Koh Samui offers a abundance of sports and leisure activities both on land and in the surrounding waters. Some visitors come to Samui solely to unwind, and lazing on the beach fits in perfectly with that plan. Others may have an entirely different agenda, with sport as their aim for a holiday full of activity. But no matter what their reasons are for visiting the island, Samui can provide activities to suit all its visitors. Here you will find info regarding some of water activities and sports you can enjoy on samui.
If you are more interested in land-activitites, please see this article: Land-based activities on Samui
Dive schools and charter companies are located mainly in Bophut and Chaweng. Although the dive spots tend to be an hour or more speedboat trip away, most of the dive companies are based on Samui rather than Koh Tao, as from a tourist’s perspective, there is more to do on Samui so it makes a better base to explore the area.
Many dive companies offer PADI dive courses, with training in resort swimming pools, before venturing into the Gulf of Thailand’s clear waters. Once you are qualified, join a dive charter to explore excellent diving locations not far from Samui. These include Ko Tao, also known as turtle island, Sail Rock as well as the Angthong Marine Park. See tropical fish, rays, dolphins and corals and even the elusive whale shark is not an uncommon sight on dive excursions.
The Samui archipelago is generally good for diving most of they year, other than during the monsoon season (Mid October to Mid December) when visibility decreases, and currents are stronger. Dive by the motto, ‘Take only photos, leave only bubbles’ and respect the underwater environment. Take all rubbish away with you, and leave shells and coral where you found them. If every diver had to take even one souvenir, there would be nothing left for divers in the future.
Always practice safety when diving, and go with a reputable company. Bangkok Samui Hospital on the ring-road in Chaweng houses a hyperbaric chamber for the treatment of divers’ decompression sickness.
Bophut Diving School www.bophutdiving.com
Easy Divers www.easydivers-samui.net
Discovery Dive Centre www.discoverydivers.com
Blue Planet Dive Centre www.blueplanetdivecentre.com
CSI Samui www.csisamui.com
Planet Scuba www.planetscuba.net
Underwater-world lovers will like the small bays of Coral Cove and Crystal Bay, between Chaweng and Lamai, which is about the best snorkeling activities that Samui has to offer without leaving the island. Alternatively, the best snorkeling option would be to take a longboat trip, only a few hundred metres across to Ko Tan and Ko Matsum, two small islands off the southern harbour of Thong Krut. Here the snorkeling is even better than the Ang Thong Marine Park. The ‘Around Samui’ trip on the Naga stops at these islands for some snorkeling as it circumnavigates the entire island.
Serious snorkelers may want to book a day snorkeling trip to Ko Tao, about 90 minutes by ferry from Samui, and known as one of the best snorkeling and dive locations in South East Asia.
Blue Stars Kayaking offers trips to the Angthong National Marine Park. Explore unusual rock formations, hidden caves and inlets. See marine and bird life without disturbing it, and see where pirates used to hide their loot. Kayaks are available to rent on most beaches, for about 200 Baht per hour. This is a great upper body exercise and an interesting way to see the shoreline. Single and double kayaks are available, and most will provide life jackets.
Blue Stars Kayaking www.bluestars.info
Coco Splash Water Park Lamai
Coco Splash Water Park in Lamai is a pleasant place to occupy young children for an afternoon. Mom and dad can relax in the shade of a sala, or join the kids in the pools to cool down in the tropical heat. What’s great is that you only pay if you intend getting in the water, so pay for the kids, and should you decide to join them for a whirl down a slide, or relax in the huge Jacuzzi, just stroll up to the counter and pay your 200 Baht. This rate of 200 Baht is fixed, child or adult, for a day pass or arrive after 4:00pm on a week day, and only pay 60 Baht.
The park is closed on Mondays, but open Tuesday through to Sunday from 10:30am to 5:30pm. From Chaweng, turn left from the Ring Road at the MacDonalds sign in Lamai, and follow the Coco Splash signs.
CoCo Splash www.samuiwaterpark.com +66 (0) 810 826 035
Samui’s latest child-friendly attraction, is conveniently located in the sea – yes in the sea — in front of Monkey Bay. You’ll find it in the middle of the main beach, next to the Chaba Resort and the Beachcomber, and an added bonus is that there’s plenty of parking at Monkey Bay, a rare find in Chaweng. Basically, the park consists of giant inflatables that are anchored down, and the area is cordoned off so children are safe from the jet-skis and other obstacles. And with safety a firm consideration at Aquapark Chaweng, life jackets are compulsory for all, even the adults.
