Koh Samui Must Visit Places ~ Travel Guide

by Tsvete Popp

Most visitors come to Koh Samui for a “beach holiday”. And it is definitely true: the second biggest island in the Gulf of Thailand has a lot of very nice stretches of sand! We were lucky to visit Koh Samui during 2021 and saw the beaches and its attractions like they were probably 30 years ago – clean, empty, and beautiful! In this video, we will show you the best places you must visit when you come to Samui!

Koh Samui! One of these places we chose to visit due to the ongoing situation around the world. To be honest, I don’t think we would stop here on a regular basis as the second-largest island in the Gulf of Thailand is way too touristy for our taste. But when life gives you covid-19 restrictions, you go and drink your lemonade on the empty beaches of Samui.

Of all three famous islands (Samui, Tao, Phangan), Koh Samui is the one that is most expensive. Even now, when the prices are relatively low… it is still more expensive than all the other places we have visited in Thailand so far. But to be honest, I don’t understand why, cause whether the quality (honest, restaurants) nor the beaches are better…

Big Buddha – is one of Koh Samui’s star Attractions! Actually, the name of the temple is Wat Phra Yai and is located very close to the Airport in Bo Put. From Lamai, it took about 25 minutes by scooter to come here. Given its name, we were expecting to find a BIG Budhha and we were not disappointed! The statue is 12 meters tall and is one of the largest Buddha images in Southern Thailand. Gold in colour, the Big Buddha was built back in 1972. The Big Buddha Temple is actually located on the small island called Koh Faan that is connected by a man-made causeway to Samui. The decoration around the grounds are beautiful and it’s a fantastic spot for photo opportunities.

During our visit a monk came to us and start talking in Thai. He told (showed) us to sit down and started praying for us while splashing some holy water on our heads. Without asking what is going on we decided to do what he was showing us. At the end of his praying he gave us two wristbands – one for health (the colourful one), one for marriage (the white one) … 🙏 Sometimes is better not to ask and just believe …

Wat Plai Laem is the most colourful temple on Koh Samui The temple was completed in 2004 and is definitely a must- when you are on the North East tip of the island. There are two giant statues in the complex. The two giant statues are surrounded by the waters of a large lake full of big fish. The first statue is from the Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and Compassion who has 18 arms. She is said to have so many arms, so she can help many people at one time. You can also visit the two halls that begin where Guanyin is located, and they are full of colourful and unique frescoes and murals that all share mythological stories from Buddhism.

The second giant statue in Wat Plai Laem on Koh Samui is the Chinese large laughing Buddha, happy and cheerfully gleaming in the sun. In Chinese culture, a fat Buddha represents wealth and prosperity. This very impressive statue is 30 meters high and painted in expressive colours like red, white and gold.

Nothing can stop the sunset chasers! Koh Samui is known as the sunrise island as the biggest resorts are located on the east coast, but to be honest, if you are on a relatively small island you can always find a way to chase your sunset! We did it already many times 😊 The best places for watching the sunset are Lipa Noi, Nathon and Baan Asan beach.

You can also visit Koh Samui’s waterfalls that are located in the middle of the jungle. Our first and last attempt to hike up to the waterfall on Koh Samui turned out to be 🥵🥴 … The temperature was about 35°, millions of mosquitoes tried to eat me alive (if you zoom you can see the numerous bites on my legs), the jungle path was leading into nothing … So after one hour of sweating like a pro, we decided to give up and go down – Giving up never felt so good 😅 On the way back we had some amazing views from the mountain and we had lunch on this beautiful beach located near Lamai 😊

Meet our neighbourhood, Lamai! As we were searching for a place to stay on Samui, we had only two good options: whether to stay in Lamai or in Bo Put. These are the only 2 places on Koh Samui that are not completely empty due to the covid-19. Some restaurants are open, there is a Macro and Tesco (the biggest supermarkets on the island), and the beach is nice for walking! From here we can reach the sunset side of Samui in 15 minutes, Chaweng Beach and Bo Put in 20 minutes, Fishermen’s Village in 25 minutes … Lamai is a good starting point for exploring the island and we were enjoying our time here a lot 😊

Guan Yu Shrine: The new Guan Yu Shrine is meant to be a meeting and focal point for the Chinese community on Koh Samui as well as being a popular destination for the ever-increasing number of Chinese tourists. Nowadays, as there are still no China tourists around the world, the temple remains empty and a very quiet place to explore around…
The shrine can be used in a multitude of ways, such as wedding ceremonies. Guan Yu symbolizes loyalty and honesty in a marriage.

Another beautiful place we found by coincidence while driving around – I-Talay Beach Bar & Cottage Taling Ngam. Located on the sunset coast of the island, this place has a beautiful beach on one side and a beautiful eco-garden on the other.

Rattanakosin Chedi (Baby Buddha Jaidee): the temple on Koh Samui with the best View! The Khao Chedi (Baby Buddha Jaidee) is located at the end of Bang Kao beach just after the Laem Sor pagoda south of Koh Samui Island. Located on a hill it offers a beautiful view of Bang Kao Bay and the islands of Koh Tan and Koh Matsum.

Wat Phra Chedi Laem: we found this temple while riding the scooter on Koh Samui. Very secluded, this temple is located on the southernmost point of the Island, right next to the beach called Ao Bang Kao. Except for all the dogs and the friendly lady who was feeding them, nobody was there… The territory around Laem Sor stupa is actually a public garden for recreation, meditation, celebrations and weekend picnics.

Welcome to the most famous rock formations of Koh Samui which are located on Lamai Beach – Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks (Hin Yai and Hin Ta) which were shaped like, you know. No need to say more. The Hin Ta & Hin Yai legend is a tale of tragedy tinged with hope, as we could read on an info board located on the beach. The legend itself goes along these lines. It’s a sad tale of an elderly couple’s adventure that died here after their long journey by boat. They turned into stones as a symbol of endless love… And so for the Grandmother and Grandfather rocks themselves – I would say they were definitely worth a quick visit for a giggle.

The Magic Garden, also known as the Secret Buddha Garden on Koh Samui. The garden was built by a local fruit farmer in 1976 when he was 77 years old. The Secret Garden is a mystical place where everything is covered by moos, flowers and trees native to Koh Samui. You can also see many Buddha statues with different meanings. At the beginning of the garden, there is also a little stream and a series of miniature waterfalls. Khun Nim, the founder of the garden, was known as an innovative durian farmer. Upon his retirement, he decided to assemble a team to develop a garden that features many figures representing mainly Buddhist folklore. We’ve been told that each statue has a story to tell, and most Thais will know the meaning and mythology behind these works of art.

Where to Stay in Phuket

As you would expect from a major tourist destination in Thailand, Koh Samui has no shortage of options when it comes to accommodation. As always, I’d suggest you stay somewhere central, to make accessing all the attractions as easy as possible.

If you are searching for a lively place with plenty of bars, shops, and restaurants, your best choice would be Chaweng. If you are searching for plush resorts, nice cafes, restaurants, bars, or a honeymoon atmosphere – Lamai would be your best choice. If you are searching for an authentic Thai experience, I suggest you stay in Bophut. If you are a backpacker or a Solo Traveler probably the best place for you would be Maenam.

Koh Samui Best Places to Visit Big Buddha

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