Eco-friendly travel guide to Ko Samui advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Ko Samui, Thailand.
- Air quality: 3.5 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 4.5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 5 / 5
- Public transportation: 3.5 / 5
- Parks: 3 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3 / 5
- Safety: 4 / 5
- Accommodation: US$5 - $150
- Budget per day: US$20 - $200
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Ko Samui or Koh Samui is a beautiful vacation island off the eastern coast of Thailand in the Surat Thani Province. It is the second-largest Thai Island and covers about 228.7 square kilometres of land. The Island is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The Island homes a peaceful Chinese community that value their traditions and nature a lot. Due to the influx of tourists, there is extra need for eco friendly and responsible travelling in order to preserve the environment.
- The pollution in Koh Samui is relatively high and while visiting, you have to avoid activities that will make it worse. You should prefer public buses, ferries, and electronic vehicles so that you don't contribute to the increasing pollution.
- There are many western cafes, shops, and restaurants that offer a luxurious stay for tourists, but you need to avoid them as they will overcharge you and will not enable you to experience the local culture and traditions. You should prefer the local businesses over the international franchises as they have an exploitative business model with no regards for the environment as well.
Apart from all these necessary measures, try to learn about the laws to avoid unfortunate situations on the Island. Also, always avoid participating in any illegal activities, or you can get deported or banned from revisiting Thailand.
Other things you can do to travel responsibly are:
- Use metal straws to reduce the waste produced by plastic straws
- Try not to use any plastic bags and even if you do get one then recycle it as much as possible
- Use public transport when possible
- If travelling domestically avoid using planes and instead use buses or ferries
Air Quality and Pollution
Air pollution of Koh Samui Island has gone up to 90%, the noise and light pollution are slightly lower but still not satisfactory. The numeric value of noise and light pollution is 75%, and water pollution is as high as 95%. As per the reviews given by the tourists, they are satisfied with the greenery of the Island, but they are not satisfied with the system of garbage disposal on the Island. The water quality of the Island is as low as just 4% whereas the air quality is 10%, which shows that the pollution level of the city is relatively high.
- Pollution Index – 97.99
- Pollution Exp Scale – 179.56
Respect the Culture
While visiting Koh Samui, you must pay proper respect to the local Chinese and Thai communities that reside there. The people are not as advanced and modern as other people in the world. You need to behave respectfully and avoid any illegal activities like drugs and trespassing.
Top 10 Places to Visit
- Bhoput's Fisherman Village: The Bhoput's Fisherman village gets its name from a fact that there once lived a community of anglers. The group has moved from this place, but their shops made of wood still exist in the village which gives it a charming and a rustic look—thus making it a historical town of Bhoput. The restaurants here are small and often spread their chairs on the beaches where people can enjoy traditional food while taking in the natural scenic beauty. On Friday, streets are bustling with shopkeepers and buyers, and there are many massage parlours, as well. So if you want to relax your body and want to enjoy traditional food along with a rustic atmosphere, this is a must-visit place for you.
- Koh Tao: This Island is also famous as the Island of adventure sports. The best way to enjoy on this Island is by exploring at day time and letting yourself loose by night time. One of the cheapest things to do is scuba diving. Many kinds of adventure sports can also be done here like hiking, rock-climbing, zip-lining and if you don't like adventure sports at all, you can also lay quietly on the beaches and sunbathe. Koh Tao is best enjoyed if you visit this place for a couple of days so that you can enjoy both its day time as well as night time. The hotels here cover all ranges from budget guesthouses to 5-star resorts to suit everyone's tastes and needs. The scenic beauty of Koh Tao Island consists of white sand beaches, coral reefs and many sea creatures which are present here naturally.
- Lad Koh View Point: The most suitable word to express this place would be serene. The viewpoint from here looks like a picture with waters of Chaweng Bay and sky merging together. If you ever visit this place, remember to capture it. Moreover, if one wants to avoid the chaotic crowd, this is one of the perfect places for you. In Lad Koh Island people can walk on the rocks and sit next to the sea. Lad Koh viewpoint is one of the best places to experience and enjoy sunset and sunrises. Lad ko Island was rebuilt recently to overcome and satisfy the needs of the tourists, and a lot of food stalls serving traditional food are present. Also, proper toilets and parking facilities were developed here recently with the view that tourists can enjoy scenic beauty comfortably.
- Elephant Caves: Elephant rocks do not look like an elephant. It gets its name because of a vast and enormous rock located between Chaweng and Lamai Beach. One can enjoy hiking or trekking here, and if you reach the top, you can see Bird's eye view of the Gulf of Thailand. It is the most loved place by photographers. It is the best site if you love adventure sports and want to get away from the chaos and enjoy the quiet and peaceful scenic view of the Gulf of Thailand.
- Na Muang Waterfall: This waterfall falls from the highest peak of the Island, creating a splendid view of water falling from the height and creating a large pool for people who want to swim at the base. The two waterfalls are located next to each other. The highest waterfall has a height of 18m. During the rainy season, this place becomes all the more scenic and magnificent. With a minimal parking fee and no entry fee, this place is open 24 hours. From parking to the waterfall you will need just 2 minutes to walk over there.
