The beaches of Koh Samui are attractive, no question. But these idyllic sandy stretches cover only a fraction of the outdoor adventures that tourists and residents can experience on the island.
Samui’s outdoor excursion menu is filled with inland treks, water-based expeditions, adventure sports and nature-viewing opportunities. Fruit plantations, and open-air seafood markets are also on the agenda. While part of your Koh Samui experience should definitely include lounging on the beach, the island has so much else to offer.
Need ideas for some of the best outdoor excursions you can experience on Koh Samui? Here you go:
DIVING AT ANG THONG NATIONAL MARINE PARK
Koh Samui has plenty of scuba diving opportunities. The visibility under the water is generally good — but it is much better in the protected area around Ang Thong National Marine Park. This collection of islets and reefs sits off of Samui’s coastline. Dive shops offer scuba trips around the area, and novices can get their certification from these outfitters as well. Most of the shops are located near Chaweng and Lamai beaches.
If you don’t have any scuba experience and don’t want to commit to getting your certification, you can still explore underwater with a mask and a snorkel. Resorts and dive outfitters also offer snorkeling trips to the nearby island of Koh Tan and to Ang Thong. Koh Tan’s shallow coral reefs are ideal for exploring.
SECRET BUDDHA GARDEN
This outdoor attraction is rather unique for several reasons, though a trip here requires a bit more effort than you might expect. The garden was originally built by a devout fruit farmer, and the unique sculptures, most related to Buddhism, are scattered around a lush garden. Seeing the rather offbeat art installations is only part of the experience: the garden is located on one of the highest points of the island, and tourists can only reach it by walking or taking a 4×4 ride up a very bumpy road.
MUAY THAI TRAINING
Muay Thai – a highly physical martial art based on stand-up striking, clinching and full contact fighting – has gained popularity around the world. So why not explore this physical activity while you’re enjoying its native land?
Koh Samui offers a number of excellent Muay Thai training camps on the island, including Superpro Samui. Or, if you’d rather practice your combat skills from the comfort of your villa, the Samujana team can arrange a specialized fitness retreat that brings these martial arts experts to you.
Kayaking is another great way to explore the marine life around Samui. So-called “sea safaris” leave from Samui’s main piers every day, leading paddlers around coral beds and past stunning coastal rock formations.
Many resorts have their own kayaks that guests can rent or use for free. Though having a guide is best for taking a lengthy trip, it’s pretty easy to paddle around offshore on your own.
Koh Samui has plenty of waterfalls, most of which are flowing at peak levels during the rainy season. One of the best treks is in the area around Hin Lat waterfalls. This waterfall has a number of different levels, and the hiking is not easy: sometimes trekkers are required to scramble over boulders and wade through streams that run in between the falls.
The best part of this type of adventure is that you can cool off by jumping into the pools that form at the bottom of some of the cascades, such as Na Muang. This waterfall has two cascades, one of which is about 30 meters high. Na Muang is great for swimming. It gets more visitors because it’s easily accessible from the road, but you can also trek uphill to see the second, smaller waterfall.
Like many other destinations in Southern Thailand, Koh Samui has a number of limestone rock formations that are beautiful to look at and challenging to climb. One of the most popular places to climb is actually quite accessible: limestone formations in between the two main beaches, Lamai and Chaweng, provide challenging routes and great conditions. Climbing outfitters can provide basic equipment, including the necessary safety gear, and local guides can take you to the best spots on the island.
FULL DAY ECO-TOURS
It’s also possible to take full day tours around the island. These include multiple activities, some of which we’ve already mentioned. For example, a tour might begin with a snorkeling session, followed by a jungle hike, and end with a trip to a waterfall or a Jeep ride to see the island’s bird population.
There are a couple of reasons for taking these tours. First, a multiple-stop tour can give you a taste of the island’s adventure possibilities so you can choose which activities you would like to try in a more in-depth setting. Or, if you want to focus more on the beaches and resorts, you can still cover a lot of experiences in a single day, before heading back to your shade-giving umbrella and infinity swimming pool.
These activities and attractions can bring a sense of adventure to your Koh Samui holiday. It’s what makes Samui such a great destination for a Thai holiday: you’re not limited to beachside resorts and shopping promenades. You can add as much outdoor excitement as you want to experience.