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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for Why is Koh Samui a Favourite Island Destination in Thailand? - You'll Fall in Love before You Know It
Joanna James Joanna James
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Why is Koh Samui a Favourite Island Destination in Thailand? - You'll Fall in Love before You Know It

Surrounded by azure waters, the island of Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand is simply a paradise. Read on to see why it's one of Thailand's favourite island destinations.


Angthong National Marine Park

Have you watched 'The Beach' movie starring Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo Dicaprio and dreamt of escaping into that blissful paradise one day? Well, that dream can come true at the Angthong National Marine Park where the movie was shot, but the only thing missing would be darling Leo!

Covering a spectacular 80% of an archipelago of 42 islands, the Angthong National Park features dramatic waterfalls, gigantic limestone mountains, pristine white sand beaches, dense jungle and stunning coves that are so snugly hidden. It is a playground for the adventurous with many opportunities for hiking, snorkelling, diving, and kayaking.

Some of the highlights of Ang Thong National Park include the Limestone Mountains that reach up to 400 metres and create amazing shapes by many years of erosion giving it the name "Golden Basin".


Big Buddha

Locally referred to as Wat Phra Yai (Wat means temple in Thai) the Big Buddha is a most glorious attraction. Sitting magnificently on top of an island off the north-eastern coast of Koh Samui, the Big Buddha is a gigantic gold Buddha statue standing 12 metres. Built in 1972, the statue depicts the Buddha sitting in the "Mara" position. The statue shows the time when the Buddha defeated the temptation of Mara through meditation and calmness. It displays purity, steadfastness, and enlightenment.

Head over to the base of the statue and you'll find a courtyard with vendors selling religious artefacts, amulets, souvenirs, refreshments, and clothing. You'll also find two additional, yet smaller Buddha statues placed within pavilions.

Even if you are not of the faith, this serene temple is a great place to observe local culture as well as soak in the stunning beach views and relax.


Koh Tao

This island lives totally up to its name which means "Turtle Island" as it's a great place to meet adorable sea turtles. Being one of the top scuba diving destinations in Thailand, the island presents scenic white sand beaches and colourful coral reefs home to extraordinary marine creatures. Even if you're new to scuba diving there's no need to worry as it's not difficult to find a package at a Koh Samui resort the likes of Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort that offers lessons from a PADI-certified instructor.


Secret Buddha Garden

Imagine you're exploring through a jungle and stumble upon surreal ancient ruins like Lara Croft in Tomb Raider...Quite intriguing isn't it? Well, that's how you'll feel if you pay a visit to the Secret Buddha Garden of Koh Samui. It's not exactly 'ancient' as it was built in 1976 by a local fruit farmer called Nim who started to erect many temples and statues around his family land. These statues are not just of the Buddha but also of special deities, animals, humans in a variety of poses and there's even one of Nim himself. In addition to the statues, there is a scenic waterfall and stream and lush foliage to admire at the garden.


Fisherman's Village

A historical area of Bophut in Koh Samui, the Fisherman's Village is home to many rustic styled buildings such as trendy restaurants, boutique stores and buzzing markets such as the Walking Street Market that's held on every Friday.