3 Day Itinerary & Travel plans for what to do in Koh Samui

by | Apr 1, 2017 | Travel

Koh Samui Thailand is one of those places that you need to add to your bucket list. Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest Islands and known for its luxury resorts, beach parties, expat haven, backpacker districts, and a slice of paradise. We were fortunate enough to call this beautiful Island our home for 6 months. After having a lot of friends visit and finding ourselves be tour guides we decided create our 3 travel plan. We included as much information as we can about the hidden gems or secret tips to help make the most of your vacation.

Before we delve right into our 3 Day Koh Samui Itinerary, here’s the basic logistics of Koh Samui you need to know:

How to Get to Koh Samui

Read our Koh Samui Transportation guide on how to arrive to get to the Island and how to get around the Island once you are here. Koh Samui is Thailand’s 2nd largest Island and is quite large so you will want to know how to get around.  There are no tuk-tuk’s or public bus transportation on this Island, so find out how to catch the most affordable taxi or Songthaew. The airport is Thailand’s only privately owned airport, so it some people prefer to skip the expensive flights and take a ferry.

Koh Samui Beach Maps

Choose your Accommodation close to your favorite Beach

Before booking your hotel, it is important that you should be booking it close to your favourite beach. In order to help you with this we created a video of the most popular 8 beaches on Koh Samui by Drone to decide for yourself.  These beaches include Chaweng Beach, Choeng Mon, Lamai, Lipa Noi, Maenam, Silver Beach, Boput and Bang Po.

Best Time to Visit Koh Samui

What time of year should you visit Koh Samui?  The high season for Koh Samui is December to March, the rainy season is from September to January. During this time you will notice a fluctuation in the prices of hotels.  If you want to know what monsoon season is like, find our article here to help you make the decision.

Best Time to Visit Koh Samui Thailand

Highlights of Koh Samui Thailand
  • Scooter Adventures. What used to be boring transportation of getting from point A to point B now becomes an exciting new adventure. The traffic rules in Thailand can be a little free for all and seem crazy, but Samui was not bad compared to other cities.  Koh Samui has one central “ring road” that is a circle around the Island to easily navigate.  So rent yourself a scooter for the day of adventure ahead.  For some if may seem like a real life game of Nintendo, but watch out you don’t get 3 lives.
  • Beach Days. The entire island is surrounded by amazing beaches. Your hardest decision will be choosing which one to go too. The top 8 beaches are Chaweng Beach, Choeng Mon, Lamai, Lipa Noi, Maenam, Silver Beach, Boput, Bang Por.
  • Partying in Chewang. Beach parties with fire shows, dancers and buckets.
  • Night Markets. Night markets are unique to Thailand, Koh Samui hosts a night market from Wednesday to Sunday in a various locations across Koh Samui.
  • Snorkeling & Island Tours. Choose from snorkelling tour in Koh Tao at the famous Nang Yuan, tour the Angthong National Park or go diving at the famous Sail Rock.

3 Day Koh Samui Itinerary:

Day 1: DIY Tour the Island, Visiting Temples, Waterfalls, Attractions & Famous Monuments

Day 2: Relaxing Beach Day, Thai Massage & Night Market

Day 3: Exploring The Islands, Cabaret Lady Boy Show & Chewang Party Night

Wat Plai Laem on Koh Samui Island

Day 1: DIY Koh Samui City Tour

We were always exploring new places and even acted as guides touring several of our friend around this island. While doing so, we realized that many of the places we went were the same route that the tour companies were also on. That’s why we call this day the DIY (Do it Yourself) tour.

If you have your own transportation it is much more enjoyable doing this on your own time schedule. The best way to do this is with a scooter or rent a car for a group of people. If you are comfortable driving, for some fun, rent a scooter. A tour is about $40 usd for the day and takes you to many of the items we listed below. If you are renting a scooter, rent the scooter the night before. It is approx 200 Baht for 24 hours with a discount for longer rentals of 3, 7 or 30 days. We highly suggest downloading Maps.me to search for attractions and directions offline. Similar to Google maps, but works offline.  We have had some of our best adventures by Scooter and it can be quite fun.  Here’s a video of what it is like motorcycling in Koh Samui.

We have packed this day full of lots of activities and if you are ambitious we have started the day off at Sunrise.   Let’s begin your Koh Samui City Tour! We have put together a map to pre-load in your phone. You can click on the numbers to see information on the attraction.

 

 

Koh Samui Island in Thailand

Day 1 DIY Tour: Sunrise at LaD KoH Viewpoint

Koh Samui has spectacular sunrise and sunsets.  Get an early start to your day at Lad Koh viewpoint. This enchanting view is located between Chewang and Lamai on the main Ring Road (Route 4169). You can walk along the rugged coastline down the stairs and stare off into the glowing blue water and clear skies along the Chewang coastline.  The beautiful view is no wonder that everyone that drives by stops to take in the scenery.  It has lots of parking and is easily accessible right off Ring Road especially if you are in a hurry. Regardless of what time of day it is absolutely stunning and definitely worth a stop on your Island tour.

Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks in Lamai, Koh Samui

Day 1 DIY Tour: Hin Ta & Hin Yai Rock Formations

AKA Samui Rude Rocks

Believe it or not, this is Trip Advisor’s number one attraction to do on Koh Samui.  Yes, number one is a penis rock. There is an interesting long folk story about the legend of the Grandfather & Grandmother rocks. But if you are like us will find it much more entertaining all the people taking selfies by this and the enjoying the breathtaking views.  We do however think Fraser stole the show with this one.

While you are at Hin Ta and Hin Yai, while you are walking back to your Scooter, look for the Lamai viewpoint sign.  The viewpoint costs 10 baht and is a very short staircase to the top, but absolutely worth an amazing viewpoint.  It’s also worth it to be at a viewpoint away from the crowds. Because this viewpoint access is slightly off the main shopping and it costs 10 baht, hardly anyone goes up here.  Back in the mini shopping village at the Hin Ta and Hin Yai there are lots of confectioneries and coconut icecream to enjoy.

Guan Yu Chinese Shrine in Lamai Koh Samui

Day 1 DIY Tour: Guan Yu – Koh Samui Chinese Shrine

This fun attraction is free and is a quick stop on the main Ring Road where you can take some fun pictures. This is a very meaningful in the Chinese culture and as it symbolizes honesty and loyalty. It is a meeting and focal point for many of the Chinese community and is used for many ceremonies.  The Shrine is located up the stairs and behind the statue. Believe it or not, we drove by this many times without noticing Guan Yu. It is just on the main Lamai road, make sure to put it in your Google maps so you don’t drive by too.
Mummy Monk in Koh Samui at Wat Khunaram

day 1 DIY Tour: Wat Khunaram, Mommy Monk

The next stop on your tour is Wat Khunaram, a famous buddhist temple. This spot is most known for the “Mummy Monk” and is quite the tourist attraction.  The Thai Buddhist monk (Luang Pho Daeng) died while meditating in 1973. His body be put on display as a reminder of the transience of human existence.  It is the oldest mummy in Thailand and a landmark that is visited by many Thai.  It’s also the first mummy that I have ever seen.  A little entertaining that they have the monk wearing knock-off Ray Ban sunglasses.
Nu Muang Waterfall 2 in Koh Samui

Day 1 DIY TOUr: Nu Muang Waterfall

Thailand makes a big deal out of waterfalls.  You will see signage throughout the Island for numerous waterfalls.  A lot of waterfalls have been turned into tourist attractions.  Nu Muang waterfall is the largest waterfall on the Island and is worth visiting.  If you are visiting after rainy season, the waterfall can be spectacular but during dry season it can be quite small. You can access the waterfall by parking in the parking lot at the Jungle Safari Park and walking through to the waterfall.  Regrettably this is a popular spot for elephant riding and we urge you to please not support it.  We have learned and written about why you should not ride elephants  and why we recommend elephant sanctuaries.
Secret Buddha Garden on the Mountain in Koh Samui

Day 1 DIY Tour: Secret Buddha Garden

The Secret Buddha Garden, also known as the Magic Garden is a private sculpture park at one of the highest peaks of the Island. It has a small entrance fee of 80 baht. Located almost at the top of one of Koh Samui’s highest peak, this is a lot of fun to ride up the mountain.  The tour companies advertise this as 4x4 but don’t worry you will have no problem getting up the fully paved roads. We think that this temple is one of the best things to see on your Koh Samui Island Tour.

Shopping and lunch in Nathon.

Nathon is a quieter area of Koh Samui where a lot of locals live.  It is also known as the best affordable shopping available on the Island. At the ferry pier along the waterfront, every night from 4-9 pm there is a local market where you can discover some local authentic Thai Food.  Or choose to enjoy a lunch at a one of the many waterfront restaurants. Our favourite restaurant was called Luckys right on the water.  If you have extra time on Koh Samui, revisit here to enjoy a stunning sunset along this same pier.
Big Buddha in Koh Samui Thailand

Day 1 DIY Tour: Big Buddha

Big Buddha is also rated in the top 10 things to do on Koh Samui. You probably saw this great statue from above if you flew into Koh Samui.  The name says it all, it really is a Big Buddha.  There is a quaint number of shops, ice cream parlours, coffee and restaurants at the bottom of this temple.  Ladies, make sure to dress reasonably with your upper legs and shoulders covered. While you are visiting the Big Buddha you can also be blessed by a monk.
Wat Plai Laem on Koh Samui Island

