Koh Samui is superb for just lazing around but if the urge to get active takes over, a host of sporting and recreational options are within a short drive of Suralai.
Key Sports and other activities
- Golfing íV Two 18-hole championships courses and one 9-hole course
- Scuba Diving, Snorkeling and Sea Kayaking
- Sailing and motor boating to AngThongNational Park, Koh Pha Ngnan and FiveIslands
- Elephant and Jungle Trekking
- Adventure sports, bungy jumping
- Go Karting
- Thai Cooking Classes
Koh Samui is one of Thailand's newest golf destinations.
The first world class golf resort, Santiburi Samui Country Club, opened in 2003, is recognised as one of Thailand's best íV often compared to Phuket's Blue Canyon. It is part of the Santiburi Resort & Spa and Bo Phut Resort & Spa, and since opening has hosted annual professional tournaments.
Santiburi is acclaimed for its spectacular scenery, year round excellent playing conditions, and proximity to the island's main beach resorts.
Koh Samui's second championship golf course is the more recently opened Royal Samui Golf & Country Club. Atop a mountain in the LamaiBeach area, there are spectacular views over surrounding islands and even the Thai mainland from practically every point on the course.
Another course, the beautifully designed 9 hole, par 3 Bophut Hills Country Club, opened in 2007. This one is a true bit of fun, well suited for beginners or groups, as well as more serious golfers who want to fine tune their iron play before heading to one of the championship courses.
All three courses are easy to get to from Suralai íV and clubs, equipment and all accessories can be hired or purchased on site.
High-quality scuba diving and snorkeling is a big attraction, though probably best avoided during the monsoon in November and December.
The most famous dive site is Sail Rock, north of Ko Pha Ngan, which has an 18m natural rock chimney swimthrough and is a good place to see whale sharks. Other sites are north of Ang Thong National Park and close to the Gulf's diving mecca Koh Tao, which has 21 sites off its shores. A day's diving from Samui should get to two to three sites.
Snorkeling excursions are a great way to see the beaches of Koh Samui in a different way! During a boat trip around the island you pass some of the most stunning beaches and coves: Big Buddha Bay, ChoengmonBay, ChawengBay, LamaiBay, HuaThanonBay, Koh Mudsum and Koh Tan. A BBQ style picnic lunch is usually part of the deal.
Sea kayaking is another way to explore the coast, at Mae Koh. This adventure includes an easy but spectacular climb through dense rainforest and narrow ravines to arrive at the 'green lagoon'.
Following the success of the Samui Regatta, the island's sailing scene has come on in leaps and bounds. The surrounding islands in the Ang Thong National Park make an ideal sailing playground and good all-year-round breezes and challenging westerly winds between May and November make great sailing conditions. Several boat companies operate charters.
Elephant + Jungle Trekking
For the more leisurely, over fifty elephants call Samui home and all work in the tourist industry. A typical 'trek' lasts between 15 minutes and half an hour and is an excellent way to see the island's jungle clad interior. Some companies take visitors up into the hills for magnificent views over the island, others go through waterfalls, where riders run the risk of receiving a cooling shower.
To explore Koh Samui's jungle from a different perspective go to Koh Samui Canopy Adventures. Swinging through the trees on over 500 metres of cable is definitely a different way to see the island! It features 6 different tree houses, beautiful waterfalls and even a hammock bar for a refreshing drink. They also provide a free shuttle from anywhere on the island. Samui Canopy Adventures is located in the jungle inland from Bophut beach and is well signposted.
Not for the fainthearted! Samui bungy jump is located next to the famous 'Reggae Pub' in Chaweng, an iconic nightclub,which is handy for those needing some dutch courage before hand! The 50 metre jump is held over a large specially designed plunge pool. The brave (or insane!) among you can choose between individual jumps, tandem jumps, and even submersion jumps where you get dunked in the pool!
If your competitive spirit rears its head then why not go Go-Karting for the day? Suitable for both beginners and more experienced riders, the course is fun and fast. Samui Go-Kart provides everything from instructions to helmets. All you have to do is jump in and go. The course is open from 9am to 9pm every day and located just west of Bophut of the main ring road.
Thai Cooking Classes
Thai cooking courses are an increasingly popular activity on the island. Thai cuisine's high profile worldwide and the easygoing environment of Samui's cookery schools no doubt encourage many visitors to take a course. The best known independent school on the island, SITCA (Samui Institute of Culinary Arts, South Chaweng) has two courses a day, a separate food carving course, a well stocked shop and an excellent restaurant, The Dining Room.
Centara Samui Beach Resort and Santiburi Resort both let guests loose in the kitchen for a variety of half and one day courses. The affable Toy Suwan at the Blue Banana (BigBuddhaBeach, Tel. 077 245 080) has a lunchtime and evening class and also sells a wide range of ingredients and utensils.