Buffalo Fighting that used to be a traditional event after the rice harvest is now an activity held regularly with lots of spectators sitting around the venue. Many people may place bets on the buffalos during each fight, the owners of the winning buffalos can earn up to millions of bahts.
It’s a good chance to have a glimpse of the southern Thai culture. The exciting sport delights the audiences with its attractive views. Usually people’s enthusiasm is raised highly when the fight is getting furious. Places for holding such events will be simply an open space with bamboo matting or coconut leaves surrounding to keep the fight being seen by the people outside the area. The entry costs 100 baht for men while women are free to come. Unlike the buffalo fights in Spain, the fight held here always ends up with either of the buffalos fleeing away without any deaths.
Hidden inside the mountains in Koh Samui, Secret Buddha Garden has magnificent landscape all around and some marvelous statues in the green surroundings. In 1976, Nim Thongsuk, who was an old fruit farmer in Samui, started to build the gardens with statues and temples included on the land inherited from his family. Before his death when he was 91, Khun Nim had been decorating his gardens with various statues including animals, deities and humans with different postures and a special one is he himself sitting on a rock in comfort.
Located in Samui’s interior and at the north-west side of Lamai Beach, the garden is staying in a cool and tranquil atmosphere and well shaded by the trees, having a waterfall and a little river passing through. You may come here for a day trip and pay a visit to the gardens by riding a 4WD vehicle that is the best choice of transportation because the road is getting a little tough.
Secret Buddha Garden is also called Heaven’s Garden or Magic Garden because it always gives a sense of surprise to the visitors who may find out its potential surprising view when exploring the statues of various shapes and sizes with making a wrong turn or a closer observation behind a tree.
Before his retirement, Khun Nim used to be a durian farmer, making Samui well-known for this special tasty fruit. When he retired, he gathered some helpers to build the garden with statues sculpted carefully, each of which stands for Buddhism thoughts and hides a unique story that is familiar to the Thais.
Located at the top of Tar Nim waterfall, the trip towards Secret Buddha Garden provides you with amazing scenery and majestic panorama of the island during your stops along the road. Remarks: The entry fee costs 80 baht singly. Guide to get there: As you are in Baan Saket, going along the air force road down to Ta Nim waterfall. Take a turn and get into a dirt track in the last 400m of the upslope. It’s better to ride in a 4WD vehicle if you are not an experienced driver in the area. If you don’t want to plan your trip by yourself, you may choose to enjoy a jungle/safari tour or ATV ride when you visit the gardens, which can be easily planned under the assistance of four agents on Samui. The garden is likely to be challenging for those poor fit because the road is a little tough.
Located on the north-east coast of Samui Island, Wat Plai Laem, which is a Buddhist temple, is characterised by an attractive white 18-arm image of Guanyin representing Mercy and compassion from the Goddess. You can explore something that related to Chinese-Thai beliefs and have an opportunity to appreciate the delicate Buddhist-themed artwork including the constructions.
Everyday, devotees come here to make the merits before the Guanyin and the Buddha as the statues and murals set inside the temple have shown. It is a temple full of positive and lively atmosphere, having old-fashioned decorations presenting the traditional customs. The lake surrounding the temple helps to nurture your peaceful mind. People making donations, which are taken as a general maintenance fee, to the temple will be granted some food to feed the fish swimming in the lake. Set in the centre of the temple grounds as a huge white statue at Wat Plai Laem, Guanyin appears to be magnificent with so much serenity. The custom of worshipping Guanyin first celebrated in ancient China has been passed on to following generations, spreading through East and Southeast Asia. The complicated design emerging from intensive Chinese style of the temple is from Jarit Phumdonming’s mind,who is one of the top artists in Thailand. Two long halls lying on Guangyin is being decorated with many fantastic murals and frescoes presenting stories related to Buddhismus. Gauguin is regarded as the figure to save the ball throughout the world as her multitude of arms representing her ability to offer help have shown. Those who want to have a good pregnancy and wish a safe journey on the sea are like pray faithfully before Guanyin.
Wat Plai Laem is also characterised by a giant white laughing Buddha statue, exquisite entry doors carved from teak and a beautiful ceremonial hall called bosom on an island in the lake. In this sacred place, behave and dress properly is needed here while bare shoulders and knees are seen as an impolite way. Visitors are welcome to join or observe the rituals in the temple with wearing white clothes. The entry is free of charge yet it welcomes donations.
