Samui is surrounded by many unspoiled islands that are easily accessible by sea. Most of them can be reached in less than 2 hours, and a large number of tour operators have all-inclusive packages where you can visit quite a few islands in one day.
Here is a list of 5 islands near Samui for beach lovers:
1. Koh Wua Talap (Angthong National Park)
Koh Wua Talap, also known as Sleeping Cow Island, is the headquarters of Angthong Marine National Park, an archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand, covering a protected area of more than 100 square kilometers of land and water.
It is the second largest island in the park and has all the necessary amenities, including an information desk, ambulance center and restaurant.
How to get there: since the island falls under the National Park, only government-authorized tourist boats can enter it.
The easiest way to get to it is to book a day trip to Samui. These tours go not only to Ko Wua Talap, but also to some of the other islands in the park.
The park entrance fee of 200 baht is sometimes included in the reservation price. The average price of a one-day tour is 1,500 baht.
What to do: In addition to the usual snorkeling and kayaking, Angthong National Park is known for its unusual but spectacular scenery. The limestone cliffs rise up to 400 meters and are covered with lush green forestry.
There are also many unique wildlife, including hairy otters, little herons, and Pacific reef herons.
2. Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan is the fifth largest island in Thailand. It covers an area of 167 square meters and is located 12 km from the island of Samui. The island consists mostly of granite, and is accented by lush jungle and long beaches of soft white sand.
How to get there: there are several ferry services from the Nathon and Bangrak piers, which usually depart around 11:30 and arrive 45 minutes later. The cost for a round trip is approximately 700 baht.
Where to stay: The island has a large number of luxury resorts and more budget options.
What to do: Haad Rin Beach, the southernmost beach on the island, is known worldwide for its spectacular full-moon parties. In fact, the full-moon parties were so good that now the beach also hosts crescent moon and black moon events.
If you're not into partying, try a hike to one of the many fabulous waterfalls scattered around the island. There's even a famous night market in Tong Sala where you can sample delicious local cuisine.
3. Koh Mudsum
Ko Madsum, also known as Ko Matsum, is a small island south of Samui. There is only one restaurant here, so don't expect energetic beach bars. Instead, be prepared for beautiful white sand beaches and more gorgeous scenery.
How to get there: Some tour operators run day trips to the island, usually starting around 8 a.m. at Tong Krut Pier. Tours include lunch on the beach and sometimes kayaking or hiking to Ko Taen, a neighboring island.
The average price is 2,000 baht. If you want to go solo, you can rent a scooter at the pier and arrange with a fisherman to take you to the island.
Where to stay: There is only one resort on the island, The Treasure Koh Madsum.
What to do: Relax on the beautiful beaches or rent a kayak and explore the coastline. You can even rent snorkeling equipment. If you get tired, come back for a delicious lunch at the beach restaurant.
4. Koh Taen
Ko Taen is a tiny island on the southern tip of Koh Samui. It is quite isolated compared to the other neighboring island and is a great place for visitors who love nature and want peace.
The long deserted beaches and lack of much entertainment make it an ideal place to relax and unwind.
How to get there: arrange with one of the fishermen at Tong Krut pier to take you to the island by boat.
Otherwise, you can try to book a small boat run by a travel agency, but only a few agencies have them on sale, so you may have to worry. The trip lasts about 20 minutes.
Where to stay: There are no hotels on the island, but there are a few bungalows, which must be booked through local travel agencies. The nearest hotel is on the neighboring island of Ko Mudsum, mentioned above.
What to do: There's nothing to do on Ko Taen except soak up all the natural beauty and relax. It's the perfect place if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Thai nightlife.
On the east side of the island there is a long, more or less empty beach, and on the south side there is a live coral reef where you can snorkel. To the west there is a picturesque walkway through a mangrove forest.
5. Koh Tao
Ko Tao is the number one diving destination in Thailand. Commonly known as Turtle Island, the entire island is surrounded by gorgeous white sand beaches and colorful coral reefs. It is located to the north of Samui.
How to get there: a ferry service operated by Songserm connects Samui with Ko Tao. It departs at 11:30 and takes 2.5 hours. The cost is about 1,000 baht round trip.
Where to stay: Koh Tao has quite a few options for accommodation, from expensive luxury resorts to cheap hostels.
What to do: Ko Tao has some delightful beaches such as Haad Tien (also known as Rocky Bay or Shark Bay), May Haad and the busiest Sairi.
The island also has some fantastic beach clubs and bars that make the nightlife here truly different.
During the day, if you are not at the beach, you can go to one of the many impressive viewpoints and admire the natural beauty of the island. However, there is one thing you should not miss on Ko Tao: snorkeling.
If you're staying on Koh Samui, be sure to plan a trip to one of the neighboring islands to experience the natural beauty and vibrant culture of Thailand.