Koh Samui may be very touristy now, but Thailand’s second largest island still has some charm and many really beautiful Koh Samui sights to offer. It doesn’t matter whether you have the heart of an explorer or you belong more to the group of beach lovers and sun worshipers. Above all, the nature on Koh Samui is a dream for the eyes and soul alike, because the hilly interior of the island is densely covered with evergreen forests, while the countless coconut palms sway in the wind on the fantastically beautiful beaches – it’s not without reason that Koh Samui also has the nickname coconut island.
In this article, let me take you to the most beautiful places and sights of Koh Samui on the lively island in the Gulf of Thailand, so that your holiday will be unforgettable!
Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park
The most beautiful of the numerous Koh Samui sights for me is actually not on the island itself, but slumbers a few nautical miles west of the Samui archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. We are talking about the 42 small and large limestone islets that together form the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park. The water here is only 10 meters deep on average and washes around the islands, which rise up to 400 meters steeply out of the sea, in an inviting turquoise. The best way to explore the magic of Ang Thong National Park is as part of a day trip by boat.
If, like me, an individual tour on a beautiful ship with only a few guests on board and good food is important to you, then I can wholeheartedly recommend the excursion with Boutique Yachting . On the Naga, a really pretty sailing ship, you have enough space – of course also for relaxing on the comfortable cushions in the shade or in the sun. Our group consisted of just 16 guests, while other companies cram 50 people and more on smaller boats and you only have one stool to sit on for the entire day.
After the approximately two and a half hour crossing from Koh Samui to the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park (and a hearty breakfast on the boat), we stop at the large island of Ko Wua Ta Lap, which has two attractions in store for us. Namely an enchanting beach with the finest white sand, framed by coconut palms swaying in the wind and turquoise-green water that washes onto the beach in gentle waves, as well as an incredibly great vantage point. To reach it, you have to climb 550 meters in altitude, on steep steps and in sweltering heat. But you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view over the fantastic island world of the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park!
After an absolutely delicious lunch aboard the Naga, it’s time for the second stop of the day: the viewpoint on Mae Ko Island, where you’ll catch a glimpse of the dazzling saltwater Emerald Lagoon (Talay Nai Lagoon). can. Don’t worry, during the subsequent bathing stop at the foot of an imposing rock face on a nameless island, you can wash off all the sweat in the wonderfully refreshingly cool sea. Exotic fruits and freshly opened coconuts, cookies and pastries, as well as one or two drinks sweeten the return trip to Koh Samui, during which you can admire one of the most beautiful sunsets in the Gulf of Thailand.
My tip: On the wonderful travel blog Sommertage you will find a very detailed article on the boat tour with Boutique Yachting in the Ang Thong National Park. Of course with many inspiring photos that make the wanderlust twice as big!
Der Plai Laem Temple & der Big Buddha Temple
Of course, both temples are no longer insider tips among the most beautiful Koh Samui sights, but I would still like to recommend a visit there. The two temples are relatively close to each other in the northeast of the island, which is why a visit can be perfectly combined.
The Wat Plai Laem can hardly be surpassed in terms of bright colors and kitschy-splendid presentation and for me it is actually one of the most beautiful temples on the island. Stroll past the impressive statue of the Chinese goddess Guan Yin with her 18 arms, pay a visit to the giant laughing Buddha and peek into the ordination hall, which rests on a bright pink plateau of lotus flowers in the middle of a lake. Chinese and Thai elements have been combined here at Wat Plai Laem Temple, which is certainly part of its beauty and allure.
Countless fish and small water turtles live in the pond, which you can not only observe during your visit, but also feed!
For me, the Big Buddha of Wat Phra Yai is actually just as fascinatingly beautiful and wonderfully kitschy as the Plai Laem Temple. In addition, the Big Buddha Temple is one of the symbols of the island and thus one of the most important Koh Samui sights. And since both temples are only a little over a kilometer apart, a short detour is definitely worthwhile.
Even from a distance you can see the oversized Buddha, glistening gold all over, enthroned on his small island in the Gulf of Thailand, surrounded by many smaller temples and numerous colorful statues of gods. 73 steps lead directly up to the 12 meter high Buddha and promise a very nice view of the coast and the beach of Bang Rak from the plateau.
I also find it totally fascinating how incredibly low the Bangkok Airways planes fly over the Big Buddha Temple. No wonder, as Koh Samui Airport is so close by!
Koh Samui Attractions: Grandfather & Grandmother Rocks
An equally famous sight on Koh Samui as the Big Buddha Temple are the Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks (Hin Ta Hin Yai). This is a group of rocks on a particularly picturesque stretch of coast, two of which suggest a male and a female genitalia.
Although some other travelers write that you can safely skip this “attraction”, I find it very impressive that the whims of nature have allowed both sides of our human race to emerge from the rocks in one and the same place. What a crazy coincidence, isn’t it?!
