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8 Best Koh Samui Day Trips & Tours

Looking for the best Koh Samui day trips? Look no further. Here you’ll find an updated list of the top-rated Koh Samui tours and day trips you can organize on your own (including trips to Ang Thong Marine Park and Koh Tao).

I get why you chose Koh Samui as part of your trip to Thailand! As the second-largest island in Thailand after Phuket, Koh Samui offer a ton for all kinds of travelers.

Here you’ve got beautiful white-sand beaches lined by palm trees, plenty of cultural attractions and beautiful temples, and you can even go chasing waterfalls. There are a few things to do in Koh Samui that you shouldn’s miss such as Bophut Beach, Chaweng, the Big Buddha and Wat Plai Laem.

It’s this diversity of landscapes that makes Koh Samui so famous together with other popular destinations.

But if you have one or two extra days, there are some incredible day trips that should be on your Koh Samui itinerary such as the Ang Thong Marine Park. Check out the best day trips from Koh Samui – from hanging out with elephants in a responsible way, to snorkeling with turtles, these are some incredible tours to choose.

Visit the Ang Thong Marine Park from Koh Samui

Ang Thong Marine Park is a pristine archipelago made of 42 islands scattered along the Gulf of Thailand. It’s home to a very diverse landscape made of limestone peaks as tall as 400 meters, white sand beaches, dense rainforest jungle, hidden coves, lakes, and stunning waterfalls. In short, it’s a stunning place. Over the years I’ve visited many places in Thailand, and Ang Thong National Park remains one of my top 3 destinations.

The islands of Ang Thong appeared in the novel ‘The Beach’ by Alex Garland, and even if the movie with DiCaprio was actually filmed in Phi Phi Leh, these islands became more known thanks to the novel.

There are many operators offering Koh Samui boat trips to Ang Thong, but I personally went with Boutique Yachting, a tour operator that offer luxury day trips from Koh Samui to Ang Thong Park on a beautiful, wooden motor-operated sailing yacht. It was an incredible experience so let me tell you more about it.

The tour includes pick up from your hotel and transfer to Petcherat Pier. From here it takes 2 hours to sail to Ang Thong National Park, but there are day beds on the sundeck to relax on and they serve a buffet breakfast on board. The tour also includes unlimited soft drinks throughout the day and lunch, and snacks (fresh fruit and cake).

You’ll first visit the island of Koh Wua Talap, where you can either relax on the beach or walk to the viewpoint for this INCREDIBLE view.

You’ll then head to Mae Koh Island where you’ll fin an inland saltwater lagoon called Emerald Lake (Thale Nai). Again you have the option to hike up to see it, or you can relax at the beach.

On the way back to Koh Samui, hopefully you’ll be able to admire a beautiful sunset, and it’s not that rare to also spot dolphins and whales!

You can read about my experience in Ang Thong National Park in detail. Boutique Yachting trips often sell out, so make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment!

 Check out availability and book the Ang Thong Full-Day Discovery Cruise from Koh Samui directly online. BOOK IT HERE

You can find cheaper Ang Thong National Marine Park tours from Koh Samui, but for me this is the best Ang Thong National Park tour and the price tag of this one is totally worth it in my opinion.

➤ Another good option is the Mu Ko Ang Thong Park: Semi-private Sunset Cruise Tour that gets great reviews from travelers. The itinerary is the same, but here you’ll also get to kayak. This tour is cheaper (although keep in mind that there aren’t good, super budget tours from Koh Samui to the park), and it’s a little less luxury as an experience. CHECK IT OUT

Go On a 4WD Wild Jungle Safari Tour in Koh Samui

One of the most popular day trips from Koh Samui has surprisingly nothing to do with the sea and island hopping. The 4WD Wild Jungle Safari Tour has won the 2019 Get Your Guide Award for Best Adrenaline Rush tour in Asia, so you know why so many people love it!

On this tour you’ll go on a safari through the jungle and mountains of Koh Samui in a rugged ex-army jeep. You’ll visit the iconic Grandmother and Grandfather rocks, swim in the natural pool by Koh Samui’s largest waterfall, and go on two zip line cable rides. Then you’ll also get to visit a few viewpoints, the Big Buddha, and Buddha’s Magic Garden, so it’s a really intense and comprehensive tour that will show you tons of the top attractions on the island. The tour also includes lunch, pick up and drop off. BOOK IT HERE

Choose a Koh Tao Day Trip for the Best Snorkeling

Koh Tao is an island located to the east of the Surat Thani coastline, and it’s a perfect day trip destination from Koh Samui if you’re into snorkeling or diving. This small island is in fact famous for scuba diving, and it’s actually one of the cheapest places in the world you can get a scuba diving license! Although for that, you’ll need to spend more than one day on the island…

READ MORE: 13 Best Things To Do in Koh Tao

The name Koh Tao in Thai means Turtle Island, and the island is called like that because it serves as a natural habitat for sea turtles. While the population of sea turtles has significantly declined from the past few decades, you can still spot green and hawksbill turtles, particularly in the Thian Og Bay area. Can you imagine how cool it is to snorkel or dive with the turtles?

