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 hyperbaric chamber near the Big Buddha; call tel. 07742-7427 for info.As for which scuba/snorkeling shop on island to use: the team at 100 Degrees East (www.100degreeseast.com; tel. 07742-3936) are total pros, with snorkeling or diving trips around Samui and beyond. The Life Aquatic (www.thelifeaquatic.asia; tel. 086030-0286) is another top choice, offering guided dive trips (from 4,600B; two dives, hotel transfer, lunch, gear) and snorkel trips (from 2,700B; hotel transfer, lunch, gear). Safety records for both are impeccable, and both offer all sorts of PADI courses and daily dive tours. We almost must praise their nice boats, good equipment, and complete insurance packages. A three-day open water certification costs around 15,000B.
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 5,600B 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 2,500B for adults, 1,600B 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. r.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. Trips start at 2,500B per person.
For speedboat, catamaran or yacht sailing, check out Oceana Samui Charters (www.oceanasamui.com; tel. 083503-5088). Private charters start at 12,000B, and there are half-day package tours that are also private. To rent from other shops and private owners, look at GetMyBoat.com.
There’s now a growing number of kiteboarders descending on Samui in the peak season (Nov–Mar and April–Oct). Book group lessons (one-day 4,000B; three-day 11,000B) or private sessions (8,000B) with the pros at Kiteboarding Asia (www.kiteboardingasia.com; tel. 083643-1627).
The best place to learn the “art of eight limbs” is Lamai Muay Thai Camp (www.lamaimuaythaicamp.com; tel. 087082-6970). Training sessions start at 300B, but longer lessons and accommodation are available, too. The World Muaythai Council manages the camp and trains everyone from newbies to pros.
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.