Picture this: a place where stunning beaches meet thrilling adventures. That’s Koh Samui, the third-largest island in Thailand. It’s the perfect blend of relaxation and excitement.
In this blog, we’ll share our journey and adventures from our vacation in Koh Samui.
Day 1: Arriving in Paradise
We decided to visit Koh Samui after exploring Phuket, and we wanted to make the trip exciting and budget-friendly. So, we embarked on a journey combining a bus and ferry ride. We started at Phuket Bus Terminal 2 at 8:00 am with the Phantip Bus service. After a long 7.5-hour ride with a break in between, we arrived at the Seatran Ferry terminal in Donsak District. From there, we hopped on the Seatran Ferry and reached Na Thon Koh Samui in about an hour. We booked the entire trip online for about $17.50 per person.
After arriving at Na Thon Koh Samui ferry terminal, we took a taxi to our hotel, which was a 30-minute drive from the pier. We spent quite a bit of time searching for the right hotel, as our preferences didn’t always match our budget. Finally, we settled on the Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi, which turned out to be a fantastic choice.
We booked a Superior Seaside room, which wasn’t anything fancy, but it was steps away from the beach, and that’s what we wanted. There’s something incredibly soothing about waking up to the sound of waves and the endless sea views.
The hotel had a beachfront restaurant serving breakfast and a delightful mix of local and international dishes for lunch and dinner.
During most mornings of our Koh Samui vacation, we spent the first half of our day relaxing on the hotel’s sunbeds or swimming in the sea.
On our first night, while searching on Google Maps for a nearby dinner spot, we stumbled upon “Mekong Fusion,” just a 5-minute walk from the Impiana Resort. Little did we know it was the #1 restaurant in the Chaweng area on TripAdvisor. No surprise there, as the food was fantastic and not too pricey. The restaurant had a romantic atmosphere, great service, and we liked it so much that we even booked our car rental and Ang Thong Marine National Park tour through them.
Day 2: Exploring Koh Samui’s Culture
We rented a car to explore Koh Samui’s cultural and scenic gems. After an hour of driving around the island, we landed at the charming Fisherman’s Village in Bophut.
Fisherman’s Village, Bophut, is like a window to Koh Samui’s past. Its narrow streets are lined with old-style buildings housing boutique shops, restaurants, and local markets. We wandered through the streets, soaking in the island’s heritage.
For lunch, we chose a seafood restaurant by the sea. The catch of the day, seasoned with Thai spices and flavors, was a mouthwatering delight. Dining with the sound of waves in the background made it a truly memorable experience.
In the evening, Fisherman’s Village came alive with a bustling night market. Stalls offered everything from handmade crafts to delicious street food. We savored local delicacies and shopped for souvenirs, creating lasting memories of this charming village.
Day 3: Exploring Nature’s Wonders
Our third day on the island was all about exploring Koh Samui’s natural beauty and spiritual landmarks.
First up was Buddha’s Footprint. To be honest, it’s a bit hard to find, and there weren’t many people there when we visited, just a few dogs around. You need to turn off the main road and drive about 10 minutes up a hill to reach the parking area. Then, you have to climb about 70-80 big stair steps to reach the small temple at the top where Buddha’s Footprint is kept. The place itself isn’t super impressive, but the view from the back of the temple is stunning, with greenery and the sea in the background.
Next, we headed to the Secret Buddha Garden, also known as Tarnim Magic Garden. This place is an artistic wonderland, filled with sculptures and statues that seem to emerge from the natural surroundings. It’s all the work of one man, Nim Thongsuk, who dedicated his life to crafting these mystical sculptures. Inside the garden, you’ll find a peaceful small water garden covered with large rocks and various sculptures.
