search &
explore
Koh Samui

KOH SAMUI
DESTINATION GUIDE

The Ultimate Guide Before You Plan for your Next Trip

Koh Samui is the ideal island in Thailand to have the most bizarre and exotic experiences in the country. With lush green rain forests and coral reefs the island itself is a land of great natural beauty and spectacle. Moreover, you can indulge in crazy night-parties or get pampered in a lovely Thai spa. From fascinating ladyboy cabaret dancers to mind-boggling crocodile shows you are bound to have some rocking time in Koh Samui. Talking about rocks the limestone cliffs offers a great spectacle as the crystal clean water of the Gulf of Thailand helps you see the rich marine life surrounding the islands.

Attractions in Koh Samui

From serene waterfalls to ornate Buddhist shrines the attractions in Koh Samui will leave you all mesmerized.

Bophut Fisherman Village

The charming Fisherman Village is located at the historic part of Bophut, in the island of Koh Samui. The slice of beach, facing the sea, is quite narrow as the pubs, restaurants, and the boutique shops lining the beach set their tables and chair on the beach. The architectures of the shops and the eateries have a rustic appeal as this place can prove to be a good shopping destination for the Indian tourists to hit a good bargain. The beach itself might not be as happening and lively like the Chaweng Beach of Koh Samui but nonetheless you can find a nice spot enjoying the trendy crowds and some nice live performances held in this place.

Ladyboy Cabarets

You cannot possibly miss this mind-blowing spectacle once you visit the Chaweng Beach as these cabarets are performed by the well-renowned third-gender of the Thai community. Third-genders or the ladyboys of Thailand has gained recognition in the fields of art and entertainment for few decades now as people from all over the world gather here to see their stellar performances. Wearing gorgeous costumes on well-decorated stage they lip-sync and dance and present you some stories and songs of this wonderful island. With your in-experienced eyes you will hardly figure out the difference between a ladyboy and an actual lady as this feminine and colorful event will certainly capture your imagination.

Crocodile Farm

If you are thinking that all the performances of Koh Samui will be feminine in nature then you are wrong. Visit the famous Crocodile Farm of Koh Samui and grab a seat for the famous Crocodile Show of the island. In this show a man will show his tricks with a crocodile and on few occasions he will also put his head right into the open jaws of the crocodile. Nothing happens, obviously! But taking little children to the show can be a problem because they might get frightened by the spectacle. There is also a separate Snake Show held in the same firm as reptiles like Siamese crocodiles, lizards, salt water crocodiles, caimans, and snakes live in this farm. There is also a huge collection of monkeys in different exhibits.

Maenam Beach

If you are thinking that Chaweng is the only notable beach in Koh Samui then you are mistaken. Amongst many other white-sand and palm frilled beaches Maenam is a very popular name. The place is particularly famous among back-packers due to its affordable hotels and restaurants. Koh Samui is an expensive destination but due to its remoteness this particular beach will definitely not burn a hole in your purse. Stretching for almost 7 kilometers this beach has less number of vendors and hawkers and it offers a much needed calm and peace from the otherwise noisy streets of Thailand. The locals are friendly here and if you are looking forward to avoid a wild night-party then it is definitely a place to visit.

Khun Si Waterfall

Not as famous as the other waterfalls, like in the form of the Namuang Waterfall, Kun Si Waterfalls has its own charm and appeal. Hidden amidst the lush green rain forest and boulders this waterfall is less popular due to its remoteness. However, the daring and adventurous travelers accept the challenge of a 500 meters walk from the nearest drop-in point. The hike is also quite sensational as you will get to see many flora and fauna around this part of the island as you will experience far fewer crowds when compared to the more popular destinations. The ideal time to visit this enchanting stream of water is early in the morning as then you can catch some glimpse of the exotic birds.

When To Reach

The ideal time to visit Koh Samui is between October and November when the weather remains cool and it is less crowded. However, it rains a lot during this time making it really difficult for traveling. The peak season starts December and it stays till April till the summer heat comes. Some people also prefer to visit Koh Samui from the months of March to May as these months are good for the water-based games and activities like the water-skiing, snorkeling, and diving. The summer heat allows the visitors to spend as much time in the water and the evening makes way for thrilling night parties. The summer time is the season of many festivals in Koh Samui and those occasions are also great crowd-pullers.

Seasonality

High Season: The peak season for traveling to Koh Samui is between December and April when the weather remains crisp and the rainfall is also not there.


Shoulder Season:The months between March and May is the shoulder season for Koh Samui as many back-packers prefer this time to play some water games and have fun during the night parties.


