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Reviewed on 30 Dec 2020
Reviewed on 2 Jan 2020
Reviewed on 4 Jan 2021
Oozing with style and replete with idyllic sandy beaches, the Gulf Islands up the ante when it comes to special holidays. Arguably the most famous of Thailand’s Gulf Islands, Koh Samui is a glamorous place to visit and also a draw for backpackers. The island's popularity means it is bursting with all kinds of facilities, from high-quality restaurants to glossy bars and opulent spas. But there’s no beating its natural assets: those classic sandy beaches dotted with coconut palms and that diversely tropical inland terrain.
Koh Samui has a collection of waterfalls to discover, and two of the prettiest are at Nam Muang. Nam Tok Na Muang is one of the highest on the island and the pool at the bottom is a good spot to admire the falls. Many take a picnic and enjoy the peace and quiet for the day. For further aquatic beauty while you're visiting Koh Samui, tour the Ang Thong Marine Park. This archipelago of 40 islands is blissfully unspoiled. You'll fall in love with it instantly.
Soak up some traditional history and culture in Wat Phra Yai. Here, a majestic 15-metre-tall Buddha is set on a rocky island off the coast that visitors can reach by causeway. Thanks to its size and situations, most visitors get their first glimpse of this Big Buddha when flying into the island from the mainland.
Many visitors to Koh Samui enjoy visiting the Phetch Buncha Thai Boxing Stadium in central Chaweng to see some traditional Thai boxing on their holiday. The sport is an integral part of modern Thai culture and the stadium attracts locals and tourists looking for an evening that promises a palpable atmosphere and exciting sport.
Chaweng is also the go-to place in Koh Samui if you enjoy nightlife and dancing. Packed with bars and clubs, you can dance the night away in this spot while the DJ spins the tunes. If dancing is not your thing, this is the place that can change all that. Otherwise, just sit back with a cocktail or sharpen up your skills on the pool table.
Koh Samui is easily reached from mainland Thailand. Many visitors transfer here directly from Bangkok, just a one-hour flight away.