Scuba & Snorkeling
Local dive shops can offer advice on sites around Samui, and, more important, know local prevailing conditions (the open water around Samui can be notoriously squally). Many shops are attached to PADI dive schools offering trips ranging farther afield to some of the 80 or so islands scattered across this archipelago. Ang Thong Marine National Park (with 40 islands) makes a great destination from Samui, for either diving or a day's sightseeing. The few shops listed below are good options among the many on the island. Note: There is a decompression chamber on Samui; call tel. 07742-7427 for info.
Samui International Diving School (at the Malibu Resort, Chaweng Beach; tel. 07741-3050; www.planet-scuba.net) is a good bet for full services. Easy Divers, open since 1987, has locations in Chaweng (tel. 07741-3373; www.easydivers-thailand.com) and at other beaches, and offers good deals for beginners. Both outfits offer all sorts of PADI courses and daily dive tours, and have international safety standard boats, good equipment, and complete insurance packages. Daily dives (two dives per day) start from about 4,000B per person including land transportation, breakfast, equipment, lunch, and drinks.
Big Blue (tel. 07745-6179; www.bigbluediving.com), based on Ko Tao, provides trips for divers of any skill level and is a good choice for small groups or those seeking private attention.
Some of the better snorkeling off Ko Samui is found along the rocky coast between Chaweng Noi and Lamai bays. Several shops along Chaweng Beach rent snorkeling gear for about 200B per day.
Samui boasts the picturesque hilltop Santiburi Golf Course, part of the Santiburi Resort (12/12 Moo 1, Mae Nam; tel. 07742-1700; www.santiburi.com). It sits high in the hills on the north end of the island. Greens fees start from 4,350B for 18 holes, including caddy and golf buggy fees. Opposite the turnoff to Fisherman's Village, the Bo Phut Hills Golf Club (tel. 087267-1042, mobile) offers a more affordable option for golfers on a 9-hole course and costs 1,475B (including club rental and caddy), or 2,400B if played as 18 holes. If you feel that you haven't gotten the swing just yet, the new game of football golf needs no special skills, or even clubs; it's as it sounds, a matter of kicking a football into the holes. Just north of Chaweng, in Choeng Mon, the course at Samui Football Golf (tel. 07724-8084; www.samuifootballgolf.com) is set under swaying palms.
Blue Stars Sea Kayaking at 169/1 Moo 2, in Chaweng (tel. 07741-3231; www.bluestars.info) takes people kayaking and snorkeling to the Marine National Park at 2,200B for adults, 1,400B for children. The rubber canoes are perfect for exploring the caverns underneath limestone cliffs. If you can't get to Phang Nga (which has the most fantastic sea cave scenery), this trip is another fun option. Alternatively, try Samui Island Tour ([tel 07742-1382; www.samuiislandtour.com).
Cruising, Sailing & Kiteboarding
Short cruises can be taken on a stunning Chinese junk, The Fortune (tel. 07796-0340; www.jonque-fortune.com), which operates from Fisherman's Village, on Boput Beach, accommodates up to 10 people (or wedding parties), and offers trips from a day to a week. Onboard activities include diving, snorkeling, fishing, and island trekking. Easy Charter (tel. 07724-6280; www.easy-charters.com) has a traditional Indonesian wooden ketch, Kaisso Kaia, for sunset and day (or longer) luxury cruising.
For catamaran sailing, check out Tradewinds Resort, in Chaweng (tel. 07723-0602-4; www.sailingkohsamui.com). Owner and longtime resident John Stall offers -- and leads -- courses. There's now a growing bunch of kiteboarders descending on Samui in the peak season (Dec-Feb); more information can be found on such sites as www.kiteboardingasia.com. A center is based out of Samui Orchid Resort, on Laem Set Beach (www.samuiorchid.com), in the island's southeast.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.