Low Season: The low season for traveling is between October and November when the crowd is less but the weather remains cool. It is also the most cheapest season to visit Kom Samui.

How To Reach

Plenty of flights connects Delhi to Koh Samui. Though they are not direct flights but the connecting ones also do not take much time. The island of Koh Samui has an international airport making it easier for you to reach their directly without halting somewhere else. There are several flights which operate on a regular basis from India to the Samui Airport. The likes of Thai Airways, the Bangkok Airways, the Singapore Airlines, the Jet Airways, all are good alternatives to reach Koh Samui from any major Indian cities. Then there are other airlines in the form of China Southern Airways and the SilkAir, which are providing connecting flights for the Indian travelers to go Koh Samui.

Why should you go?

Koh Samui is the second largest island of Thailand and it is full of exotic beaches, thick-dense rain forest, ornate Buddhist shrines, and charming fisherman villages. There is a beautiful Marine Park which allows you to come up-close to the aquatic animals and turtles. Apart from the big beaches with pubs, restaurants, cabaret performances, and night-life there are also some nice and charming beaches where you can sit and relax for a while. Koh Samui is one of the most romantic destinations of Thailand and it is ideal for honeymooners. Koh Samui also has some marvelous spas and night-clubs. There are also few animal reserves in this island and it is a great visit for the kids.
10 Reasons to visit Koh Samui -
  • Koh Samui is the second largest island of Thailand with lots of exotic beaches and destinations.
  • Koh Samui is the island of the Big Buddha and tourists from all over the the world come to visit this marvelous statue and shrine.
  • The beaches of Koh Samui hosts the Stars Cabaret presented by the enchanting ladyboys.
  • Hidden in the hill-forest of Koh Samui is the Secret Buddha Garden, which is arguably the most beautiful garden of Thailand.
  • Koh Samui is an island full of various waterfalls and each of them is a spectacle to watch.
  • Koh Samui has the most exotic Marine National Park which is an archipelago of 42 islands and coral reefs.
  • Koh Samui is a place where you can find the enigmatic boulder formations in the form of Hin Ta and Hin Yai.
  • The Fisherman's Village in Koh Samui is a rich and elegant place with lots of cafes and restaurants.
  • The beaches of Koh Samui is full of pubs and eateries and the night life in these places are truly wild.
  • Koh Samui is known for its rich and aromatic cuisine and from the street food to the fine dining restaurants you are bound to taste some fine delicacies.

Getting Around

The modes of public transportation in Koh Samui is more or less like any other part of Thailand. You have the songtheaws and the taxis, the motorcycle taxis and rented cars. However, the public transport in this island is a bit more expensive when compared to the other destinations of Thailand. The rides are available in plenty but you need to make prior arrangement regarding the amount of payment you are going to make as they do not have meters.

Songtheaws

The songtheaws are the main mode of transportation for the locals and the tourists alike. These open-air public buses are also the most affordable mode of commute in Koh Samui. They are frequent and you can certainly enjoy a bit of a bumpy trip to the destinations on these quirky rides.

Taxis

The tourists of Koh Samui prefer to avail the taxi because they are very easily available and you can take them to the beaches as many times you desire. However, the taxis here do not have meters so you need to have some ideas about a fair fare.

Motorcycle Taxis

Like many other places in Thailand there are also many motorcycle taxis available in Koh Samui. They are fast and flexible and cheaper when compared to the regular taxis. But then again you should make prior agreements regarding the payment.

Rented Cars

Cars are also available for rent in Koh Samui but they are quite an expensive affair. There are many car renting agencies and offices spread across Koh Samui. But the processing is very daunting and you need to keep your passports and suitable collateral when you are renting a car.

Weather

The weather of Koh Samui is sub-tropical in nature with hot and humid summer months and cool and breezy winters. The average temperature ranges in between 27 to 33 degree Celsius with the months of December and January being cooler than the rest. Like all other destinations of Thailand Koh Samui also experiences quite a lot of rainfall with October and November being the wettest months of all. The summer months are also hot and humid with temperature reaching a maximum of 330 degree Celsius in the month of May whilst the temperature starts to drop from September and October.

What to pack in your suitcase?