Our exploration of Koh Samui’s natural wonders continued with a visit to Na Muang 2 Waterfall. This majestic waterfall is one of the island’s most iconic and picturesque attractions. We chose Na Muang 2 over Na Muang 1 as it’s less touristy and more scenic, just as a local recommended. After a 15-minute drive (we got a little lost), we finally reached the parking area. There’s no easy path to the top, so you’ll need to walk about 15 minutes to reach the base of the waterfall. Alternatively, you can buy tickets for a 4×4 ride, but walking is the better option. Then, you’ll start climbing steep stairs, rocks, and navigate through the lush jungle to reach the top. Be cautious during the wet season; rocks can get super slippery. But trust us, the final destination is worth it. It’s probably the best waterfall we’ve seen in Koh Samui. Besides the crystal-clear water and the picturesque natural pool, the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking. You can take a dip in the natural lagoon while admiring the lush green jungle. It’s an absolutely stunning place for unfiltered Instagram pictures.
In the evening, we made our way to the vibrant Chaweng Night Market (Central Festival). This small open market had a lively atmosphere, with stalls offering local cuisine and handmade crafts. It was a perfect way to end the day, dining on a variety of dishes while exploring the market.
Day 4: Exploring Ang Thong Marine National Park
Our day started with excitement as we boarded a boat for our Ang Thong Marine National Park tour. This park consists of 42 islands, each with its unique charm waiting to be explored.
As we approached the park, the turquoise waters and dramatic limestone cliffs came into view, creating a scene straight out of a postcard. Our first stop was Koh Wua Talap, where we started our hike up to the park’s viewpoint.
The hike was challenging, with steep steps and uneven terrain, but the view at the top was more than worth it. The viewpoint offered a panoramic vista of the entire marine park. It was surreal, with emerald islands scattered across the sea, their lush greenery contrasting beautifully with the deep blue waters. We spent some time taking in the breathtaking scenery, snapping photos, and simply marveling at the natural beauty surrounding us.
Next, we visited Thale Nai, or the Emerald Lake. This saltwater lake is tucked away within the island, accessible through a hidden cave. The moment we laid eyes on it, we understood why it’s called the Emerald Lake. The water’s hue was a mesmerizing shade of green, surrounded by limestone walls covered in lush vegetation.
As we headed back to the boat, it was time for lunch (which was included in our tour cost). Lunch featured a delectable Thai buffet served on board, allowing us to savor local flavors amidst this paradise.
The rest of the day was spent exploring more islands within the park. Each island had its personality, whether it was hidden lagoons, pristine beaches, or intriguing rock formations. We snorkeled in the crystal-clear waters, encountering vibrant coral reefs and a dazzling array of marine life. One of the islands even had a hidden lagoon accessible only by kayak. Paddling through the narrow entrance, we found ourselves in a secluded paradise surrounded by towering cliffs. It was a tranquil spot, perfect for reflection and soaking in the serenity of the park.
Our day at Ang Thong Marine National Park was truly unforgettable. It was a journey into a world of natural wonders, a place where time seemed to stand still, and the beauty of nature was on full display.
If you ever find yourself in Koh Samui, make sure to set aside a day for this island-hopping adventure. It’s a chance to connect with nature in its purest form and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Goodbye, Koh Samui
As we bid goodbye to this incredible island, we carry a bag full of wonderful memories. From beautiful beaches to exciting adventures and the warm locals, Koh Samui has left a lasting impression. We hope your trip is just as amazing, and the memories you make stay with you forever. Until next time, Koh Samui, you’ll always have a special spot in our travel-loving hearts.
From Koh Samui, we made our way to Bangkok, and we decided to take the longer route (Again!!) using a combination of a ferry, a van, and an overnight train (it’s the best way to save on hotel costs!). We booked our ferry ticket with a minivan transfer to Surat Thani Train Station through the 12go.asia website. The journey from Na Thon Seatran Ferry Pier to Surat Thani Train Station took us about 3.5 hours, including the transfer, and it cost us roughly $13.50 per person.
After waiting for a few hours in Surat Thani (we grabbed dinner around the area while we waited), we boarded our overnight train from Surat Thani Train Station to Hua Lamphong in Bangkok. Since seats are limited, we booked our tickets well over 20 days before our actual travel date to make sure we got 1st Class Sleeper seats. The 1st Class Sleeper compartment comes with 2 bunk beds (complete with pillows and bed covers) and a wash sink inside the cabin. The entire journey from Surat Thani to Bangkok took about 13.5 hours and set us back around $43.50 per person.