- Golf Koh Samui: It is a must-visit place for golf lovers with their families. This place is not only known for its golf tours but for its sites to see, unique dining experience, tropical fruits, jewellery, textiles, handicrafts etc. The food offered here is compared to various international cuisines. It provides every visitor with a unique dining experience—Koh Samui Island homes white sand beaches, and colossal coconut trees that give everyone a splendid vibe. Moreover, on this Island, along with golf ground, there are many locals producing handicraft and textiles. They sell their works at night markets—thus enhancing the nightlife of the Island.
- Nation Town: It is the most well-developed towns of Koh Samui with full banking services as well as the main post office. This town also has a telecom centre for overseas calls. Koh Tai island and Koh Phangan are the nearest islands to visit from Koh Samui. Recently many other shops have been developed in Nation town like second-hand book shops, bakeries, sarong shops, cottage industries, internet cafes, etc. These are some of the newly built shops along the waterfront, and this recent development also attracts tourists. The main reason for tourist arriving in Nation is because it is known to have 'head' shops which sell opium pipe, Liong's etc.
- Koh Samui Snake Farm: Although it has a bit high entry fee, it is a place worth visiting. They have all sorts of reptiles including crocodiles, scorpions and 170 other species of snakes. The snake farm also consists of some of the most exotic creatures. A Guinness Book of World Record was also held here where a girl named Kanchana Kaetkaew also known as the 'Scorpion Queen' had a 7-inch long scorpion in her mouth for 2 minutes. Since then this place became all the more famous not only in the country but internationally. For the convenience of tourist, visitors and snake lovers it is open daily at 11:00 am and closes at 2 pm. This place also organizes animal shows with its snakes, reptiles and exotic animals which is worth watching. It is indeed one of the best places for animal lovers.
- Wat Rattanakosin: Wat Rattanakosin is one of the many temples situated in Koh Samui. Although this temple is a bit aloof or isolated from the rest of the temples, it is located somewhere in between the mountainous terrain. Getting there is not a difficult task. You can identify the temple from afar by its long white Pagoda. Once, you get inside the temple; a large statue of golden Buddha can be seen. The figure lies in front of the Pagoda, and is also known as 'The Reclining Buddha'.
- Guan Yu Shrine: According to Chinese mythology, Guan Yu Shrine is the God of War. It is the symbol of the culture of China and Thailand. The height of the statue is 16 metres, and the statue symbolizes loyalty, bravery as well as honesty. It is truly magnificent and a must-watch figure from the outside, but once you go inside, it will give you an insight into traditional Chinese artefacts. Moreover, you will get to know how a standard Chinese tea room looks. It is considered as old as to 280 years. As we go deep in history, we get to see that it was built in the Ayutthaya period by king Borommakot. It is also believed that whenever the king went for war, he always worshipped this statue for good luck.
Koh Samui is a beautiful island that hosts many natural and human-made attraction points. The Island is home to several attractive waterfalls, parks, and also historical places, and there's nothing that can stop you from having a blast on Samui Island.
- Chaweng Park Place: This place is linked with Chaweng Beach, hosting several hotels and restaurants for tourists and locals as well. The park here is the most beautiful tourist spot for relaxing and enjoying with your loved ones. You can see different types of floras all around the place, making it worth watching and clicking pictures amid the nature of the park. It also offers an outdoor swimming pool and serviced apartments with lake and mountain views. Central Festival Shopping Mall and Tops Supermarket are about 10 minutes' walk from here, from where you can grab some stuff for yourself or gift someone.
- Paradise Park: Paradise Park is indeed a heaven for those of you who are travelling with your family, spread over 20 acres of land; it is an incredible park to visit. It offers you a bunch of exciting activities that will keep you occupied and care-free. This park has a superb Thai restaurant that serves some delicious local dishes as well as European and international delicacies that will make your mouth water. You can also have a chance to interact with animals and make your holiday a memorable one. You can come here between 9 am to 5 pm by paying INR 870/THB 400 per person.
- Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park: There are over 42 islands, spread across approximately 97 square miles in the Gulf of Thailand, characterized by hundreds of limestone monoliths carved into beautiful shapes by years of erosion. The park is open 24 hours to the general public throughout the year and features a thick jungle, limestone mountains, white-sand beaches, waterfalls, and hidden caves for explorers. The park has rich biodiversity in a protected area of more than 100 square km of land and sea. You can also enjoy water-sport activities like snorkelling, sea kayaking, hiking, diving, or simply relaxing at Ang Thong. If visitors want to stay for a night, this park also hosts a few bungalows and resorts, and camping tents are also available to stay overnight.
