Koh Samui Travel Guide – Explore Beaches and Culture in Thailand

Explore beaches and culture in Thailand with this Koh Samui Travel Guide

Welcome to Koh Samui, the tropical paradise that blends pristine beaches, cultural wonders, and vibrant nightlife. In this Koh Samui travel guide, I’ll take you on a journey through the must-visit spots, from breathtaking beaches to cultural landmarks and sportive activities. During my stay in Koh Samui in December 2023, I joined a Muay Thai camp. An awesome experience where I could still explore some parts of the island during my daytime breaks. However, I wasn’t able to squeeze in all the hotspots I had saved on my travel map. Nevertheless, I’ll provide you with an overview of the best things to do in Koh Samui including some recommended restaurants. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure!

The best time to visit koh Samui

When planning your visit to Koh Samui, timing is key to ensure you make the most of your tropical getaway. While Thailand’s high season, characterized by dry weather, typically spans from November to February, the optimal period to explore the islands in the east, including Koh Samui, extends slightly later. The best time to visit Koh Samui is considered to be from January to April when the weather is at its finest, offering sunny days and ideal conditions for beach activities and sightseeing. However, the weather tends to improve significantly starting in mid-December. If you’re aiming for a perfect blend of clear skies and pleasant temperatures, this period provides an excellent window for your vacation. 

How to get to Koh Samui

By Air: Koh Samui’s airport is well-connected, offering domestic and international flights. Several airlines operate direct flights to the island, making it a convenient starting point for your adventure. Book early to avoid high prices, as I paid €150 for a one-way fare from Bangkok with Bangkok Airways. 

By Sea: There are also ferry and speedboat options available. Direct ferry services, such as Lomprayah, connect Koh Samui with neighbouring islands like Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. Furthermore, there is also a connection with the mainland, such as Surat Thani. The travel time varies, typically taking 1.5 to 2 hours depending on weather conditions. 

Bookings: Secure your transportation by booking directly with ferry companies like Lomprayah or use convenient platforms like 12go.asia. 

How to get around Koh Samui

Motorbike Rentals: The easiest way to get around Koh Samui is by renting a motorbike. Next to it being the most popular option, it is also the most cost-effective option. It provides the flexibility to explore the island at your own pace and generally roads are well maintained. 

Taxis: Alternatively you can take a taxi to multiple places in Koh Samui, however, sometimes the prices are quite high. I advise you to use Grab, the taxi app for the best prices and highest convenience.

Koh Samui Travel Guide Summary

  • Enjoy the Beaches
  • Big Buddha (Wat Phra Yai)
  • Wat Plai Laem temple
  • Fisherman’s Village (night market)
  • Follow a Muay Thai Class
  • Ang Thong Marine Park
  • Na Muang Waterfall 2
  • Secret Buddha Garden
  • Grandfather.& Grandmother Rocks
  • Overlap Stone
  • Nightlife in Chaweng 
  • Moonlight
  • Wild Tribe
  • Punch It Health Cafe
  • Jungle Club
  • The Roof
  • The Cocoon
  • Drip Indeed
  • Ocean Lane
  • Carnival Beach Village
  • Ban Thai 
  • Coco Tam’s
  • Cape Away Beach Bar

- The best things to do in KOH Samui -

|| Enjoy the best beaches on Koh Samui

What better to start the Koh Samui travel guide than with an overview of the best beaches in Koh Samui? One thing is for sure, there are plenty of beaches to explore.

  • Chaweng: Famous for its powdery white sand and vibrant atmosphere. Chaweng is one of the best-known tourist towns, so expect large crowds. 
  • Lamai: A more laid-back alternative for Chaweng, perfect if you are seeking some crowds and drinks. 
  • Lipa Noi Beach: Tranquil and more secluded, offering breathtaking sunset views.
  • Baan Tai: A haven for water sports enthusiasts and beach lovers.
  • Silver Beach: Crystal-clear waters and a quieter ambience for ultimate relaxation. One of the most beautiful beaches on the island. 
  • Chengmon Beach: A picturesque beach with swaying palms, ideal for a stroll and a cocktail.
View on Lamai Beach from White Sand Beach Resort, Koh Samui
Lamai Beach
Chengmon Beach, the best beaches in Koh Samui
Chengmon Beach
Chengmon Beach, the best beaches in Koh Samui
Chengmon Beach
Chengmon Beach, the best beaches in Koh Samui

|| Visit the Big Buddha (Wat Phra Yai)

Marvel at the iconic 12-meter tall golden Buddha statue, a symbol of Koh Samui that can already be seen when you fly into Koh Samui. It’s a must-visit cultural landmark in the north of the island and can be perfectly combined with Wat Plai Laem. 

