Top 5 Things to Do in Koh Samui

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On your next trip to Koh Samui, Thailand, make sure you spend a fair amount of time relaxing and drinking by the pool but don’t forget, there’s so much more to the island than that. Here are my Top 5 Things to Do in Koh Samui.

Tip #1: Tour the island

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Take a tour around the entire island with your own private car and English speaking driver.  We booked this tour through our hotel and it cost us a whopping $50.  Not only was it an incredible tour, the guide was there to take all the pictures we wanted.  No asking strangers to hold your super expensive camera!  We visited all the most popular places like Big Buddha ( Wat Phra Yai), Grandmother and Grandfather Rock (Hen Tai and Hen Yai), mummified monk (Wat Khunaram), Wat Plai Laem – the 18 arm goddess of mercy and compassion and so much more!

Tip #2: Check out the nightlife!  

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Yes, you’ll probably be fried from the sun and want to have a nice dinner and hop in bed but resist that temptation. Get out and see the city when the sun goes down and the music is turned up. There are several great bars and restaurants around Koh Samui (especially in Chaweng) so don’t stay in one area.  Taxis are cheap and going from one side of the Island to the next is fairly inexpensive.  Drink a little, eat a lot and mingle with the locals.  They don’t call Thailand “The Land of Smiles” for nothing!

Tip #3: Get a massage!  

On the beach, at your hotel or in town, GET A MASSAGE.  I have no idea why it feels so different in Thailand but it does and you’re going to want to have a few of those bad boys during your stay.They’re so cheap in some places, you could have one a day and still not come close to the cost of a 90-minute massage here in the States at a popular spa.

Tip #4: Go to the Night Markets.



Brave husband! #friedinsects #saltygrasshopper #lamaibeach #kohsamui #Thailand

A video posted by meemsworld (@meemsworld) on

We were staying in Lamai Beach so we went to the Lamai Night Market and it had something for everyone.  Like to eat bugs?  They’ve got those on a stick.  Like to shop?  They’ve got rows and rows of people selling their wares.  I bought a tank top for $2USD and it’s still my favorite, a year later.  Like to drink? They’ve got pop-up bars right there on the street and they’ll mix you a drink for less than a dollar US.  Or do you like to eat, like me?  Yep, they’ve got all the food you can eat and then some.  Beware:  ONLY go to street food vendors that have a line of local people.  They know what to eat and which ones are the cleanest. (To clarify, if you’re in Thailand, don’t pick a vendor with a line of Western looking people)

Tip #5: Take a boat ride to Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park.  

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While we missed this tour because of the choppy water, I still highly recommend it because you’ll get to snorkel, explore the park, enjoy lunch on the boat/beach and get some stunning photos out of it.  What’s not to love about that?

Go visit Koh Samui and get busy on this list but don’t forget to spend time relaxing on the beach. One last thing, if you get bored at your own hotel or you don’t have a good beach nearby, hit one of the day clubs like Nikki Beach.  You can enjoy the pool, beach, music and party atmosphere… but it’ll cost ya!  Or, stop by the W Hotel and visit their W Lounge – Reflecting Pond, it’s tranquil and serene with remarkable views.

Have you been to Koh Samui?  Did you do anything on my list?  I’d love to hear about your experience.  Leave your comments below.

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  1. Reply

    Hey Mia.

    Great list of things to do in Koh Samui.

    I’ve never been before but as with so many other places around the world, it’s on my list!. I think I’d be most interested in checking out the markets. I enjoy visiting markets around the world because although they can be a little on the touristy side sometimes, it gives you a little glimpse into the local life and is another opportunity to interact with the locals.

    I’ve got a friend heading to Koh Samui next week so I’ll be sharing this with them!

    1. Reply

      The night markets are the best! The lights, the music, the food and the people make it a sensory overload but in a good way. I hope your friend has a great time in Koh Samui. I can’t wait to go back. 🙂

  2. Reply

    Great tips about visiting Koh Samui. My view is that a post like this would have actually benefited from a few more pictures – unless it is my internet connection that is not working and not loading them!