- Namaung Safari Park: Namaung Safari Park is an adventurous animal park with jeep rides to mountain vistas, elephant shows, and a waterfall hike. You can visit here between 8 am to 5 pm. This park is on the southern side of Samui Island and about 30 minutes away from the airport. Adventurous activities provided here include elephant trekking, ATV, waterfall hiking, animal shows, etc. The waterfall present within the park is the highest waterfall on Koh Samui Island. You can also enjoy a delicious Thai cuisine buffet for lunch after having the activities in this park while relaxing and enjoying the lovely view amid the jungle forest and elephant camp surrounding the restaurant.
- Samui Aquarium & Tiger Zoo: Samui Aquarium & Tiger Zoo is among the most visited tourist spot on Samui Island. It's a combination of zoo and aquarium where you can see both marine and land animals in one place. This zoo also provides live animal shows for the visitors where you can see animals like Bengal Tigers and leopards, sea lions, etc. Visitors can explore different kinds of fish and undersea creatures from the Gulf of Thailand. This place is run by a small businessman who loves nature and animals. He has set up this aquarium along with a tiger empire, bird shows, sea lion shows, and many others.
- Choeng Mon Beach: Located near Big Buddha Temple, this beach is made up of a series of bays on the north-eastern coast of the Island, housing a handful of 3 to 5-star resorts and hotels. Visitors can also have their private beach at some points of the Island by booking in advance. This beach also provides you with Thai-Indian cuisine Restaurant; therefore if you want to have something spicy and Thai, you can indeed spend your day here and enjoy the delicacies of the restaurants along with the panoramic view of the Island. Choeng Mon Beach is also famous for its entertainment facilities as it presents before you traditional Thai dancing and numerous Filipino bands expertly playing covers of favourite pop stars.
- Maenam Beach: Maenam Beach provides you with cheap fan bungalow operations dotted along the beach. Also, bungalows here are very low-budget, yet they offer many facilities like sunbathing, swimming, spas, and many more. This beach also has many restaurants and food stalls all around, providing you with the best evening snacks to wander around the coast. At the other end of the beach, there's this resort, Santiburi Resort, which provides five-star luxury to those who can afford it along with fabulous Thai-International cuisine at its Thai restaurant.
- Lamai Beach: After Chaweng, this beach is the second most visited beach in Koh Samui Island, hosting plenty of dining, accommodation, and shopping options, in addition to some great spas and tourist attractions to explore. It has a quiet and more calm atmosphere, making it popular among locals and tourists. This beach provides less cheap facilities than Chaweng Beach. The Pavilion, Lamai Wanta, and The Renaissance are some resorts built on this beach, along with plenty of options for adventurous water sport activities. Hence, visitors, as well as locals, can have fun and relax at the same time amid the beautiful atmosphere of Lamai Beach.
- Lipa Noi Beach: This beach is best suited for everybody as it has fine sand and no rocks or coral in the water, making it the best beach for kids on the Island. The water is also shallow for up to 100 meters out; hence children can play and swim easily with no risks involved. There are some bungalows and high-profile restaurants located on this beach, which is a mere attraction for most high-class people. The beach also hosts many food stalls and a small vendors shop selling snacks and ice cream. You can also rent a villa for holidays on orders. Visitors also can enjoy driving through the coconut plantations providing you with a pleasant and relaxing sense of being in a tropical paradise.
- Taling Ngam Beach: It is one of the most picturesque parts of the Island combining pristine jungle shrouded beaches and amazing views of Ang Thong Marine National Park. There are some highly regarded seafood restaurants and cheap bungalows, providing you with the best services and generous discounts and coupons to enjoy your holiday. It hosts five islands, which is the best choice to wander around or to plan a holiday here.
- Silver Beach: Set in a little bay north of Lamai Beach, there lies a 250-meter-long tropical Silver Beach, a popular one among the beaches present in Koh Samui. It hosts four hotels and restaurants occupying the full length of the beach. Although staying at these hotels is not necessary to experience the beautiful serene of Silver Beach, meaning you have full access to this beach, which offers some incredibly useful sunbathing, snorkelling, and swimming opportunities.
- Big Buddha Temple: The golden, 12-meter-tall Buddha Statue built-in 1972, sits on a small rocky island off Koh Samui's north-eastern corner. It is the most famous landmark in Koh Samui Island, Thailand. People entering Koh Samui can see this Buddha statue from a distance of several kilometres, sitting in the Mara posture, with the left hand's palm resting upon the lap and the right hand facing down the ground. This pose of Lord Buddha is said to be a symbol of steadiness, enlightenment, and purity. It is of that time when Buddha started the journey of enlightenment and successfully subdued the temptations by meditating and remaining calm. You can also buy various amulets, religious artefacts, souvenirs, and clothing around the base of this statue, plenty of cafés and food stalls are there to satisfy your hunger.
- Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks: Hin Ta-HinYai means Grandpa-Grandma, these rocks are the highlights of some fascinating rock formations at the southern end of Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, and looks somewhat similar to male and female genitalia. You can get a spectacular view from this part of the land; also the pristine waters here are so clear that colourful marine creatures can often be seen from the surface. Apart from the rocks, it is a beautiful place to see the fantastic panoramic view of the ocean and enjoy its cool breeze.