With various of the most frightening reptiles in Thailand, the Snake Farm has become an amazing place providing a close view for the rare creatures. Samui Snake Farm characterised by its show performed by many kinds of snakes and courageous trainers who manage to have the snakes act according to his command, which the audiences greatly all the time. King Cobras and giant pythons are among the famous snake performers in the show. Sometimes centipede and scorpion shows will be put on to add some more excitement after the snake show. Cock fighting shows may be given in some cases if the former shows fail to stir up the atmosphere as expected.
Some gentle snakes in the reptile zoo are available to be touched and held by hand. Visitors may have a try of this after a simple but specific short training. Thailand has snakes of 170 types, 50 kinds of which have poisonous venom inside their bodies. It is a good place to satisfy your curiosity for those frightening and attractive creatures.
Snake Farm has two hour-long shows from 11:00 to 14:00 everyday. At the beginning of the show to come on various snakes, the audiences’ spirit is aroused by the risky and threatening interactions between the snakes and the trainers who drive the snakes to behave in some dangerous way including venom-spitting, lurching and baring their sharp fangs. There is another drastic show that cock fighting is proceeding when the host is telling audiences the history and rules of the game. The Scorpion show following is displayed by the spine-chilling scorpions climbing over an immobile lady with their sharp tails and fast moving pace. The centipedes show comes along is as horrific as the scorpion’s. Finally, the king cobra comes to the stage to make an awesome performance with the most horrible venomous snakes in the world.
The reptile zoo has various extraordinary wildlife of scary type, such as snakes, crocodiles, monitor lizards and mongooses. Mongooses, whose brutality is hidden by the furry appearance, is exactly the archenemy for the king cobra. Snake Farm won its reputation in 2008 when ‘Scorpion Queen’ Kanchana Kaetkaew successfully keeping a 7-inch-long scorpion in her mouth for two minutes and created a Guinness record. Ancient Kaetkaew has been well-known for creating a new record for staying long time with scorpions and her latest record is living with 5,000 brutal scorpions in an enclosed space for fully 33 days. Love happens everywhere. At the Snake Farm, ‘Scorpion Queen’ met her soul mate Bunthawee Siengwong known as “Centipede King” who once tried staying with 1,000 centipedes for a long time without any hurts. The old couple still gives durable performance nowadays at the Snake Farm. Except those more gentle creatures that are available to hold the supervisor’s presence, don’t manage to touch any others that may cause unforeseen risk. Take this advice seriously.
Located near the airport in Bophut with an area of 8,000sqm, Samui Crocodile Farm is a charming place to explore animals with strong jaws and sharp claws, including Siamese crocodiles, caimans, saltwater crocodiles, snakes, lizards and monkeys etc.
The SCF is well built with lots of shade and has exciting shows displaying of crocodile and snake 3 times per day, which will be interesting.
You may see many crocodiles in different sizes for SCF. There are some crocodiles that are small enough to show little threat while there are some growing into cumbersome size of about 5 metres that show much danger. During the exciting show at SCF, expected trainers engage in training the brutal creatures under no any protection. Crocodiles to comply with the command that they are to keep silent when audiences came and have a closer observation and be approached by the trainer applying certain motion like sitting on a chair.
The trainer shocks audiences by putting his head into a crocodile’s mouth still with smile on his face, which is quite an act of risking one’s life for the audiences, so visitors can only be permitted to touch the tail of a croc.
At the snake show where the lively snakes are made to surround people’s neck like a necklace and put into the trainer’s mouth by contrast with the croc show, which is sure to be an impressive experience for the family.
The exhibition displaying small stuffed animals is another place that you should not miss, and nearby stalls selling souvenirs characterised by croc image including handbags, key rings, T-shirts, belts etc.
Among the world’s top crocodile skin manufacturers and exporters, Thailand has held a place. Crocodiles are being fostered discreetly and separately in the first 3 years or 4 so as to spare the scratches or scars that caused through friction or conflicting, which is why those crocodile handbags from famous brands are at so high a price.
Recently SCF is put on a crocodile show 3 times per day at 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00 while the snake show is performed 3 times per day, too, at 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00.
