Koh Samui Island is a great place to visit if you want to enjoy its white sandy beaches and sparkling crystal clear water. The friendly locals, the excellent Thai cuisine and the wonderful weather will also provide the perfect setting for the ideal vacation. But after lounging all day on the beach, many tourists are looking for other attractions to visit and the island offers plenty to choose from. Whether you are a nature enthusiast and enjoy rain forests and bird watching or you are curious about the island’s cultural heritage, there will be attractions for anyone. The most popular places to visit on Samui Island are Ang Thong Marine Park, Na Muang Waterfall, but also the Big Buddha temple perched on a small rocky island, just within a stone’s throw from the main island.
1. Ang Thong National Marine Park
This spectacular archipelago consists of 42 islands which dot the Gulf of Thailand and boast and amazing array of pristine rocks covered in lush rainforest, sandy beaches, mangroves, lakes, coves and waterfalls. Located just within a few miles from Koh Samui, Ang Thong Park covers an area of more than 100 square kilometers. The park is home to hundreds of species of birds, fish and other exotic wildlife.
Tourists arrive to Ang Thong on day trips using boats from Koh Samui and can spend the night in each of the many bungalows that are available at low prices. A restaurant is also available on the main island that serves Thai food for the hungry. Kayaking, sailing, snorkeling and swimming are some of the main activities to enjoy in the park.
2. Na Muang Waterfalls
Waterfalls are some of the main tourist attractions in Thailand and Koh Samui definitely stands out with these two fabulous waterfalls located just 12 kilometers inland. The waterfalls are known for the striking coloring of the rocks, a delightful purple shade. They are easily accessible on a footpath that starts from the entrance of the park. Na Muang 1 is the first waterfall to come across, offering a refreshing pond, perfect to cool off the heat. Further uphill, you come across the second waterfall, Na Muang 2, a more recluse spot, but still offering spectacular views. To complete the wonderful experience, the park offers elephant rides through the jungle.
3. The Big Buddha Temple
Located on a small rocky island at the north-eastern tip of the main island, the Big Buddha temple is one of the most interesting places to visit on Samui Island. The 12-meter statue of Buddha can be seen from several kilometers away and it is the main attraction tourists see when arriving on Koh Samui by airplane. The temple is easily accessible by road and is surrounded by countless souvenir shops, food stalls, religious artifacts stalls and wonderful gardens. A superb staircase with an intricate design featuring dragons leads to the platform where the statue is located. Once on the platform, the beach and ocean views are absolutely impressive. Even during the night, the temple is filled with tourists, thanks to its golden spotlights which provide an exhilarating atmosphere.