- Wat Plai Laem: It is a Buddhist temple in Koh Samui that features a stunning 18-armed white image of Guanyin, the goddess of Mercy. All the artworks and architecture created here are centuries old and are based on ancient beliefs and culture. Besides, this place is surrounded by a lake, teeming with fishes. You will be given a food bag to feed the fish as soon as you enter the temple and is believed that feeding these fishes brings good luck.
- Secret Buddha Garden: This place is known as Koh Samui's Heaven Garden of Sculptures, depicting several deities, animals, and humans in various poses, including one of Khun Nim himself, in a relaxed position sitting on a rock. Visitors can also see a waterfall and a stream flowing through the thick foliage. They also have the policy to provide 4WD vehicles to wander around the whole garden.
- Mummy Monk: Mummy Monk at Wat Khunaram is known for the body of Samui's most famous mummified work. There are several such works displayed here, one of them is of Luang Pordaeng, who died in 1973 and as per his instructions, his body is to be placed in a specially designed glass case for posterity. Loung Pordang is the most highly revered monk than other mummy monks on Samui Island and throughout Thailand. Apart from this mummy monk, Wat Khunaram is a typical Buddhist temple, where local people come daily to make sacrifices and to pray. Visitors are allowed to join and observe the rituals performed daily and have a look around.
- Art-Samui: This 3D Art Museum invites you to become a part of sixty-five optical illusions, created and presented by professional Korean artists, and probably the best-known museum on the Samui Island and is somewhat similar to the Trickeye Museum. You can also take photographs here, which most museums don't allow. Visitors are encouraged to have fun and interact with the art pieces. The museum is filled with unique and informative paintings. You can also learn many things through these paintings and artworks that are displayed here. The amount paid by each person to enter the museum is about 500 baht (about $16) and is open from 10 am to 7 pm (Mon-Sat), and 10 am to 6 pm on Sundays.
- Coconut Museum: Coconut Museum is a must-visit museum in Thailand, located in Ang Thong. It will enlighten you with information about the history of the coconut trade, a visit to this museum will show you how VCO, or virgin coconut oil, production by the locals. This museum mainly focuses on everything they can do with this great nut, is ideally located within a coconut plantation, the production process happens right in front of you, and visitors can also buy coconut products from the boutique nearby. This museum is not only about the virgin coconut oil, but also about recycling the leftover stuff by the production process by a very thoughtful eco-enterprise.
- Dusit Dhewa: This art centre is an important museum to visit the culture of Koh Samui; it shows you the most impressive arts of the history and culture of this Island. To see this centre you have to pay 120 baht each. This place has a very unique and mystic atmosphere, with an eclectic collection of cultural as well as traditional artefacts, many of which are hidden in a slightly overgrown garden. The opportunities for quirky and unusual photos are endless around the site. The objects displayed inside the rooms are fully packed with antiques to wonder. You can also purchase your favourite piece from this centre for yourself or to present it as a gift.
- KoKo Gallery: KoKo Gallery is the best option for art lovers to explore, learn, and take away your favourite art piece from this famous art gallery. For shoppers, it's a must-visit place in Lamai, also for art lovers you can watch KoKo painting in its very unique style, and Myanmar Knife painting is an amazingly crafted painting in this gallery. You can also make a video of your image being prepared in under 10 minutes. It is the only knife painting gallery in Thailand, open from 1 pm to 11 pm a day, situated opposite Big Wave restaurant in Lamai Night Plazza.
Koh Samui Island is the best destination for self-proclaimed food lovers who like to enjoy the Island's view along with excellent cuisine. It is perhaps the best place as there are plenty of options for locals and tourists to explore in the varieties of tastes making Koh Samui, a wealth of delicious eats. Keeping the décor aside, here diners can enjoy an excellent old-fashioned Indian as well as international cuisine. You have plenty of options on this very Island to explore your tastes and preferences.
Traditional Local Restaurants
- Live India: You can experience a variety of naans, Indian flavoured rice, paneer tikkas, chicken tindaloo, chicken tikkas, butter chicken, and many more delicious dishes. Situated close to Lamai Beach, Live India is famous for its authentic Indian dishes and will satisfy your cravings for spicy Indian Food. This restaurant is in the location of the Island, making it the ideal choice for Indian tourists or local people also. You can have tasty and spicy Indian cuisine with reasonably priced dishes along with the beautiful view of Samui Island as they also provide outdoor seating in the backside of the restaurant.
- Tandoori Nights: Located on the Lamai Beach, this restaurant is well known for its tandoori dishes varying from mouth-watering naans to butter chicken and from mutton Tawa to lamb madras. There are many options for vegetarians too making this place the most visited place on Koh Samui Island. Tandoori Nights vegetarian menu includes saag paneer, dal makhana, and many other Indian vegetarian dishes. Every dish on the menu is reasonably priced, so you need not have to worry about the cost, enjoy the enduring ambience and eat your favourite dish.