The Silver Beach & the Maenam Beach
One of my favorite beaches on Koh Samui is Silver Beach. Because this enchanting beach is located in the melodious Crystal Bay, it is often called Crystal Beach, or Thong Takhian Beach in Thai. The water is crystal clear, shines in a wonderful turquoise blue and kisses the beach in gentle waves. The sand is soft as butter, super fine and snow-white. Just a dream!
The rounded rocks so typical of Koh Samui are omnipresent here and picturesquely frame Silver Beach from all sides. This breathtakingly beautiful backdrop reminds me a lot of the small island of La Digue in the Seychelles, do you too? If you like, you can also rent stand-up paddle boards or kayaks here at Crystal Beach and explore the coast from the water. It’s best to come as early or late as possible so that you don’t have to share the beach with so many other sunbathers.
Also beautiful to look at and a dream for swimming is Maenam Beach in the north of Koh Samui. From the Maenam Viewpoint you can admire the entire beach in its full length. After swimming, you can stroll through the lively Maenam Afternoon Market and enjoy the delicious street food. Be sure to try the mango with sticky rice and sweet coconut milk, so delicious! The market is open daily from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. At a later hour, the Maenam Night Market lures you to visit.
My tip: A local told me that Thongson Beach in the northeast of Koh Samui is also a highly recommended bathing beach. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I was not able to visit the beach myself.
The neighboring islands of Koh Taen & Koh Mat Sum
Off the south coast of Koh Samui, two small island pearls slumber in the Gulf of Thailand, which you can explore in a relaxed manner as part of a boat tour. Again, I would like to recommend the tour by Boutique Yachting . The team is just so perfectly organized and warm and the sailing boat – as already mentioned above in the context of the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park – a comfortable dream for the trip.
While Koh Taen invites you to go snorkeling on the reef off its coast, the undisputed star is the pig island of Koh Mat Sum, where you will not only find fantastically beautiful beaches, but also a gang of cuddly pigs, which of course can also be petted. Especially the baby pigs are just so sweet!
This experience reminded me a lot of my sailing trip to the Bahamas Exumas a few years ago and put a big grin on my face. The day ends later with hoisting the sails and admiring the Five Islands in the golden light of the slowly setting sun. Simply unforgettable!
Das Fisherman’s Village am Bophut Beach
Now very touristy, but still a place with a very relaxed and somehow special atmosphere, is the Fisherman’s Village on Bophut Beach. Pretty boutiques, small shops, cute cafés and numerous restaurants, some of which are still in old, traditional wooden houses, are lined up like shiny pearls on a string along the village street. Here you can stroll in peace like in almost no other place on Koh Samui.
Incidentally, the promenade of the Fisherman’s Village runs parallel to the pretty beach, so you can always include a dip in the cool water in your stroll!
Are you also someone who prefers to avoid loud, totally overexcited hustle and bustle and crowds of tourists, but still likes to experience the liveliness of a country in markets and among people? Then leave the overcrowded tourist towns of Chaweng and Lamai (and the night markets there) on your left. Fisherman’s Village and the night market here, The Wharf Walking Street, offer just the right amount of authentic vibrancy in my opinion.
My tip: Very close to the Fisherman’s Village, the sophisticated Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort attracts with a beautiful tropical garden. This hotel would have been my second choice right after the Silavadee (more tips below). Check in here directly, or take advantage of the day spa’s offer to enjoy the enchanting facility for a few hours even as a non-hotel guest!
Koh Samui sights: the Wat Bo Phuttharam
Also very close to Fisherman’s Village is a very special temple, namely Wat Bo Phuttharam. Here, a huge black stone monk statue sits atop an even larger boat, which in turn floats in a man-made lake. A small bridge takes you inside the ship and up to the platform with the monk. Wat Bo Phuttharam is probably the most extraordinary temple with the fewest visitors on all of Koh Samui.
My tip: Are you now wondering how you can even get to all the different places and sights on Koh Samui? Renting a scooter is a very popular option, but I, for example, don’t dare to drive there alone. For me, the option of a private driver was the variant that made me feel much safer and better.
Der Wat Khunaram & der Wat Ratchathammaram
Both temples are very extraordinary in their own way and are therefore among the most visited Koh Samui sights. In Wat Khunaram, the mummified corpse of the Buddhist monk Luang Phor Daeng Payasilo rests in a glass case – with sunglasses on his face and in a meditation pose.
The monk died on this very spot more than forty years ago, having predicted his death a few days before and with the firm belief that his body would not be plagued by decomposition after his passing. Super exciting, right?
Wat Ratchathammaram (Wat Sila Ngu Koh Samui) might not be able to compete with such a spectacular history, but it is still worth a visit because this temple is also something special. The Red Temple is – as its name correctly suggests – completely in red or terracotta and is therefore a really pretty photo motif.
Inside, apart from a beautiful golden Buddha and two elephants, there is an atmospheric emptiness. The elaborate relief work on the walls of the temple also contributes to the very own, mystical atmosphere of Wat Ratchathammaram.
My tip: Directly on the road between Wat Khunaram and Wat Ratchathammaram you will also find the Guan Yu Shrine, which cannot be overlooked and is dominated by a 16 meter high statue of the Chinese general Guan Yu.
