Up for some adventure? Koh Samui welcomes you with open arms, offering its palm-fringed beaches, scenic viewpoints, lush forests, spectacular nature parks, iconic temples, and more, for your pleasure.
The islands near this tropical paradise are no less inviting, and a must-visit for tourists who are really out to explore. Not sure which islands to visit in Koh Samui? Read on and discover; but first, a little bit about Samui, the best time to come, and what to pack.
Koh Samui & Its Surrounding Islands
Thailand’s second largest island after Phuket, Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand, in the Chumphon Archipelago. While the exact origin of the name “Samui” is unknown, the region was first inhabited about 15 centuries ago by fishermen from the Malay Peninsula.
Surrounding this destination are many wonderful islands, including those that make up the famous Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park. Exploring as much of these islands as you can during your visit to Koh Samui is a sure way to enjoy a holistic experience of what the region offers.
Preparing for Your Island Hopping Adventure
What time of the year it is will naturally influence how you prepare for your island hopping adventure. In terms of weather, the best time to visit Koh Samui for many is during the sunny dry season (December to August), rather than the wet season (September to November) characterized by high humidity and heavy rainfall.
Light, breathable clothing; water bottles for hydrating on-the-go; sunglasses and hats/caps to shield you from the sun; a sunscreen lotion; good hiking shoes; these are some of what you should pack if you’re visiting during the dry season.
Regardless of the season, items like an insect repellent, travel adapter plug, camera, and binoculars, are also worth including.
Best Islands in Koh Samui: Exploring the Top Tropical Hideaways
Several of the islands near Koh Samui stand out for their unmatched beauty and the quality of adventure they offer. The following are our top islands to visit in Koh Samui.
Koh Wua Talap
A natural epitome of beauty, this well-kept island boasts a lovely garden and beach area, tropical forests, limestone cliffs, an interesting cave at the end of the beach, and a fantastic viewpoint. The scenery from this viewpoint is absolutely magical, and along its trail you’ll encounter wildlife like monkeys. The island’s bungalows are worth lodging in as well.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
The collection of islands at the popular Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park provide all the delights you could ever ask for as a nature lover. Think lush tropical landscapes; beautiful beaches with sparkling waters; vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life; etc. Snorkeling, kayaking and hiking are among the top adventurous activities here.
Koh Phangan is closest to Samui, and one of the most popular islands to visit in Koh Samui region. If you love beach parties, festivals, and a bustling nightlife, Phangan is the island for you. The Full Moon Party is just one, out of several, vibrant events we’re sure you would love to attend at this laid-back destination.
Koh Tao (meaning “Turtle Island”) is Thailand’s top scuba diving spot. This island features tropical forests, and is ringed by perfect white-sand beaches, which in turn boast crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful and exciting sea creatures, including turtles, of course.
Koh Mae Koh
This is a unique island known for its rough and rocky beaches, awesome viewpoint, spectacular Emerald Lake, plus kayaking and other beach activities. A climb up steep stairs will take you to the top where you can enjoy stunning views of the island and its natural attractions. Don’t forget to capture the scenes here!
A small island on Koh Samui’s southern tip, Taen offers peaceful white-sand beaches perfect for tourists who desire a quiet time. This lovely destination also offers traditional lifestyle experiences with an abundance of nature, including a mangrove forest, coral reefs with different marine species, various types of birds, etc.
Though it’s smaller and more remote than most of our top islands to visit in Koh Samui, Koh Matsum (or “Pig Island”) has a lovely beach, and is a great place for snorkeling, kayaking, picnicking, or just relaxing in the sunshine. True to its name, it is also home to a drove of friendly pigs which swam across the sea from the neighboring Koh Taen.
Koh Nang Yuan
This destination with lush jungles and granite boulders consists of two small islands connected in the middle by a thin strip of white sand. If diving is your thing, you’ll love it here as the water is clear and shallow, perfect for coral reefs viewing. Great sunrise or sunset views can be enjoyed from the island’s viewpoint as well.
Koh Sam Sao
Koh Sam Sao (or “Tripod Island”) boasts an extensive range of coral reefs that stretch for approximately 1 Km, some great hiking grounds, plus a large and dramatic rock arch. The stone bridge with its unique shape stretches into the sea from the island’s white sand beach, and fun watersports like snorkeling and kayaking are popular here.
Adventure Activities Across the Islands
As expected, there is no shortage of fun and adventurous activities at any of the top islands to visit in Koh Samui.
There is an abundance of lush tropical jungles you can hike through and admire wildlife, trees, waterfalls, and more; there are watersports, including kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, kiteboarding, and kitesurfing to enjoy; you can try extreme sports such as bungee jumping and zip-lining to boost your confidence; you can go on exciting tours, like the Safari Tour by 4WD; fishing trips can be fun; and attractions like temples and animal sanctuaries are worth visiting.
Try a Tropical Adventure
Words are simply not adequate to describe the unique and pleasant experiences which Koh Samui islands offer. One must live these experiences to truly understand how positively life-changing they can be.
By embarking on a journey of exploration and discovery to the tropical hideaways which have made Koh Samui so famous, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
If you’ve already explored any of the popular islands to visit in Koh Samui, please share your stories! And while you do so, remember there are other exciting destinations to explore in Thailand, such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Ayutthaya, the Phi Phi Islands, and more.