Koh Samui is Thailand's most dynamic chameleon, a cosmopolitan melting pot of experiences and sensations. Palm-fringed shorelines and granite peaks cloaked in virgin rainforest offset cultural sights and delicious, varied cuisine. From relaxing to active, spiritual to lively, we love the choices Koh Samui has on offer. Experience the serenity of Wat Khunaram, busy beaches throbbing with activity, or isolated stretches of peaceful white sand; Koh Samui has a little something for everyone.
Chaweng Beach is Koh Samui's most popular stretch of sand. The central section is more crowded, lined with four and five star hotels, restaurants, pubs, clubs, and tourist shops, while the northern end of the beach is quieter and more relaxed. Relax on the powdery white sand, fringed with blue-green waters and a colourful coral reef.
The famous Big Buddha shrine is one of Samui's most well known landmarks. The 12-metre high golden Buddha is located in the north-eastern corner of Koh Samui above the famous temple Wat Phra Yai, where Buddhists make daily offerings and perform rituals and prayer. During important festivals such as Loi Kratong (The Festival of Light) and Songkran (Thai New Year), the Big Buddha plays host to numerous performances, concerts, and festivities.
Waiting at the southern end of Lamai beach are the odd but historic rock formations of Hin Ta and Hin Yai (Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks). Shaped over millions of years, they are famous for bearing a passing resemblance to male and female sexual organs (although you may have to use your imagination). Follow the short alley lined with souvenir stalls to Grandmother's smooth rock belly, where a crevice has been worn over the years. Phallic shaped Grandfather Rock is located about 25 metres to the south of Grandmother rock.
The Samui Butterfly Garden, located at the south end of Koh Samui, is set in a beautifully landscaped, netted garden with tropical plants, man-made waterfalls and pools, and a kaleidoscope of butterfly species. The butterflies fly freely throughout the garden, landing and feeding on the sweet treats the keepers have left out for them. A display of rare insects from Thailand includes scorpions, spiders, stick and leaf insects, and caterpillars. Walk the 50 steps to the hillside observatory for a breathtaking view over the coast or take a trip on the glass-bottomed boat to see the coral reefs at Wang Bay.
Located at Ban Harn beach, the Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo features an undersea collection of tropical fish, sea turtles, sharks, and other aquatic animals, as well as a section with Bengal Tigers and leopards, where you can get your photo taken next to one of these magnificent cats. There is also a bird show where sea hawks, hornbills, and parrots perform tricks to amuse the crowd.