There are several natural attractions located on or near the main ring road. These are included in most guided tour itineraries. You are likely to stop at most or all of them if you take one of the Island Tours offered by several companies. Or you may prefer to map out your own route, and follow it on rented motorbikes or in a jeep.
Its easy to let the sun and sea lull you into the feeling that you never want to budge from the beach. But Samui is an island of great natural beauty and variety. Even those who dont get excited about sightseeing will find that the journeys to these popular attractions will provide their own delights.
Monks are held in great reverence in Thailand, and years ago Samui chose to mummify two of them. Their bodies can be seen in their well preserved forms some 20 years after their deaths at Wat Kiri Wongkaram and Wat Khunaram.
Wat Sumret is a very old temple housing an ancient white marble Buddha believed to be hundreds of years old. Also inside is a valuable collection of Buddha images. A monk will unlock the door for you on request.
If you visit a temple, please dress appropriately and be sure and remove your shoes before entering. When sitting or kneeling, be careful not to point your foot directly at the Buddha or worshipers, and always take care to keep your feet tucked away when in the presence of monks. Also keep your head at a level below theirs
As there is no sign posted, finding this attraction will be part of the adventure. Take Rt. 4170 and 2 km west of the turnoff for the Butterfly Garden, go up the concrete slope on the left. Housed in a hilltop shrine, four footprints have been engraved one atop another. There are 163 steps to climb in all, but the view up there of the surrounding treetops and valleys will be worth it.
The vast majority of the population consider themselves Buddhists. While the devoutness of their practice varies just as it does with religious peoples throughout the world, the temple remains a cultural focal point for every village. Many of the more high profile Wats in the country have become tourist attractions, but remarkably, the presence of foreign visitors does not seem to distract or disturb those residents who come to pray. The most popular temple attraction is the gold covered Big Buddha statue located on the tiny island of Koh Faan, the island is connected by a short causeway from Big Buddha beach.
High in the hills that rise from the forested interior of the island, lies an art gallery extraordinary in many ways. The inspiration and creation of Nim Thongsuk, this son of 4 generations of Samuians decided at the age of 77, to create a little piece of heaven on earth in the hope that many of the increasing number of tourists would appreciate not only his vision, but the extraordinary beauty of the islands hilltop forests. Some of the creations are immediately apparent, others are either so small or so immense, you might miss them as you concentrate on keeping your footing. So be prepared to take your time. Wear a sturdy old pair of shoes.
Delightfully refreshing forest forays, if you plan to do more than admire the view - that is plunge into one of the islands natural waterfalls, then take along a sturdy and non-slip pair of old shoes and tread carefully. Those who have difficulty walking mountain paths are advised to visit Na Muang 1, and content themselves with enjoying the view.
The volume of water at the falls will vary, depending on the time of year and recent rainfall. The last few months of the year are the wettest, while the months of March through September are fairly dry.
Viewing these astonishing creations, even scientific purists would be tempted to believe that nature too, can be as whimsical as the most eccentric artist. Also known as "Grandfather and Grandmother rocks"; entirely formed by the elements, two extraordinarily accurate male and female genitalia-shaped rock formations share a perch overlooking the sea.
Is a small yet relatively interesting look at how rice is made, from the Buffalo ploughing the fields, to separating the rice etc. It has to be said that it is a basic set up and could be improved but if you are in the area may be worth spending a few minutes learning more about how our rice bowl is actually made.
Located close to Bophut Beach, this can be seen from the airport, and from roads around Bophut as you drive around the Island, however it is worth a quick visit, as there are stunning views available from the upper level around the base of the large Buddha. You can also make donations and sign your own private message on bricks which will possibly be used to renovate areas of the Wat.
There are a few coconut plantations around the islands that you can visit and they will show you how monkeys cleverly and bravely collect coconuts. Again only really worth a visit if you are in the area or have time to spare.
Diving is a main attraction to Samui with many of the best dive spots in Thailand just a boat ride away. Please see our Diving in Koh Samui section.
A whole range of day trips are available from Samui to outlying island such as Koh Tao, Koh Wua Talap, Koh Mae Koh, Koh Prayat, Kohh Sam Sao, Koh Nai Put and Koh Wua Te, the National Marine Park and other areas where snorkelling and diving is available.