➤ You can potentially organize a Koh Samui to Koh Tao day trip on your own, but it’s a pretty long ferry ride (1 hour 30-45 minutes) for a day trip, especially if you add the time to go to the pier etc. It’s one of those cases where I’d strongly recommend a tour. If you prefer to travel from Koh Samui to Koh Tao independently, though, you can check out the ferry schedule and price here.

➤ Like snorkeling? Check out this Full-Day Snorkeling Tour on Koh Tao. You’ll be able to get a glimpse into the underwater world of Koh Tao and see the impressive reef system first-hand. This Koh Tao boat trip includes pickup from your hotel, lunch, and snorkeling at two different spots. BOOK IT HERE

➤ If you want to go one step further, check out the Diving Trip at Koh Tao from Koh Samui. The tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off, ferry tickets, dive equipment, lunch, and two supervised dives. This Koh Tao tour is made for non-certified divers, where an instructor will teach you the basics of diving before going on the first dive, so no experience is necessary. BOOK IT HERE

If you’re a certified diver, any stage from beginner to advanced, check out this other diving tour that’s more appropriate. BOOK IT HERE

Beautiful Views at Koh Nang Yuan

Koh Nang Yuan is an idyllic island that’s located offshore from Koh Tao, just a 15-20 minutes boat ride away. This tiny island is known for its pristine aquamarine waters and the picturesque rocks that provide the perfect backdrop for an idyllic day at the beach. There’s also some great snorkeling to be done here because of the reef.

When you are in Koh Nang Yuan, don’t be lazy and walk up to the viewpoint – the views are incredible and from up there you can enjoy a different perspective of the island’s pristine beauty. The viewpoint hike will take about 20 minutes, but you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views ever. However, make sure you bring closed shoes and mosquito repellent for the short hike, the mosquitoes ate us alive!

Because of its proximity to Koh Tao, it’s best to combine Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan in one trip. In this case, I don’t recommend going on your own as going to take the ferry in Koh Samui, ride the ferry to Koh Tao, and board another boat for Koh Nang Yuan would take you ages.

➤ Check out the Koh Nang Yuan Boat Trip from Koh Samui. This one day trip to Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan tour includes pick up and drop off, snorkeling off the coast off Koh Tao and lunch, and free time in Koh Nang Yuan to enjoy the beach and hike to the viewpoint. You can find this same exact tour on other platforms, but on Civitatis it’s cheaper. I’ve used this platform myself before, and always had great experiences. BOOK IT HERE

Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan + Koh Phangan Day Trip

If I say Koh Phangan, I’m pretty sure you’ll think about the Full Moon party. Held every month on the beach at the time of (guess what?!?) the full moon, the Full Moon party attracts thousands of people every time. The party lasts all night long and it’s not something you’ll easily forget.

➤ It’s easy to organize a day trip to Koh Phangan from Koh Samui, it’s just a 30 minute ferry ride. If you’re going just for the Full Moon party, I suggest to book a ferry ticket specific for the party. For less than $30, you’ll get picked up from your hotel in Koh Samui and brought by ferry to Koh Phangan. You can choose your ferry time between 6 PM and 11 PM. The next morning you’ll get back to Koh Samui by ferry and you’ll get dropped off to your hotel for some much-needed sleep. BOOK IT HERE

But there is more to this island than the boisterous nightlife scene and the infamous Full Moon party. If you prefer a quiet time at the beach, Koh Phangan is still a great destination for that. As the fifth biggest island in Thailand, Koh Phangan is home to a tropical jungle interior and is dotted with gorgeous, white sand beaches. The best ones are Chaloklum & Mae Haad, Haad Yao & Haad Salad, and Thong Sala.

➤ You can easily go on excursion to Koh Phangan on your own by taking the ferry from either Nathon Pier or Bangrak Pier. From these two ports the journey lasts just 30 minutes. If you’re visiting during the high season, it’s highly suggested that your book your ticket in advance. BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE

➤ If you prefer a hassle-free tour, check out the Koh Phangan Day Tour by Junk Boat. You’ll sail on a beautiful wooden junk boat, go snorkeling at the Koh Ma Reef in Koh Phangan, and enjoy some time at a secluded beach. This island tour from Koh Samui includes pick up and drop off and lunch as well. BOOK IT HERE

A Responsible Koh Samui Elephant Tour To Samui Elephant Sanctuary

I’m always extremely careful when recommending an experience that involves animals, so I’ve done my research before recommending this one.

