Non-touristy Koh Samui attractions

Less than a two-hour flight from Thailand’s capital is Koh Samui – a tropical island that locals and foreigners alike will testify is a place like no other. 

Whether it’s because of the idyllic crystal clear waters, world-class resorts or signature Southern hospitality, we can’t say. What we are sure of, however, is that in addition to pristine beaches, Koh Samui offers some unique activities and attractions that aren’t even in most guidebooks yet.

If you’re game to take the road less travelled, here’s a list of 6 non-touristy things to do for those who’ve already conquered beach hopping.

More places to check out: 

1. Check out the all-pink Sila Ngu temple

Yep, you read that right. The pink-washed Wat Sila Ngu or “Temple of Stone Snakes” is made entirely of terracotta clay, giving rise to the shrine’s stunning coral hues.

Upon setting foot on the grounds, visitors will see just how the site got its name – intertwined terracotta snakes and other mythical creatures guard the entrance.

wat sila nguImage credit: @jasbriellecoo

Venturing within, a gold-plated Buddha statue sits enshrined among hand-carved walls and marble floors. Said to be a relic from Lord Buddha’s lifetime, Theravada Buddhists believe it originated somewhere between the 5th and 6th century BC.

wat sila ngu 3Carvings depicting Rahu swallowing the sun are featured on the walls.
Image credit: @tultultumrontunyaluk

Intricately carved murals that line the temple’s interior walls depict stories from the Ramayana as well as major historical events that shaped Buddhism.

Before you exit, drop by the viewpoint right behind Wat Sila Ngu to see the entirety of the coast that wraps around Hua Thanon, a small fishing village.

wat sila ngu 2Image credit: @noontravels

For a visit to this beautiful shrine with a hidden viewpoint, work in a short 5-minute detour from your pilgrimage to the well-known “Hin Ta Hin Yai” formations.

Less than a kilometre off the main road, we think it’s worth donning your sarong for a visit, to bask in the all-pink temple’s beauty.

Wat Sila Ngu
Address: Wat Sila Ngu Tambon Bo Put Koh Samui District, Surat Thani 84320

Google Maps

2. Snap a shot worthy of IG’s Explore page at Overlap Stone

What’s a trip to Koh Samui without a shot of you drinking out of a coconut on the beach? 

While that picture is a great way to commemorate your time on the island, it’s also been done multiple times. Set yourself apart and snag a picture at Overlap Stone, where you can get the sea, sky and the island’s forests in the background.

overlap stone 2Image credit: @bas_gowentgo

The large boulder is a viewpoint that overlooks Koh Samui’s eastern shores. 

Step onto the bridge for an uninterrupted forest view while also snapping an #OOTD shot without people in the background. IG-Boyfriends, take note.

overlap stoneImage credit: @egleridik

Overlap Stone is located on the southeast side of Koh Samui, just a short motorcycle ride up a hill, and a five-minute walk into the forest. 

overlap stone 3Image credit:@ntpxmp

Upon arrival, visitors are asked to pay an entrance fee of ฿40 (~USD1.22) – these proceeds go to the local family that runs and maintains Overlap Stone. 

Heading over would also mean supporting community tourism, which would be greatly appreciated given the current situation.

Overlap Stone
Address: 438/34 Moo 1 Ko Samui District, Surat Thani 84310
Opening Hours: 5AM – 6PM, Daily
Entrance Fee: ฿40 (~USD1.22) 

Google Maps

3. Swim in a secret lagoon at Hin Ta Hin Yai

Hin Ta Hin Yai, also known as “Grandfather and Grandmother Rock”, is one of Koh Samui’s most visited spots for their undeniable resemblance to several cheeky body parts.

Besides being evidence that Mother Nature has a risque side, the rocks’ appearance belies their tragic origin story.

Locals claim Hin Ta Hin Yai represents a couple who drowned on their way back from successfully proposing to a woman on their son’s behalf.

hin ta hin yai samuiImage credit: @auuguapo

While the rock formations are something to marvel at, what visitors typically overlook is the secret lagoon located behind them.

hin ta hin yaiImage credit: @chaiko191286

Just a 15-minute trek from the boulders is a lagoon with waters so crystal clear that hikers are often met by schools of little fish.

hin ta hin yai 2Image credit: @anantaralawana

Whether you’re in the mood for a short trek, photoshoot, picnic, or all of the above, this secret lagoon offers the perfect setting – especially for all you travellers with a wry sense of humour.

Hin Ta Hin Yai
Address: 92 84310 126/92 Moo 3 Ko Samui District, Surat Thani 84310
Opening Hours: 8.30AM – 5.30PM, Daily 

Google Maps

4. Snack on insects and bargain like a local at Fisherman’s Village

Part of every quintessential getaway is to fully indulge in the hotel’s amenities and room service. But if you’re looking to take off those fluffy bathrobes and venture into one of Koh Samui’s local districts, we’d suggest making the trip to Fisherman’s Village.

