Koh Samui Thailand – Life Beyond Sunset Cocktails & Beach Towels

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by Marc Valentine

After spending a little over 6 weeks in Koh Samui, we think we got to know the ins & outs of tropical island life pretty well… well as intimately as possible within this time period anyway…


Bang Por Beach Samui

Koh Samui Thailand – a true tropical paradise


We ate, celebrated, relaxed and got ill like locals, and even learned a little about the ups & downs of small island life…

I know 6 weeks living on the beach on a tropical island sounds like a dream come true… images of Mojitos,  extra large platinum white beach towels, and well tanned bodies spring to mind – but the truth is… you can only do so much sleeping in, sun bathing and cocktail sipping (no, really you can) before you start to go a little stir crazy and begin to pine for some kind of activity… (nothing strenuous, let’s not get crazy here).

Well my friends, it turns out Koh Samui caters for active people just as well as the beach lovers… during our time on Samui, we discovered through both the local knowledge of our friends at By Beach Resort & via our own personal explorations on the island…. it’s a busy little place with lots going on.

Probably explains why it’s so popular with expats – ah?

Whether Yoga’s your thing, or maybe it’s Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) that spins your wheels… when the initial overwhelming feeling of “holy sh*t – I’m really here in Koh Samui, and I can sit around doing nothing for an entire [ ______ ] (insert your holiday period)” subsides, Koh Samui’s got some uber cool sh*t to do… and we’re about to take all the hard work out of locating Koh Samui’s best activities for you.

Here’s our list of top 8 Things To Do In Koh Samui… when you can’t stand the sight of another cocktail – you’re tired of pulling sand out of places it should never be – and your brain needs to know your body is still alive…

What We Personally Did On Koh Samui To Keep Us From Going Insane

Hiring A Motorbike

Ok, so it’s not really an activity per se – but required nonetheless if you want to be active on the island.

Koh Samui Scooter

Get around Koh Samui on a scooter

Transport in Koh Samui can be expensive.  If you’ve just arrived from say… Bangkok, don’t expect the taxi prices to be the same… expect to pay around double.

The typical cost for a cab to get from the ferry terminal at Nathon to your hotel should be somewhere between 300 – 500 Baht.

If you like your independence & you want to be able to travel around the island, the cheapest & most convenient method is to hire a scooter.

We used our scooter often when we wanted to explore the island, riding to Chaweng beach, Fisherman’s Village, checking out the mummified monk & grandmother grandfather rocks…

You can rent scooters from one of the many scooter hire places on the island for as little as $6 per day.

Some places will ask to hold your Passport & some won’t.  When you hire your scooter the fuel tank will be empty, it costs around 100 Baht to fill up with fuel.

You can get gas in 2 places…

1) At a fuel station (obvious)

2) Or if your’e in a jam & really low on fuel you may have noticed some of the small shops or convenience stores with racks out the front stocked with what look like old glass milk bottles filled with yellow fluid, you can fill up here but it costs a little more than at a fuel station.

Day Trips – Visit The Island Of Koh Pha Ngnan.

Koh Phangan From Samui

The view of Koh Pha Ngan from Fisherman’s Village – Koh Samui

Koh Pha Ngan is a mere 1 hour ferry ride from Koh Samui. If you time your visit right you can even attend one of Koh Pha Ngan’s infamous full moon parties that happen on a monthly basis.

Ferry company Lomprayah High Speed Ferries have two ferry terminals on Samui one at Nathon (where most people arrive on Samui from the mainland) and one at Maenam (close to Fisherman’s Village)

Koh Pha Ngan Ferry Service

Do An Overnight Scuba Diving Trip To Koh Tao.

Dive Boat - Koh Tao Thailand

Diving on Koh Tao

Difficult to pull off a day trip to Koh Tao from Samui… you prob want to spend at least 1 night (2 would be better) on Koh Tao if you want to get a full day out on the water scuba diving.

Koh Tao is well known on the backpacking circuit for it’s uber-cheap diving & excellent dive sites.

The ferry to Koh Tao


Yoga On Koh Samui

You have quite a few options for Yoga on Koh Samui. Depending on where you’re staying on the island & whether you can travel.

I hunted high & low for a Yoga instructor on Samui who would be willing to travel to me without a great deal of success… I wanted the ability to practice on our very own stretch of deserted beach right out the front of our little resort.

I did find an amazing instructor in the end, but I don’t have permission to give out his contact details… if you would like them, send me an email & I’ll see what I can do :).

We ended up practicing yoga at Oasis Health Retreat on Bang Por Beach.

Cost 350 Baht per session

Oasis Health Resort

The Stuff We Wanted To Do But Didn’t Get Around To

Muay Thai (Thai Boxing)

Thai boxing is pretty popular in Koh Samui for both spectators & fighters. There’s a decent sized boxing arena in Chaweng Beach that hosts local & international fights numerous times a week.

Muay Thai retreats are popular in Samui for people who want to spend their time on the island focusing on exercise & training, periods of up to a month are typical.

A few of the well know places are… Pro Samui Located in Chaweng – Pro Samui offers training combined with accommodation, when I was looking into training, you could train for free twice per day if you were staying in their resort.

These guys are a good place to start

Cooking Classes

Thai cooking classes

Learn to cook a killer Curry

Always popular with the ladies … cooking a killer Thai Green Curry is a skill worth going back to school for (for a day at least anyways).

The cooking schools in Thailand are a mixed bag.  Some offer early morning trips to the fresh food market which can be…

shall we say… revealing.

Of the cooking lessons we’ve done during our travels around the world including Bali, Spain, and Thailand, I would have to say the Thai cooking classes have panned out to be the most practical for us – when our trip is over & everyday life resumes…

Just learning what spices to use & when – is worth the cost of the class.

Sitca is a good place to start if your’e staying around Chaweng.

Deep Sea Fishing

There’s 1 guy who seems to dominate the fishing tour market on Samui… his posters are everywhere on the island and inside all of the tour companies.

I can’t for the life of me recall his name, but you’ll recognize him when you spot the tasteful marketing posters – displaying a well fed Thai man (the captain) shirtless. It’s real pretty 🙂

The prices aren’t as low as you might expect for Thailand – still if your’e a fishing nut, you probably can’t go wrong…

Shooting Range

Shooting Range Koh Samui

Shooting Range Koh Samui

Of course there’s a shooting range… it may be a small island but Koh Samui’s still a mega popular tourist destination, and where there’s tourists in high concentration in Asia your never far from a rifle range.

Situated between Baphut & Chaweng beaches the taxi driver will know the way.

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