Day 1 DIY Tour: Wat Plai Laem

Just a 3-minute drive down the road from Big Budha you will find Wat Plai Laem, our personal favourite temple of Samui.  It is an active temple and monastery. Ride down the long driveway and park at the parking lot in front of a magnificent temple.  Behind you find 2 large statues of Laughing Buddha and 18 arm image of Guayin with a ceremonial temple in between.  Each of the 3 large platforms are floating on a lake, which is full of fish.  At the vending machine, grab a yellow basket and fill up with some fish food to feeding them.  There are hundreds of fish and quite a bit of fun to feed them.  Here, make sure to follow standard temple practice and wear clothing to cover your shoulders and wear knee length shorts.
Go for an adventure down Middle Road of Koh Samui

Day 1 DIY Tour – Scooter Ride through Middle Road

If you aren’t too tired by now, the last activity of the day can be a lot of fun.  If you are feeling adventurous then you need to motorbike through the island. After you checked Wat Plai Laem you will need to backtrack about 10 minutes near Maenam. There are a few good hills and winding roads and you do have a good viewpoint at the top of the mountain. Your end destination will be near Lamai. The road really makes you feel like something out of Jurassic Park and definitely not on the Island of Koh Samui.

On one of our adventures through middle road we even stumbled upon an illegal Buffalo fight which was quite exciting. Yes you heard right an organized underground water buffalo fight. As brutal as it is, it was packed with hundreds of locals and is a big deal. In fact, when we stopped to see what was all the commotion we literally jumped off our bikes to hide behind a van. Within seconds the water buffalo were running across the road and knocked over 5 bikes directly beside ours.  Another chapter of our Thailand story!

As fair warning this is not an easy afternoon ride so if you are not confident on a bike do not do this.  We also highly suggest only doing this route with a minimum 125cc bike. To get here, the roads starts on the same road in Maenam as the Thai Consulate.  We have marked this on the Google maps above.

Or Skip to each section:

Day 3 – More Activities – Accommodations in Koh Samui

Koh Samui Beaches | Get information on the 8 best Beaches by Drone Photography

Day 2 –  relaxing beach day

After an adventurous day yesterday, it’s time today to unwind at a beach.  You are on a tropical Island of Thailand after all.  To choose your beach, first ask what kind of mood are you in? We suggest choosing from the most popular beaches are Choeng Mon, Chewang, and Lamai.  Silver Beach is also rated as the Top 7 Trip Advisor thing to do on the Koh Samui Island. The quieter beaches we preferred were Maenam, Bang Por, and Lipa Noi and are wonderful to explore if you have more than 3 days on the Island.  Discover most popular beaches on Koh Samui that we made while we were living on this beautiful Island with our drone.

At many of the beaches, you can choose a Restaurant with sun chairs and umbrella’s and make this your hangout for the day, as long as you buy lunch or drinks.  We enjoyed Bamboo Restaurant on Lamai Beach.  You can take a break from the beach and walk along the main road to see some stores or get a massage.

Here’s a map of where each of the beaches are located on Koh Samui:

Day 2 – Enjoy a Thai Massage

While in Thailand, you can’t miss getting a Thai massage or a relaxing oil massage!  You will find great Thai spas in most of the popular areas. Don’t worry they are always close by. Grab a massage at the beach of go to an air conditioned professional massage parlor close by on the main street just up from the beach.  For your expectations, the Thai massage is more of an “active” massage where you might find yourself getting stretched in this or that direction.  It’s definitely worth having if you like a deep tissue massage.  One of our favorite things to do is to grab a nice cold beverage and enjoy a nice foot massage together. You can get a great message for as little as 200 baht for a 1 hour message, or 300 baht if you want coconut or tiger balm.

Koh Samui Map | Beach locations on Koh Samui Thailand
Night Markets in Koh Samui

Day 2: Koh Samui Walking Sreets Night Markets

Thailand is famously known for having huge markets.  Koh Samui doesn’t offer the biggest markets of Thailand but it does offer some wonderful walking street night markets.  Each night from Wednesday to Sunday, a different street in a popular area of Koh Samui is transformed into a large and bustling night market.  One of our favourite things to do was attending some of the popular Koh Samui Night Markets. Usually they start at around 6pm normally staying open till around midnight. At the night markets you will find lots of shopping including clothing, artwork, souvenirs and much more.  Make sure to negotiate with the vendors and remember to have fun in the process.

On Wednesday it was at the Central Festival Mall where the parking lot was transformed into a large night market.  On Thursday, this is the smallest walking street wandering the U shape walking street in Maenam by the Maenam Pier.  Friday night is one of the busiest with bands and lots of restaurants happening at the already busy Fisherman’s Village.  On Saturday Chaweng offers another popular Walking Street down the main Road.  Sunday night it is hosted on Lamai and and besides Friday night is the second busiest. It is our personal favourite.

