Why leave a beautiful tropical island to go to another?
Samui is a beautiful little world unto itself. The kind of place that you know has everything. So why leave it? What’s so special about the surrounding islands?
They’re just as beautiful as Koh Samui, is why. And they’re deserted. Each is different; all are exotic. They mesmerize with their charms and seem to be the very reason why the phrase ‘island hopping’ came into existence. Once you get bitten by the lure of these other islands, you’ll be happy to set sail. It’s incredibly easy, for a start, and just so full of adventure that you won’t want to say no.
Here’s the quick lowdown on what lies beyond Koh Samui.
Koh Matlang is so easy to get to – no need even to take a boat. It’s located in the most northern part of Chaweng. You can paddle to it when the tide’s low. Remember to wear shoes though as the rocks can be sharp and there’s also the occasional stonefish. The little island is relaxing and usually completely deserted. No tours stop here and it’s quietly enigmatic. It’s sundrenched too and there’s nowhere to have a drink, so bring sunscreen and head back when you get thirsty. An alternative way to get here is to rent a kayak and just set off.
Koh Matsum south of the island is close to the tiny fishing village of Thong Krut and boasts a beautiful sandy beach. Bring your own refreshments with you as there are none to be found here. It’s a great place to while away a few hours.
There are quite a few boat trips that go to Koh Matsum and then onto neighboring Koh Tan, which has chalets as well as a restaurant. A good spot for swimming, there’s more to the island than just its beaches. Take the path that heads along the bay from where the boat moors. Go north and you will soon come to a small cave. It’s filled with bats, which will probably be fast asleep when you visit during the day, but come round sunset and you’ll see their mad exit as they shoot out of the cave and head for Koh Samui, where they will hunt for food.
Don’t think to bring a dog to this island, however. Locals sometimes refer to it as No-Dog Island as the bats are said to drive dogs insane.
Head south and you’ll come to beguiling mangrove woods. It’s the largest of its kind in Koh Samui and its surroundings. Better still, a wooden walkway enables you to walk through and admire trees that grow out of saltwater.
For boat trips for Koh Matsum and Koh Tan, just turn up in Thong Krut and see who’s currently running trips. Otherwise you can book through tourist agencies.
Just off the coast of Ban Taling Ngam, the striking Five Islands rise from the sea with strange, contorted outlines. They are very scenic but it’s very hard to find a boat that will take you here. The islands are known for their birds’ nests, most of which will be served up in restaurants abroad. The birds are protected by armed guards who keep a watchful eye out. Anyone who runs a tour to the islands will need prior clearance. Tours, do however, pass close by – you can get some great photos quite easily.
All these islands lie very close to Koh Koh Samui and are a 15-minute ride away at most. For a great day out, visit the Ang-thong Marine Park. Part of the Koh Samui archipelago, these islets are an incredibly beautiful chain that is visible from Koh Samui’s west coast. Most tours will take you to three, sometimes more, spots on the islands – ideal for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking or just relaxing on the sands here. Beaches are soft white sand and backed by palms – idyllic’s the word.
Plenty of boats can take you just anywhere you’d like to go. Opt for standard day trips or charter a boat and enjoy traveling with friends or family. Koh Samui, being so connected with the water, has dozens of companies both large and small, who will take you where you want to go. Just keep in mind safety aspects, insist on a life jacket, and only go with professional organizations.