Safety monitors patrol the watery obstacle course and ensure that all are playing by the rules and they gently guide those that are not sure-footed with climbing up the giant contraptions. And you’ll often find parents tempted to join their kids to ‘help’ them climb. But in truth, it’s just too tempting not to give it a go. Kids (and some parents) take on the challenge of rockers and totters, giant trampolines with slides and human catapult bags attached, as well as the iceberg climbing walls – two meters high for the little tots and a more imposing five-metres high for the brave (or foolish). It’s a great way to burn off energy while staying cool in the water. Just remember to bring the waterproof sunscreen while attending this activity.
Aquapark Chaweng aquaparkchaweng.wordpress.com +66 (0) 811 045 963
Jet skis are available to rent on Chaweng, Lamai, Choeng Mon, Hua Thanon and Bophut beaches. Rates vary but average between 700 – 1000 Baht for half an hour. Be sure to check your jet ski well for scratches and dents before signing the form, just as one would do before hiring a car. Look out for swimmers and only speed up once clear of the swimming area to avoid accidents.
Water Edge Sports www.wateredgesports.com
Sailing And Boating
Samui’s weather conditions make it an ideal sailing location year round. Northeasterly winds are predominant between December and April, with stronger westerly winds from May to November. Several sailing charter companies exist on the island, ranging from small mono-hull yachts and catamarans to large Turkish Gullets and Indonesian Junks that offer joining trips or private charter. Speedboats offer tours to Koh Tao and to the Angthong National Marine Park, or are also available to charter. The Samui Regatta is held end May, beginning June each year. Forming part of the Asian circuit, it is growing in numbers of competitors and spectators each year.
SUP Stand Up Paddling
SUP or stand up paddling, is the latest water sport activity to hit Samui’s shores. Unlike surfing, what’s great about this pass-time is that no waves are required. This is good news as Samui has little waves other than during the monsoon season.
SUP involves standing atop an oversized surfboard and paddling as if on a gondola. It is an easy sport to learn for beginners, as the large boards are stable, and with little wave action, it’s hard to capsize. Those that have gained a little experience can move on to a smaller and faster board. Some boards can be converted to windsurfers, with a clip in sail, making them very versatile. Naish SUP, located at the top end of Chaweng beach in front of OP Bungalows, offers boards for rent and for sale as well as lessons. Paddle out to Koh Matlang, a small island a few hundred metres off shore. A reef a little further out creates a small wave for those that have mastered the flat, shallow water.
Samui Paddle Board www.samui-paddleboard.com
As Samui generally doesn’t have strong winds, kite-boarding is more popular than windsurfing, as less wind is required. Kite-boarders can often be seen at the point in front of the W Retreat, where Mae Nam meets Bophut, as well as along Mae Nam beach, Nathon, and Hua Thanon in the south east, depending on the prevailing winds.
Kite Boarding Asia www.kiteboardingasia.com/1009-Koh-Samui
Sa-ard Panyawan is one of Thailand’s most celebrated windsurfers. He took part in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, was a long time member of the Thai National Team, has been Asian Windsurfing Champion and is a 5 times Gold Medal Winner at the South East Asian Games. You couldn’t be in better hands when taking windsurfing or sailing lessons with Sa-ard.
Saard’s Watersport Center www.saardswatersport.com/watersports.html
Although generally speaking, Samui has calm waters, during October to December, 3-4 foot beach breaks can be found. The most popular surf spot is at Chaweng Beach, where surfboards and bodyboards can be found for rent along the beach in surf season. As there are no dedicated surfing areas, be aware of bathers as well as jet skis who will be enjoying the rare waves too. There’s a little-known reef break outside Kamalaya resort in Laem Set in the South that can produce long and fast waves on the right day.
Surfing on Samui is a case of watching the weather, particularly www.windguru.cz/int/index.php?sc=30397 which shows more than just weather, but also size, direction and period of the waves.
Several fishing opportunities exist on Samui, be it Thai style from a long tail boat with TK Tours, leaving from Taling Ngam in the south or Fishing from a larger Fishing boat with Mr Tu’s fishing excursions. Mr Tu offers several trips including big game and night time fishing. Those preferring fresh water fishing should head down south to Top Cats Fishing Resort to fish in their well-stocked dams and share stories of the ones that got away with other fisher-folk
Sea Walking. Have you heard of it? Well, we hadn’t – so we chatted to Robert and Christine who’ve brought this trend to Tong Krut, Koh Samui, and they revealed what this fascinating underwater activity is all about.
UnderSeaWalking +66 (0) 901 650 411 www.underseawalking.com