Big Buddha, Wat Phra Yai in Koh Samui, the best things to do
Big Buddha, Wat Phra Yai in Koh Samui, the best things to do
Big Buddha, Wat Phra Yai in Koh Samui, the best things to do
Big Buddha, Wat Phra Yai in Koh Samui, the best things to do, 3-week Thailand Itinerary

|| Visit the Wat Plai Laem Temple

Immerse yourself in the spiritual ambience of this striking temple with vibrant statues and artwork. After seeing plenty of temples in Thailand, and especially in Chiang Mai, I still have to say Wat Plai Laem is one of my favourites. 

Wat Plai Laem, The best things to do on Koh Samui
Wat Plai Laem, The best things to do on Koh Samui
Wat Plai Laem, The best things to do on Koh Samui
Koh Samui Travel Guide, The best things to do on Koh Samui
Wat Plai Laem, The best things to do on Koh Samui
Wat Plai Laem, The best things to do on Koh Samui
Wat Plai Laem, The best things to do on Koh Samui, 3-week Thailand Itinerary
Wat Plai Laem, The best things to do on Koh Samui
Wat Plai Laem, The best things to do on Koh Samui

|| Visit Fisherman's Village and the night market

Indulge in the lively atmosphere of Fisherman’s Village, especially during the night market. Explore local crafts, taste delicious street food, and experience the charm of this historic area. Overall, I would advise you to go during the night market, as there is not much happening during the day. Nevertheless, there are some nice sea front restaurants to relax.

Fisherman's Village, Koh Samui Travel Guide
Fisherman's Village, Koh Samui Travel Guide
Fisherman's Village, Koh Samui Travel Guide
Fisherman's Village, Koh Samui Travel Guide

|| Follow a Muay Thai class and / or visit a fight

Unleash your inner warrior and experience the thrill of Muay Thai. There are plenty of Muay Thai schools on Koh Samui that offer classes for all levels. A great way to experience the local culture. First of all, a big shout out to Punch It Gym, I highly encourage you to book a class here! Also, visiting a Muay Thai fight is another great experience. 

Muay Thai Koh Samui, Punch it Gym
Muay Thai Fight Koh Samui, Travel Guide

|| Ang Thong Marine Park

Embark on an island-hopping adventure to Ang Thong Marine Park, which is the perfect day trip from Koh Samui. Discover pristine beaches, hidden lagoons, and vibrant coral reefs in this stunning archipelago. Book your day trip here. 

|| Na Muang Waterfall 2

Escape to the lush interior of the island and discover the beauty of Na Muang Waterfall 2. Firstly, you can visit Na Muang Waterfall 1, however, the 2nd waterfall is much more impressive. It might be a bit harder to reach, however, after a 15-minute climb you’ll reach the foot of the waterfall. From here, you can climb to the top of the waterfall, following a path on the waterfall’s left side. Be careful, this is a steep way up and takes approximately 30 minutes. Refresh yourself in the cool waters surrounded by tropical greenery.

|| Secret Buddha Garden

Explore the enigmatic Secret Buddha Garden, a hidden gem tucked away in the hills. Marvel at the intricate statues and lush landscapes that make this place truly magical.

9. Grandfather & Grandmother Rocks and Overlap Stone

Can rock formations be one of the main island’s sights? Definitely! First of all, witness the unique rock formations of Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks in the south of the island. Next to that, you can visit the intriguing Overlap Stone. These natural wonders offer a glimpse into Koh Samui’s geological charm.

The Best Restaurants And Bars in Koh Samui

If you’ve ever been to Thailand or read about Thailand, you will be fully aware that Thai food is great. Even though I wasn’t able to try many restaurants, due to my all-in package at Punch It, I tried a couple and did some research on great bars and restaurants in Koh Samui. 


