Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island off the east coast of mainland. It is famous for its beautiful beaches, luxury resorts and coconut groves.
At its widest point the island stretches 25 km. The central part of the island is the most unspoilt with tropical jungle growing freely. Whilst the coastal areas such as Chaweng and Bophut are full of hotels, restaurants and bars.
Koh Samui is one of few Thai islands that has an airport, meaning if you are short on time you can easily fly directly to the popular destination. However, this will come at a price. When we were looking flights to a Koh Samui were coming in at between £200-£300!
Instead we decided to fly from Bangkok to Surat Thani for £19 including baggage (yes, you read that correctly £19!).
Then once at the airport booked onto a bus and ferry package for 600 baht (£14).
There are regular buses leaving the airport and we had no problem getting a space even in December.
The bus takes around 1 hour and the ferry also an hour. So all in all a very quick and easy journey over to the island.
When we arrived in Koh Samui we grabbed a taxi to our hostel in Bophut for 500 baht (£11.50) between 4 of us. But if you are on your own a mini bus service was available for 150 baht per person.
We decided to stay in Bophut as opposed to Chaweng beach for two reasons, it has a more chilled vibe, but it’s close enough to Chaweng that you can easily take a cab for a night out.
This hostel is lovely! It is made out of 40ft recycled shipping containers but the finish is stunning.
In the centre of the hostel is a pool surrounded by bean bags, the pool gets the sun all day which is great.
The vibe in this hostel is chilled, in the evening travellers gather in the bar area, enjoy drinks whilst playing games and listening to music.
The hostel owner is a 30-year-old man, and he is a great guy. He interacts well with the guests, and is always helpful.
Exploring Koh Samui
Most people come to Koh Samui to enjoy the sunshine and beaches. There is an abundance of beaches to choice from all offering a different atmosphere.
Here are some of the beaches to explore and what to expect:
This is the biggest and busiest beach in Samui, here you will find bars, restaurants and lots of people.
The second largest resort beach on the island, great for swimming and watersports.
Considered one of the oldest places on the island, with its charming fishing village and elegant sea view restaurants. It also boasts views over Koh Pha-ngan.
This is a peaceful beach with a bit of privacy, and an ideal place for sunset strolls.
A quiet beach, not yet known by the majority of tourists. The bay stretches 700 metres and is lined with white-sand and small rock formations.
We found the best way to get around the island was on Mopeds. You are able to rent a moped for 200 baht per day, which makes it significantly cheaper than taxis.
It gives you the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want.
Saying that, if you are new to riding mopeds make sure you have a practise on quiet roads and take it easy.
Grandpa and Grandma rocks (Hin Yai and Hin Ta)
These are rocks shaped like a penis and vagina… weird I know. Bit of a strange place to visit but it’s free and was on the way to the waterfalls so worth a stop to break up the journey.
Namuang waterfall 1, 2 and 3
These waterfalls are towards the centre of the island but you are required to use the ring roads round the islands to reach them due to limited roads through the centre.
The price of entry varies from 0-50 baht per person depending on which waterfall.
Sometimes you are also required to pay 10-20 baht per bike to park.
You are able to swim at the waterfalls and climb up the various levels. Stephen got a bit adventurous with his climbing and his flip-flop got taken by the strong water.
Luckily though, whilst we were swimming in a lower pooled area his flip-flop came zooming down the drop and we spotted it!
Elephant jungle and tiger photos
This is not a recommendation to visit there or take part in activities. In fact it’s quite the opposite. This is a plea to ask you to not contribute to this cruelty.
Nearby to the waterfalls there were many elephants chained in tiny cages, it was apparent they were in distress.
Their heads were tossing left to right, up and down, the chains had rubbed their skin red raw and their eyes looked filled with sadness.
On their backs were large wooden seats, upon which tourist clambered for long rides.
Not far from this terrible scene, drugged tigers lay in small cages whilst tourists poured in for pictures.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was so sad to see. I felt angry at the locals for capitalising on this trade, but mostly I felt angry at the tourists.
By contributing to this abuse you are encouraging locals to continue to offer this service, you are destroying animals lives and all for what?
An Instagram post, a bragging session to your friends? I urge everybody to think before they participate in animal based activities and consider the impact it’s having on their lives.
Chaweng beach is a super busy area of Koh Samui. It is home to hundreds of bars, restaurants and clubs and attracts thousands of people each year.
If you want a night out, filled with booze, fire dancers, beach parties and more, then this is the place to go.
Our hostel organised a party bus to get us there along with others in our hostel for 1000 baht (pretty cheap once split).
It’s a great experience, and we had a lot of fun. But it’s not somewhere I would want to spend every night, that’s for sure!
This is a lovely idyllic village with restaurants and bars overlooking the beach, souvenir shops and boutique style shops.
The fisherman’s village is easy walking distance from Us hostel and we spent a lot of time here.
There are bars with pool tables and sports showing, seafood restaurants and beach bars with swings as seats and lounge chairs to enjoy the view.
Nothing ground breaking, but worth a stop by on your moped, it’s free!
Nathan night market
Only on certain evenings, but if it’s on whilst your there it’s definitely with a visit.
Great food and an ideal spot to pick up any gifts for friends and family.
Other things to do:
We didn’t get a chance to do these things but if you have more time and have a larger budget you may want to visit them during your stay.
Practise your aim at the Samui shooting range. Cost
Put your off roaring skills to the test at the ATV centres. Cost
Based close to Bo Phut and a fun way to spend an afternoon. Costs
Fly through the jungle on zip wires. Cost
Slides, lazy rivers and chilling by the pool. Cost
Koh Samui is a lovely island, though definitely not unexplored. The vibe is fairly resort based, with everywhere geared for tourism.
Bo Phut and the fisherman’s village are a great base for your stay if you want a more laid back vibe daily with the option of partying in Chaweng.
Chaweng is your typical tourist filled beach, with higher prices, and clubs pumping music all night.
The waterfalls are fun to explore but seeing the animals being treated so bad is tough to see.
Koh Samui offers something for everyone.