Temples, Waterfalls and Viewpoints – A Guide to All the Best Sights in Koh Samui
Koh Samui is one of the most popular and developed islands on the Gulf of Thailand. Whether you want a shopping spree, incredible waterfalls, paradise beaches or beautiful temples, Koh Samui has it all! We stayed here for Christmas and they had everything we could have wished for for the most perfect and unique Christmas abroad. It’s the second largest Thai island so renting a scooter is advised to see all of these beautiful places!
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Namuang Waterfall Samui
Hop on your bike through the jungle and you’ll reach this stunning waterfall. You can take a jeep from the entrance to the falls park, but we opted to walk as we wanted to explore without a guide. September – November is the best time to see these beautiful falls. We visited just after the rainy season and the falls were much stronger in the morning after a night of rain fall, compared to after our hike at midday.
A very sketchy hike up the side of the falls will bring you to the top of the waterfall where you’ll find stunning views and a beautiful natural pool. Taking a dip up here will feel incredible because it takes some sweaty effort to get to the top. Keep your whits about you, we missed the opening as it’s pretty hidden and carried on steeply upwards for another 6 minutes.
Secret Buddha Garden
Close to the Namuang Falls, nestled high in the hills amid lush jungle is the Secret Buddha Garden. Created by farmer Nim Thongsuk, the statues depict a number of animals, deities and humans. There’s also a beautiful pagoda and water feature/ stream. We rode there by moped, however the roads are quite bumpy so be careful or take a taxi!
Dinosaur Viewpoint (Mountain Grand View Seaview Restaurant)
After your big morning hike up the waterfall and exploring the secret Buddha Garden, you’ll probably be thirsty, hungry and need a relax! This restaurant and viewpoint sits atop one of Koh Samui’s highest peaks so the views you see here are beyond compare! Have a coffee, smoothie and a bite to eat as you gaze across Samui! You can also use their swimming pool for 100THB.
Hin Ta & Hin Yai Rocks
Located at the southern end of the Lamai Beach, these genitalia shaped rocks have caused many giggles since they were discovered years ago! Legend has it an old couple felt it was time for their son to get married, so they sailed to the neighbouring province to ask a father for his daughters hand in marriage. During the journey, their boat was seized by a storm and they died at sea. They turned into the rocks as proof to the would-be bride’s parents of their true intentions.
Directly next to the rocks is a beautiful rock pool that many tourists overlook, but we didn’t! The water is cool and crystal clear, and the best part? You’ll have it all to yourself!!
Known locally as Wat Phra Yai, the Big Buddha is one of the islands most popular attractions. It is 12-meters tall and sits on a small rocky island off of Koh Samui’s northeastern corner. Outside the main gates there’s lots of cute shops. The first stall is owned by an expat who sells really cheap, beautiful dresses perfect for temples and insta! I soooooooooo wish I’d bought this red dress in every colour, I couldn’t find anything similar ANYWHERE!
NOTE: If you forget shoulder coverings/ don’t own one, they have free ones you can borrow at the bottom of the stairs.
Wat Plai Laem
This stunning buddhist temple compound is located close to the Big Buddha. It’s another popular one so get here early! Wat Plai Laem is a living and active temple where devotees come daily to pay homage to Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy & Compassion, and Buddha. The temple is surrounded by a lake teeming with fish. You can make a donation to the temple and be given a bag of food to feed the fish (one of Sam’s favourite activities!).
You’ll never have a boring day on this stunning island, and this is just a handle full of what you can get up to! Check out our guide to our favourite beaches on days you need a break from all the sightseeing! Also, have a read about how we spent Christmas on this stunning island and where we stayed.