The problem is that most elephant “sanctuaries” or parks aren’t sustainable at all. Most of them offer elephant rides which is a big no no, and many chain the elephants which is also totally wrong.

There are very few parks in Southeast Asia that are doing things right, and Samui Elephant Sanctuary in Koh Samui is one of them. Opened just in 2018, this is the first ethical park on the island; here you’ll get to interact with 6 rescued elephants.

I’ve visited the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai twice in the past, which is considered the most sustainable elephant park in Thailand, and absolutely loved the experience. The owners of the Samui Elephant Sanctuary are following the same guidelines that are given by the Save Elephant Foundation, and operate in the same way of Elephant Nature Park.

The cost of the visit at the time of writing is 3000 baht for adults ($98) and 1500 baht for kids. Yes, it’s more expensive than other elephant parks, but you know where your money is going here and that the animals are treated fairly. When booking a visit, you can choose between the Morning and the Afternoon Tour.

During the tour you’ll get to feed the elephants, walk with them and observe them as they bathe in the pool and play in the mud pit. It’s ery similar to the program at Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. The tour also includes transportation from and to your hotel and lunch.


Day Trips from Koh Samui to Koh Taen

Koh Taen (also called Koh Tan) is a small island located to the south of Koh Samui, and it’s part of the Koh Samui archipelago. Being so close, it’s a great destination for a day trip tour from Koh Samui for people who don’t want to spend too much time on the boat itself.

This tiny island is a haven for those looking to be one with nature. It’s not as visited as other islands in the Gulf of Thailand such as Koh Phangan or Koh Tao, so there’s an untouched feel to it. For the same reason though, there are limited tourist facilities available on the island, so if you’re looking for a variety of bars and restaurants, this isn’t for you.

But to make up for the lack of tourist facilities, there are some beautiful beaches on Koh Taen. If you like silence and peace head to the eastern side of the island where you can find a long deserted beach. You can often have it all to yourself, especially if you visit during the off-peak season. 

If you go to the southern side, you’ll find coral reefs and all kinds of sea life, which makes it the perfect spot if you’re into snorkeling. Sometimes you can even spot sea turtles and manta rays here!

To get from Koh Samui to Koh Taen on your own, make your way to the fishing village of Thong Krut located in the southern side of Koh Samui. Head to the pier and look for a longtail boat to bring you there. The trip will take just 15 to 20 minutes.

➤ You’d rather go with a tour? Check out the Koh Taen & Mudsum: Half-Day Island Hopping and Snorkeling half-day tour, which includes pickup from your hotel in Koh Samui. You’ll sail on a luxury wooden yacht with a jacuzzi. The first stop is for snorkeling at Koh Taen, followed by lunch on the beach. Then you’ll have free time at the beach in Koh Mudsum, or you can kayak as well. This is one of the best Koh Samui Snorkeling Tours. BOOK IT HERE

Hang Out With Pigs in Koh Madsum

Koh Madsum is another tiny island off the coast of Koh Samui. It neighbors Koh Taen, which we’ve just talked about. This is easily accessible from the main Koh Samui island via a boat ride, so it’s perfect if you’re planning to go island hopping from Koh Samui. Many of the people who’ve been here consider it one of the best kept secrets of the Samui Archipelago.

Koh Madsums is quiet and unspoilt, and has a rocky coast. Koh Madsum is also known as the Pig Island, because there are pigs that roam on the beach. Pretty crazy right?

It’s a lot of fun to play with the pigs, but please respect the animals while on the island. These aren’t wild pigs (or boars, some people say they are actually boars), the owner is the restaurant’s owner. Don’t touch them unless the owner tells you it’s ok to do so, and don’t feed them your own food that would be bad for the pigs.

Aside from the pigs, one other thing that Koh Madsum is famous for is for its snorkeling spots. It’s not a case that another nickname for the island is Coral Island because of the abundant coral reef system and colorful fishes that you’ll see when you go snorkeling. On the beach you’ll find tone restaurant and a kayak rental; renting a kayak is a great option to go explore beyond the coastline.

To get from Koh Samui to Koh Madsum on your own, make your way to the fishing village of Thong Krut (the same spot for heading to Koh Taen). Head to the pier and look for a longtail boat to bring you there. Negotiate directly with the owner, the trip shouldn’t cost more than 1500-2000 baht at the most.

➤ Another option is to join the Original Pig Island Experience, one of the best Koh Samui boat tours in my opinion. After pickup, you’ll head for some snorkeling to Koh Tan, followed by a short hike through the mangrove forest. Then you’ll head to Koh Madsum where you’ll be able to enjoy the beach, play with the pigs, and go kayaking. You’ll head back to Koh Samui after lunch. BOOK IT HERE

And there you go! Hopefully this list of the best Koh Samui excursions and Koh Samui day tours was useful to organize your trip. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about Koh Samui and bon voyage!

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.

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