While we were in Koh Samui, we stayed in the Fisherman’s Village at the Smile House Resort. It‘s a bustling part of the island filled with fun bars, restaurants, and gorgeous beaches. We spent our first few days having such a great time drinking our weight in mojitos, bargaining for cute clothes at the walking street, and stuffing our faces with fabulous Thai food. So at breakfast on day 4, it dawned on us and found ourselves asking, what else is there to do in Koh Samui?
We realized we hadn’t done much exploring and decided to change that by renting some scooters for the day. However, we stumbled upon an option the four of us liked better.
The option? Hiring a private driver for the day for 400 Thai Baht, per person. If you do the math, that is about $10-$11 USD (per person) to have someone drive us around the island for a few hours. It was a much safer option than renting scooters since the island was heavily congested due to New Years. Also, they drive on the opposite side of the road in Thailand, which always makes things interesting.
Considering the facts, the decision was unanimous and the four of us piled in to the car with Kai, our laid back driver, and hit the road!
What do to in Koh Samui….
First stop: Big Buddha Temple (locally known as Wat Phra Yai)
Perched up high on a hill, Big Buddha grabs the attention of travelers as they fly into Koh Samui. The temple is larger than I anticipated and once you climb the steps to the top, you’ll be glad you did. Visitors are welcome to pay their respects, witness Buddhists make their daily offerings of fruit and flowers, and to take in the gorgeous coastal views.
Once you are done checking out Big Buddha, there is great shopping at the base of the temple. A lot of the stuff is also offered at the night market, however, the prices were much cheaper here. Something to keep in mind if you plan to shop.
Second Stop: Various Viewpoints Around the Island
Since Kai is a local, he took us to some secret spots to enjoy the natural beauty of the island. Driving around the island gave us a whole new perspective of the island since we got to see roads and parts that aren’t commonly visited by tourists. We spent a lot of time climbing rocky cliffs to watch the waves crash, getting caught in tropical rain storms, and being in total isolation enjoying the beauty of the island.
Third Stop: The Cliff Bar & Grill
Half way through our day, obviously we needed to stop and eat. We figured we’d stop at the restaurant next to one of the viewpoints Kai took us to. The Cliff Bar & Grill is perched on a cliff (kind of a given) and provides fabulous coastal views. It’s a touristy spot but still feels very isolated as it is on a quieter part of the island. We started with a round of drinks (hello!) and ordered some food to hold us over. I got the Greek salad and oh my, it was HUGE and so delicious! It is a little on the pricier side for Thailand (roughly 300 baht/$8 USD) but you cant beat the amazing views, great food and service. Also ordered (and delicious): calamari, bruschetta and caprese.
Fourth Stop: Hin Ta & Hin Yai
This stop is basically just two rocks shaped like human genitals. It’s not a major “high light”, but since we’re the kind of crowd who throws out “that’s what she said” jokes every 5 minutes, it didn’t take us long to get in on the fun and start taking inappropriate pictures. Even Kai got in on the fun and made it such a funny stop.
Fifth Stop: Na Muang Waterfall
Since it was so hot and humid, we were dying to get into some water! Kai suggested Na Muang waterfalls and we couldn’t be any more excited. Most people just walk up to them and take pictures. It’s was kind of annoying so we decided to not be roadblocks and hopped in and swam with the local kids. The water felt incredible and it was so cool to get right under the giant fall. Don’t worry about the murky looking water either, none of us got sick.
Sixth and Final Stop: Nikki Beach
Since we did a full loop around the island, this was last stop before approaching our hotel in the Fisherman’s Village. Nikki Beach is hotel chain that is known to attract young globetrotters and throw amazing parties. As it was New Year’s Eve day, staff and crew were setting up for their NYE party. The front desk was cool with us checking out their hotel, even though we were wet and looked like riff raff. You could tell by walking through the set up that the party was going to be classy and upscale. Once the DJ started doing a sound check, we all kind of looked at each other and knew instantly that we wanted to go to their party that night instead of the Full Moon Party on Koh Phagnon. Luckily, the front desk had tickets left (1000 Baht/$28USD per ticket/per person) and we happily paid it. We ran out to Kai, giddy with excitement for what the night would hold.
On our drive back, we got to talking to Kai about whether he would like to drive us that evening. He happily obliged once we agreed on a price and suddenly had a designated driver for New Years Eve. When he got us late at night, we sang him Disney Songs (may or may not have been inebriated at this point) to keep him up for the remainder of the drive.
I highly recommend a driver because they take you where you want to go, plus you get taken to places you wouldn’t have otherwise. Kai was so friendly, told us stories about Thailand and it’s people, and we even jammed out to so fun Thai techno. This day was one of my fondest memories from this trip. Just a fun and spontaneous day, driving around with my hubby, our good friends, and exploring a gorgeous island with a chill local.
Take Away Tips:
- Make sure to hire a driver from taxi stands or from places that also rent motorbikes. Our fees were 400 Thai Baht/Per Person for 5 hours. If you do the math, thats about $11-$12 USD a person to have someone safely drive us around the island. We ended up having Kai for way longer and he didn’t charge us extra.
- Motor bikes and scooters may be cheaper, but you will have to pay fuel. Depending on how much you want to see, you may end up be paying close to what we did for a driver. Also, the island is highly congested in certain spots and can get sketchy driving by motorbike.
- The island is very big and can be hard to cover by bike or scooter in just a day. If your short on time, a driver is the way to go!
Hope this helps when it comes to planning your amazing trip to Koh Samui! As always, if you have any additional questions, please feel free to email me chloe at timetravelblonde dot com.