For eco-conscious travelers, Thailand’s east coast island of Koh Samui may be the next best destination. Various forms of sustainable tourism or eco-tourism have emerged over the last few decades. However, in general, it still comes down to making simple choices that minimize the negative impact of traveling on the environment.

Going green is a big commitment not only to the environment but to yourself as well. It means willingly engaging in activities that will benefit the earth. And in turn, the sound acts leave a positive feeling in your psyche.

We put together sustainable tourism activities in Koh Samui that are vetted by the local community and are as enjoyable and fulfilling as any other travel experience.


Pay a visit to the Samui Elephant Sanctuary

The Samui Elephant Sanctuary was the first ethical elephant sanctuary in Koh Samui. Animal advocates will be pleased to know that this sanctuary rescues elephants from a lifetime of servitude, rehabilitates, and frees them.

The organization is also the pioneer of ethical eco-tourism on the island, with many initiatives centered around sustainability practices. One of these practices is educating visitors on how to best care for these magnificent creatures.

Anyone visiting the island can volunteer for this particular local environmental conservation program and learn more about what the organization does. Visitors can feed, walk with, or watch the elephants roam around, bathe, and play together in their natural habitat.


Clean up with Eco Koh Tao

Eco Koh Tao is another organization that aims to preserve and conserve marine environments through education and action. Some of their initiatives include coral restoration, cleaning beaches and dive sites, removing discarded fishing nets that cause damage to coral reefs, and restoring our coral reefs, among many others.

For interested tourists, Eco Koh Tao also conducts a beach and dive site clean-up around Koh Tao island, just off the coast of Koh Samui, every two weeks.


Visit the Crab Banks

One community initiative that involves EcoThailand members is the concept of ‘Crab Banks’. Crab banks are crab nurseries in protected harbors that are naturally aerated by the sea water and currents. These nurseries safeguard the young crabs from the harsh environment before eventual sea release.

Visitors can see the crab banks at Baan Kai, Baan Tai, and Wok Tum on Koh Phangan, a short ferry ride from Koh Samui. They can also be supported via a MicroGrants program.


Help Rescue Animals at Pariah Dog

A visitor of Pariah Dog Koh Samui is surrounded by dogs at the shelter. Photo: Pariah Dog Samui

Pariah Dog is a shelter for dogs and cats in Koh Samui. They rescue street animals in distress and help connect them to their new homes.

With a mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home as many of these homeless dogs as possible, Pariah Dog welcomes the help of volunteers to visit the animals and help spread the word to potential fur parents.


Bring your young ones to Planet Trekkers Kids’ Club

Parents traveling to Koh Samui with children can visit Planet Trekkers Kids Club. This program by InterContinental Hotel & Resorts is designed for children ages 4 to 12 and aims to engage them and teach them about the environment.

Planet Trekkers Kids Club offers games, arts and crafts, mini expeditions, and other fun activities like creating toys from recycled materials and basic Thai-inspired weaving. In the program, kids shall learn about the ocean’s deep wonders and other children their age.


Shop in Local Stores

Photo: Max Pixel

Another sustainable activity tourists can do in Koh Samui is purchasing locally-made products from local small business owners. Supporting local stores is one of the most effective ways the visitors can invest back into the community and support the island’s artisans. Some of the souvenirs that visitors can bring home include fine jewelry and carved works of art.

The Fisherman’s Village in Bophut Beach has a weekly night market with stalls and stores offering the best souvenirs, accessories, clothing, and decorations crafted by local artisans.


Opt for Eco-Friendly Restaurants

Photo: Wild Tribe Superfood Cafe & Juice Bar

There are plenty of incredible places for tourists who want to eat food sourced from sustainably grown produce that is also environmentally friendly. Some include Greenlight Cafe & Bar, Yogi Cafe, Wild Tribe Superfood Cafe & Juice Bar, and Funky Vege Cafe.

These restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan-friendly options, with some produce coming straight from their own garden.

Related Article: 10 Best Vegan Thai Dishes


Private, Bespoke, and Zero Carbon Activities

Some may not be into acting big with their dedication to being eco-warriors. Others exemplify their sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle by shifting their preferences in activities, food, and hobbies to those that generate little to zero carbon footprint.

In Koh Samui, many zero-carbon activities are on offer that you can easily enjoy inside the comforts of your villa rental. You may book yoga classes to help your body relax and enjoy the island’s tranquility. Or even go extreme and learn Thai boxing instead, giving you a chance to release stress and learn fighting techniques. 

There’s also a chance to learn more about Thai culture by attending a language class, which may involve learning modern-day Thailand’s body and spoken language. Otherwise, booking a Thai cooking class is also a good option as you may learn their way of preparing food.

Featured Image: Samui Elephant Sanctuary Official Facebook Page