  • Since the humidity is on the higher side do carry a lot of t-shirts, beach-wears, tops, and loose shirts with you. A lot of changes and a couple of towels remain handy.
  • If you are traveling during the months of December and January a light jacket can be handy for the evenings, especially if you are planning to spend them by the beach.
  • Carry flip-flops and heavy boots both as you will need the former during the day in the beach and the latter when you are walking down a forest trail.
  • Carry umbrellas and raincoats with you irrespective of whatever time you are visiting Koh Samui.
In the Spotlight

From beach side patio setting to live cabaret performances, the restaurants of Koh Samui has many surprises up their sleeves. Eating at Koh Samui is always a wonderful experience as you will find nice balance of restaurants serving both Thai and Italian platters. As many back-packers from the West visit this magical archipelago on a regular basis you will find many fine-dining and European restaurants in this part of Thailand. These restaurants have not only excelled themselves in terms of their choice of menu and items featured in them but they have also made sure that the decor and ambiance is also that of the European standards.

Baitong : The Baitong Restaurant is a nice and charming beach-side eatery, located inside the famous Banana Fan Sea Resort.
Nestled in the coastal plain bordering the sea this place has a very beach-like vibe adhered to it. The beautifully arranged garden umbrellas offer nice and cool shade as you can enjoy a decent view of the sea. There is no point in guessing that seafood features in majority of the recipes of this place as they offer nice European delicacies. The place is also known for its huge range of vegetarian dishes making it ideal for the Indian tourists to come and enjoy. On some nights the place hosts live cabaret shows or fire shows adding to the appeal of the place.
Samui Seafood Grill & Restaurant : Now if it is seafood you are looking for then the Samui Seafood Grill & Restaurant is the perfect place for you.
This affordable eatery is known for serving traditional southern-Thai recipes which have delighted the people of coastline for decades. The likes of prawn, lobster, and a whole lot of crab dishes feature in the menu as all of the items are served fresh from the sea. The place is always a bit crowded because it is located in the prime location in the Chaweng Beach and it can host about 150 people at a time. The constant clatter of the lobster and crab shell on the china and the chatter of the people fill the air of this restaurant as you will experience a happy vibe.
Dr. Frogs Italian Bar & Grill : Koh Samui is known for its huge collection of Italian restaurants and bars and none gets better than Dr. Frogs.
This Italian food-joint is there in the island for just over a decade now and the interior decor of the place is really striking. Chef Massimo Mariani hails from Milan and he did a marvelous job in creating a fusion between Italian delicacies and traditional southern-Thai recipes. So, once you visit the place you will get to taste a bit of Milan in most of the scrumptious seafood served in this place. The charm of this place draws a fair amount of customers on a regular basis as the place evokes quite a romantic vibe.
Poppies Restaurant : Established in the year 1995, this restaurant is one of the most popular multi-cuisine eateries of the island.
The restaurant offers wide range of items in the menu and you will really be spoiled with options when it comes to the Poppies Restaurant. In a bit of an isolated corner of the Chaweng Beach this restaurant also offers a much needed privacy for the diners in an otherwise busy and crowded Koh Samui. The restaurant has a nice teak pavilion like the one you find in Ayutthaya and there is also a massive swimming pool adding to the beauty of the place. Also every Saturday the place hosts live Thai music and colorful dance performances which gathers a decent enough crowd.
Supattra Thai Dining : No place else serves better traditional Thai food than the nice and lovely Supattra Thai Dining restaurant.
Serving Asian fusion recipes this place is known for its fresh seafood offerings. The patio dining area has a very romantic appeal to it as honeymooners and couples can visit this place to have a charming night out. The restaurant stresses on its importance of grabbing the freshest catch from the sea and over the years they have gained a reputation of serving the most fresh and delicious seafood in the entire island. A good lot of reviews stress on the authenticity and warmth of the place as you will also fine a blackboard with daily menu's written on it.

The tropical climate and the huge beaches of Koh Samui make way for some salty and savory dishes which are very common in the coastal areas of Thailand. Seafood features in most of the recipes as you will find a decent usage of herbs and spices. The cooks and the chefs of Koh Samui are also very generous about using coconut milk as you will also find a fair bit of Chinese influence in the dishes. Apart from the direct oriental influences the cuisine of Koh Samui also replicates the European art of gastronomy. Firstly it was just the hint of Portuguese, as they had set a colony here in this island, but now you will also find some direct Italian and French influences on the cuisines of Koh Samui.

Massaman Nua: This popular southern-Thai recipe is a comfort curry made of slow-cooked meat with spices.

Larb Tuna:The fatty tuna recipe mixed with spices is yet another popular seafood item of Koh Samui.

Tom Som Pla Taling Pling: This clear fish soup served with lime leaf is another very popular cuisine of Koh Samui.

