The most Instagrammable places in Koh Samui are also coveted by amateur and professional photographers. They can find the perfect field to improve their skills and catch stunning images in Koh Samui and its immediate surroundings. As in most tropical destinations, the beaches of Koh Samui are certainly the best and easiest places to shoot. They eventually allow you to capture and bring home picture postcard photos.

    Nevertheless, some specific areas in and around Samui Island offer that little plus that makes the difference between a good photo and an iconic one. We’ve roamed the island to find the best photograph spots available, so you could add an exciting photo reportage activity to your holiday or have the best backgrounds to post your best selfies against.


    Ang Thong National Marine Park

    Beautiful seascapes to capture

    Ang Thong National Marine Park is certainly the best place to snap superb images, with 42 uninhabited tropical islands covering 100 sq km of the Gulf of Thailand. The marine national park lies just 28 km northeast of Samui.

    From white-sand beaches lapped by turquoise waters and fringed by coconut trees to mysterious emerald lagoons to strangely-shaped rocks jutting out from the sea, Ang Thong has all the assets to please the most demanding photographers. Most visitors arrive on a join-in day trip or by boat charter from Koh Samui or Koh Phangan.

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    Location: Ang Thong, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84000, Thailand


    Hin Ta and Hin Yai

    An unusual and titillating sight

    Hin Ta and Hin Yai – Grandpa and Grandma Rocks – are some kind of mineral freaks of nature located to the north of Lamai Beach. These 2 rocks are respectively shaped like male and female genitalia and are only separated from each other by a few metres. As a result, they are one of the most visited sites on Koh Samui’s east coast.

    This unusual and titillating sight has, naturally, given rise to a legend explaining how the rocks came into being. Due to their position/location, the best time to photograph them is in the morning.

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    Location: 126/92 Moo 3, Lamai, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84310, Thailand

    Open: Sunday–Friday from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 7 pm


    Samui Big Buddha

    Samui's iconic monument

    Samui Big Buddha is the most impressive religious monument on Koh Samui. Located in a temple – Wat Phra Yai – set on a small rocky island linked to Samui by a bridge, this 12-metre statue represents Buddha in the Mara posture.

    Originally built in 1972, the statue went through renovation at the end of the ‘90s, and a Dharma wheel was added to its back. As Samui Big Buddha faces east, it is best to go in the morning to have it naturally lit up, allowing you to take the best shots.

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    Location: Route 4171, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm


    Chaweng Beach

    Beautiful coastal scenes at dusk

    Chaweng Beach at dusk is a memorable scene to experience and capture. As the prime resort in Koh Samui, Chaweng has it all in terms of dining, shopping and nightlife options. After 5 pm, many beachfront properties set up tables and chairs or mats and cushions right on the beach, opening the biggest open-air dining setting on the island.

    At dusk, all these temporary restaurants – lit by torches, candles or, for the most up-to-date of them, with electric lights – offer a great sight for photography. You also could enjoy a good cocktail and dine on delicious Thai specialities while you're shooting around the place.

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    Location: Chaweng Beach, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand


    Na Muang Waterfalls

    A rewarding half-day nature excursion

    Na Muang Waterfalls got their name (which translates to ‘purple waterfalls’) from the tint of the rocks on which they fall. You can discover these waterfalls on the southern side of Samui Island, between Nathon and Hua Thanon. Due to their position, the best time to photograph these 2 waterfalls is before lunch.

    Get ready for a bit of (easy) trekking through the jungle to reach the second Na Muang Waterfall. These waterfalls offer a great half-day excursion while visiting Koh Samui, and you will find a small store selling drinks and snacks at the entrance of the park.

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    Location: 37/1 Thawi Rat Phakdi Rd, Na Mueang, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5.30 pm


    Laem Yai Beach

    A perfect tropical spot in Samui

    Laem Yai Beach is the long strip of white sand that goes from Bang Por down to Nathon on the northwestern part of Samui Island. It is the perfect tropical cliché, and its location on the west coast of Koh Samui ensures that it is just the right place for sunset photos.

    Indeed, Laem Yai Beach is one of the few beaches which is good for them, with the most developed ones being on the east coast of the island. Laem Yai hosts a few beachfront resorts and restaurants, yet remains mostly undeveloped. It, therefore, offers splendid beach photography opportunities.

    Location: Ang Thong, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand


    The Jungle Club

    Ocean views from a mountain top

    The Jungle Club hotel and restaurants offer one of the most rewarding sights in Koh Samui. They are not easy to reach but are worth the effort. Located high on the mountain overlooking Chaweng Noi, it is an island of civilisation in an ocean of lush vegetation. 

    Photo-wise, this cool resort offers stunning views of the northeastern coast of Samui Island. Get there for lunch, sit on the wooden desk, and enjoy the views that go from Bophut and the airport to the north, down to Chaweng Noi in the south.

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    Location: 44/11, Soi Panyadee, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand

    Open: Saturday–Wednesday from 8 am to 10 pm (closed on Thursdays and Fridays)

    Phone: +66 (0)81 894 2327


    Thongson Bay

    A secluded bay on Samui's northern tip

    Thongson Bay is one of Samui’s secret beaches. Located toward the northern tip of the island, it is a magnificent small bay fringed with coconut trees, hosting only 2 beachfront resorts as well as a local seafood restaurant.

    The peacefulness of the site and the views of Koh Phangan make Thongson Bay a great, picturesque spot. This may be a tricky spot to find on the northeast coast of Samui, but it does give the setting a romantic, exclusive vibe.

    Location: Thongson Beach, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand


    Koh Nangyuan

    Amazing scenery around the island

    Koh Nangyuan is a small island located a few hundred metres off Koh Tao’s northwestern coast. From Samui, you can get there by joining a day trip by speedboat. The viewpoint overlooking the shallow bay of Nang Yuan Island is one of the most photographed spots in the region.

    Koh Nangyuan is also fun to walk around the island on the wooden bridge built on its rocky coast. The central part of the island features a beach from which you can enjoy snorkelling and scuba diving.

    Location: Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84360, Thailand


    Bophut Fisherman’s Village

    A beach with a charming vintage touch

    Bophut Fisherman’s Village on Koh Samui has successfully entered the age of tourism without renouncing its traditional style. As the 3rd most popular destination in Samui, Bophut Beach has a charming vintage touch with its wooden beachside houses, its fishing pier and jetty, and its cool beach looking at Koh Phangan some 12 km away.

    The atmosphere at Bophut Beach is really like a village, and the good number of restaurants and bars offer great photo opportunities – both of the local houses’ architecture and the beach and sea.

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    Location: Bophut Beach Road, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand

    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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