Ko Samui, Thailand

Thailand's third largest island has been attracting international travelers for less than half a century. Before then, this island in the Gulf of Thailand was noted for its coconut plantations and rubber production. Today, Ko Samui's premier charms are its powdery white beaches, its Buddhist temples or wats, and its crystalline waters. Despite the island's increasing popularity, it retains a casual and unspoiled air that offers a bracing tonic to the experienced traveler.

The majority of the island's population resides in Nathorn, Ko Samui's capital. The island's first settlers were a mix of Hainanese coconut farmers and Malay fishermen.

Nathorn is an anchorage port. Passengers transfer to shore via ship's tenders.

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Points of Interest

  • Wat Phrayai (Big Buddha)
  • Chaweng Beach
  • Monkey Demonstration
  • Wat Plai Laem
  • Elephant Trekking
  • Na Muang Waterfall
  • Culinary Arts at Nora Beach 5-Star Hotel
  • The Passage Samui Villas & Resort
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More about Ko Samui, Thailand Points of Interest

  • Wat Phrayai (Big Buddha)

    This temple on Fan Island has become a major meditation center, attracting locals and foreigners from around the world. It is named after the massive, 39-foot sitting Buddha on the premises.

  • Chaweng Beach

    Situated on the island's unspoiled east coast, this coastline boasts four miles of powdery white sand and crystalline water, with an assortment of resorts, restaurants and bars lining the beach.

  • Monkey Demonstration

    For centuries, monkeys were trained to climb the palms and pick the ripe fruit for their handlers. Although rarely being practiced today, you can still enjoy our special demonstration of these creatures harvesting coconuts.

  • Wat Plai Laem

    Once part of the Big Buddha Temple, Wat Plai Laem is home to a superb statue of Kwan Yin (or Guanjin), the 18-armed Buddhist avatar of Mercy.

  • Elephant Trekking

    Ride atop an elephant on a caravan of these mammoth creatures, traveling through jungles or over local plantations for stunning, verdant views.

  • Na Muang Waterfall

    Easily accessible and rarely frequented, these glistening falls cascade down a natural rock staircase that descends to a refreshing pool of crystalline mountain water.

  • Culinary Arts at Nora Beach 5-Star Hotel

    Stop in at one of Ko Samui's premier hotels for a cooking class where passionate chefs teach you the basics of preparing Thai dishes such as stuffed crab, pan-fried Thai noodle (Pad Thai).

  • The Passage Samui Villas & Resort

    Escape to the exotic natural hideaway beach resort at Laem Yai Beach in Koh Samui. This upscale boutique resort overlooks a national marine park with nearby snorkelling kayaking, beach biking and hiking for you to explore the area.

9 EXCURSIONS

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Temple of the Big Buddha & Monkey Demonstration

3.5 hours | Ko Samui | USM-205
  • Wat Phrayai (Big Buddha)
  • Monkey Demonstration
  • Wat Plai Laem

Take a narrated drive around the island and discover the people, history and culture of Ko Samui on this half-day excursion. You'll visit two of Samui's most important temples and then visit a local venue to delight in a demonstration which shows the efficiency of the furry workers: the monkeys who harvest the coconuts.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

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$69.95

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Resort & Beach Getaway

7 hours | Ko Samui | USM-590

Sun and fun await on the white sands of Bophut Beach. Travel to the northern coast of Koh Samui, famous for its extensive stretch of coastline. You'll have access to a luxury resort including the use of the pool and other amenities. A Thai buffet lunch can be enjoyed at your leisure.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

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$74.95

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Temple of the Big Buddha & Elephant Trek

4 hours | Ko Samui | USM-220
  • Wat Phrayai (Big Buddha)
  • Monkey Demonstration
  • Elephant Trekking

Experience Thai culture, Ko Samui-style at Island Safari, Funny Days Safari or Na Muang Safari Cultural Theme Park. Watch a demonstration on how monkeys are trained to harvest coconuts. Ride an elephant through the island's local garden, and explore the island's most prominent Buddhist temple.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities

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$89.95

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Wat Laem, Temple of the Big Buddha & Chaweng Beach

6.5 hours | Ko Samui | USM-100
  • Wat Phrayai (Big Buddha)
  • Chaweng Beach
  • Monkey Demonstration
  • Wat Plai Laem

Indulge in Ko Samui's highlights during this full-day, guided excursion. Visit temples featuring breathtaking Buddhas. Tour a local venue where a demonstration of trained monkeys will harvest coconuts. Enjoy lunch at an upscale resort and a beach break at Ko Samui's most popular beach.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

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$99.95

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Safari Theme Park & Elephant Trek

4 hours | Ko Samui | USM-460
  • Monkey Demonstration
  • Elephant Trekking
  • Na Muang Waterfall

Discover the culture and people of Ko Samui at Island Safari Cultural Theme Park or Na Muang Safari Park. Watch a Thai-cooking demonstration and go on an elephant trek to a scenic viewpoint. Then, head to the beautiful falls of Na Muang Falls for some tranquility.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

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$99.95

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Bon Appetit Recommended: Thai Cooking Classes

6.5 hours | Ko Samui | USM-330
  • Chaweng Beach
  • Culinary Arts at Nora Beach 5-Star Hotel

A little piece of heaven awaits on this full-day excursion to Nora Beach Resort & Spa in Koh Samui, the third largest island in Thailand. Learn how to cook traditional Thai food, enjoy your gastronomic creations, and go for a swim in the pool (no guarantee of beach chair or umbrella).

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

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$119.95

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