One of the reasons that Koh Samui is such a popular destination for so many different people is that there are plenty of things for visitors of all ages to see and do during their stay on the island.
Amongst some of the best ways to keep yourself or the family entertained during your holiday is to book one of the islands famous tours or safari’s, which can be a great way of broadening your perspective of the island and exploring areas of Samui that you might otherwise miss out on.
Upon visiting Koh Samui, probably one of the first things that you will notice about the island is its geography and natural landscape. A vast majority of the island is actually quite hilly and mountainous. Whilst this means that parts of the island might not have some of the amenities that tourists would come to expect at a holiday destination and that some of the roads might be nothing more than dirt tracks; it also means that due to Samui’s terrain that large parts of it are actually completely unspoilt and by going off the beaten track you will present yourself with the very best opportunity to discover many of Koh Samui’s natural wonders.
Some of the tour packages that are available on the island offer everything from adventure 4×4 driving to a cable sky ride, to tours of the islands religious sites to elephant trekking and much more.
You can also take in many of the islands incredible mountain viewpoints, as well as exploring Samui’s tropical forest and jungle.
Many of Koh Samui’s tour companies operate from the tourist hotspots Chaweng and Lamai and you can easily find them by visiting either of these destinations and walking around the main high streets for just a couple of minutes.
Nearly all of these tour companies will be able to provide transfers, in the form of a minibus, which will pick you up from your hotel on the morning of the tour and drop you off again in the afternoon or early evening, once the tour has finished.
You can always ask at your hotel reception desk or concierge service for their recommendations of local tour operators. Once you find a tour operator you will be to choose the specific day trips or outings that most appeal to you.
Each tour company will more than likely have their own combinations of full day or half day tours that take in different attractions that can be found on the island. Obviously the prices of tours will vary depending on the tour and duration. However, you can normally expect to pay somewhere in the region of 900 to 1600 Baht, which will include transfer from you hotel.
Here is a taste of some of the things that you can expect to see and do on one of the many Koh Samui tours:
Elephant Trekking – Take a journey on an elephant through the islands jungle, visiting waterfalls, plants and exotic wildlife along the way.
Phang ka Snake Farm – Watch incredible snake shows and find out about the different types of snakes that are native to Koh Samui.
Samui Aquarium and Tiger Zoo – Visit the tigers and leopards at the zoo, as well as witnessing some amazing underwater sights at the islands aquarium.
Butterfly Garden – Here you can visit the island’s Butterfly Garden and see some truly magnificent species of butterfly.
Canopy Adventures Sky Ride – Experience the natural beauty of Samui’s jungle with the help of experienced experts who give you through the tree tops of the jungle, as it you were floating through the air.
Quad Bike Tours – Off road trips and tours, all over the island for people of all ages. Great stuff!
Hin Ta & Hin Yai (Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks) – Take a look at these incredible shaped rocks that have formed over thousands of years, which today resemble male and female genitalia.
Kunaram Temple – Visit the temple to take a look at the island’s 20 year old mummified monk, who is on display exactly the same position as he died.
Na Muang Waterfalls – Two of the islands famous waterfalls measuring 18 and 80 metres in height respectively and can be reached by a short walk through the jungle.
Crocodile Farm – Take a crocodile show and witness a fearless crocodile handler getting very up close and personal with these impressive creatures.
Mountain Viewpoints – One of the best ways to take in the islands impressive viewpoints is to have the professionals take you up secluded mountain roads, well off the beaten track, before you finally reach the outstanding views of the surrounding area.
Big Buddha Temple – Visit the most popular and renowned tourist attraction on the island a 15 metre high gold statue of Buddha, which is visible from the airplanes flying overhead.
*For more information on the full range of tours for sporting activities including golf, scuba diving, kayaking and much more visit our Sport page*
Popular Koh Samui Tours
The elephant trekking tour on Koh Samui is one of the most popular of all the tours on the island. Suitable for families with young children, it offers great value for money, as well as providing you with the opportunity to witness some truly amazing landscapes.
The elephant is Thailand’s national animal and many Thais consider it to be a symbol of strength and royalty. It is upon this national symbol that you will travel through exotic flora and fauna and stop at some of the islands most splendid waterfalls, whilst travelling in one of the most regal ways possible.
The elephant trekking tour takes you through the islands tropical jungle, through rivers, up streams and past many cultural and interesting sights. Once you are on top of the elephant you will soon realise that as if strides off through the jungle there is not too much that will stand in its way!
The elephant trekking tour also takes you to Koh Samui’s most popular waterfall, Na Muang 1, where you can take a break from riding your elephant and go for a refreshing dip in the crystal clear pools of this magical waterfall.
The tour itself is priced around 700 and 1200 Baht for adult and 500 to 700 Baht for children and includes transfer to and from your hotel, English speaking tour guides and full insurance cover.
