Wednesday 5 October 2022

Koh Samui With Children

Of all the places we visited on our Asian Adventure, Koh Samui on Thailand's gulf coast was the most traditionally child friendly.  We reached the island via ferry from Chumphon (the ferry stops at the three islands, Koh Tao, Koh Phanghan and Koh Samui) but there is also an airport on the island which we flew out from.  Samui has many beaches, each with their own personality so you can choose where to stay based on your priorities.  We chose the quieter and more family friendly Bophut beach because the hotels looked well designed for young families and it was walking distance to fisherman's village.  Everywhere on the island is reachable in under one hour though so wherever you pick to stay, it is easy to get around.

A big part of our week on the island was relaxing as we had just travelled down the coast and we were flying on from Koh Samui to Vietnam, but we managed to fit in quite a bit during our week as well so I wanted to share the family friendly activities we loved (and some that we didn't manage to fit in but looked great for another trip).

Stand up Paddle boarding

The sea was calm and warm and ideal for stand up paddle boarding.  We saw multiple places to hire them but we rented one from our hotel (it worked out around £6 for two hours) and took it out on the sea. The children all loved sitting on the board as I paddled out and Dylan spent the most time on there floating around the bay.  

Koh Samui with kids, child friendly Koh Samui


Not too far from Bophut beach are two incredible temples, Big Buddha and Wat Plai Laem, both of which are worth a visit with kids (and they are walking distance from each other).  Big Buddha stands tall and you can walk around the outside ringing bells. Wat Plai Laem has many parts and as well as admiring the art, size and beauty of the structures, we also loved watching the turtles swimming around as the temple is set out on a lake.

Koh Samui with kids, child friendly Koh Samui

Na Muang Waterfall

There are two waterfalls, Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2 (accessible via a short hike).  We visited only the first one after getting dropped off in a taxi next to a field of elephants.  It is a beautiful waterfall and so cool and refreshing to swim in!

Koh Samui with kids, child friendly Koh Samui

Beach Hopping

There are so many beaches to choose from on Koh Samui and if you had longer, you could try a new one every day.  We loved Silver Beach which was a smaller beach with white sand and crystal clear water. We accessed it through a hotel which served chips and ice creams on the beach and we loved spotting fish in the shallow waters. The sea was shallow for a long stretch making it ideal for young children wanting to splash about.

Koh Samui with kids, child friendly Koh Samui

Speed boat trip

One of the best days of our whole holiday was a speed boat snorkelling trip we did from Koh Samui.  We visited the islands Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan and snorkelled in wonderfully clear waters. We took it in turns to hold the baby but the children were all confident swimming out with the life vests that were provided and it was an incredible experience. Our trip was with Mr Tu and we were picked up from our hotel and dropped back afterwards and the price we paid included lunch at a beachfront restaurant on Koh Tao and soft drinks on the boats.

Koh Samui with kids, child friendly Koh Samui

Fisherman's Market

Located along Bophut beach is Fisherman's market. An interesting place to wander during the day, but most alive on a Wednesday and Friday evening with the night markets.  There are tons of food and drink stalls as well as some seating and live music to enjoy as you eat, and there are all manner of souvenir to admire alongside the clothing stalls.  It was a busy market but much calmer than those in Bangkok. We enjoyed trying new food and drink and buying some treats.

Koh Samui with kids, child friendly Koh Samui

Coco Tam's Fire Show

We discovered Coco Tam's whilst at the night market but ended up going back again as the children enjoyed the fire show so much and wanted to show their dad.  On twice a night, it is worth getting there early to ensure a space.  The tables are situated along the beach with giant beanbags around and all facing down to the sea.  As well as drinks you can get snacks including chicken nuggets and chips and the bar stools are all swings which we loved.  The fire show is entertaining and was a huge highlight of our stay for all four of the children.  The performers made fire halos around peoples heads which they couldn't get enough of.  The show is free but the drinks and snacks are expensive for the area - definitely worth it for the performance.

Koh Samui with kids, child friendly Koh Samui

Other Ideas 

Elephant Sanctuary

I had hoped we would visit one of the ethical elephant sanctuaries on the island where you can learn more about the magnificent animals, prepare food and get close to them, but my tribe chose to skip this in favour of more water based activities.

Ang Thong Marine Park

This is another speed boat snorkelling trip to the Ang Thong marine park.  We had trouble deciding between this trip and the Koh Tao one we did as both looked very good (and very similar).  If we had longer we would have considered a second snorkelling trip.

Scuba Diving

For older children and adults, the snorkelling trips are also available as scuba diving trips.  If you are interested in diving though, it might be better to base yourself on Koh Tao where lots of diving courses are run

Island Hopping

The ferry goes between the three main islands on the gulf coast and takes only half an hour to Koh Phanghan and 1.5 hours to Koh Tao.  Both islands can be done as a day trip or you can stay on them.  Koh Phanghan is where the famous full moon parties are held. Each island has its own personality and so much to see but we decided to concentrate on one island during this trip.    `

Koh Samui is such a child friendly place to visit, especially if you pick the right area and hotel.  We stayed in the Ibis Bophut and it was well set up for families with connecting rooms, a small playground, swimming pools and a private beach as well as a great breakfast buffet!

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