- Noori India: If you are in KohSamui and a 'kebab lover', the best place to go to is Noori India. This restaurant serves you the best kebabs you have ever eaten in your entire life. The unique thing about the kebabs here is the fusion with soupy Indian daal and digging into fried samosas. This restaurant also has a variety of Indian cuisine including lemon soda and banana lassi and tons of options for vegans. If you prefer gluten-free dishes, there's nothing to worry about as they have that as well.
- The Height: This place is primarily known for its dramatic settings on the rocks, is celebrated for the panoramic views it boasts, with a glass-walled dining room and outdoor terrace making the most of its elevated position. People often visit here because its food is equally as impressive, with authentic Thai cuisine on the menu as the aroma of the restaurant.
- Saffron: Saffron is a famous local restaurant, located in Lamai Bay, is known for bringing together a blend of Southeast Asian flavours along with Thai delicacies with avant-garde culinary inspiration. You will find this restaurant elegantly decorated with beautifully décor dining areas. Diners are also treated to this place's special dish like glazed and roasted duck.
Vegetarian and Vegan
- Halapua by Kapuhala: This restaurant is best known for its vegan food prepared with classic French and modernized cooking techniques. Located at Kapuhala, this plant-based restaurant is also linked to a farm and a boutique hotel. All dishes made in Halapua Restaurant is prepared with locally sourced ingredients and naturally grown produce from Kapuhala's hillside farm. They also provide a rooftop lounge above serving herb-made fusions with house-made bitters and nootropic ingredients, while you enjoy the panoramic views of the sea and sunsets.
- Funky Vege Café: This café has the most beautiful décor interior. The café is fully decorated with varieties of plants and herbs, making this place eye-pleasing to the public. Not only the décor is brilliant, but they also serve the best delicacies, some of which are fries, burgers, hummus, brownies, mushroom pasties, and cakes. They also make the best juices and smoothies on the entire Island.
- Govinda's: Located on the Chewang Beach road, Govinda's is a vegan-friendly restaurant. They also serve mouth-watering Indian cuisine. Some best dishes include pakora, aloo naan, and bhindi masala. This restaurant has a unique policy of not including onion or garlic in any of its food items. You may like the aroma around here while enjoying the restaurant's most delightful delicacies.
- Pure Vegan Heaven: This restaurant is one of a few outlets in Thailand. Pure Vegan Heaven is a vegan restaurant which serves you with an extensive range of meals along with coffee, drinks, and desserts. Some unique dishes from the menu include banana pancakes, rice, paper salad rolls, burrito, nachos, burger and potato wedges, etc. You also have an option to make your salad of your choice.
- Jay Tamachad: Located on Hat Chaweng, this small Thai style veggie place offer you pre-made dishes from 7 am onwards. Dishes like Chinese style dumplings, rad Nah, Phad Thai, steamed buns, and mock meat dishes are among the best-served food items in Jay Tamachad. You may find this place interesting with lots of Thai food options on the menu, leaving you no choice than experiencing its delicious taste.
- Gwoy Tiao (Noodle Soup)
- Som Tam (Papaya Salad)
- Phad Thai (Stir-Fried Noodles)
- Satay (Grilled Meats)
- Khanom Jeen (Rice Noodles with Curry)
- Khao Mok Kai (Yellow Chicken Rice)
- Roti (Pancake)
- Fruit Juices & Shakes
- Coconut Water
- Shinga Beer
- Leo Beer
- Chang Beer
- Nam Ta Kray
- Nam Kiewo and Nam Daeng
The tap water of Koh Samui is not safe for direct consumption, but you can use it in works like brushing teeth, washing clothes, and other such work. The municipality which supplies water is not good enough; the purity of water may differ from region to region. Sometimes the water coming to the home has an odour and an unnatural colour with possible impurities. The water delivered to the families of the locals is at no cost, but sometimes they may charge at the rate of a cubic meter. If in an emergency of a shortage of water, there are many water delivery trucks available at different speeds with different options like some of you will give fresh spring water, clean water, or drinking water. You can also hire a company for digging a well if you want to stay a little longer there but definitely, you will require a high horsepower pump to pump out water which might be a costly move. The average temperature of Koh Samui is warm due to which the shortage of water is a common problem. Drinking water of Koh Samui is polluted, making it unsafe; therefore, it is suggested to boil the water and store it in an empty and clean container for future use. Other than this, there are mineral water bottles also available everywhere on the Island at low prices, or you are free to arrange them directly from the factory itself.
- Vikasa Life Cafe: The chef is highly talented, having an award of Europe's best raw food chef award. This cafe is considered as a food paradise for vegetarians who are fond of organic food. It can serve eatables specialized in various international and Asian cuisine serving glutton food. The means to adhere to a breakfast lunch dinner brunch and some drinks. As scamper is present on the beach, you can enjoy various beach scenery while having a meal. Reviewed by 400 people on Google it stands on a score of 4.5 out of 5
- Green Light Cafe: Wide variety of food dishes starting from rupees 141 rupees and ending at 1412 offering completely gluten-free vegan food. Health-conscious and vegan people can connect to this cafe easily.
