Koh Samui is an island off of the coast of Thailand. It’s governed by that country, and is located in the Gulf of Thailand. More specifically, Koh Samui is in the Chumphon Archipelago. The island has around 40,000 year-round inhabitants, and is known for its Buddhist culture. It has sections of untouched rainforest, white sand beaches, and tropical weather, making it an ideal tourist destination. While there is no shortage of things to do on Koh Samui, there are some hidden gems that you should make time for the next time you’re there.
1) The Secret Buddha Garden
The Secret Buddha Garden was started by Nim Thongsuk, who spent years creating rock sculptures on his family’s land. The garden consists of hundreds of sculptures, some of Buddha (hence its name), others of animals, and there’s even one of Thongsuk himself.
Each one (obviously except for the one of Thongsuk) relates to a Buddhist folk story, and there are plenty of myths and legends surrounding them. These days, the garden is open to visitors, and there’s a small admissions fee, which goes to keeping the sculptures in great condition. The garden is located near the peak of the Tar Nim Waterfall, so you can see both places on the same day.
2) Wat Plai Laem
One of the main things that you’ll see in Wat Plai Laem, a gigantic Buddhist temple complex is the multiple armed Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Also known as Guanyin, she has 18 arms and stands hundreds of feet tall, casting shadows over the temple. Wat Plai Laem also has a large laughing Buddha statue, frescoes that depict stories from Buddhist folklore, and even an elaborately carved pagoda. You don’t have to be Buddhist to enter Wat Plai Laem, but you do need to respect the religion and its culture. With that said, a peaceful trip to the temple complex is something that you won’t soon forget. The vibrant colors and wondrous atmosphere will stick in your mind.
3) Lamai Beach
You can’t go to Thailand and not spend some time on the beach. Lamai is one of the more interesting beaches in Koh Samui, and it is filled with rock formations, clear water, and warm sand. Although you don’t want to go swimming here – the area is too rocky – you can spend some time dipping your feet into the water and looking around.
Two of the most famous rock outcropping, dubbed Grandma and Grandpa (or Hin Ta and Hin Yai in the local language) have some interesting stories to tell. Steps away from the beach itself are Wat Khunaram, which houses the body of Loung Pordaeng, a famous mummified monk who wanted his body displayed for the ages, and Wat Lamai Temple, which has a number of activities. You might even be lucky enough to be there during a wedding celebration.
4) Angthong National Marine Park
Angthong National Marine Park is actually a group of 42 islands located off the coast of Koh Samui. There’s plenty to see on these pristine islands, including patches of rainforest, lagoons, waterfalls, limestone rock formations, and of course, miles upon miles of clean white sand. Since this park is completely preserved, you’ll won’t find any upscale resorts to stay in, but you will find outlook points and camping spots.
As long as you’re willing to spend the night in a tent or small rustic cabin, then you can literally sleep in this tiny slice of paradise.
5) The Fisherman’s Village in Bophut
Bophut is a beach town that still has some vestiges of its old ways, even with the encroachment of modernity in the form of boutique hotels and other tourist attractions. If you really want to see the old way of life, stop at the Fisherman’s Village. It closely resembles the dwellings of the area’s original inhabitants, and has an interesting mix of Chinese and Thai culture. The village is set up right on the beach itself, and it’s filled with shops, restaurants, and other things to do. You can also head out onto the beach and relax on the clean white sand.
6) The Samui Butterfly Garden/Insect Museum
Few things are as beautiful as a butterfly garden. The one in the village of Natien, located on the southern tip of Koh Samui, doubles as an insect museum. You’ll see thousands of local specimens of insects, both alive and in the museum. Take some time to wander the butterfly garden, where you’ll see the tropical flowers that draw in the butterflies. On a good day, hundreds of these colorful flying creatures will be milling about, just waiting for you to take their picture. The Samui Butterfly Garden also has a bee house; these creatures are necessary, as they pollinate the flowers that make up the garden.
Author Bio : This guest post is written by John Smith promoting Ferry Samui specializing in providing the best value ferry tickets on the best ferries to and from Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.