Travellers’ Guide to Koh Samui – Thailand’s Beautiful Offshore Islands
Luxurious villa life, pristine white shores, fresh coconuts, swinging hammocks, do you think that is all there is to Koh Samui? Think again! Travelling to Koh Samui encompasses more than just discovering the tropical island. Just a short distance away from Samui lie various offshore islands, each with its own alluring charms. Not sure which one to visit? Hop on a speedboat with us for a tour around these islands.
One of the most popular offshore attractions, Angthong Marine Park is an archipelago consisting of 42 small islands. There is something for everyone on this paradisaical natural masterpiece. The colourful and diverse marine ecosystem makes it an ideal spot for scuba diving and snorkelling. The currents are not strong, which makes it safe for divers to explore the ocean’s wonders. If you are lucky, you will be able to spot a whale shark in the area! For those who prefer dry lands, a hiking trip will surely satisfy your fill of majestic landscape. There is a rocky road taking you to about 500 meters above the sea level, offering a spectacular view of the sun, sky and sea. There are steep sections where you have to use ropes to climb up. However, all is worth the effort when you reach the summit. The hike alone is a reason to go to Angthong Marine Park.
How to get there: By speedboat or ferry from Samui
For frequent visitors, the sound “Koh Phangan” screams “Full moon parties”. The island is known for the full moon parties organised once every month. It is time to let loose of your wild side and enjoy to your utmost with funky music and delectable drinks. However, Koh Phangan is more than that. You can also expect to fill your itinerary with diving, snorkelling, hiking, or simply chilling on the beach. For some unique experiences, challenge yourself at The Challenge Phangan, where you will find a lot of swimming, climbing, jumping and falling together with endless fun as you overcome the obstacles. The island is also a place for travellers who seek a calm haven to meditate and reflect.
How to get there: by speedboat from Samui (at Maenam, Bangrak or Nathon Pier)
Often regarded as a small island, Koh Nang Yuan is perfect for a day trip from Samui. Similar to other islands, you can find some scenic diving spots here. You can also go for a short hike up to the island’s viewpoint, where you will be mesmerised by the view of the coastlines, the endless ocean and the horizon. However, do note that the island is privately owned, so you will have to pay a 100 baht entrance fee if you do not stay at the resort on the island. There is only one restaurant in Koh Nang Yuan, which is a little bit on a high side. If you are bringing your own food and beverages, be sure that they are not wrapped in plastic containers as plastic is banned on the island.
How to get there: by longtail boat taxi from Koh Tao
Similar to other neighbouring islands, Koh Tao is blessed with breath-taking, unspoilt landscapes. With stunning coral reefs and abundant marine life, the island is a popular destination for divers. There are plenty of diving schools where you can receive professional training of all levels. There are several hiking routes which offer gorgeous nature views. For something a little bit different, check out the Koh Tao Shooting Range, where you can attempt different weapons such as revolvers, shotguns, rifles and magnums. The adrenaline junkies will also enjoy the flying trapeze adventures. For travellers with young children, Koh Tao Leisure Park guarantees a day full of fun and entertainment. If you are going to Koh Tao, take note that there is no garbage disposal facility on the island, so non-burnable waste has to be taken away.
How to get there: by express boat or ferry from Samui
A longtail boat from Koh Samui takes you to Koh Tan, a little bit of unspoilt treasure. The peaceful island is known for its beautiful, protected marine life. There is no car nor road, and the place is inhabited by a small group of people, which makes it the appealing destination if you want a short break from the cluttered life. A day trip to Koh Tan usually includes snorkelling or walking along a wooden platform built by locals to explore the mangrove forest.
How to get there: by longtail boat from Samui
Samui has a charm on its own. However, if you have not had enough of the tropical sun, the sand and the sea, the neighbouring islands are always there to welcome you. Pristine coastlines, rocky cliffs, protected marine life, these islands promise an exotic adventure both above and under water alike.
About The Author: Khanh loves travelling and has a tendency to go on impromptu trips and end up in places, shops and eateries that are not very popular for tourists. She is now working at Samui-Villa.com, a booking platform for villas in Samui. For more tips and guides for travelling in Samui, check out blog.samui-villa.com.