I went to Koh Samui this year for a wedding, and to be honest wasn’t super keen. I knew it was a beautiful island (isn’t every island in Thailand) but I also knew it was a tourist mecca and had beaches that were absolutely packed with annoying honeymooners at all times.

But if you look hard enough online, you’ll find ways to get around the crowded spots. Koh Samui is still a beaut place to visit, it’s just about nailing where to stay and what to see.

1. AVANI+ Samui Resort

This secluded and super lush resort is situated quite a way out of town. Down toward the south west of the island, it’s nestled among rainforest and runs along the edge of the ocean.

The villas are the main vibe, though. There are deluxe rooms that are cheaper, but my advice is to splurge on a pool villa – you’ll cop your own private plunge pool, a small courtyard to relax in, and the best bit is you can roll from your bed into the pool whenever you like.

2. Jungle Club

This hidden gem is perched high up in the mountaintops with the most killer view you’ll find on the island, IMO. The drinks are huge and while not super cheap compared to other bars, you’re paying for the vibe and location. Get there in the late arvo to make good use of that golden sunset light, and stick around after the sun goes down – it’s muy romantic.

3. Tamarind Springs Forest Spa

This place is absolutely ridiculous. I have never had a more relaxing spa experience, and I never will I don’t reckon. Set smack-bang in the middle of rainforest, with man-made pools that blend into the surroundings, the idea is you pay a flat rate for several hours in the place, get a dressing gown, leave your phone and belongings in a locker (no phones allowed!) and wander aimlessly from saunas set inside caves (yes, really) to the outdoor plunge pools. They’ll even give you some healthy snacks and endless cups of tea.

When I went, there were only 4 other people in the place. I was able to get plunge pools all to myself and often saunas too. They stagger entry, so even on a busy day you won’t be fighting off folks to get some maxo relaxo.

While you can’t get that ^^^ Instagram shot on account of the phone ban, it’s so nice to properly switch off. Also, you can take photos at the restaurant, which features a lush view and is well worth the pic.

4. Na Mueang 2 Waterfall

Credit: Wanderers & Warriors

There are two main waterfalls in Koh Samui – Na Mueang 1 and Na Mueang 2. They’re both easy to get to on a scooter or in a taxi, although it’s a PROPER hike up to the top, and you should wear proper shoes and not thongs like I did.

Na Mueang 2 is widely believed to be the better one, the view as you can see is insane and the pools at the top of the waterfall are cool and clear.

It’s not technically very secret, but the day I visited no one bothered to hike all the way to the top, and I had the space to myself.