This archipelago of spectacular limestone islands served as the inspiration for Alex Garland’s ‘The Beach’. Notable for their steep, tree-studded cliffs, white sand beaches, and calm lagoons, they are the ideal place for a day trip. Take a guided tour from Koh Samui and you can snorkel, dive, and swim in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Koh Samui is studded with numerous temples – or wats, as they are known locally – but one of the best is found in the northeast. Built in modern times, the lakeside Buddhist temple of Wat Plai Laem incorporates fascinating Chinese and Thai features and is crowned by a vast, 18-armed statue of the goddess Guanyin.
If you’re not keen on clubbing, an excellent way to spend your evenings on Koh Samui is to tour the various markets of Chaweng, Bophut and Lamai. Browse for clothes and souvenirs, sample the delicious street food on offer and enjoy a cocktail or two.
Most experiences had on Koh Samui involve the beach – to explore a different side of the island, head into the jungle to visit the Na Mueang waterfalls. Situated in the southeast, not far from Lamai Beach, these spectacular features of the island are accessed via a hike through the forest and are best visited during the rainy months.
Southern Koh Samui is known for its tranquil resorts, but if you’re seeking a getaway even more secluded head for Koh Taen for a dreamy day trip. This tiny island off the southern coast of Koh Samui boasts mangrove forests, coral reefs and glorious beaches.