Morning pick up times:
Nathon 09:00am/11:10am, Chaweng 09:00-09:15am/10:50-11:15am, Bophut 08:45am/10:40am Lamai 09:30am/11:30am, Choengmon 08:50am/10:40am, Maenam 08:30am/10:20am Taling Ngam 09:15am/11:25am
Afternoon pick up times:
Nathon 13:00pm, Chaweng 13:45-14:00pm, Bophut 13:30pm, Maenam 13:25pm, Choengmon 13:35pm, Lamai 14:15pm, Taling Ngam 13:15pm
Koh Samui Jungle and Safari Tour
A great way of exploring the natural beauty of the islands jungle is to go on a full day jungle and safari tour which takes in a baby elephant show, elephant trekking, incredible island waterfalls and the unique mummified monk of the Kunaram Temple. You then get the chance to travel by a 4 wheel drive jeep over the islands spectacular mountains that give you amazing views of the island and its surrounds, before finishing the morning off visiting the islands beautiful Secret Garden.
The afternoon kicks off with a spot of traditional Thai lunch before you head off to learn about how the locals of years gone by used the islands natural resources to make rubber. Finally the tour finishes with a trip to the islands golden big Buddha statue, which stands at an impressive 15 metres tall.
Transfer to and from you hotel is included and pick up times are as follows:
Nathon 08:00-08:20am, Chaweng 09:00-09:20am, Bophut 08:30-08:50am, Lamai 09:30-09:50am, Choengmon 08:30-08:50am, Maenam 08:30-08:50am, Taling Ngam 09:00-09:20am
Ang Thong Marine Park Sea Safari
Take a speedboat safari tour of the nearby Ang Thong National Marine Park and visit some of the parks most beautiful and spectacular islands including Mae Kho, Wai Island and Tai Phow Island.
The tour begins with a light breakfast aboad the speedboat before setting off to Wao Island to snorkel in its beautiful and pristine waters. The second part of the morning can be spent exploring the nearby island Tai Phow, by Kayak with an experienced English speaking tour guide. Next is lunch time, where you can enjoy a great buffet lunch aboard a fabulous speedboat.
The afternoon starts with a visit to Mae Koh Island and a trek up to the islands incredible emerald lagoon, which is said to be Alex Garland’s inspiration for writing The Beach. You are then taken back by speedboat to Koh Samui where you get the choice of elephant trekking or quad biking before being returned back to your hotel around 5pm.
Tours of this kind will usually cost somewhere in the region of 1400 to 1800 baht, with transfers, breakfast and lunch, snorkelling, kayaking, life jacket hire and entry to the Ang Thong National Marine Park all included.
Koh Samui Eco Adventure
This full day eco-friendly adventure around the island of Samui offers fun for all the family and is great value for money. The tour itself includes elephant trekking, a jeep safari, a trip to the islands secret Buddha garden, as well as a delicious Thai style lunch.
The tour starts around 9am and after you have been picked up from your hotel, you begin the tour with a trek on one of the world’s largest land mammals where you will be able to take in some spectacular views of the island of Samui, which includes its incredible natural jungle and impressive coconut plantations. The trek ends with and entertaining elephant show where you can feed the elephants and take some great photographs.
After the elephant trek it’s on to a 4×4 safari where you explore further into the islands jungle and rugged mountainous terrain with the help of an experienced off road driver. During the 4×4 journey you will stop at a number of the islands viewpoints where you are able to enjoy the fabulous panoramic views of Samui and the surrounding area.
Following the tour in the jeep you will probably be just about ready for lunch. Included on this tour is a Thai traditional buffet lunch, which is served at a nearby beachside restaurant and includes local fresh produce and ingredients.
The afternoon gives you the opportunity to burn off the amazing buffet lunch with a fantastic walk that takes you through the islands dense jungle until you reach the famous and beautiful Na Muang Waterfall, where you will be able to chill out and enjoy a refreshing dip in the falls tropical freshwater pools.
The walk then finishes off with a trip to the extraordinary Buddhist secret garden where you will witness many hand carved Buddhist sculptures and statues, quite an impressive sight.
After visiting the Secret Garden you are then taken by long tail boat to the amazing island of Koh Tan where you will spend the final part of the afternoon snorkelling amongst many of the islands unspoilt and thriving coral reefs before you return to your hotel at around 5pm.
Speedboat Trip to Koh Tao and Nang Yaun
Get picked up from your hotel to board a speed boat from Samui’s Bo Phut pier and arrive in Koh Nang Yuan about an hour and a half later. Upon arrival to the Koh Nang Yuan you will be able to marvel at this tiny islands incredible natural beauty before heading over to nearby Koh Tao for where you can enjoy snorkelling in the islands crystal clear waters. Koh Tao is quickly becoming known for being one of the best dive sites in the world and it also offers excellent opportunities for snorkelling too.