- Wild Tribe Cafe: Supporting the local farmers and their farms this cafe provides delicious plant-based food which not only supports local farms but also boosts energy and is are very beneficial for our health. The sauces or the dressings they use are prepared by themselves. Then they add sugar or any preservatives to their juices which makes them unique on the Island. Their juice or smoothies are proven to detoxify and nourishes your body along with nutrition which can help you to have an active and energized life. They are regularly working on their juices in its uniqueness in taste and on health.
- Horizon Cafe Samui: It is the most kind-hearted cafe Koh Samui that often do charity events on various days like children's Day Christmas day etc. Their primary focus is on no plastic waste by publishing a scheme of bamboo cup for different drinks in this you have to purchase a bamboo cup for 30 baths, and every time you bring that bamboo cup of your own you will get a discount of 10 baths, this is the best scheme to get rid of plastic. If you are craving for coffee, it also sells excellent bakery items.
- Sweet Sisters Cafe: This cafe offers fresh food with customization according to your preferences focusing on your choices as well as allergies. They have their garden from where they bring new items for their dishes.
- Juice Queen Cafe: It is the only cafe in Koh Samui which makes cold-pressed juice made with the motive for a healthy lifestyle. This shop operates for 8 hours every Monday to Saturday other than juices coffee tea smoothies are also available. It focuses on the natural taste rather than it's decoration because of which the dishes or beverages served here are 100% fresh and natural made. You can even see your juices prepared on the spot.
- Pure Vegan Heaven: This cafe serves 100% plant-based, which is very much satisfying for any health-conscious person. The gluten-free food is what everyone needs these days. This cafe has 250 plus reviews with a 4.6 rating out of 5 and serves international vegetarian cuisines
- Bao Bao Cafe and Eatery: This cafe serves fresh coffee made of Arabica beans. It also provides a refreshing environment and a garden where everyone can relax and enjoy their food in Koh Samui. Lemonades, fruit shakes, and fresh Asian bears with cocktails are its specialities.
- Lamai Veggie: This cafe's entrance is covered with leaves and plants, which gives it a fantastic look. This restaurant is smaller and cheaper as compared to others. They serve Asian and Thai dishes for lunch and breakfast.
- Greenlight Cafe: This cafe has its garden that helps them in serving gluten-free dishes to their customers. The name of this cafe refers to the cosy environment where anyone can relax. You can also meet with many locals here and befriend. You can even request one of the staff members to give you a visit to the garden from where the supplies for their dishes are made. This cafe efficiently fulfils its social responsibility as they believe in an eco-friendly environment and the least usage of plastic or wastage of anything like food, natural resources, etc.
Koh Samui has a variety of beers that can refresh your mood. The beaches will help you in enjoying the beer by providing you with a relaxed and peaceful vibe. Some of the standard beers available on the Island are Singha Beer, Leo Beer, Beerlao, and Beer Large. Some of the cafes have large containers with taps filled with beers of diverse kind.
- Beer Masons
- Magic Alambic Rum Distillery
- Tropical Murphy’s
- Wine Connection Deli
- Reggae Pub
- ATV Tours: ATV stands for or All-Terrain Vehicle. An ATV is a vehicle that has low-pressure tires with handlebars for steering control. It is used in travelling terrains and comes with a variety of three, four and, six wheels with an engine size ranging from 49 to 2000 cc. In Koh Samui, you can rent an ATV and learn how to ride it. There are two types of ATV present there the difference is of engines one is of 125 ccs, and the other has 250 cc engine. It is allowed for children above 12 years and can travel on off-road terrains and mud. You can use it for adventure and driving through the jungle, discovering the beauty of nature.
- Go-karting: A Go Cart is a kind of open-wheel car ranging from motorless models to high-powered racing machines. These are made for adventure lovers. If you are a person who loves to try new things, then you must try this. There is a 500 meter long go card asphalt track with steep turns, where children beginners and even experienced drivers can use this vehicle. The only difference between beginners and professional drivers is that beginners are given a Go kart that can only achieve a speed of 40 kilometres per hour. Whereas, experienced drivers can pick Pro carts which can touch a maximum speed of 125 km per hour. This Go-kart is located in most of the resorts out of which only eight are available for tourists. Every safety measure is taken by the staff to ensure that the customers can have a fun time.
- Football Golf: Football golf is a unique sport played in Koh Samui. It is a hybrid of two sports including football and golf, but it is more closely related to golf. This game became popular in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. Scandinavian countries started playing the game with different names and set of rules in late 1990. In this sport, football is kicked into the 18 holes in the least possible strokes using their feet. You will enjoy this sport. It usually finishes within an hour, and there is a choice for the first-timers to choose between challenging and accessible roots with different challenges as you start moving ahead. Sometimes you will come across u-turns with coconut shells bunkers and trees, which makes it more fun and challenging. This sport is available daily for 9 hours, and the park opens from 9 am and closes at 6:30 pm.