    1. Reply

      Thanks for the feedback. I’ve added a few more photos for your enjoyment!!!

  3. Reply

    Great ideas Mia! Thailand is by far the best place I’ve ever had a massage in. I was twisted and crunched into lots of different yoga positions and felt amazing for it.

    I’ve explored North Thailand extensively but still need to make it to the islands so thank you for the inspiration 🙂 Happy travels!

    1. Reply

      Thanks, Alice! I’ve only fallen asleep from a massage twice in my life and the one I had at our hotel in Koh Samui was one of them and the other was the Four Seasons in Jamaica. I”m a sucker for a good massage.

  4. Reply

    Great list! We loved Koh Samui! We rented a bike and travelled around the island, loved the nightlife and the night markets! We didn’t get a chance to go to Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park though we wanted to and our experience with massages in Thailand happend on Koh Phangan… but, like we wrote in our post about it, it was a bit painful… 🙂

    1. Reply

      Oh no, I’m sorry your massage was painful! The ladies that did mine always asked about the pressure in the beginning so I didn’t have any issues. However, I’ve had a deep tissue massage here in California and I remember waking up with bruises the next day. Not a good way to relax!

  5. Reply

    Great list Mia! Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park is a definite must – there are so many beaches on Koh Samui I don’t know if I would be able to tear myself away for the rest!!! But the night markets and nightlife sound like a lot of fun 🙂 I love that touring the island is so affordable by private car, Definitely the best way to go!

    Thanks for the tips and advice!

    1. Reply

      Thanks, Meg! We spent most of our days lying in the cabana but we forced ourselves to get out at night. I’m so glad we did because it was exciting. Thailand nightlife has an entirely different vibe than some other countries I’ve visited and I’m glad I got to check it out. #bucketsandconnectfour

    • zof
    • August 2, 2015

    Great list. I’ve never been to Thailand, but I’m sure I’d love the night markets. I’ve read several articles on them, and they seem to be a paradise for a curious foodie photographer.

    1. Reply

      Yes, the night market’s are a foodies/photographers dream! I wish I had taken more photos but at that time I wasn’t blogging so I was more interested in seeing than documenting. Now, I take the time to do both.

  6. Reply

    I’d like to do all of these things – well, maybe not eat crickets! But the night market looks cool, and I’d love to get a massage! The tour sounds like a great idea, too. I’d pay $50 to be taken all over the place!

    1. Reply

      Seriously, $50 was a steal! Our driver basically acted as our photographer the whole trip and we got some great shots of the both of us instead of snapping pics of each other solo. Definitely do it if you go!

  7. Reply

    Everyone says how cheap Thailand is, but I always figured that it’s just relative. Thanks for naming some prices! Less than $1 for a drink?! Wow! Also great tip about choosing to go in lines with locals… something I wouldn’t have thought of but makes total sense!

    1. Reply

      Thanks, Francesca! We saw lots of Westerners in one line where the cook had tons of food stacked up and then we looked at a line with locals and the cook was making food to order. We instantly got in the line with the fresh food. You can use this advice when you’re choosing restaurants on vacations as well. Don’t go to restaurants with people who look like tourists. Go where the locals go, always!

    • Kate
    • August 3, 2015

    This has come at the perfect time for me because I’m back in Thailand this year. Last time, 9 years ago, I explored Northern Thailand but didn’t go south of Bangkok so I’m really excited to do that. Koh Samui looks great so I might visit now that I’ve read your post. Thanks for sharing

    1. Reply

      Thank you, Kate! We spent 2 days in Bangkok and 5 days on Koh Samui and loved every minute of it! I hope you make it

  8. Reply

    I’m so excited. I haven’t experienced the other islands in Thailand besides Phuket and Phi Phi islands but I think it’s time to book a ticket after the monsoon season.

    1. Reply

      I need to visit Phuket and Phi Phi islands but I think any island in Thailand is going to be insanely gorgeous. I hope you can visit soon!

    • Bethany Dickey
    • August 4, 2015

    I haven’t been to SE Asia yet but when I make it there Koh Samui is certainly on my list! I love night markets; these ones sound great.

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