Nestled off Thailand’s East Coast, Koh Samui (Samui Island) is a place adored for white sand beaches that are lined with coconut trees and emerald waters that are filled with brilliantly-colored coral. Koh Samui is what most people visualize when they think of a tropical paradise whether they’ve been there or not.
Up until the turning of the 20th century, Koh Samui was not a hot spot for tourism. In fact, the island didn’t even have roads until the 1970s, so the only way to get from one side to the other was trekking through jungles. Today, Koh Samui is a popular stop for travelers but it hasn’t lost its remote charm.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
Tourists travel from around the world just to explore the 42 islands developed by limestone mountains in the Gulf of Thailand. Aside from beaches to relax on, there’s diving, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking (including cave kayaking) and trekking.
This 12 m tall golden Buddha is one of Thailand’s most well-known trademarks. There’s an array of temples here to explore as well as food stalls and markets for shopping.
There’s a walking trail that will take you to these cascades that are often called Purple Waterfalls because of the color of the rock faces behind the water. There are plenty of waterfalls in Koh Samui but this is one of the most photographed ones. The area offers hiking, picnicking, swimming and elephant trekking opportunities.
Paradise Park Farm
Although Thailand tends to get a bad rap when it comes to animal farms, this one seems to be an exception. Visitors agree that the animals here are healthy and respected. Paradise Park Farm lets you get up close and personal with monkeys, deer, goats and birds; you can even feed them. There’s also a pool at the top of the mountain that offers a great view.
Wat Plai Laem
This is a newer temple that features an 18-arm statue of Guanym seated on top. A lake surrounds the temple; if you offer a donation you are given a bag of food for the fish.
Sumai Snake Farm
Pythons, King cobras and a long list of other fearsome reptiles are found at the Samui Snake Farm. In fact, of the 170 different species here, 50 of them are venomous. Visitors have the opportunity to touch a few of the docile ones.
Although Koh Samui is the second largest island of Thailand, it’s still considered a hidden gem. The island’s core is still uninhabited jungle so there are plenty of untouched areas to explore. Other recommended things to do and see in Koh Samui include Tamarind Springs Forest Spa, ladyboy cabarets, Silver Beach, kite-surfing, Secret Buddha Garden, Samui Crocodile Farm, Samui Butterfly Garden and Mummy Monk.