The average visitor to Koh Samui fritters away the hours lounging at their resort pool or on the beach, eating mangoes and stinky-but-sumptuous durian, enjoying back to back muscle-melting massages, and generally doing as little as possible. And you’d be hard put to find a better spot to do it. Thailand’s third-largest island is consistently voted one of the world’s best spa destinations and Samui’s top-tier resorts rank among the hardest-to-leave in Southeast Asia.
But, should you choose to venture beyond your sun lounges, Samui has oodles of unique sights and stunning scenery to explore. Of all the waterfalls on the island, Na Muang I and II are probably the most lovely – natural steps formed by tree root-entwined rocks ascend to the first cascade and the large natural pool at its foot, and the second, arguably more visually stunning cascade is just a few minutes stroll up the mountain.
Muslim enclave Baan Hua Thanon’s traditional wooden storefronts and Tong Krut fishing village on the southwest coast offer rustic snapshots into the island’s piscatorial past, while the tranquil Wat Na Pra Lan, just west of Mae Nam village, embodies Samui’s Buddhist heart.
Although the movie was filmed elsewhere, the seminal travel novel The Beach made the utopic 42-island archipelago within the dazzling Ang Thong Marine Park famous and a day trip to dive, snorkel or lounge around on the sand is well worth the jaunt. But, if you did choose to stay put at one of the island’s stellar resorts with cocktails and a good book, nobody would think any less of you.
PERFECT FOR COUPLES WHO:
Just want to kick back and relax.
MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACH:
Hit remote Taling Ngam to enjoy peace and quiet and views over neighbouring Ang Thong National Park.
Bang Po Beach for fresh seafood served on the sand as luridly coloured long-tail boats chug across the bay.