- Snorkelling: It is a popular recreational activity in which a person swims in or through a body of water with snorkelling equipments which helps him to breathe underwater. The pieces of equipment include a diving mask, swimming goggles, and swimfins. In this tour, you will be provided with a snorkel mask and snorkel. They have strict policies like masks essential, and you have to maintain proper social distancing. The tickets which we get are entirely contactless. If you want to explore Koh Samui's marine life, then you must try this place as it will help you to discover various features of ocean and underwater life. They have focused on the cleanliness as everything here is sanitized adequately at regular intervals. You'll also get a cruise ride while coming back, where they offer a complimentary breakfast and lunch with local delicacies.
- Scuba diving: Scuba diving is a sort of undersea diving activity, where the diver uses underwater breathing equipment. They usually have their breathing gas which helps them in freedom of movement and more extended aquatic presence. Scuba diving in Koh Samui is a reason to visit this Wonderland as this Island has clear blue waters with warm temperatures, which gives a fantastic view of marine life. For experienced divers, there are different marine parks built for adventures. Even if you are a beginner, you won't be disappointed either way by the quality of water or the quantity of diving. You can also try marine photography on some guided tours. Proper instructors are present for all levels with different languages.
- Kayaking: Kayaking is done using a kayak; a type of boat made by the Eskimos to move across the water. In this, you can board on a boat and visit 42 islands that are dotted with sandy beaches, limestones, and are accompanied by caves, lagoons, etc.
- Safari: Safari is a journey or trip where the tourists can explore local wildlife. In this, you can have a jungle tour with a four-wheel-drive Jeep, which is open and gives a realistic view of nature, and you can feel the freshness of the jungle. In this store, you can also learn about rubber plantations and fruit orchids along with visiting the many waterfalls of the Island.
- Visiting temples and learning their traditions: If you are visiting a new place, you must also learn something from them. You need to know about their culture, traditions, practices, beliefs, faiths, etc. It can help you to make new friends there, which can make you learn about the place in depth. There is a famous buddha temple in Koh Samui made of gold in a meditation pose which looks so great and pure. The statue is 12 meters long and was finished in 1972 and became the Island's primary attraction. There you will find some local vendors selling religious things, try to purchase something from them as they work hard and sell authentic hand-made items.
Yoga and Retreats
- Vikas yoga retreat
- The Yogarden
- Yoga House
- Marga Yoga
- Shahda Yoga
- Samui Fitness retreat
- Yoga Studio
Although Koh Samui is comparatively small Island, the accommodation options are quite many. You can choose from hotels, hostels, guesthouses, apartments, and even couch-surfing. While selecting an appropriate place for accommodation, prefer options that are eco-friendly and provide proper exposure to the local environment.
- Samui Green Hotels
- Peach Resort
- Paradise Beach Resort
- The Longsai Bay
- Santiburi Koh Samui
- Lotus Friendly Hotel
- Amari Koh Samui
Hostels and Guest Houses
- Timeless Hostel
- Ananas Samui Hostel
- Monkey Samui Hostel
- 2 W Beach Hostel
- Sirin Samui Boutique Hostel
- Samui star Guesthouse
- Little Austria Guesthouse
- The summer Guesthouse
- Among Guesthouse
- Mattree Guesthouse
- Samui Scandinavian Apartments
- Samui Beach Apartments
- Charming Apartments
- Luxury Apartments
- Long N Joy Samui
Couch surfing is available in some parts of the city as many of the locals don't believe strangers so easily. They also don't have much knowledge about online payment and the modern way of living.
- Samui Caravan Hill Camp
- Samui Jungle ElephNT Sanctuary Camp
- Golden Sand Khanom
- Phulipa Jungle Camp
- Wichai's Jungle HomeStay
How to Get There
As a prominent Island in Thailand, there are two ways of reaching Koh Samui. The first one is by getting a boat or ferry from the coastal cities on the mainland of Thailand, and the second way is to book a direct or domestic flight to the Samui airport. Other travelling options like buses, rental cars, and trains will not help you in reaching the Island.
Samui International Airport is an international airport owned privately by Thai airways in Koh Samui that has an elevation of 20 meters. Koh Samui Airport is Thailand's seventh busiest airport. You can find many shops selling different category items for tourists. The airport offers it's customers a VIP lodge in the Phuket, Singapore, etc. If you come to this Island, you have to take an indirect flight from Bangkok to Kuh Samoa as there are many flights which land and takes off from this Island to different areas of Thailand. There are other indirect cheaper options also available if you want to come to Kuh Samoa. But flying is considered to be the most convenient way
There are no international bus services that travel directly to Kuh Samoa as it is an island.
Due to less use of technologies and the low population of Kuh Samui, there is no rail network. However, you can find many train stations nearby Kuh Samohi from where you can take a bus ride or ferry ride depending on your budget and destination.
It is a way of travelling by taking a lift or taking a ride for free from any traveller passing by. Hitchhiking is possible to Kuh Samohi only if you are present to the nearest places like Koh Tao as many travellers are seen on these roads, and even the residents of Kuh Samui are friendly and helping towards tourists.
