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Ko Samui, Thailand

Big Buddha


Ko Samui is a popular island off the east coast of Thailand in the Gulf of Thailand. Driving around you may see miniature spirit houses in front of some residences. These are provided to appease and shelter spirits.

Where You're Docked

Cruise ships anchor and tender to the town of Nathon (pronounced Naa-tawn) on the west coast where ferries from the mainland arrive as well.

View Larger Map

Money and Tipping

Thailand's currency is the Thai Baht (THB). ATM's tend to have a high service fee (200 THB) for foreign cards. http://www.squidoo.com/bangkok-atm-and-money-exchangers Tipping is not expected though small change is typically left (less than 20 baht) when dining at a restaurant. You can give a taxi driver a small tip for good service and for not overcharging you.

Local Transportation

Easiest and cheapest way to get around is by Songgthaew, covered pickups that serve as the local bus system. Try flagging one down going the direction you want. If it is empty, the driver may loop around a few times to try to pick up more passengers. Approximate fares should be 50 baht to the Big Buddha and 70 baht to Chaweng beach. Make sure you are heading clockwise and to the north from Nathon.

Taxis waiting by pier want to take you on an island tour so you may want to walk into town if they don't want to take you where you want to go. Make sure your taxi driver uses the meter.


Search hotels in Ko Samui here


  • Chaweng Beach - Ko Samui's most popular and most built up beach with plenty of resorts, shops and restaurants. You can't see the beach from the road but is acceptable to cut through any of the resorts to get to the beach. There are a only few roads that go directly to the beach (see Chaweng Beach map).
  • Big Buddha - A large seated buddha by Bophut. If it's not wet, you will need to take your shoes off before walking up.
  • Hin Ta & Hin Yai - These peculiarly shaped rocks are out by Lamai beach on the southeast side of the island. Bit harder to get to with limited time.
  • Resorts - some resorts may let you hang out at the pool if you buy food and drinks.

Shopping & Restaurants

Both Nathon and Chaweng beach have many shops and restaurants. There is a Tesco supermarket in Nathon two blocks east of the cruise pier and a post office near the end of the pier.

Central Festival mall opened at Chaweng Beach in 2014. This large open air mall features a Food Park food court, restaurants, lots of shops including a Central department store and a Tops Supermarket.


Cafes and restaurants may provide free wifi to customers. The closest restaurant to the pier in Nathon has free WiFi.

Maps (right-click to save)


Nathon area

Chaweng Beach

Ko Samui Island


Ko Samui Weather Forecast


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Page last modified on October 06, 2019, at 10:54 AM
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