Koh Samui shot into the limelight in the 1940s. Before that it had little contact with the outside world. Today, it is one of the most sought out holiday destination in the East for those who wish to soak up the sun, relax on its beaches and enjoy the fabulous food. Though more known for its beaches, it has a wealth of natural resources to its credit including interesting rock formations, verdant undisturbed forests, quaint fishermen villages, and scintillating waterfalls. Indeed, Samui is a tropical paradise promising a lifetime of memories to its visitors. Though there is much to see and do on the island, here are five of the top attractions that are worth including in your itinerary.
For more than 15 years Blue Stars has been Samui’s leading operator for kayaking tours to the spectacular limestone archipelago of Angthong Marine National Park. The full day trip will provide you the unique opportunity to experience the breathtaking natural beauty up close by kayak and takes you to spectacular rock formations, hidden lagoons, secret caves and amazing beaches. Blue Stars is the only operator to visit the far northern reaches of the Park where the best conditions for kayaking and snorkeling is found and where you will be amazed by the awesome scenery. The tour includes all transfers, meals, soft drinks, all equipment, experienced guides and the Park’s visitor’s fee.
Located on the north coast of the island is this famous Big Buddha shrine. In fact, the beach here gets its name from the 12 meter high golden statue that can be seen from several kilometres away. The surrounding temples are home to several other shrines with smaller and ornate images of Lord Buddha. The beach here is very prominent and has become the departure point for vessels heading to the nearby Koh Phangan, another famous destination in Thailand. There is also a small market in the vicinity selling lucky charms and other souvenirs.
Also known as Grandpa and Grandma rocks, these are strange rock formations, which resemble respectively, the male and female genitalia. There is a folklore associated with the formations which goes that an old couple lived with their son in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat. Since their son had come of age, they decided to sail to the neighbouring province of Prachuap Khiri Khan to ask for the hand of the daughter of a man named Ta Monglai. During their sea journey, their boat was seized by a storm and the couple lost their lives in the sea. The rocks stand as proof to the would-be bride's parents of their true intentions. There is also a small beach nearby which is a good place to cool your feet but the water is not safe for swimming.
Samui has several wonderful waterfalls but the two Na Muang waterfalls are probably the most impressive. Na Muang, or 'purple' in Thai, refers to the massive purple rocks over which the water falls. The tree roots and the surrounding rocks form a natural staircase leading to the base of Na Muang 1. There is a natural swimming pool here and you might wish to cool off a bit before making your way to the second waterfall, a walk further up. The views of the surroundings from here are simply spectacular.
The body of the island's most famous mummified monk, Loung Por Daeng is on display here. The monk died more than 20 years ago and, as per his wishes, his body was placed in a specially designed glass case for posterity. Over the years, it has remained as it and has not shown much sign of decay. This can be attributed to the simple diet he followed and his meditation sessions which considerably slowed down his rate of metabolism.