Against the backdrop of hills, the beaches of Koh Samui stand as one of the most sought after palm-fringed tropical destinations. The most popular spots are Chaweng and Lamai. Both are on the East coast where each day greets you with a spectacular sunrise.
In such an idyllic setting the temptation is simply to laze peacefully on the beach and soak up a tropical sun tan. But if you want more there are amenities for watersports, such as windsurfing, kayaking and snorkeling. The coastal waters are exciting to explore and are especially rich in shoals of brightly colored fish and exotic coral formations. The Samui Archipelagos is fantastic for especially sailing and diving.
Principal among Samui's natural sights are two picturesque waterfalls, Hin Lat and Na Muang. The following is a small list of what Koh Samui has to offer when it comes to natural and man made attractions.
The Big Buddha
The Big Buddha, known in Thai as Wat 'Phra Yai', sits 15 meters tall. Samui's most popular attraction was built in 1972 by the local society to give visitors a place to pay respect to The Lord Buddha. This monumental landmark is placed on the island's Northern shore, close to the international airport.
The 2 Na Muang Waterfalls are located 10 km south from Nathon off the islands main circular road at Ban Thurian. waterfalls. Na Muang One is 18 meter high and can be reached by vehicle. Na Muang Two is about 80 meters high and can only be reached by a 30 minute walk. These waterfalls are the most scenic on the island.
Hin Ta - Hin Yai
These 2 rock formations, known as the Grandfather and Grandmother rocks, have been personified by a local tale describing that an old couple, whose ship was wrecked in the bay, was washed ashore to create these remarkable rock formations.
Hin Lad Waterfall
Hin Lad Waterfall is located 2 km south of Nathon Town. It can be reached by a 3-4 kilometer walk down a jungle path walk to get to the falls (tough shoes and leg protection for the walk are recommended). Located in a lush tropical rainforest setting, with palms and creepers, the waterfall has several cascades level tumbling down into a large pool for a rather refreshing swim.
Magic Buddha Garden
The secret Buddha garden is hidden in the hills of Samui. You can see several statues, temples and waterfalls which were built by one man in the last 20 years.
The only access to the temple is on a military road and getting there can be difficult if the access road is closed. Another and perhaps less stressful way of getting to the site, is by joining one of the many jungle tours offered.
A house made of teakwood without any nails at 'Ban Thale' is the oldest house on the island. Built approximately 150 years ago out of teak planks, it shows off many beautiful woodcarvings.
Na Tien Butterfly Garden is located at the bottom of the hill south of the island. The numerous species of butterflies on display over its 2,800 sq meter are the main attraction but it also features the bee house, a Thai style house which allows the visitor to observe the activities of bees, and the insect museum displaying rare insects from Thailand and other countries.
A definite must see for all those visiting the island. Shows featuring snakes indigenous to Samui as well as Centipede, Scorpion and Cock Fighting shows. Located in 'Taling Ngam' south of Nathon, it's informative and entertaining in typical Thai fashion. Follow the signs seen throughout the island. Show times are 11.00 and 14.00 everyday.
Naga Pearl Farm
Discover how pearls are cultured. A 30 minute boat ride from "Baan Thong Krut" will bring you to Koh Matsum and the Naga Pearl Farm. After you learn about pearl culture, you will enjoy eating Thai food and spend the afternoon on the white sandy beach. Don't miss the Naga Pearl Shop, at Bann Thong Krut, where all varieties of pearl and derived products are offered.
Island hopping is another attraction and boats can be easily hired for trips to Koh Pha Ngan (the nearest and largest island next to Koh Samui), and to the smaller islands of Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan, where beautiful bays with colorful coral formations offer excellent conditions for snorkeling.
A more adventurous full day excursion can be made to Ang Thong Marine Park, a group of 40 islands northwest of Samui. Here you will see spectacular limestone formations, caves, blue lagoons and amazingly beautiful beaches.
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