Other recommended Koh Samui attractions
There are really countless great places on Koh Samui that you can visit during your vacation. In addition to the sights that have already been described in detail, I can also recommend a trip to the Namuang Waterfall and the not far away Namuang Waterfall 2, where you can also take a wonderful swim in the pool of Waterfall 1.
The golden pagoda of Wat Phra Chedi Laem So is also very nice to look at, which is enthroned directly on the beach and – especially at sunset – exudes a somehow sublime atmosphere. Right next to it, Wat Khao Chedi is waiting for your visit!
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The Jungle Club
A real favorite spot on Koh Samui is the Jungle Club . The great restaurant is hidden on a hill in the middle of the dense green of the jungle. The view from up here of the gently rolling Chaweng Noi beach and over the countless treetops along the coast is truly unforgettable. The cozy beanbags, arranged on open wooden platforms and glowing in bright red and orange, invite you to relax and are sometimes responsible for the very special atmosphere of the Jungle Club.
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The dishes at Jungle Club’s restaurant are inspired by traditional Thai, French and Mediterranean cuisine. But even if you just want to drink something cool, you’re in good hands here. The mood in the Jungle Club is at its most beautiful in the late afternoon, when the warm light of the low sun bathes the coast in a wide variety of shades of gold and lets the Gulf of Thailand glitter magically.
Incidentally, the Jungle Club on Koh Samui is not only a great restaurant, but also a beautiful small boutique hotel with detached jungle bungalows and an infinity pool that is impressive.
My tip: Without a reservation, which you ideally make days in advance via the website, it will be very difficult to get a seat in the Jungle Club. If the reservation doesn’t work out, there is a very similar (and not yet so hyped) restaurant, and therefore a good alternative, The Roof Samui.
Koh Samui Attractions: the Overlap Stone
Speaking of great viewpoints, the super cool Overlap Stone should not be missing, because it is a real little feature of nature on Koh Samui. It is really fascinating how the huge round rock is perfectly balanced and absolutely majestic enthroned on the rocky plateau rising out of nowhere from the dense jungle. A small bridge made of wooden planks leads you all the way to the Overlap Stone, where a fantastically beautiful view over the lush jungle and Lamai Beach awaits you from above.
A little further down the road there is now a second rock of this type. On Google Maps it bears the title “overlap stone2”. I find neither the rock nor the view as beautiful as the original. However, the entrance fee here is much cheaper, because at the Overlap Stone you now have to shell out a whopping 200 baht and even have to stand in line for it.
A little below the Overlap Stone there is another, very well-known viewpoint on Koh Samui, namely the Lamai Viewpoint with the Valentine Stone. My recommendation: You can do it if you have enough time, but you don’t necessarily have to. The view at the Overlap Stone is much nicer I think.
Please don’t be surprised why I can’t show you nice photos of either the Jungle Club or the Overlap Stone. Unfortunately, the memory card of my camera gave up the ghost that afternoon and all the pictures were irrevocably lost, which I only realized with great horror in the evening.
Sleep luxuriously & feel good at the Silavadee Resort
For me, one of the most beautiful hotels on Koh Samui is definitely the Silavadee Resort . The location alone is a dream. Artfully embedded in the tropical island nature, the detached villas are spread along a slope and between the cliffs on a kind of small island promontory that juts out into the Gulf of Thailand between Lamai and Chaweng. Thanks to the hillside location and because the Silavadee Resort is right at the top of this ledge, you can enjoy the most amazing views from almost every area of the hotel.
Two pools invite you to swim and splash around, of course again with unforgettable 5-star panoramic views. A small beach at the foot of the resort is available exclusively for hotel guests to relax on. There you can rent kayaks, snorkeling equipment and also stand-up paddleboards if you would like to be a little active on your vacation. You can also relax perfectly in the jacuzzi on your own balcony and sea view.
What I really like are the evocative names of the various restaurants and bars: be it a healthy snack in the Sun Lounge, delicacies from all over the world in the Moon Restaurant or a refreshing cocktail in the Star Rooftop Bar – culinary delights are here at the Silavadee Resort guaranteed at all times. Admittedly, the name of the main restaurant “The Height” is not quite as spectacular, but the authentic Thai dishes that are served here make up for it.
My tip: The small Chalay Rock Bar is a super cute restaurant with really delicious food at unbeatable prices not far from Silavadee and right on the bay of Lamai. I found the atmosphere there super relaxed and can highly recommend the location.
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Well, could I make a vacation on the second largest island of Thailand tasty with this article about the most beautiful Koh Samui sights? Or do you already know the island and have more travel tips for Koh Samui ready? I would be very happy if you share your thoughts with me in the context of a comment here on my travel blog!
*This article was created as part of a collaboration with Boutique Yachting. However, I was completely free in the implementation of the journalistic content and my opinion is, as always, my own. There are promotional links in the post. If you book or buy something through them, we get a pro rata commission. This does not change the total amount for you. Thank you!