well-preserved place of Samui. Bophut Fisherman is great place for hanging out at night at its famous walking street where you can find many boutique shops selling quality fashion clothes, jewelry, diving courses and equipment, tour and fine cuisines, while you can reminisce in beautiful old wooden Chinese shop-house architectures.
5. Angthong National Park
Diving and snorkeling in Angthong National Marine Park is totally a must thing to do once you are in Samui. This amazing archipelago consists of 42 islands. It is in the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. The national marine park is located in the northwest of Samui Island and there are many things to see and experience, from flora and fauna on the lush islands to beautiful coral reefs.
Recommended islands are Wua Ta Lub (sleeping cow), Sam Sao (tri-pod island) and Mae Ko (mother island).
Ang Thong National Marine Park is closed for one month for rehabilitation of nature resources from 1 November to 23 December of every year.
6. Lamai Sunday Night Market
Nightlife is not always about pubs and clubs, the night market is also a great way to enjoy the night out. Lamai Sunday Night Market is a paradise for affordable local products, souvenirs or even the infamous replica products.
Here you can enjoy a bargaining shopping spree, where you will find products like sarongs, fashion clothes, bed sheets or even a clone version of Rolex.
This night bazaar opens every Sunday as the name suggested. The market becomes alive from 17.00 to 21.00 hrs.
7. Secret Buddha Garden in Samui
Hidden away in the hills of Baan Saket, Secret Buddha Garden offers a more off the beaten track attraction as an alternative site for tourists on Samui Island. Secret Buddha Garden is basically statues garden with an impressive collection of deities, humans, and animals in various poses.
However, what makes the garden special is not the statues alone. The combination of the lush location, relaxing atmosphere, and fresh air are the highlights of this place.
The Secret Buddha Garden is also known by the name Heaven’s Garden or Magic Garden. Along the way to the attraction, there are many beautiful spots worth taking a look for the panoramic view of Samui.
8. Chaweng Boxing Stadium
Thai boxing is a national sport and very famous across the world. Therefore, there is no surprise that boxing stadium becomes the tourist attraction. Samui is also home to several boxing stadiums, but the most popular and longest run one will have to be Chaweng Boxing Stadium.
Located near the legendary Reggae pub in Bophut, Chaweng Boxing Stadium usually offers boxing match up to 2 times a week. However, during peak season, the stadium might consider an additional rounds. To be safe, you should check the schedule in advance.
The boxing match is usually held on Monday and Friday, starting from 21.00 hr with the kids fight but the main fight will start at 10.30 hr. It’s a great alternative to spending a nightlife in Koh Samui.
9. Na Muang Waterfall
Located between Na Thong and Hua Thanon, Na Muang Waterfall is another beautiful natural attraction apart from beaches and seas in Samui that you should visit. The waterfall is separated into 2 main cascades – Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2.
The Na Muang Waterfalls can be reached by walking path from the entrance of the park. You can have a little trekking trip to the refreshing falls. Be aware that the path to the waterfalls is quite slippery and required a bit of fitness, so be prepared and wear comfortable sneakers or the trip.
You can also enjoy other activities such as riding elephants at the elephant camp near the site.
10. Lad Koh Viewpoint
Located between the two most beautiful beaches in Koh Samui – Chaweng and Lamai, Lad Koh Viewpoint features a stunning panorama view of Samui. Lad Koh Viewpoint is also known as Zenith Viewpoint. This viewpoint is properly built with path walk along the coast, allowing you to see the rocky shore and the blue ocean.