The Big Buddha, known in Thai as Wat "Phra Yai", was built in 1972 to give visitors a place to pay respect to The Lord Buddha. Fifteen metres tall and awash with gold, it has become Koh Samui’s signature attraction and one of the island’s most loved landmarks.
Located on the island's north shore, Big Buddha can be easily viewed from the air and is one of the first things you see as your Bangkok Airway's flight descends to the island.
Na Muang Waterfalls are the most scenic on the island and few visitors leave without seeing. They are easy to find and well sign posted, just 10km south from Nathon, off the island’s main ring road. Na Muang One is 18 metres high and can be reached by vehicle. Na Muang Two is an impressive 80 metres high and can only be reached after a 30 minute trek. Take some swimming trunks, as there are some inviting pools that are hard to resist, especially in the hot Thai sun.
These 2 rock formations, known as the Grandfather and Grandmother rocks, were personified by a local tale describing an old couple whose ship was wrecked in the bay. They were washed ashore to create these remarkable rock formations. Whether the tale is to be believed or not, the fascinating phallic-shaped rocks are one of the most visited landmarks on Koh Samui.
Hin Lad Waterfall is located just 2 km south of Nathon Town, but can only be reached by a 3-4 kilometre, marked jungle trek. Tough shoes and leg protection for the walk are recommended, as is a steady supply of mosquito repellent. The walk is well worth the effort when you reach the falls, which are located amid lush tropical rainforest, complete with palms and creepers.
The water cascades into a small pool, which looks like heaven after a long trek.
The secret Buddha garden is hidden in the hills above Samui. There, several interesting statues, temples and waterfalls, were built by a local man over a period of 20 years.
The only access to the temple is via a military road, so getting there can be difficult. Another and perhaps less stressful way of reaching the site is to join one of the many jungle tours offered by local travel agencies.
This is the oldest house on the island, made completely of teakwood and without the use of any nails. It is located at "Ban Thale" and was built approximately 150 years ago from beautiful hardwood. The house is adorned with intricate woodcarvings.
Na Tien Butterfly Garden is located at the bottom of a hill in the south of the island. Numerous species of butterflies are on display over a 2,800 sq metre area, which also features the bee house, which allows the visitor to observe the activities of bees. There is also an insect museum displaying rare insects from Thailand and other countries.
A definite must for all those visiting the island, with shows featuring snakes indigenous to Samui, as well as Centipedes, Scorpions and traditional Cock Fighting shows. Located in "Taling Ngam", just south of Nathon, the show is informative and entertaining in a typical Thai fashion. Follow the signs seen throughout the island. Show times are 11.00 and 14.00 everyday.
Bars, cabaret shows and discos are mainly located in Chaweng and Lamai. The Green Mango, Reggae Pub, Full Circle and Bauhaus are the main discotheques playing the latest tunes while other venues such as The Cliff, Pod Bar, Guapa and Zico’s offer a different atmosphere, music style and extensive cocktail lists. All bars and clubs close at 2:00am.
Restaurants around the island offer Thai and International menus, as well as fusion cuisine and other specialties. It is now possible to find Italian, Brazilian, French, Mexican and German food on the island, as well as many other tempting international cuisines. Samui is best known for its seafood with freshly caught Snapper cooked to your taste, huge prawns served with garlic or Barracuda and Tuna steaks in Lemon and Chilli sauce. The list grows every year, and so will your appetite.
We invite you to visit these 2 restaurant directories for an extensive selection of the finest dining tables on the island:
Discover how pearls are cultured. A 30-minute boat ride from "Baan Thong Krut" will bring you to Koh Matsum and the Naga Pearl Farm. After learning about pearl farming methods, you can enjoy a sumptuous Thai lunch, and then spend the afternoon on the white sandy beach or swimming in the warm sea. Don't miss the Naga Pearl Shop, at Bann Thong Krut, where all varieties of pearl and derived products are offered.