Food from Isaan (northeast Thailand) is my favorite food in Thailand. I wish I could say that southern Thailand has the best food since my wife is from the south, but I just can’t. BBQ pork neck with tamarind sauce (kor moo yang nahm jim jaew) and larb moo are two dishes I order whenever I get the chance. Other famous dishes from Isaan is papaya salad (som tum) and Isaan fermented sausage (sai grok Isaan).
When we were in Koh Samui a couple of days earlier this year, we were driving around hungry looking for a place to eat. Eventually, we stopped at a place called Tumlai By Copacabana. Boy, are we happy we ended up here! We loved the food so much we decided to come back the next day. I also brought my camera.
The Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park is a popular day tour 90 minutes offshore Koh Samui. Known as the Golden Basin, this archipelago of 42 islands covers 250 square kilometers featuring limestone cliffs, caves and hidden lagoons. While the movie The Beach was filmed on Phi Phi islands, the original novel by Alex Garland was inspired by the islands of this park.
Most day tours include lunch, sea kayaking and snorkeling. We booked Samui Island Tour via our hotel, and I can highly recommend them. It was a long day; picked up at hotel 7:30 in the morning, and dropped off 5 p.m. Tired but very happy with the trip.
I have spent to little time on Koh Samui to give you a deeper presentation – but enough time to see some of the most famous and popular attractions, which I will list in this post. Koh Samui, located in the Gulf of Thailand, is the second largest island in Thailand after Phuket. Samui has its own airport which handles international as well as national flights. But if you’re already in southern Thailand you should take the ferry from Surat Thani (Donsak Pier), which takes about 1 hour and a half.
Na Muang Waterfalls are two different waterfalls located in the mountains of Koh Samui’s southern part. The two waterfalls are simply called Waterfall 1 and 2. The pictures in this post are from the hike to Waterfall 2 which is more impressive than Waterfall 1 with its 80 meters high; however, Waterfall 2 is not exactly a wow experience either. But the hike through jungle mountains and across rope bridges was fun – and it’s quite a sight up here. Make sure to bring a swimming suit and take a dip in the natural pools; just watch out for hidden rocks while swimming. Also, make sure you have shoes you can climb in as it can be slippery in some places. (I had flip-flops and almost got me killed a couple of times.)
Koh Samui’s most impressive landmark is the Big Buddha that was built in 1972. This golden colored Buddha statue sits at 12 meters high at the top of a staircase. The Buddha statue is located inside the Wat Phra Yai, meaning Big Buddha temple. The temple is built on a small island, connected to Koh Samui with a causeway, located in the Northeast of Samui.
Ark Bar on the beautiful Chaweng Beach is one of Koh Samui’s best known beach bar. People come here to party, but the atmosphere is pretty relaxed and suitable for families. At night the large cushions and candles come out, along with live DJs and fire shows. They have a big selection of food and drinks. My wife’s friend lives on Koh Samui and brought us here. Although I do not party so much these days, I really enjoyed this night.
Open 2pm to 2am every day, Ark Bar is at its liveliest every Wednesday night when it hosts its weekly beach party. Located on the beach, just off Chaweng Beach Road at Soi Pizza Hut.
Ferry to Koh Samui from Suratthani(Donsak Pier) takes about 1 hour and a half and costs 150 baht per person. We wanted to take my wife’s favorite thing in the world with us – her white Honda City – and for that we had to pay 450 baht which includes the driver. So, totally we had to pay 600 baht for two people and the car.
During the 1 hour and a half trip you can stand on the deck, enjoying the beautiful blue ocean. If it gets too hot you can go inside and take a seat under the fan. You’ll also find a small snack bar inside the ferry.
I have visited some superb beaches that I do not include in this list. You know the typical long sandy beach with umbrellas lined up. I think of Chaweng, Patong and Kata Beach. They are all great, but in this post, I want to show you some different kind of beaches in Thailand.
1. Sunset Beach, Koh Kradan
The Sunset Beach on Koh Kradan is a small beach surrounded by rugged forest and big boulders with incredibly clear water.
2. Koh Similan Beach
The Similan Islands is a group of 11 islands in the Andaman Sea, located 65 km off the coastline of Phang Nga province. The viewpoint over Donald Duck Bay at Koh Similan is absolutely gorgeous!
3. Phra Nang Beach, Railay
Phra Nang Beach was once voted one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s not hard to understand why!
4. Laem Singh Beach, Phuket
Laem Sing Beach is one of my favorite beaches in Phuket. The beach is just 200 meters long and hidden in a bay surrounded by palm trees and big boulders.
5. Railay Beach
Railay is a is a small peninsula just around the corner of Ao Nang. Accessible only by boat, this slice of paradise with high limestone cliffs attract rock climbers from all over the world.
6. Pelay Beach, Hong Island
Hong Island boasts a lagoon and a twin bay with incredible limestone scenery. If you come here during high season, the beach can be packed with trippers from Ao Nang. Come here early to avoid the crowds.
7. Silver Beach, Koh Samui
Ao Thong Takian, also known as “Silver Beach”, is an awesome small secluded beach on Koh Samui with very calm water and fine sand.