Aka Na Tian Butterfly Garden is opposite to Centara Villas Samui in Natien, lying at the south side of the island. A diverse range of butterflies form a colorful kaleidoscope and the Insect Museum couple with a bee house make it the best place for the bug enthusiasts to come.
With various tropical plants and colorful butterflies, the garden is decorated like a gorgeous picture, which makes it a fantastic place to go with your camera.
The butterfly zone is a big garden with interwoven nets in the sky confining the butterflies to a certain range yet which is large enough for the flying creatures to feel free to move. The butterflies are always surrounding you very closely while you are taking a walk at the aisle where there are many lovely food including bananas and bright-red hibiscus flowers that the keepers arrange for the butterflies. The garden is also served as a platform to learn butterfly host plants such as blood flower (red head cotton), Mexican creeper (or coral vine) and marigold where the female butterflies breed. A wild range of spectacular flowers belonging to the region boom in the garden, including cyrtostachys lakka (lipstick palm), ptychosperma palm, and bird of paradise.
The Thai-style bee house bulit on the top of the replica waterfall in the garden centre adopts closed design.
Characterised by infrequent insects from all over the world, including a variety of scorpions of different kinds, big spiders and insects of less frightening kinds like stick and leaf insects. There is an exhibition displaying cocoons and caterpillars near the spot. For some certain types of butterflies, the lifespan will be shortened to 1 week or 2 once they evolve into adult ones, which is likely to be a sad news.
There are beautiful coral reefs at Wang Bay that is not far from Samui Butterfly Garden, which offers visitors great underwater scenery. Visitors can enjoy the pleasant sights when sitting in a glass-bottom boat which is equipped with wet suits, snorkels and masks, or alternatively explore the scenery by means of snokelling down the water with the swimming suit brought along.
Bear challenges and walk about 50 steps up to another fantastic spot which shares the same grounds as the farm. Your eyes are sure to be delighted by the magnificent view once you get to the top spot where you may easily get something to drink or eat from the nearby restaurant.
The island’s gorgeous landscape is just from those beaches, the magnificent Na Muang Waterfalls formed by 2 cascades on Koh Samui is sure to add some colors to your trip. Located about 12 kilometers at the southeast side of Nathon Bay, the Na Muang falls being in an inland position can be approached by having a walk from the entry to the park.
Na Muang 1, which is the 1st waterfall, offers you a relief from the heat through the cool atmosphere made by its flowing down into a nice pool. Have a further uphill walk with about 30 minutes, then comes the smaller Na Nuang 2.
Purple Waterfalls as Namtok Na Muang is called commomly got its name from the prominent rock faces being with purple shade. This is not the only waterfall on Koh Samui, but it is thought to be among the most marvelous ones throughout the island. Na Muang serves itself in a family-oriented way that parents with children may have a comfortable swimming there or explore the jungle by riding an elephant under the assistance of the elephant safari camp. It has been a place that is listed on most visitors itinerary on Samui.
Standing off the main ring road Route 4169 about halfway between Nathon and Lamai Beach, Na Muang Waterfalls have a green, lush environment. Those who are in vigorous condition may walk their way to the falls. Firm footwear is recommanded when you are to reach the falls on foot because some certain paths will be steeply unstable and bringing along some cash is also suggested in case you have to buy some snacks and souvenirs from the stalls along the way or want some guidances throughout the trip, though it is free of charge for entrance.
Na Muang Safari Park standing between Na Muang 1 and 2 is characterised by the elephant rides, monkey shows and other entertainment that are specifically loved by the children. This cool and peaceful place offering falls swimming, hiking, exploring, picnicking gives another option for those who don’t go to the beach.
Location: Na Muang Waterfall stands off Route 4169 south of Koh Samui’s inland mountains between Nathon and Hua Thanon.
Remarks: Na Muang is free of charge for entrance and the trip can be easily completed by yourself, so there is no necessity to buy guidance or help for the trip. In order to fully experience the comfort along the trip, it’s better to take along your swimming gear and high quality sandals or walking shoes. The wetter period of months from September to November is the best time to pay a visit when the waterfalls will be flowing down torrentially with brilliance.