After you have finished snorkelling you will probably have worked up a bit of an appetite and will be more than ready for wholesome lunch at a nearby restaurant. After you have finished your lunch the afternoon is pretty much yours to enjoy. Before returning back to Koh Samui you might want do a bit more snorkelling or you can sunbathe and relax amongst the islands beachside coconut palms, before you return back to Koh Samui at around 5pm.
Koh Samui Sky Fox Cable Ride
The Sky Fox Cable Ride is an exciting and challenging adventure tour that enables you to view Samui from the unique vantage point of being high up in the islands tropical jungle. If you are looking for an adrenaline rush or to experience a feeling of pure freedom and speed then the famous Koh Samui Sky Fox is probably for you.
With seven separate platforms suspended amongst different areas of the Samui’s tropical jungle, visitors to the ride are harnessed to a series of cable and zip wires which they can travel along and move around the islands tree tops. The views from up here are breathtaking, not to mention how much fun the cable ride can be.
This is probably the closest thing that many people will experience to flying and whilst it might be a little scary at first, visitors quickly get used to the strange sensation of floating on thin air. Very soon the thrill of the whole experience is so much that those initial fears all but disappear as you travel from one tree top station to another.
The Sky Fox Cable Ride is suitable for all ages and is a very popular way of seeing the islands natural beauty from a different viewpoint.
The ride itself was built by a team of professional engineers and designers who have created similar rides in other parts of the world including France, Indonesia, Germany and Australia. Whilst the ride might look a little dangerous or daring, it is actually very safe. All the equipment that is used has been imported from France and is regularly checked to make sure it conforms to international health and safety standards.
With a team of instructors guiding you on your way through the jungle via the suspended cables, all you have to do is sit back, relax and embrace the feeling of freedom whilst taking in the amazing views of the jungle and the surrounding area.
Once you have finished on your journey through Samui’s tree tops the team of instructors will then take you on a short trek through the jungle to one of Koh Samui’s most beautiful waterfalls where you can relax and take a nice refreshing dip in the waterfalls nearby pools.
The Sky Cable tour is available at 3 different times during the day from 10am, 1pm and 4pm, with transfer from your hotel or accommodation included.
Thai Cooking Classes
When Thailand first started to become a popular tourist destination with visitors from all over the world some of the country’s major attractions included the Royal Palaces, Thai classical dancing performances and of course, the great weather and sunshine.
Whilst, these things are still among some of the reasons why people visit the Land of Smiles today, Thailand has changed as a tourist destination so dramatically over the past twenty years or so, that the country now offers more in the way of things to see and do than it has ever done before.
In recent years, Thailand’s popularity with foreign tourists has also seen a sharp increase the popularity of Thai cuisine overseas and Thai food is now regarded by many people to amongst some of the finest in the world. Not only does it taste great, it can also be fairly easy to make providing you know a few of the basics.
As people from around the world look to explore Thai cuisine a little further, the opportunities to learn about this great tasting, healthy food have never been greater.
As with the other popular tourist destinations of Thailand, Koh Samui also has its fair share of cookery schools and enrolling in a cooking class during your stay on the island can be a great way to sample a bit of Thai culture whilst learning to cook your favourite Thai dishes.
The type of classes or courses that are offered by cookery schools can vary quite considerably. Some have basic classes that will usually last no more than one day and act as a good starting point for people who enjoy Thai food and want to learn the basics to creating some authentic Thai dishes. The course may also involve a trip to the local market in order to purchase some key ingredients that you will use in your dish. By the end of the class you will have cooked several different dishes and your understanding of Thai cuisine will have improved greatly.
Some of the other Thai cooking courses that are available on Koh Samui are more suitable for people who want to take their knowledge and culinary skills of Thai cuisine to the next level, with some schools even catering for professional chefs who travel from all over the world to learn about Thai cooking and dishes.
One of the most popular cooking schools on the island is the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts. Their day classes, which last approximately 4 hours, are a great way to learn about the key ingredients that go into making some of the country’s most popular dishes.
The small classes are taken by expert Thai chefs who will teach you to cook a range of dishes including spicy coconut soup, Penang curry, stir fried chicken with oyster sauce and spicy glass noodle salad with prawns.
There are two 4 hour classes held each day, one at 11am and one at 4pm so you will need to decide which class time is suitable for you to attend.
After you have finished cooking some truly amazing food you will be able to sample the fruits of labours as you and the other class members will get a chance to sit down and enjoy the food that you have just learnt to cook.
For this type of class you can normally expect to pay somewhere in the region of 2000 Baht for the 4 hour session.
The Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts is a popular choice amongst many people who wish to learn new skills, have some fun and improve their knowledge of Thai cuisine during their stay on Koh Samui. The Institute has even been featured on BBC television and is recommended in a number of popular travel guides to Thailand including Frommer’s, Rough Guide and the Lonely Planet.
For more information, check out our guide to Thai cooking classes on Koh Samui.