Raid Certification on Nang Yuan in Koh Tao Thailand

Day 3  – Island Tour and Nightlife

Koh Samui offers a central location among the Islands. If you do not have time to spend on Koh Tao you can take a snorkeling tour direct from Koh Samui.   The 2 most popular tours are the Koh Tao Snorkling or visit AngThong National Park. All tours offer pick up and drop off from your hotel and will include lunch during your tour.  The snorkeling tour of Koh Toa is amazing, you get lunch and snorkeling at the famous Nang Yuan and a couple other snorkeling spots.  I’m sure you have seen Nang Yuan in a Thailand postcard or two.  We took our full Scuba Diving Course on Koh Toa and found the snorkeling and diving to be unbelievable.

Lady Boy Cabarat at Paris Follies Cabaret in Chaweng, Koh Samui

Day 2: Experience the Koh Samui nightlife.

After you return from your tour for the day, start your night off with dinner.  Koh Samui offers too many great places to list. There are options for everyone from elite clubs on the hills to local pubs.  If you are out on a Saturday night, consider Lamai and the Muay Thai fights that start at about 10:30 pm. Chaweng is the popular area for a night out on the town. Our friends called this area the “Vegas” of Thailand.  You will find many bars and restaurants on the main road of Chaweng or you will also find a bunch of hoping beach bars.  Ark Bar and Cha Cha Moon are two of the largest parties directly on the beach.  As the clubs do not really start getting going until 10 you may want to check out one of the Lady Boy Cabaret.  There are two main spots in Chewang and both put on a great show, Starz Cabaret and Paris Follies Cabaret. They are both free to enter but it is required you purchase a drink and the prices are inflated.  At Paris Follies Cabaret all drinks, even a soda, is 390 baht.  At Starz Cabaret the price starts at 250 bath.

Other attractions and some family friendly events.

Muay Thai Fights.  Your Thailand experience is not complete without a classic Muay Thai fight. These fights are not a local fight and are put on for entertainment, but are very much real fights. Every Saturday Night in Lamai, the Muay Thai fights are held at 10 p.m. right on the main road surrounded by a ton of mini bars.  To watch is Free but you must buy a drink. A beer will cost 100 baht change.

Go Karts. Who does not love a good Go Kart! It is hilariously located right after a red light district. But hey, no one goes to play Go Karts at night.

Shooting Range.  Want to shoot a M16 or other cool guns?  There were quite a few shooting ranges around on Koh Samui.

Frisbee Golf.  Get out in a tropical park setting in the middle of Maenam and enjoy a game of Frisbee Golf with friend.  This is an extremely fun way to spend an afternoon.

Sunday morning rum breakfast at Magic Alambic Rum Distillery. Pretty good Sunday morning brunch for 250 baht and rum shooters for 60 baht.  Fun little drive out to it at the tip of the Island by Taling Ngam.  Drinking rum before 12pm does not make you a pirate.

Yoga Retreat.  Koh Samui offers a fair amount of options for Yoga and Health Detox retreats.  This taps into the luxury side of Koh Samui and we found these retreats to start around $80usd a night.  You can find retreats at BookYogaRetreats.com

Where to stay On Koh Samui

Koh Samui is a surprisingly large for an island and very spread out.  This is important when choosing the best hotel as you do not want to have to worry about travelling too far. If you are able to rent a scooter this opens up a world of opportunities and will also find cheaper rates.  If you choose to stay off the tourist areas you will probably find yourself driving their each day. Taxi Cabs are very expensive and there are no tuk tuk so be careful where you choose.

Odds are when you travel that you are not spending too much time at your hotel. You are looking for a nice place at a moderately low budget.  We are not talking about dorms or shared accommodations but something quiet, with a pool, and of course at a bargain.  The spot we recommend for most visitors is Lamai Beach Area.

More Popular Hotels to Book

  1.  Ark Bar Beach Resort– If you are looking to party then this is place for you. This is located on the busiest beach and normally goes until 4 in the morning. There is a night club, swim up bar, and several restaurants.

  2. Lamai Hotels-  We personally recommend Lamai for most short term visitors to Koh Samui.  It is much cheaper then Chewang and less crowded.

  3. Chewang  Hostels – Our friends stayed at the My Samui Hostel and enjoyed it,  Click Here to check out a few other hostels in the same area.
  4. Fishermen’s Village is located in the quieter area  that has a lot of shopping, and is located on the beautiful (but slightly busy) Bophut beach. They have a bunch of restaurants and shops that you can walk through with a really fun night market every Friday Night. This is more expensive area.



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If you have any more questions, please comment below and we will get back to you! From everything about finding a place, best area to live in, or just where to get some good cheap pad thai.    

P.S. We have some accommodation goodies for you! If you are new to AirBNB get $25 Sign up bonus here or new users of booking.com get $20 here.

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