WHAT YOU HAVE TO SEE
Wat Plai Laem is a Buddhist temple compound on Samui's north-east coast of Samui, featuring a striking white 18-arm image of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Wat Plai Laem offers visitors a view into Chinese-Thai beliefs as well as some elaborate Buddhist-themed art and architecture. Adding to its feel of tranquillity, the temple is surrounded by a lake, which is teeming with fish. Visitors who make a donation to the temple are given a bag of food to feed the fish.
On the northern coast of Koh Samui is the famous Big Buddha shrine. Probably Samui's most well known landmark, the 12-metre high golden Buddha can be seen from several kilometres away. Inside the surrounding temple are many different shrines and other smaller ornate Buddhas. There is also a small market selling a wide range of lucky charms and other souvenirs, alongside numerous food stalls.
Although this hill is only 90 metres tall there are great views from the peak. Samui airport is virtually at your feet. If you like watching take offs and landings this is the place to sit for a while. After all, how many other airports can you watch from above without flying? The islands Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Sum, Koh Lum Noi, Koh Tao Poon plus Big Buddha, Wat Bang Rak, gorgeous sunsets and much more are all visible from this spot. This temple contains, according to the sign, a replica of Buddha's footprint.
The Chinese General Guan Yu, who lived almost 2000 years ago, is not only revered in China for his loyalty and righteousness. In Mahayana Buddhism, which is also practiced in Thailand, he is regarded as an enlightening being, in Taoism Guan Yu is regarded as patron saint. Among the visitors of the temple one finds not only a large number of tourists, but also many visitors, who visit the place out of veneration for Guan Yu.
Fisherman’s Village Samui is a historical part of Bophut, with rustic-style buildings housing boutique stores, trendy restaurants and a small selection of hotels lining the narrow Beach Road. Every Friday, the whole area becomes the site of the Fisherman’s Village Walking Street market, attracting huge numbers of shoppers from across the island for the amazing variety of wares and the lively atmosphere.
The drive up to this hillside resort restaurant may be hair-raising, but it’s really worth it for some of the best views on the island. Jungle Club has as a restaurant with several dining spaces. The northerly views from Jungle Club are of Lamai, Chaweng, Bangrak and the airport and, at noon on a clear day, are quite simply unbeatable.
Art often imitates nature, but less common is nature imitating art, especially the art of the ribald. But in Thailand anything is possible including, on Koh Samui, the natural geological formations known as Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks (the Grandpa and Grandma rocks), which look, respectively, like male and female genitalia.
Lamai Viewpoint is a selection of three natural attractions and an exciting ride, all in one well-developed location. Found just off the main Koh Samui ring road, close to the access road for Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks, it offers impressive views and great photo opportunities within easy reach of Lamai Beach. The multi-lingual staff offer you a choice of two packages. For 100 baht, you can see the Valentine Stone, Siva Tara Waterfall and Lamai Viewpoint itself. For 800 baht, you get all that plus a zip line ride across the nearby valley, giving you an exciting and unique view across Lamai. The park also has a restaurant by the entrance and a bar at the viewpoint.
Lamai Overlap Stone is located on a cliff top high above Lamai. It is a challenge to get up to these impressive balanced boulders, but the spectacular views on arrival make it worthwhile for the adventurous travellers. The steep, rough, dirt-track road leading to the viewpoint should only be attempted on a dirt bike or with a 4x4, and the last stretch may have to be walked, depending on conditions. Alternatively it is a hard 20-minute climb on foot, but there is a refreshment stall at the top and it is an exhilarating experience.
Paradise park farm Koh Samui was developed in the year 2000 high in the mountains overlooking Bann Talingham and the Gulf of Thailand. The farm covers 20 acres of prime unspoilt land where the animals enjoy a comfortable life in a natural spacious habitat. All the animals live in different zones joined together by pathways always overlooking awesome views of the surrounding countryside, one of the highest points in Koh Samui (Khao Pom).
Secret Buddha Garden is hidden away high in the hills in Koh Samui's interior, offering majestic views and an unusual collection of statues amid lush jungle surrounds. The gardens are a creation of an old Samui fruit farmer, Nim Thongsuk, who in 1976 began erecting several statues and temples around his family's verdant land. The statues depict a number of animals, deities and humans in various poses, including one of Khun Nim himself, in a relaxed position sitting on a rock. Khun Nim continued to work developing his garden until his death at the age of 91.
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a pristine archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand with towering limestone mountains, thick jungle, white-sand beaches, fertile mangroves, waterfalls and hidden coves and lakes to explore. Within sight of Koh Samui, Ang Thong park is a protected area of more than 100sqkm of land and sea, and home to a rich variety of exotic wildlife and sea creatures. Contact Peter Rölli from My Samui Island to book this tour.
Koh Tao (Turtle Island) is one of the world's choicest diving destinations. Even if the waters around this island were not teeming with exotic underwater life it would still be a stand-out destination because its beauty, uniqueness and natural charms. But happily the subaquatic world of Koh Tao guarantees you a bewitching experience every time you dive or even snorkel in these waters. Live the Dream and come and see what it's all about. Contact Peter Rölli from My Samui Island to book this tour.