Guidance for getting there: Drive about 11km down the main road from Nathon. Watch out the signed entrance road to Na Muang falls, the entrance of the park is set about 1km up this road. Have a 100-metre walk from the parking lot to reach Na Muang 1, and a further 100 metres away along another path to Na Muang 2.
If you want to have a broader understanding of Buddhist and Thai culture, you may visit Koh Samui’s Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram where the monk Luong Pordaeng who passed away in 1973 is exhibited within an upright glass coffin. In the past more than 30 years, the monk’s body has been in a seated meditative position without any decay. The dead monk’s being carefully kept there is quite an important symbol with special meaning to the Thais while it may be an astounding sight for some foreign visitors.
Instead of showing fear for death, most Buddhist Thais regard human’s death as something following the nature and the termination of lifetime should be seen as a chance for a beautiful reincarnation towards the heaven. Loung Pordang is one of the most respected figures among those other mummy monks on Samui in Thailand.
It’s said that Loung Pordang told his followers to cremate his body if it were to decay, but exhibit it if it were to be intact. Loung Pordang has always been encouraging the future generations to follow the Buddha’s doctrines, which doesn’t cease even after his death.
Born into a remarkable family in a graceful community on Koh Samui in 1849, Dang Piyasilo as Loung Pordang was called came to be a monk in his early twenties when he stayed at Wat Samret for 2 years before he had 6 children with a local woman. He started to resume the monastic lifestyle to throw himself into learning Buddhism and was given a Buddhist name called Phra Khru Samathakittikhun.
Loung Pordang is said to perform an intensive meditation session in Tham Yai after he returned to Koh Samui from Bangkok and he lived the rest of his life with super prestige in Tham Yai. Right few days before his death at the age of 79, he didn’t absorb any refreshment of food, just sitting there silently in a meditative position. Thais believe that it was his purity of life, simple diet and excellent meditation sessions that granted him a long lifespan and extraordinary protection from decomposition except for his eyes that have been concealed by a sunglasses due to decay.
Wat Khunaram is quite a Buddhist temple for local people to come daily and make merit and pray. Apart from the observing the amazing Mummy Monk, you are welcome to join or watch the daily ceremonies and you may buy some Buddhist artefacts round there.
The entry is free of charge, yet monetary denotions will be saved for the temple’s maintenance fee. It is suggested to dress yourself in a proper manner by wearing trousers or skirts in this sacred place refusing bare knee and shoulders.
Generally, the further you walk along the beach towards the last resort, the more peaceful atmosphere you experience!
There are many accommodations available near the pier. You can travel to many resorts that provides you with taxi service for free from the pier. It will be better to book in advance during the period of Full Moon, otherwise you may have to stay at a luxurious inn or simply spend your night on the beach. When you are booking accomodation on the internet, be alert to those phony places presented on the website and assure that you are to book with the veritable resorts or a authentic booking site.
Koh Phangan, where you can explore more than you do at the Full Moon Party and Haad Rin, can be accessed from many other places.
All pleasant rooms may be booked up to the full capacity just a few days before the Full Moon untill the busy season lasting from December to February passes. It will be necessary for you to make reservation ahead of time if you want to fully enjoy your short holiday or have a comfortable stay, which can get difficult in some places including Haad Tien and Haad Yuan that are not easy to access.
You may find some low priced bunglows and enjoy the comfort from white-sand beaches not offering surf when you turn left from Thong Sala and pass the bunchy tranquil bays whcih have many resorts characterized by a bar, a restaurant, rooms and bungalows and dozens of easeful visitors travelling there. Haad Yao, Haad Son, Haad Salad or any other places round there are also can not be missed.
This is not a place for chasing decent Thai food or deeply experiencing the local culture, but somewhere you may find more closed to local life without expensive cafes and restaurants as Haad Rin beach has, yet having simple street carts that sell Thai snacks.
Thong Sala, which is the main town on the island, is a good place for chasing cheap but tasty food. The market operating at night serves you curried meat with rice or fried rice or pad Thai that cost 40 baht/meal, soups that cost 30 baht, pancakes that cost 20-30 baht, meat on sticks that cost 10-30 baht/stick, 1 or 2 toppings with rice that cost 50-60 baht and fruit ice shake that costs 20 baht. WIFI connection to the internet is available in the roofed hall. A small local restaurant lying 10m to the south of the market in the small street, where there offers Thai cuisines with rice that cost 40 baht and order for dishes should be wirtten down on a paper before a long waiting from Thai grandma chief. You can also find some venders along the street when you cross the road from 7-11 in Chalok Lam. However, visitors have stopped eating in these stalls due to the unreasonable price that one small meal costs 50baht plus extra 20 baht for rice that served at the same time, then the bill you pay won’t cost less than 70 baht which exactly enables you to eat better in a normal restaurant.
