Surat Thani Activities
Four Seasons Thai Cooking Class
219 Moo 5
You'll undoubtedly leave Koh Samui with a craving for the food. Thailand's spicy, savory, umami, and sweet dishes are satisfying, addictive, and incomparable to anything else. Which is why taking a cooking class while you're on the island should be a mandate. There are many to choose from, but the Four Seasons’ class is one of our favorites for its patient culinary team. One of the hotel's incredibly skilled chefs takes you through two dishes on the menu, starting with a tutorial on each one's history and ingredients before showing how it's prepared, step by step. You'll learn to make specialties like steamed sea bass with spicy lime sauce and grilled prawns with tamarind, which will impress back home.
Amari Palm Reef Resort, Moo 2
An efficient, professional diving school that offers PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certifications. You can keep it easy here and have the team teach you basic skills for breathing with scuba and snorkeling gear. Or you can go deeper with an intensive two- or three-day course for PADI certification. When you're ready to go into the deep crystalline waters, ask your dive master to take you to Chumphon Pinnacle, where you'll see white-eyed moray eels and great barracuda.
Tamarind Springs Spa
205/7 Thong Takian, Moo 4
A great massage isn't an anomaly in Samui. But it takes a little more searching to find one that will transform you, one where the clinician seems to understand every knot in your body. That's what you get at Tamarind. The staff here is trained in traditional Thai, Eastern, and Western therapeutic techniques and will knead, Rolf, rub, and press your muscles until they seem to melt. Go for the Steam and Dream treatment. You'll sit in an herbal steam cave in the jungle before indulging in a two-and-a-half-hour massage. By the time you leave, you’ll be so euphoric, you won't remember your own name.
48/10 Moo 3
For one goop editor, Muay Thai was the workout she didn't know she was looking for. It changed her entire perspective on exercising and mindfulness. The thing about traditional Thai boxing is that you can't focus on anything else but what's happening in front of you. When your master yells "kick," you kick (or "jab" or "uppercut"). It's a practice of being present. And one of the most fun, intense workouts you'll ever do. This particular gym is known for some of the best instructors in the country.
Vikasa Yoga Retreat
211 Bontji Moo 4
The idea of a yoga retreat can be intimidating, especially for the uninitiated. But Vikasa somehow makes its all-inclusive wellness hotel inviting. The team is friendly, welcoming, and incredibly knowledgeable about yoga. A trip here really lets you focus on, well, yourself. There are personalized vacation packages, where you can practice daily yoga and meditation, as well as more structured one-on-one training for those looking to become instructors. But yoga aside, its vegetarian restaurant, Life Café, is reason enough to visit. Order the Vikasa dumplings (carrots and walnuts minced and wrapped in rice paper and served with plum sauce) and mushroom ceviche with a probiotic honey and coconut milk colada.
Na Muang Waterfall
Na Muang, Moo 3
Don’t leave Koh Samui without making the pilgrimage to Na Muang. Try to visit during rainy season, which runs from late October to the middle of December. This is when the water creates a rushing, visually stunning cascade into the rock pools below. These pools fill up and transform into the most idyllic spot for a swim surrounded by beautiful, untamed jungle.
64/12-15 Bophut, Moo 2
It's impossible to see all of the temples in Thailand, so choose wisely. On Samui, the Lamai temple, just a five-minute drive from popular Lamai Beach on the island's east coast, should be a priority. It’s a striking example of the ornate gold structures in the country that seem to transcend time. Locals come to pray and offer gifts to the Buddha. A nearby museum store sells artifacts and offers an impressive history of the city and island. Wear respectful, conservative clothes—no bare arms or legs—and comfortable shoes to allow for plenty of walking around the grounds.
Secret Buddha Garden
Na Mueang, Moo 3
From 1976 until his death, durian farmer Nim Thongsuk placed sculptures around his family’s expansive jungle garden, making it one of the most gorgeous landmarks on all of Samui. High on a hilltop and surrounded by greenery, the Secret Buddha Garden sits beside a serene waterfall that trickles into a stream. Some of the statues are of Nim Thongsuk himself and his parents, seated beside characters of Buddhist folklore and a band of musicians. Get an experienced taxi driver with a four-wheel drive to take you to this mountainous getaway (the country road can be a little bumpy—heads up).
Fisherman’s Village Walking Street
Bo Put, Moo 4
Thailand's bustling markets are famous around the world—and for good reason. These are where you can score locally made silk shawls next to handmade baskets, colorful souvenirs, dried herbs, and so much more. One of these cultural bazaars can be found in nearly every city, island, and village. On Samui, you'll find it on Friday nights at the Fisherman's Village Walking Street in Bophut, a beach village on the northern end of the island. This is a fun stop for an evening out. Bring cash, as most vendors won't take credit cards. Afterward, grab dinner at one of the local beachside cafés.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
45/1-2 Moo 1
You know those photos of dense jungle and white sand next to gigantic mountains jutting out of crystalline water? That’s the Ang Thong National Marine Park. This archipelago, made up of more than forty islands, is so bright and vivid, it looks Photoshopped. It's about an hour or two from Koh Samui (depending on the type of boat you choose; you can take a touristy slow boat, like the Red Baron, or a speedboat for the day). Depending on whether you take a private charter or a group tour, the local companies will tailor the day to what you're looking for, which will likely include some type of snorkeling, swimming, and trekking along the trails of a few of the inhabited islands (most are uninhabited).