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First Timer’s Guide: 6 Wonderful Things to Do in Koh Samui


Alicia Hill lived in Thailand for years as ESL teacher. She’s still rumbling across Southeast Asia and works as a part time writer. Connect to Alicia at her new blog and twitter

Koh Samui, one of the largest and beautiful islands in Thailand, is a fascinating place to visit, and the list of things to do and see on the island is diverse and interesting. Beautiful views, stunning white-sand beaches, clear turquoise waters, and impressive architectural structures provide wonderful places for visitors. Check out the top six things to do in Koh Samui listed below; they are well worth a try.

Pay Respect to Big Buddha

Big Buddha, a striking work of art measuring 12 meters tall, impresses every visitor, and one must climb 73 steps to reach the religious relic. Probably the most famous attraction on the island, this golden statue, locally known as Wat Phra Yai, sits majestically along Koh Samui’s coastline.

The Big Buddha temple is open to visitors all day, but the best time to visit is early morning hours when the local people bring their offerings and monks do their morning incantation. In addition to offering first-hand insight into the local culture, the platform offers tourists captivating sea and beach views, creating some perfect photographic opportunities.

Visit Wat Plai Laem

Wat Plai Laem serves as both a place of worship and attraction, featuring a huge 18-arm image of Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. The temple also houses a large, laughing Chinese Buddha, which represents wealth and prosperity in Chinese culture. These two main structures in Wat Plai Laem are picturesque right before the sun sets.

Adding to its feel of tranquility, a lake full of fish surrounds Wat Plai Laem, and for as little as 10 Baht, one can get some food and feed them, a fun activity for children.

Explore the Underwater World

Koh Tao, which means Turtle Island in Thai, lives up to its name, being the most preferred scuba diving destination in Thailand. Clear turquoise waters surround the perfect white sandy beaches, which ring the rocky 21 square kilometer island. The vibrant coral reefs in the waters are home to a variety of colorful sea creatures such as stingrays, barracudas, turtles, reef sharks and whale sharks.

Some popular dive sites in Koh Tao include the Ocean Utopia underwater sculptures, HTMS Sattakut wreck, Lighthouse Bay, Chumphon Pinnacles, and Japanese Gardens. Other exciting activities one should have on their Koh Samui things to do list include sailing, rock climbing, cliff jumping, hiking and mountain biking.

Go for Kayaking at Ang Thong National Marine Park

With its rich variety of exotic wildlife and sea creatures, there several memorable things to do in Ang Thong National Marine Park. A spectacular archipelago of 42 islands, Ang Thong, or Golden Basin in Thai, is within sight of Koh Samui. Its three main islands include Wua Ta Lap, Wua Chiom and Koh Mae Koh, which features thick jungle, hidden lagoons, limestone mountains, secluded white-sand beaches, and fascinating caves and lakes to explore.

Ang Thong is a perfect place for sea kayaking, snorkeling, sailing, diving and simply relaxing on one of its idyllic beaches. In case one considers staying overnight, the park offers different accommodation options to suit all budgets.

Check the Na Muang Waterfall

Found inland about 12 kilometers south of Nathon Bay, the Na Muang Waterfall is best-hidden secret in Koh Samui. One can reach the falls by taking a walking path from the entrance to the park. Although the island has several waterfalls, the Na Muang falls are probably the most scenic. Na Muang, which refers to the massive purple rocks at the waterfalls, is a popular spot for visitors to relax and swim. Also, there is a safari camp nearby where families can organize a trip through the jungle.

See a Ladyboy Cabaret Show

A ladyboy, or kathoey in Thai, cabaret show might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if it is your first time in Koh Samui, you can enjoy a sparkling night out with this fun form of entertainment. A typical show, which starts off with a more fun for the whole family approach and gets more risqué as the night proceeds, involves lip-synched acts, complete with elaborate costumes and makeup. Entry is free, but drinks are costlier than in the average nightclub or bar.

Some people claim that Koh Samui island is the real definition of Heaven on Earth. Visit the island and judge for yourself. Have fun!

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