Choose from 24 Fun Things to Do in Gulf Of Thailand
- Pattaya Beach is a must for sun lovers and water sports enthusiasts.
- Relax on the sand or try out one of numerous water sports available at the beach.
- Don't forget to bring along a towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
Apart from the beaches, Koh Samui’s distinctive icon is the golden Big Buddha Temple - or Wat Phra Yai - visible above the red-tiled rooftops on the island’s north coast.
The 12 meter (40 foot) Buddha statue is visible from several kilometers away, and even from an airplane if you’re arriving or departing by air.
The temple, shops and restaurants cluster at the base of the statue, and ceremonial stairs lead up to the top for terrific island views.
The Big Buddha Temple is near the airport, on Koh Samui’s north-east coast.
The temple sits on a hill at the end of a causeway at the eastern end of Hat Bang Rak (Big Buddha Beach).
Get ready to get wet and cool off at Pattaya Water Park. Multiple giant water slides zigzag and spill into the water, and the winding whirlpool is the perfect place for a more relaxing glide through the surf.
There are tube rides for younger kids, shade huts for relaxing and a choice of swimming pools. The water park is circled by a wild roller coaster and amusement park with its plunging Tower Shot ride and Sky Shuttle.
While you’re here, take the lift to the 54th floor of the resort for fabulous views and a buffet lunch at the revolving restaurant.
Pattaya Water Park is 5 km (3 miles) south of Pattaya in Jomtien, a 10-minute trip by car, taxi or minibus.
Traditional market buildings perched on stilts over the water offer a refreshingly different place to shop at the Pattaya Floating Market. The thatched huts are filled with stalls selling Thai handicrafts, delicious street food, and souvenirs.
The Mud House Village and Old Market have joined the attractions here, along with a woodcarving museum, flower fair, and agricultural demonstrations.
Dance troupes dressed in traditional finery regularly perform at the floating market, along with shell dancers and sea boxers.
Traditional boats ferry visitors around the market’s canals, past boat vendors selling Thai food from around the country. It’s an especially picturesque sight at dusk.
The Floating Market is south of Pattaya in the nearby Jomtien district. Beach buses run here regularly from downtown Pattaya.
How to Get There
Chaweng Beach - or Hat Chaweng - is Koh Samui’s most popular, longest and perhaps most lovely beach.
Clear blue-green sea, palm trees, coral reefs and lively nightlife come together to create a laid-back party atmosphere at Chaweng, the second biggest resort hub on the island.
Drinks are sold on the beach by passing vendors and there are water sports for every taste, from windsurfing to water skiing.
Dive operators run tours from Chaweng Beach, and this is where you’ll find most of the island’s nightclubs and bars. At beachfront restaurants you can dine right on the sand as the sun sets over the sea.
Chaweng Beach is on Koh Samui’s east coast.
Intricately sculpted knot gardens create a world of beauty at the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden. Elephant and Thai cultural shows are held in these lovely botanical gardens, which include notable collections of palms and orchids. The elephants play football and basketball, and Thai dancers and actors re-enact historical events and Muay Thai boxing.
A resort adjoins the 240-hectare (600-acre) gardens, so if you run out of time you can easily spend the night here. There’s also a range of different cuisines to choose from at several restaurants.
The Nong Nooch Tropical Garden is a 25-minute taxi or minibus ride south of Pattaya.
- Ang Thong National Marine Park is a must for nature lovers and adventure travelers.
- Choose between a group boat tour or a private excursion aboard a speedboat or luxury yacht.
- Full-day tours to Ang Thong from Koh Samui last upwards of eight hours.
- Don’t forget to bring swimwear, a towel, sunscreen, and a hat.
- Most tours provide water and snorkeling gear.
Lamai Beach vies with Chaweng for title of Koh Samui’s prettiest beach, especially along its less coral-strewn southern stretches.
Less developed than Chaweng, and therefore more tranquil and relaxed, Lamai offers year-round swimming and the interesting formations of the granite Grandmother and Grandfather rocks.
It’s a good spot to look for resort accommodation and tasty restaurants on Koh Samui.
Lamai Beach is on Koh Samui’s southern east coast, around 10 km (6 mi) south of Chaweng Beach.
Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks - or Hin Yai/Hin Ta - are rocky outcrops on Lamai Beach. Often photographed and commented on, the rocks bear an uncanny resemblance to male and female genitalia.
The rocks are set on a lovely stretch of beach, and create tranquil rock pools when the tide is in.
Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks - or Hin Yai/Hin Ta - are a little south along the sands of Lamai Beach, on Koh Samui’s southern east coast.
From the road, follow the trail lined with souvenir stalls to the rocks.
The cool sound of water tumbling down a rocky cliff face and into a pool greets you at Na Muang Falls.
Nestled amongst the island's central mountains, the falls have two tiers: a lower stretch easily reached by foot and a higher tier that’s best reached by hiking or riding on elephant back. The lower tier of falls is suitable for swimming.
The road to the lower falls is lined with food stalls and souvenir vendors, and elephant handlers offer their animals for rides to the top tier.
Na Mua Falls is in the south of Koh Samui, 3 km (1.5 miles) inland from the coastal resorts.
The falls are just off the road connecting Ban Huan Thanon and Na Thon.