If you’ve kept up on Instagram, you know I just visited Thailand for a second time. This go around I visited with Thailand Tourism and my bestie Christina. You guys should be acquainted with her by now- of not, hop to! We had the opportunity to visit so many different parts of Thailand, including a few places I didn’t get to my first go around. One of those spots? The sunny little island of Koh Samui.
Originally, Christina and I planned to extend our visit to the island by a couple of days but promptly upon deplaning and feeling the tropical air on our skin- we decided to forego that measly extension and stay for an extra week. Reasons I love my job. We had no idea what we were going to do or where we were going to stay after the rest of the Thailand Tourism team left but sometimes no plan is the best plan. This couldn’t be truer for my time on Koh Samui. We (obviously) eventually got our S*#% together and nailed down a few things we wanted to see/do while we were there. Here’s how it went:
Tour the surrounding islands
You are officially on island time so please take full advantage of that. I know I did! Although Koh Samui is an island, it doesn’t feel like that stranded-in-the-middle-of-the-ocean kind of island. You’re still around other travelers and in the hustle and bustle of it all- try to escape it and get a real feel for what the islands of Thailand are all about.
The best way to island hop is to rent a private speedboat with Trikaya Tours. Not only will you have your own personal guide and a boat that all of your belongings are safe on but you’ll be on your OWN schedule. I cannot begin to describe how important this is to me. Being on my own schedule on trips is so important, not only because I take a million pictures but because if there is one spot I like the most or it has the most photo opportunities I am able to stay for as long as I want. If I was on a group tour, this would not be the case. Full disclosure though, group tours are okay for some occasions but you’ll rarely find me on one.
Anyways, there are so many islands to choose from when renting a private boat for the day! Here are a few of my suggestions:
The Five Islands
Koh Mat Sum
Ang Thong Marine National Park
Eat at least one meal at Live Café
I cannot stress the importance of this activity enough. After all, you need adventure fuel. Right? I can’t count on one hand how many times I ate at Live Café while I was on Koh Samui- that’s how many times I ate there. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all delicious but if you have to pick only one meal I recommend lunch.
With two award winning chefs in the kitchen, I’m sure you can imagine just how delicious their food really is. Nearly all of the menu options are vegan and plant based, which makes me incredibly happy. From vegan cheese plates to chia jars to maca energizer smoothies to raw balls (who remembers my obsession with these in Whistler?), raw pizza… the list is endless. Oh, and I am all heart eyes for this view.
Visit Guanyin and the rest of the temples in Wat Plai Laem
My NUMBER ONE spot I wanted to visit on Koh Samui: the 18 arm Guanyin statue. Little did I know (because I did 0 research) it was actually one of three structures in the Wat Plai Laem complex. There is also a giant laughing Buddha and one of the most intricate ceremonial halls I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
See the Big Buddha at Bophut
Also known as Wat Phra Yai, I spotted this golden structure when landing on Koh Samui. Yes, it is that massive and prominent so keep an eye out. When I visited there were heaps of people, so I’d assume get there as early as possible if you want to beat the crowds. This temple felt a little more ‘touristy’ in comparison to Wat Plai Laem because it was surrounded by so many shops and there were simply just more people here. Regardless, it was beautiful.
Become even more of a fan girl (or boy) for coconuts at the coconut plantations
There are coconut plantations scattered across the island all offering a small glimpse into one of the leading industries on the island. I learned there is so much more that goes into coconut harvesting, for example did you know the job of sorting through the coconuts (by hand) to make sure they are all up to par for distribution – existed? I guess I never really thought about it before but seeing how a coconut plantation works firsthand gave me a little more respect for the delicious little fruits.
Find a sunset spot and revel in the light
My favorite thing to do, but we know this already. Honestly, one of the best spots on the island to watch the sunset is on the beach at W Koh Samui. Hammocks + good music + golden light= recipe for romance. Except I was here with Christina, but nonetheless it was still magical 😉
Fisherman’s Walking Village
Every Friday evening, the sleepy town of Bophut comes alive, courtesy the walking street market. This walking street has an array of small stalls and boutique shops, while a quieter section of the street is made up of food vendors, small bars and eateries that are guaranteed to take you on a gastronomical ride. The market is also known for a number of rare items that can you can buy – herbs and spices, handicrafts, musical instruments and unique accessories just to name a few! And also a few Instagram essentials like these floaties which are the perfect props! You’ll also spot a few witty neon lights which will subsequently make you think. PS grab dins at CoCo Tam’s and watch the fire show on the beach.
Koh Samui Tips
I found the easiest way to get to Koh Samui was flying with Bangkok Airways direct from Bangkok. Quick one hour flight!
If you want to save money on transportation stay close to the things you want to see, the island is a lot bigger than I anticipated. Or, rent a scooter!
Always negotiate prices of goods and sundries unless you’re in a shop.
Don’t drink the faucet water. Ice is typically filtered but I still tried to avoid it.
Order a fresh coconut with lunch, some of the freshest and most delicious you will ever have.