72 Hours in Koh Samui
June 2nd, 2019
An hour flight south from Bangkok and a world away, Koh Samui stands out as a top island destination in Thailand. Only 88 square miles, the island is small enough to circumvent in a single day, but large enough that it does not feel overcrowded. Central to other islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is the perfect jumping off point to enjoy a long weekend in this tropical paradise.
Know Before You Go
Whether you're coming from the south or the north, the easiest way to reach the island is by flying. The airport is tiny and no more than one hour's drive from any destination on the island.
Koh Samui itself has plenty to offer, but with other favorite islands nearby, you will want to plan one or more day trips.
While the island does not pop up red on the malaria map, there are plenty of creeping crawling critters here. Bring DEET bug repellant and watch where you are walking.
Beaches on the east side of the island are perfect for sunrise and the west perfect for sunset, book your accommodations accordingly.
While the east side has long strips of shopping and luxury resorts, the west side offers quiet, localized living.
Renting a scooter is the best way to get around. You can find rental shops all over the island, and it costs about 6 USD/day.
Drive the Entire Island
After checking in and enjoying a slow morning at design hotel, The Library, it's time to explore. There's no better way to see an island than on a scooter, wind in your hair, with the freedom to pull off on the side of the road whenever you want. Rent one from a shop nearby and head out, leaving any 'itinerary' behind. You're on island time now, and there's only one main road around the island, so you would be hard pressed to actually get lost.
A few loose itinerary items could include stops at Mook Samui Shell Shop (Sarit, the shop owner, handmakes gorgeous shell chandeliers at reasonable prices), Grandfather's Grandmother's Rocks, and Baan Tai Beach (a quiet, locals only beach with breathtaking views of Koh Pha Ngan and Angthong Marine Park.
Head back just in time for happy hour and dinner at The Page, enjoying the peace and quiet of the ocean front restaurant.
Day Trip to Angthong Marine Park
Book a full-day tour from Koh Samui to Angthong Marine Park. We linked our recommendation below as the boat was leisurely with plenty of room for everyone to rest and relax between activities.
You will have the opportunity to snorkel in a hidden lagoon, kayak through the limestone karsts and their caves, and hike up to the Emerald Lake. The local guides on board were exceptional as was the food and service.
(starting at 107 USD pp)
Knowing you've seen a lot of what there is to see, you can rest and relax at the hotel for the day. Set your alarm in time for sunrise and take in the stunning views from the beach, more than likely you'll have it entirely to yourself.
Spend the rest of the day enjoying the expansive grounds of the property, the red pool and the periodic snacks that come with it, and sneak into the library in the afternoon for some ultimate island real estate and design inspiration.