Mee Kati Goong: Wok-fried rice with prawns and vermicelli is popular amongst many in Koh Samui.

Kai Jieaw Hor Muk: Grilled fish curry served with jasmine rice and Thai omelettes are also very popular in Koh Samui.

Like all other Thai destinations night markets are also very popular in Koh Samui. It is actually during the evening when the cities and villages come to life as the pounding heat and humidity of the day time restrains the Thais in the shelter of their own home. The night markets of Koh Samui also suits the tourists as they can spend the entire day traveling whilst enjoying a nice evening shopping from the various stalls. The night markets of Koh Samui sells all sorts of souvenirs, jewelry items, and also a chance to interact with the artists of the coastal lands.

Elephant Walk Koh Samui : The brightly lit street of the Elephant Walk is a nice place to get some souvenirs and curious items.
The place is not massive but it has a a distinct charm as the evening air will tempt you to stroll down the lane to see the nicely decorated stalls. The place houses a lot of clothing shops as you will find some small but nice Thai spas products around here. You can grab some nice DVDs of Hollywood and Thai movies (good horror movies are there) at a much cheaper cost than back home. The place is also known for its decent food stalls selling the famous Issan-style Thai dishes and it attracts a lot of locals.
Chaweng Night Market : The Chaweng Night Market set on the beach of Chaweng is one of the most happening and lively night markets of Koh Samui.
The reason behind this overwhelming popularity is that the market itself is a huge food court selling a huge variety of Thai and International cuisines. The glittering neon strings, connecting the stalls, beckon the most food-loving souls from around the world as you will find a wide range of seafood, vegetarian, and meat items being sold in the stalls. There are plastic chairs stacked and spread at the middle of the market allowing you to grab a couple and sit to savor the wonderful treat. The food is reasonably priced and hence the place is popular among the locals and the tourists alike.
Lamai Night Plaza : The Lamai Night Plaza is a place where you will find all sorts of accessories, fancy items, and souvenirs.
Located at a walking distance from the Lamai Beach this marketplace is open every night from 5 o'clock in the evening. So if you are planning to buy a pair of flip-flops for walking on the beach or a Swiss-knife to open a can of tuna, you will find everything around here. The marketplace is also a platform for the local handicraft artists to showcase and sell their products to the tourists. There are also DVDs and t-shirt stalls with their fair share of quirky collections. As usual for any Thai market this place also has quite a lot of food stalls.
Chaweng Walking Street : You will have a pupil-dilating experience as the vibrant color of the market will capture your imagination.
It is an easy an mistake to confuse this place with a fair ground as the multi-colored paper flags flutter from corner to corner. There are plenty of stalls lined across the beach as you are bound to have fun exploring each of them. A wide range of items are being sold in this market like in the form of wooden souvenirs, flip-flops, funky t-shirts, sunglasses, and cosmetics. The locals tend to bargain a lot in this market and you should also not give-up without a nice haggle. Do not forget to have the grilled chicken rice and smoothies, sold in many stalls in this market.
Mae Nam Night Market : This weekly night market opens every Thursday and it has a very distinct charm. Different from all the other marketplaces listed above the Mae Nam Night Market is the best place
to buy some second-hand items and antiques. There is a constant mellow tune of the live music played in this market as it adds to the charming ambiance of the place. You will definitely spot some corn-on-the-cob sellers as you can enjoy some savory delights whilst ambling along the narrow lanes of the market. There are also some mobile cocktail bars adding to the charm of the city. At the end of the lane there is also a beautiful temple.

The currency accepted in Koh Samui is the Thai currency of Baht. The island is mostly a currency-driven economy and it is tad bit expensive when compared to the other parts of Thailand. Starting from the Chaweng beach-side restaurants to the eateries of the Fisherman's Villages every place will accept cash as they give you a chance to savor some delicious meal. Everything is dependent on how much Baht you carry as all the national parks and the beach parties, the spas and the cabarets will accept payment through cash. So immediately as you land go to the FOREX in the airport or in your hotel and convert as much currency as possible.

Special Tips

  • The cost of food in Koh Samui ranges from 500 to 2000 Baht per person, per meal. But it every penny's worth because of the view you can enjoy and the taste of the meal.
  • The taxis and the other modes of transportation accepts cash payment and each ride will be around 200 to 300 Bahts.
  • Koh Samui is expensive when compared to Phuket but the experience is a bit more enriched as the island itself is far less crowded.
  • International debit or credit cards are accepted by high-end hotels but if you are looking to have some authentic fun then cash is the way to go.