Another way to get to Kuh Samui is a ferry ride. There are many cruises available at Bangkok from which you can take a water ride while enjoying the view of the blue sea with fresh air. Though this mode of conveyance is lengthy and time-consuming, you will enjoy it. It is also a pocket and environment-friendly way of travelling.
Moving around Koh Samui is a great way to explore on a first-hand basis, the local culture, environment, people's livelihood, traditions, etc. You can use public transports or electronic vehicles which are relatively cheap and comfortable.
Koh Samui is considered as a safe place for walking. Walking around at night might seem a bit hazardous because of pickpocketers, drunk men, and local thugs, but they are small in number and are present at particular places at night. Another problem you may face is from the insects as it is an island full of beaches, and jungle that homes many insects. Therefore, you must take necessary precautions to minimize and avoid these problems and threats. Overall, Koh Samui is a very safe Island for tourists if you follow proper precautions.
Apart from walking, bicycles are the best mode of moving around the city as they are relatively cheap and readily available throughout the Island. It is the preferred choice of most of the locals and is a healthy mode of travel.
Thailand is planning for electric vehicles, but it doesn't have any electric cars yet. However, the use of an electric vehicle can minimize the pollution level and will be more economical and low maintenance. Also, it will help the country in becoming independent by producing such electronic gadgets by themselves.
A public bus would be a good option for you as it will reduce the carbon footprint of your trip. The Island is already dealing with a lot of pollution, therefore opting for a public bus would create a positive effect on your budget and the local environment. Many locals use available buses for travelling, which increases the chance of meeting and befriending one. It can help you in gaining in-depth knowledge about the Island and the must-visit places. The locals of Koh Samui are known for their friendly nature towards tourists because they want their Island's image to be praised rather than getting their reflection degraded.
Tram, Train and Subway
Trams are available in Koh Samui but operate in particular areas only. You can use them for travelling from the airport to the village areas only. It cannot be used for moving around as it is only available at the airport. There are no traces of any other rail network in Koh Samui.
Sustainable shopping or eco-shopping is a new concept in Thailand. It is quite trendy amongst the locals as it is helping them realize the importance and need for the protection of the environment. It aims at promoting products that are organic and eco-friendly. Because of such popularity for sustainable living, the local communities in Koh Samui are adopting such measures and handicraft items, recyclables, reusable items, organic products, etc. are promoted. You can find such things in the various food markets, flea markets, second-hand stores, and eco-fashion stores on the Island.
- Lamai Fresh Food Market
- Maria Food Halal Samui
- Nathon Night Food market
- Fresh Food Market
- Maenam Afternoon Market
- Night Market Bophut
- Muay Thai t-shirts
- Bangrak Market
- Mae Nam Night Market
- Walking Street Maenam
Second Hand Stores
- Island Books Samui
- Joy Secondhand Shop
- My Song Mine Coffee
- Second Hand & Recycling Shop
- Samui Eco Boutique
- Eco Life Clothes
With high pollution and tourism rates, the need for spreading awareness amongst the locals and tourists for protecting the environment arose. The Island's government with the help of Thailand government has set up various plants, shops, and agencies in Koh Samui where the people can bring recyclables and reusable items instead of throwing it away with other waste. There are many rules regarding proper recycling in Koh Samui, which the locals have to follow, and they receive certain monetary benefits for acting like a responsible citizen.
Waste disposal and management are crucial problems in Koh Samui. Many travellers now avoid visiting the Island because the beaches are filling with garbage and the water quality has become very low. Although, there are many measures taken by the local government like installing garbage containers and landfills, yet waste management is still an issue.
Work and Study Abroad
Surprisingly, the Island of Koh Samui homes many educational institutes which aren't the best in Thailand but offer quite good opportunities to the local communities in growing and becoming the best versions of themselves. Some of these institutions are always eager in accepting international students, and you can visit these places to know more about the admission procedure. You will find many businesses and companies on the Island as well, which offer job opportunities for foreigners as well.
The Student Exchange program runs all over the world, and they cover every single city and Island. You will be surprised that the educational institutions in Koh Samui are part of the program and you can opt for studying some unique courses in them.
- International School of Samui
- International School of Tourism Our Media
- Destination TEFL Samui
- Bhavana Bodhigun Vocational College
There are many Thai and Chinese families in Koh Samui that are unable to meet their everyday needs and often can't even get a proper meal. The communities in Koh Samui are peaceful, and people always help each other. Still, there are some au pairs or individuals that reside outside the country or Island and are assisting such families in creating a better life.
The Island of Koh Samui faces a lot of challenges like pollution, animal cruelty, violence, etc. Some independent and governmental organizations in Koh Samui operate with the sole purpose of resolving such societal problems and are creating a better standard of living for the locals.
- PhaNgan Animal Care for Strays
- Samui Elephant Haven
- Samui Elephant Sanctuary
You can help out such organizations by volunteering in their social work. It will help you learn more about the lives of the locals and the challenges they face.