While on Samui Island there are a great number of amazing places nearby you might like to visit. There are many organized outings available from local travel companies that offer day trips, two-day, one-night trips, or three-day two-night trips.
Aerial view of Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park
Among the most interesting one-day trips is the Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park, where you can snorkel with the fish in the crystal-clear waters, kayak and take hikes along nature trails to see the astonishing array of bird and animal life.
Khanom is the place to go to escape the crowds with great, almost deserted beaches and a pace of life rooted to the land. One of the most popular attractions is the pink dolphin colony that resides in the area.
Excellent snorkelling spots can also be found at Koh Nang Yuan and superb diving opportunities on Koh Tao.
Koh Phangan’ s stunning white sandy beaches and over twenty great diving spots are its main attraction as are the Full Moon beach parties for which it has become enormously popular with young revellers. Ferries are the main means of getting from Samui to the island, which has no airport, and on land, although jeeps and motorbikes can be rented, the ubiquitous song taeows, converted pick-up trucks, are the principal way of getting around.
Khao Sok National Park
One of the best places to get up close with elephants, and not too far from Samui, is Khao Sok National Park, 739 square kilometres of stunning natural beauty. This rainforest, older than the Amazon’s, and with a greater diversity of species, is the largest area of virgin rainforest in southern Thailand.
In addition to elephants, the park contains an astonishing number of animals, including tigers, clouded leopards, Malayan tapirs, banteng, wild boars, gibbons, Malayan sun bears, gaurs, dusky langurs and deer.
Apart from the wildlife watching, the park offers a great many other activities for the adventurous-minded visitor. Hiking, kayaking or bamboo rafting on Cheow Lan Lake are all possible where you can see the towering limestone cliffs and stay in one of the delightful floating bungalows. The park runs a large number of guided tours as well, each one offering a unique experience of this pristine jungle paradise.
Krabi province, with over 150 islands stretching along a 150 kilometre coastline is perhaps the perfect location for anyone looking to relax and enjoy Thailand’s natural beauty in its most pristine state. Gorgeous white beaches and warm, turquoise waters surround these islands where you can snorkel, kayak and scuba dive. The interior of their jungle-clad hills is perfect for trekking and rock climbing on the towering limestone cliffs.
It is much less developed than Phuket or Samui, with a wide range of accommodation available to cater to all budgets, and with many other great locations – Railay, Tongsay Phra and Nang beaches, the Phi Phi islands, Ao Nang and Koh Lanta all within easy reach, as are the Thung Thaeo Forest Park, Klong Thom hot springs and the Tiger Cave Temple with its 1260 steps. There is also the Krabi Elephant Sanctuary, excellent for a family day out.
Tiger Cave Temple
Some of the most stunning scenery Thailand has to offer can be found in Phang Nga Bay. Take a leisurely boat trip and cruise among the breathtakingly beautiful islands and the limestone karsts that rise majestically from the warm, turquoise waters. Take in James Bond Island (Koh Ta Pu) and Koh Panyee, with a town built over the water.
Koh Panyee island
You might also like to explore by kayak the many caves on the islands or the Horngs (rooms), literally collapsed cave systems that can be found in the interior of certain islands. These are hidden worlds with their own unique eco systems, teeming with insect, animal and bird species.
Within the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park lie a group of islands, Koh Poda, Koh Kai, Koh Mo and Koh Thap, known for their gorgeous beaches and coral reefs, perfect for snorkelling, diving or just lazing about, taking in the stunning natural beauty.
Several other islands and beaches worth exploring can be found on Koh Tao (Sairee Beach), Koh Matra, with massive coral reefs around the island and an abundance of marine life, some species of which are very rare.
Tung Wua Laen Beach is a stretch of perfect white sand, coconut palms all along its length and a number of excellent beach-front restaurants where the spectacular sunsets and sunrises are free.
Chumphon has a long history and is often referred to as the gateway to the south. There are more than 200 kilometres of gorgeous beaches with coral reefs to explore and some thirty islands off the coast. For the more adventurous travellers there is white water rafting at Amphur Phato, Kapoh Waterfall National Park, Khao Pang Forest Park, and for a touch of serenity, Somdej Phra Srinagarindra Park.
Breath-taking view from Khao Dinsor
For the ornithologists Khao Dinsor (Pencil Hill) is one place not to be missed. Watch from a vantage point 450 metres high as large numbers of raptor species make their annual migration as you take in the spectacular views of the Gulf of Thailand in the east and the Isthmus of Khra to the west.