  • Moonlight: An amazing local Thai restaurant in Lamai. In the tourist towns, there are plenty of international restaurants to be found. Therefore, it might almost be challenging to find a great local restaurant. Moonlight is the one!
  • Wild Tribe: Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Wild Tribe, offering vegetarian and vegan local food.
  • Punch It Health Cafe: This health-conscious cafe belongs to the Pucnh It Gym. It’s the best way to fuel your body before or after a workout, but also honestly one of the best restaurants.
  • Jungle Club: Dine amidst lush greenery at Jungle Club or have a drink, you’ll be rewarded with. the greatest views over Koh Samui. where the menu is as diverse as the surrounding tropical landscape.
  • The Roof: Another restaurant with breathtaking views to elevate your dining experience.
  • The Cocoon: Experience culinary innovation at The Cocoon, with a luxury vibe and top-notch dishes. A perfect place if you are in for a treat.
  • Ban Thai: Experience authentic Thai flavors at Ban Thai, where traditional recipes are crafted with precision and passion.


  • Drip Indeed: Indulge in the rich and aromatic coffee blends at Drip Indeed, a cosy spot for coffee enthusiasts to unwind.
  • Ocean Lane: Another good coffee bar in the north of Koh Samui.
  • Carnival Beach Village: Immerse yourself in a lively beachside atmosphere at Carnival Beach Village, offering a mix of delicious food and festive vibes. In the afternoon, you can relax by the pool.
  • Coco Tam’s: Unwind in the laid-back ambiance of Coco Tam’s, with tropical cocktails and the famous evening fire show.
  • Cape Away Beach Bar: Enjoy a casual beachside meal at Cape Away Beach Bar near Baan Tai, where the sound of waves complements the delicious bites on offer.
Wild Cafe, Koh Samui, Best Restaurants in Lamai
Wild Cafe
Bacaba, Fisherman's Village
Bacaba, Fisherman's Village
Punch it Health Cafe, Best restaurants Lamai
Punch it Health Cafe
Carnival Beach Village, Chengmon Beach, the best beaches in Koh Samui
Carnival Beach Village

- The best places to stay in Koh Samui -

There are plenty of hotels, hostels and resorts to be found in Koh Samui. Finding the right hotel can be quite overwhelming, even as finding the right location. Firstly, if you are looking for some buzz and nightlife, Chaweng is the best option. Also, Lamai might be your cup of tea. If you want to seek some more relaxation and quietness, it is better to stay in. the north of the island. With the list below, I tried to find some of the best hotels in Koh Samui to get you inspired, in different price ranges and locations. 

Located near Grandfather and Grandmother Rock, you can find the beautiful hotel / resort The Rock Samui. The hotel is located right at the beach and has an outdoor swimming pool. Rooms start around €80. 

Courtesy of booking.com

If you are looking for a luxurious boutique hotel, look no further. Mantra Samui Resort is the perfect option for you. With beautiful rooms, all in a neutral and wood style, exceptional service, a gym and a pool, this resort has all you need. Rooms are already available starting at €82. 

Courtesy of booking.com

This beach-front location, Lipa Lodge, has bungalows surrounded by beautiful gardens and includes an outdoor pool. Located near Lipa Noi, it is the centre of tranquillity. Prices of a superior bungalow already start at €59.

Courtesy of booking.com

Located in the north of the Island, near Bangrak beach, you’ll find The Nest Samui. With an outdoor pool, shared kitchen and rooms with all the facilities you need, this is the perfect budget location to use as your base to explore the island. Rooms start at €41 a night.

Courtesy of booking.com

The final accommodation on this list is New Hut Bungalow, a budget accommodation. Stay the night in a small beach bungalow (with a fan), with not many more facilities than a bed and a shared bathroom. However, you are staying right at the beach and you’ll only pay €13 a night for 2 people!

Courtesy of booking.com

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Koh Samui Travel Guide - Explore Beaches and Culture in Thailand

KOh Samui Travel Guide:

Koh Samui Travel Guide - Explore Beaches and Culture in Thailand