The main road spans just 1KM and is lined with beachside restaurants and quaint little boutiques.

fishermans villageImage credit: @enbiere

The street’s highlight, though, is its weekly night market that operates every Friday from 5PM – 9PM. An array of street vendors await your attempts to haggle for hand-woven purses and leather goods.

fishermans village samui 2Image credit: L B via Google Maps

Adventurous first-timers with iron stomachs can also consider nibbling on the world’s newly proclaimed “superfood” – freshly deep-fried insects. 

fishermans village samuiImage credit: Yochai Gilad via Google Maps

If you’re trying to keep your protein intake up and stay swol during your holiday, a plate of grasshoppers should definitely be on the menu.

Of course, there are also stalls that offer more typical night market fare – aka seafood, glorious seafood.

fishermans village 3Image credit: Игорь Лесман via Google Maps

Just look at the size of these freshly torched oysters going for under ฿200 (~USD6). We’d reckon they’d cost way more back home.

Before heading down, do double check if the market is open due to the current situation. Ask any local or your resort’s concierge, who’ll be happy to assist you.

5. Give yourself some TLC at this spa hidden within a cave 

After climbing over rocks, swimming in hidden lagoons and schlepping through a street market, our muscles can get a little sore. 

If you’re one of those people that brought their foam rollers or lacrosse balls over, then good on you. However, for travellers who aren’t in a codependent relationship with their TriggerPoints, we’d recommend treating yourselves to some #selfcare at this spa that’s hidden within a cave. 

cave rai ra spaImage credit: Muang Samui Villas

Cave Rai Ra Beach Spa is a wellness centre that synergises adventure and relaxation into one place. Here, guests can navigate the cavern’s maze-like interior in order to get to their treatment rooms. 

cave rai ra streamImage credit: @mimama_max

The spa offers services like full-body scrubs, herbal steams, specialty baths, and of course, a plethora of massages. 

cave rai ra 2Image credit: Muang Samui Villas

Travellers would be hard-pressed to find a wellness centre that’s built in a cavern with streams, waterfalls and natural pools to soak all your troubles away in. 

cave rai ra poolImage credit: @annie_dhanatcha

Visitors can head over to the spa’s socials to look through their full list of therapies, as well as different promotions happening throughout the year.

Considering how hard we hustle everyday, it’s good to take things a little slower when we’re on vacation. In between adventures, take some time to rest. After all, holidays are there to help us recharge, and we can’t do that if we’re constantly on the move. 

Cave Rai Ra Beach Spa at Royal Muang Samui Villas
Opening Hours: 9AM – 10PM, Daily
Address: 89 Bontji Moo 4 Bo Put, Ko Samui District, Surat Thani 84320
Telephone: +66-7-742-8700

Cave Rai Ra Beach Spa’s website | Google Maps 

6. Take a dip in one of Samui’s “purple” waterfalls

For the uninitiated, Koh Samui’s emerald oceans are what first put Koh Samui on the map.

However, we think aquaphiles will def adore taking a dip in this amethyst waterfall – aka the Nam Tok Na Muang, or “purple faced waterfalls”.

nam tok na muangImage credit: @kassiaphoy

Situated on the South side of the island, the waterfall is easily accessible, comprising 2 sections, Nam Tok Na Muang 1 and 2. 

nam tok na muang 3Image credit: @thestay.samui

To get here, do note there’s a parking lot that’s just minutes away from Nam Tok Na Muang 1. Daily parking fees for bikes go for ฿20 (~USD0.60) and ฿60 (~USD1.80) for cars.

nam tok na muang 2Image credit: @the_thailandlife

For those looking to get to the arguably more scenic Nam Tok Na Muang 2, we’d recommend donning some trainers and packing a hand-held electric fan.

That’s because the water feature’s sibling is a hefty 30-minute trek from Nam Tok Na Muang 1, and Thailand’s heat is not merciful.

Nam Tok Na Muang
Address: Na Mueang, Ko Samui District, Surat Thani 84140
Opening Hours: Open 9.30AM – 5PM, Daily

Google Maps

Flying into Koh Samui in 2022

Koh Samui opened its borders to vaccinated international tourists back in July 2021. While all visitors are welcome, Singaporeans are just a two-hour flight away from Koh Samui.

FYI, guests are welcome to travel to neighbouring islands like Koh Tao and Koh Phang Ngan.

overlap stone 4
Image credit: @siamsecrets

If you’re heading over from the Lion City, Bangkok Airways also has non-stop flights to Koh Samui from Singapore.

Koh Samui’s sprawling tropical beaches and big-name temples usually take centre stage on many tourists’ itineraries.

If you’re not one for crowds, take the road less travelled and explore the island’s other hidden biomes. There’s no time like the present, so you can def start planning your trip right now.

Join the giveaway for a free Koh Samui trip here.

Cover image adapted from (Left-Right): @ohmmiezz, @siamsecrets, @theluxenomad

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This post was brought to you by the Tourism Authority of Thailand Singapore Office.