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One night every month, Koh Samui turns into the party capital of Asia with its famous full moon beach parties. Thousands turn out from the world over to rave the night away on the beaches and party until the sun rises. This, however, is not everyone's cup of tea … Myself included, so what else does this tropical and lush island offer in the way of experiences? Well, you may just be pleasantly surprised …

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Elephant treks around the Namuang Waterfall and national park. Photo by Josh Orawong

For those who enjoy getting back to nature, the Namuang waterfall and safari park offer ample opportunity to explore, relax and unwind surrounded by cascading falls, warm natural pools and thick tropical rainforests. Take an elephant trek around the falls and through the national park and experience your surroundings without the sound of vehicles. The only sounds you can hear are the birds, running waters, the wind blowing through the forest canopy and the occasional rumble from the elephants.

 

The natural tropical pools are fed by the Namuang waterfall and provide the perfect place to jump in and cool off from the heat of the day. The water itself is rather cold at first, but you soon adjust once the sun hits your skin. As you swim through the pools, you soon realise you’re not alone in the water. The pools are home to many giant catfish which of course, are no danger to us and continue on with their business as if we are not even there.

 

Koh Samui, Hinta and HinYai Rocks

Hinta and HinYai Rocks. Photo by Josh Orawong

 

After you have experienced the falls and the safari at Namuang, which can easily take up a whole day, why not head to the coast and explore the Hinta and HinYai rocks. (This translates as grandfather and grandmother rock, so named due to the phallic nature of their shapes). Hinta and HinYai are just a 15-minute drive from the waterfalls and very easy to reach. They are well known and are an icon in Samui where they are believed to enhance fertility if sat upon by a couple having trouble conceiving.

 

The views from the rocks are beautiful, and the ocean offers uninterrupted views all the way to the horizon. Just off the beach, several small local restaurants are offering up delicious Thai cuisine, Iced coffee’s, fresh coconut water served in baby coconut shells and some amazingly delicious seafood. The seafood is all locally caught and fresh that day, and the barbequed langoustine served with garlic fried rice are to die for. It is literally heaven on a plate.

 

Koh Samui, Samui  coast

Hinta rock standing to attention on the Samui coast. Photo by Josh Orawong

 

With Koh Samui being an island, you are never short of stunningly beautiful tropical beaches, and no matter which direction you head, within 30 minutes of driving you will reach a beach. Not all beaches host a full moon party, and those that don’t are the most beautiful to discover. Of course, there is more to do than to just stay on land. Samui has some beautiful ocean to explore both above and below sea level.

 

Koh Samui, Beaches

Hidden and secret beaches to be found no matter the direction you walk. Photo by Josh Orawong

 

An excellent way to spend a lazy yet adventurous afternoon is to go on a snorkelling trip just off of the island. Here the water is clear, calm and perfect for spotting tropical fish, octopus and some pretty harmless jellyfish. When you first experience the world under the waves, you will be shocked at just how abundant the sea life is, with fish in every colour you can imagine, and if you’re lucky you may spot the occasional sea turtle.

 

Snorkelling trips are a fun and inexpensive way to spend an afternoon in the sun while floating around in the warm waters of the Thai gulf.

 

Koh Samui, Snorkelling

Snorkelling day trips off of Koh samui. Photo by Josh Orawong

 

Thailand offers some of the best sunsets you will ever see, and being on an island offers unprecedented views of them. There truly is no better way to wind down the day than to sit on a beach with a refreshing drink and a light Thai meal and watch the sun change from blue to orange and then to pink and red before it finally dips below the horizon. There is something incredibly romantic about a Thai sunset on the beach that can’t be matched anywhere else on the planet.

 

Koh Samui, Sunset

Sunset over the bay. Photo by Josh Orawong

 

Samui is an ideal destination for family, solo and group travellers, though it is probably most suited for lovers and honeymooners. Its romantic and relaxed atmosphere will help create a memorable trip no matter what you do, and while it does play host to the full moon parties, Samui can be the ideal destination for nature lovers.

About The Author

Josh Orawong
Josh Orawong Josh Orawong has been living and working across Southeast Asia for the past 15 years and is a keen writer and traveller. Having travelled extensively both on and off the beaten tourist path, he offers insights into local customs and cultures whilst highlighting the best that hidden Asia has to offer.
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