In Thong Sala, every Saturday the street turns into a walking street where you can have different local food in nearby restaurants. You are likely to make the best deal that you’ve ever made on the island simply with a good portion of meat with rice, small soup and iced water, though which are not expected to be heavnly delicous. You may also buy sticks with fried meatballs costing 5 baht/stick in advance of Tesco and buy sticky rice with pork/chicken/livers packed inside banana leaves costing 10 baht for a small portion at the junction besides the entrance of Tesco parking lot in the morning from 7-9AM. There are street stalls round there and a small market, served Thai meals that cost 30-50 baht, can be found besides 7-11 in Thong Sala in the direction towards Haad Rin after Walking St traffic lights.
Ferry sails directly from Koh Samui’s “Big Buddha” pier to Haad Rin 3 times a day and from Nathon and Mae Nam piers to Thong Sala several times a day. It costs a fare of 300 baht in travelling on fast Lomprayah catamaran that works 3 times a day when 200 baht on Songserm Express that works twice a day.
Be alert to swindlers who attempt to sell you a bus/boat combo with an extortionate price at Koh Samui airport. Just head to the Information counter or call a taxi at the exit of the airport.
Fast Lomprayah catamaran travels from Koh Tao to Koh Phangan at 09:30, which takes 1.25 hours, and twice a day from other places to Koh Tao at 08:30 and 13:00 at a price of 450 baht. Songserm express from Koh Phangan to Kon Tao costs cheaper with 350 baht but slower with 1.5-2 hours when setting off on Koh Phangan at 12:30.
Have a walk from bus stations Talat Kaset 1 and 2 to take a ferry starting nightly at 23:00 from Surat Thani city and reaches Thong Sala pier-Koh Phangan at 06:00, which costs 400 baht with booking a space with a soft bedpad. A trip from Thong Sala-Koh Phangan to Surat Thani by night ferry starting at 22:00 and arriving around 05:00-06:00 costs 400 baht while 350 baht by Songserm Express from Surat Thani city or train station taking in bus transfer with consuming about 3.5 hours.
Songthaew is a very low cost method of transportation on the island, costing 100 baht a ride as you share in the taxi fare with other people. More often, the taxi fare can be negotiated to a lower one when you just travel a short distance. When you want to get a taxi, just go to the nearby taxi station at the roundabout in Thong Sala that is 300m away from the pier, because the taxi drivers at the pier may always charge you with an unreasonable price of 200 baht. Normally, the capita fare for a trip From Thong Sala to Baan Tai/Khai or Chalok Lam is about 100 baht, to Haad Rin 150 baht, to Haad Yao/Salad 150 baht, to Thong Nai Pan or Had Sadet 250 baht.
Probably you may rent a motorbike easily from one of the many rental locations rather than riding a songthaew once you get to the pier because it will be a good choice to save much money and time. Semi-automatic scooter is rent at a price of 120 baht/day, which is a 100-125 cc motorbike easily operating by changing gear up or down without clutch. while the automatic scooter can be rent from a higher rental fee about 170 bath/day and will cost more fuel, calculated around 2.5L petrol per 100km riding 2 persons on 110ccm on hilly west coast, when compared to the semi-automatic.
Foreigners have to pay 1,000-10,000 baht couple with a copy of the passport as a deposit, or simply leave their passport to the rental place. The first thing you are going to do with the newly rented motorbike is go a petrol station to fill the empty tank with fuel. It’s better to rent a motorbike from the place you stay and remember not to make any guarantee for the intact condition of the motorbike so as not to be cheated by being overcharged for even a little scratch. They will arbitrarily replace the whole part where there is a small dent instead of fixing it in accordance with the rental contract. So you had better take a photo of the bike at the moment you rent it and never leave your passport as a deposit. Anyway, travelling with Songthaew will save these hidden problems.