| Samui Scene
Natural Wonders | Places
to Go | Cooking
Samui's natural environment is its biggest attraction.
The lushness of the greenery, the blue of the sea, the fantastic beaches, the hidden waterfalls and elegant geography have been attracting both new and repeat visitors for years. Travellers, from temperate countries especially, can hardly fail to be impressed by the sheer diversity of Samui's natural wonders.
Explore to your heart's content, but please respect the island environment. Don't spoil the experience for others by picking wild plants or leaving rubbish behind.
Na Muang 1 Waterfall
Not far from the 4169 ring-road between Hua Thanon and Nathon, in the south-west sector of the island, this waterfall is easily accessible to visitors. Rocks and tree roots form a natural staircase leading directly to a large pool at the base of the waterfall. Be careful when diving or swimming in the pool, however, as sharp rocks are hidden by the frothing of the fall. Elephant trekking is also available here.
Na Muang 2 Waterfall
Take the concrete road to the left, south of Na Muang 1 on the ring-road and follow it until it becomes a track. Continue to the end. A pleasant 10-minute walk up a rocky path will bring you to the base of the most beautiful waterfall on the island.
Wang Saotong Waterfall
Waterfall Turn right off the 4169 ring road at Wat Kunaram near Ban Tha Po (between Hua Thanon and Nathon), and drive right into the hills about 2km past Baan Chang Elephant Trekking. A one-kilometre walk will then take you to this beautiful high-altitude fall, which has been accessible to the public for only a year.
Hin-Ta and Hin-Yai
These two stones, called Grandmother and Grandfather respectively, have been naturally crafted by the elements to resemble male and female genitalia. The stones are a favourite tourist destination and equally popular with local Thais on weekends. The road leading to the sights is lined with some nice gift shops. This is the best place to buy the beautiful bowls and vases made from Samui's coconut palm wood. This is also one of the few places to buy garamear, Samui's own coconut candy - a tasty glutinous mixture of coconut, palm sugar and sticky rice. Follow the 4169 ring-road south west of Lamai, and look out for the signs. Visitors often throw their cigarette butts on the ground here; please try not to follow suit.
On the north side of the 4169 ring-road, this rock has a precarious perch overhanging a daunting clifftop high above Lamai. A proper dirt bike will get you most of the way up, but unless you're feeling brave, you really shouldn't attempt it on a scooter. Walking all the way can be pretty exhausting, but the view is fantastic and there's a refreshment stand to help you recuperate when you arrive. One kilometre west of Hin-Yai.
Hin Lad Waterfall
Cool down after an enjoyable 2km walk along a jungle path by taking a dip in a beautiful swimming pool under this waterfall. Tough shoes and leg protection are recommended for the walk, but the swim makes it well worth it. Packing a picnic will allow you to spend a couple of hours here and really enjoy the solitude. At the foot of the falls is Hin Lad monastery, which is worth seeing as well. The tranquil feel of the grounds and the Buddhist maxims lining the path should encourage those in need of enlightenment. The falls are on the eastern end of route 4172, 2km south of Nathon.
The other islands within Samui's gravitational pull also offer many natural wonders.
Koh Taen, off the southern shore, has excellent hiking trails for an easy stroll or a serious all-day trek through the jungle. The island is largely uninhabited but has several nature study points maintained by the Koh Taen Conservation Club. Legend has it that dogs cannot survive a night on the island. This is probably due to the high frequency calls emitted by the thousands of bats that call Koh Taen home and can be seen clouding the sky (and heading for Samui) at dusk. You can arrange longtail boat transport to Koh Taen from Thong Krut Bay on Samui's southern shore.
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a compact archipelago of mostly uninhabited islands west of Samui that provided the setting for Alex Garland's The Beach. There is good snorkelling, diving, hiking and even camping on some of the islands. Many people regard sea kayaking as the best way to explore the area. You can arrange to have a speedboat take you to the park or book a tour with one of the many operators that offer regular services.
Koh Nangyuan is a spectacular little place. Three small islets are connected by an incredible beach. There are no roads and no motors on this island, so it is very quiet. But there are bungalows and dive tour operators so you can take a couple of days to check out the island's sea life. Since there is almost no infrastructure, bungalow owners request that you do not bring plastic bottles or other items to the island that will be difficult to dispose of.
Important: Wherever you wander, please dispose of your litter carefully and do everyone a favour by picking up rubbish others may have left before you.