Koh Samui is a stunning island with plenty of must-see attractions. While there are some luxurious options such as a stay in Chaweng in a luxurious villa, you can explore the island on a shoestring budget and still have an incredible time. Here are some of the top attractions and sights to see in Koh Samui without breaking the bank.
Na Muang Waterfalls
If you're a nature lover, Na Muang Waterfalls is a must-visit attraction on Koh Samui. This stunning waterfall is one of the island's most picturesque, and its name refers to the giant purple-toned rocks at the base of the falls. You can climb up rocks and tree roots that make a natural staircase leading to the base of the falls. The best time to visit the falls is during the wetter months from September to November when all the rainwater from the mountains flows down through the falls, making it a spectacular sight to behold.
Once you reach the base of the falls, you can swim and relax in the cool water, making it a refreshing break from the heat. Many local tours include a stop at the falls, or you can visit on your own for a small entrance fee. Keep in mind that the hike to the falls can be steep and slippery, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear and take precautions to ensure your safety.
Fishing People Village
The Fishing People Village in Bophut Beach offers a glimpse into Koh Samui's history and culture. This small village maintains its time-forgotten ways of life, with simple rustic-style buildings selling handmade trinkets and gifts. The old part of Bophut Beach takes its name from the fact that it was once home to a thriving fishing community, and while the industry of fishing has since been replaced with tourism, the old wooden shophouses remain, giving the village a unique charm. Charming narrow alleys running between them make this village feel lost in time.
On Friday nights, the village transforms into a lively walking street market, attracting shoppers from all over the island with an impressive variety of wares and a lively, music-filled atmosphere. This market is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Koh Samui's local culture and interact with the locals. You can find food, drinks, souvenirs, and much more at the market, making it a memorable experience. You can wander around and soak up the atmosphere without spending a lot of money.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
For a truly unique and budget-friendly experience on Koh Samui, a visit to Ang Thong National Marine Park is a must-do activity. This government-protected area consists of nearly 42 islands hugging the Gulf of Thailand, offering a variety of stunning natural features. From towering limestone mountains to dense jungles, white sand beaches, waterfalls, and secluded coves, there's something for every nature enthusiast here.
You can take a simple day trip to the park or spend a few days there, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the area. To save money, consider bringing your own lunch or snacks to the park instead of dining at the simple restaurant located there.
Whether you're a nature lover or simply looking for a unique and budget-friendly experience on Koh Samui, Ang Thong National Marine Park is a must-visit attraction that will leave you in awe of the island's natural beauty.
If you're looking for a cultural and budget-friendly experience on Koh Samui, a visit to the Big Buddha statue is a must. This impressive 12-meter-tall Buddha is one of the most famous landmarks on the island, located at the top of a hill with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.
The entrance to the temple is free, making it a great budget-friendly attraction to visit. However, donations are always welcome and appreciated to help maintain the temple and its surroundings. Take some time to wander around the temple grounds and admire the intricate architecture and decor, which are a feast for the eyes.
Visiting the Big Buddha is a great way to immerse yourself in Koh Samui's local culture and learn about the island's history and traditions, all while enjoying the breathtaking views of the island.
Pink Elephant Samui Water Park
The Pink Elephant Samui Water Park is a large, clean, and modern waterpark with a range of high-quality rides and facilities. It's a fun and safe day out for the whole family. There are a couple of high-speed slides for the older and more adventurous ones and a Jacuzzi area for those who want to just relax. If it's raining or you want a break from the beach, it can be a better alternative.
The Pink Elephant Samui Water Park is a moderately priced attraction in Koh Samui. The admission fees are reasonable, and the water park offers a range of high-quality rides and facilities for the whole family, including a couple of high-speed slides for the more adventurous ones and a Jacuzzi area for those who want to relax. However, like most tourist attractions, the cost of food and drinks inside the park can be quite expensive. If you're looking for a fun and affordable way to spend the day on Koh Samui, the Pink Elephant Samui Water Park is worth considering.
Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks
Lamai Beach is home to the famous Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks, also known as the Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks. These natural rock formations are a popular attraction and make for great photo opportunities. Best of all, they are free to visit, and you can take a stroll along the beach to see them.
Hin Lad Waterfall
For a budget-friendly and picturesque attraction, head to Hin Lad Waterfall. This beautiful waterfall is located in the hills of Koh Samui, surrounded by lush greenery. You can hike to the top of the waterfall, swim in the natural pools, or have a picnic in the peaceful surroundings. The entrance fee is only 20 baht (approximately $0.60 USD) per person, making it an affordable option for those on a tight budget.
Tarnim Magic Garden
Tarnim Magic Garden is a hidden gem located in the hills near Lamai Beach. This garden is filled with statues and sculptures created by a local artist and is a peaceful and unique place to visit. The admission fee is only 80 baht (approximately $2.50 USD) per person, making it an affordable attraction to add to your Koh Samui itinerary. Take a leisurely stroll around the garden, admire the artwork, and enjoy the tranquillity of the area.
Final word on how to save money on exploring and attractions in Koh Samui
Overall, Koh Samui has plenty of natural beauty and attractions to offer on a shoestring budget. From exploring national parks and waterfalls to discovering local villages and street markets, there's something for everyone without having to spend a lot of money.
Koh Samui offers a wealth of attractions and activities to suit every budget, but with some smart planning, you can enjoy the island's natural beauty and attractions without breaking the bank.
Here are some tips to help you save money while travelling and exploring Koh Samui:
Research the attractions and activities that interest you before you arrive in Koh Samui, and look for discounts or promotions that may be available online. Many attractions offer discounts for booking in advance or for group bookings.
Choose budget-friendly attractions
There are plenty of budget-friendly attractions on Koh Samui that offer great experiences without costing a lot of money. Consider visiting natural sites such as waterfalls, beaches, and parks that have low or no entrance fees.
Use public transportation
Taxis and private cars can be expensive on Koh Samui. Consider using public transportation such as buses, shared taxis, or motorbike taxis to get around the island. You can also rent a motorbike or bicycle for a more affordable option.
Bring your own food and drinks
Food and drinks can be expensive at attractions and tourist hotspots. Bring your own snacks and drinks to save money or eat at local restaurants or food stalls where the prices are more affordable.
Look for free activities
Koh Samui offers plenty of free activities, such as visiting temples or markets, or taking a walk along the beach. These activities can offer unique experiences without costing you a penny.