Indian tourists can enjoy a Visa on Arrival facility in Koh Samui which will allow them to stay for a period of 14 consecutive days. The Visa processing is quite simple and straightforward and it will take you around 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the length of the queue ahead. You need to collect the Visa Application Form from the Immigration Check point and fill it up duly before applying for the Visa on Arrival. You also need to keep your Airline Boarding Passes handy in the time of the application. Also keep your photographs of pre-specified measurements ready because you will need quite a few in the time of the application. For more details check the Immigration website of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Special Tips

You can also apply for your Regular Thai Visa beforehand by sending an application to the Royal Thai Consulate General. This kind of visa will allow you to stay at the country for a stretch of 90 days. You need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the time of your application. You need to provide a well-documented Cover Letter mentioning your purpose of your visit. Koh Samui is a very exotic and expensive destination and that is the reason why you also need to provide you bank account statement for the last 6 months thereby proving your ability to spend a holiday, in that island.

Koh Samui is a kind of a paradise island with no real threat or danger. However, you should do well to remember few of the safety tips whilst enjoying your holiday at Koh Samui. The ladyboys are a part and parcel of the life in Koh Samui but at times they get a bit pushy with the tourists, especially the men. If you pose and take a picture with them then they will charge you few hundreds Bahts. The taxis here also do not have a proper meter so discuss with your hotel staff what would be an appropriate fare before going to any destination. Also do not loiter around the beach alone at night as there are some gangs of kids who will try and tempt you enter into some betting games with them which is actualy a scam. Also if you are renting a jet-ski from any of the shops make sure it is not damaged as they might charge you extra for a scratch or dent which is not caused by you.

  • Police and General Emergency: 191
  • Medical Emergency: 1669
  • Fire: 199
  • Tourist Police: 1155

Entertainment & Event

The island of many forests and marine animals while the friendly people will give you a warm welcome.

  • Flora and Fauna

    The island of Koh Samui is rich in its flora and fauna as a major part of the island and the archipelago is covered in deciduous trees and other evergreen forests. There are also some hardwood timber with straight and tall trunks with dark green leaves and dodgy thorns. The island also has a thick cover of beach forest with short branches and very hard leaves. The coastal areas are also covered in palm and coconut trees. There is also a huge mangrove forestation observed in many areas of the island. Many types of flowering plants, orchids, and tropical plants are also seen in this part of the country.

    The island is also home to many kinds of birds, reptiles, and mammals. Birds like gulls, egrets, sparrows, hawks, and swallows are found in this island. Sometimes you can catch a rare glimpse of the Nicobar pigeon in the forests. Koh Samui is also the home to many reptiles like the salamanders, lizards, snakes, crocodiles, water monitor, hawk-bill turtles, leather-back turtles and geckos. Larger mammals like monkeys, elephants, squirrels are also found in different parts of the island.

  • Festivals

    The rich cultural influences of the island makes way for many vibrant occasions and celebrations. Loy Krathong is considered as a festival of light. Krathongs are beautifully handcrafted small floats which are released on the rivers and neighboring ponds in the island. Like any other part of Thailand the festival of Songkran is also celebrated during the warm summer months when people throw water at each other. This festival really brings the entire community together. Locals and tourists both agree that those buckets of ice-cold water being trhown at them during the festival are welcome reliefs during those hot and humid months.

    Due to the rich Chinese influence many Chinese festivals are also celebrated in this part of Thailand. Koh Samui The Chinese New Year is celebrated with much vigor and passion as the Thais join hands with the Chinese community to make the event colorful. Due to its colonial influence the island also celebrates Christmas and New year's eve as the entire island comes together with lots of food and tinsels.

  • Culture

    As an island located on the Gulf of Thailand Koh Samui has been constantly frequented by traders and colonial rulers from around the world. That is why the island has a strong Chinese and Portuguese influence in many parts as the Thais from the mainland have also made their impact felt. A back-packers heaven, Koh Samui, has a multi-cultural and liberal vibe as people are free to enjoy themselves in a peaceful and secured environment. The people of the island has some strong tribal connections too and some customs and rituals are carried forward for ages.

    Koh Samui, like many other parts of Thailand, has a very feminine appeal as they have recognized the third-gender much before than many other countries of the South-East Asia. The people are open-minded and they will pamper you and invite you to come and have fun. However, they do not like to be mocked and ridiculed about their core culture and as a tourist you should know your boundaries. People are mostly peace-loving Buddhists with a knack of welcoming tourists and helping them to have a nice time.