Koh Samui Island, off the east coast of Thailand, is home to beautiful beaches, laden with culture, a water sports haven, and chock full of restaurants, hotels and bars. But if you only have one day to spend here….how do you choose from the multitude of experiences on offer? Although it may seem an impossible decision here is our suggested itinerary for a day in Koh Samui.
Start your day with culture! Before the day gets too humid and all you want to do is find air conditioning, head on over to Wat Plai Laem. This isn’t considered the most popular temple in Koh Samui but in our mind it’s certainly the main one to see! This imposing structure was only completed in 2004 and is home to 2 huge, colourful statues. The first Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy who has 18 arms and the second the fat, laughing Chinese Buddha. Alongside these are many more elaborately decorated buildings, statues and images that are a joy to behold.
Not far from here is the Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai). Built in 1972 this has become probably the most famous attraction in Koh Samui. This golden image stands 12 metres tall and is visible from several miles away. From the top are amazing panoramic views, hence why it such an attraction for those not necessarily interested in the spiritual experience. There are also many stalls to browse in the market, selling some major tourist paraphernalia!
It should now be coming up to lunch time so while you are here why not sample one of the many restaurants situated around the foot of the Buddha or head down to Big Buddha beach and try some of the bars based there.
Closer to Nature
In the afternoon head over to Paradise Park Farm in for a half day tour. On top of Khao Pom, within a tropical rainforest, is this nature retreat. Fun for all ages, there is an abundance of animals and birds to view and pet, a swimming pool, walks, awesome views and a marvellous restaurant. Half a day can easily be filled here with over 20 acres to explore, and situated on top of Koh Samui’s highest mountain, the journey up and down from the farm is an experience in itself!
As evening begins to draw in now is the time to head over to one of 2 places (depending on your mood and the day!)
Mae Nam Walking Street is open every Thursday from 5 – 11pm. It hosts a mixture of western and local food stalls, craft items, clothes and entertainment, an eclectic mix of eating and shopping with a great atmosphere. Tourists are made very welcome here and so it is suitable for families looking for an evening of entertainment as well as single travellers and experience hunters.
The other option involves heading over to Cheweng beach. This is considered THE place to go for a party in Koh Samui but also stands host to numerous restaurants and hotels. There is an abundance of great places to eat on the beach but if you head over to the main strip in Cheweng you will find Koh Samui’s nightlife hotspot. Several times a week you will find beach party’s being held at several bars, including the famous Ark Bar on a Wednesday evening.
So there you have it, Koh Samui in a nutshell. This is a busy day, but you will find there is so much to do that you may just end up staying a while longer in which case it may be worthwhile to check out some of the great hotel deals that are available on the island – enjoy!