Discover my top 10 things to do in the Gulf of Thailand – including Koh Phangan and Koh Samui things to do!
10) Visit the Big Buddha Temple at Koh Samui.
Locally known as Wat Phra Yai, the 12-metre tall Big Buddha will likely be the first thing that you see on arrival into Koh Samui by air. It’s worth visiting in person too, in embracing the local culture. *TOP TIP* You are not permitted to wear shoes around the temple and the stairs get incredibly hot in the heat of the afternoon. It is therefore best to visit the temple early in the morning. *FREE TO VISIT*
9) Enjoy some incredible food at Rasta Baby on Koh Phangan.
8) Sample the nightlife at the Fisherman’s Village in Koh Samui.
Located in the Bophut area of Koh Samui, the Fisherman’s Village is sleepy by day and vibrant by night. Devour a fish BBQ on the beach at the Sea Wrap Restaurant, before enjoying cocktails along with a fire show at Coco Tam’s.
7) Experience a Thai massage.
You cannot leave Thailand without experiencing a Thai massage. We spent a relaxing afternoon having a massage in the spa at our hotel on Koh Phangan (the Panviman Resort) and I couldn’t recommend this more highly.
6) Wander around Wat Plai Laem.
This temple on Koh Samui is a great place to gain insight into the customs and beliefs of the Buddhist faith. You can read more about the temple here. *FREE TO VISIT*
5) Sunbathe on ‘the beach’ at Ang Thong.
Ang Thong was the inspiration behind Alex Garland’s novel ‘The Beach’, which later became a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio (which was, albeit, eventually filmed in a different part of Thailand). It’s not hard to see why Alex Garland chose this beach as the location for his novel – it is simply beautiful with its white sands, palm trees and crystal blue waters.
4) Trek to the Green Lagoon viewpoint at Ang Thong.
3) Attend the Full Moon party at Koh Phangan.
The world famous all-night Full Moon party on Haad Rin Beach draws in huge numbers of visitors to this part of Thailand. Let loose with a ‘bucket’ of red bull and vodka!
2) Snorkel with rainbow fish around the waters of Koh Nang Yuan.
*TOP TIP* Most people visit Koh Nang Yuan to climb to the island’s notoriously stunning viewpoint as pictured below. In my opinion, however, no trip to this island is complete without a good amount of snorkelling. The snorkelling around Koh Nang Yuan is some of the best that I’ve ever experienced. Make sure that you bring an underwater camera to capture the large shoals of rainbow fish. The nearby island of Koh Tao is also a great location for snorkelling and kayaking.
1) Ascend five hundred metres to the Ang Thong National Marine Park viewpoint.
This steep, uphill climb is not for the faint-hearted, but the effort is completely worth it on reaching the viewpoint and seeing the breathtaking views across the 42 islands that make up the Ang Thong archipelago. Many tour companies offer trips to the Ang Thong islands and you can read about one of these tours here.