Here is the top ten rated activities or things to do in Koh Samui according to the Lonely Planet website. The notion of 'activity' is taken to mean broadly a place that you can visit as well as a tour or a service. An 'activity' might not actually involve 'doing' very much other than observing.
Indeed many of the entries are for spas and wellness centers where being still is considered an important activity. It should not come as a great surprise that people rate the island paradise of Koh Samui highly as a place to relax, rejuvenate, detox and attune with the inner self. However, I'm somewhat disappointed that this list is dominated by yoga, colonic irrigation and starving yourself. Was this list written by a Lonely Planet yoga nut or do only yogis vote for these lists? I will shortly compile a list that includes diving, canopy adventures, Muay Thai, Thai language lessons and go karts for those not so spiritually minded.
The good news is that many of the activities listed in the top 10 and also the top 38 are inexpensive activities that can be done for under $30. The expensive exceptions are diving and staying at a wellness center. Many of the spa places listed are open to the general public and not just hotel guests. These too are reasonably priced. The bottom end of the list of 38 activities in Koh Samui is dominated by private airport taxis and smacks somewhat of local businesses voting for themselves on the Lonely Planet site.
Here, anyway, is the top 10 Koh Samui activities:
1) Koh Samui Full Day Fishing Tour
There are plenty of tours to join. It is possible to catch barracuda and snapper among other fish. Most tours will include a free transfer to and from your hotel, and lunch.
2) Five Islands Tour
This is organized by the Five Islands restaurant. The tour takes you on a tour around small islands just off the coast of Koh Samui that are fiercely guarded by Sea Gypsies from poachers. Sights include caves, remote dwellings, hidden beaches and people collecting birds spit nests for Chinese cuisine. The tour includes snorkeling. After the tour you are taken to the Five Islands Restaurant in Taling Ngam where you can enjoy a lunch or dinner included in the price of the tour.
3) Dog Rescue Center
The main office is on the Chaweng Beach Road. The Dog Rescue Center has kennels in Chaweng and a clinic in Taling Ngam. The center needs volunteers to help look after dogs and donations to carry on its program of spaying, neutering and vaccinating dogs against rabies. It is heartwarming to think that this made it to number 3 in the best things to do in Koh Samui.
4) Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts
The institute is located on Chaweng Beach Road. Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts gives lessons in the royal art of carving fruits and vegetables in intricate floral designs. You can go at 11am or 4pm. Courses are 3 hours long and finish with a 3 course meal that you can share with a friend. Cost: 1,850 THB.
5) Spa Samui Village
Spa Samui Village is found at the side of a forested mountain on Chaweng Beach Road in North Lamai. Yoga salas are in shady bucolic settings. Also available are herbal steam saunas in a cave. Shuttle buses between Spa Samui and Spa Samui Village are available. Massages cost between 300 and 650 THB.
6) Kamalaya Koh Samui
Kamalaya is a holistic wellness center with luxury accommodation on Laem Set beach. Programs are open to non-guests. There is virtually everything available here: detox programs, far infrared ray saunas, Pilates, Chi Gong, weight loss programs, yoga. Perfect for those feeling jaded with modern life.
7) Yoga Thailand
Run by a husband and wife team. The husband Paul studied with the famous yogi, OP Tiwari. This is the place to head if you are serious about furthering your yogic ability. They have a new facility in Ban Kao. 7 day courses cost 28,600 THB
8) Health Oasis Resort
Health Oasis Resort is on the ring road at Bang Po. This wellness resort distinguishes itself from others in having in house naturopath and herbalist. It offers such specialized treatments as ozone therapy, polarity zapper and light transformation.
9) Absolute Yoga
Absolute Yoga is at the entrance to Fisherman's Village in Bophut. This yoga center has hot yoga and Pilates. There's a popular cafe downstairs. Yoga sessions from 650 THB for a drop-in lesson to 4,500 THB for a month pass. Special rates available if you visit the website. See links below the picture.
10) Dharma Healing International
It is located on the small beach of Lipa Yai next to Lipa Noi. Dharma Healing International is the most spiritual and Buddhist of the wellness centers on Koh Samui. The focus is on fasting, Vipassana meditation and finding the inner child. There are 7-day to 31-day courses. It is necessary to contact the center through their website to find out the prices.