Museums in Koh Samui are a Different Kind of Island Experience
Beach life is awesome, sure, but if you want to get the most out of your trip then why not hit up some of the museums in Koh Samui as well? Not only are they a great way to get to know about Thai history and culture but some of them also have aircon, just saying… If you fancy getting to know a different side of the island then here’s our pick of the best.
Let’s start with the big-hitter. Art Samui is probably the best-known museum on the island and is similar to the Trickeye museum in Phuket. The paintings here aren’t your classical watercolors, crafted by long-dead artists in years gone by. Instead they’re a clever mix of 3D effects and optical illusions which make you feel like you’re actually inside the art! This is an interactive place so you can get as many selfies of yourself with the weird and wonderful pictures as you like. A particular favorite is the painted hoover cleaning up Munch’s Scream!
Location: 37/45 Moo 5, Bophut Subdistrict, Choeng Mon, Bophut, 84320
Cost: 500 baht (about $16)
Hours of Operation: 10am – 7pm Monday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm Sunday
If you like coconuts then you’ll love this next choice. Is it historic in a traditional sense? No not really, but it is fascinating! With coconut hailed as the new superfood, the coconut museum focuses on everything to do with this amazing nut. Expect lots of information about the development of the coconut trade, plenty of coconut-flavored foods to try and a chance to buy some high quality products made from coconut oil. The added bonus is the location. The museum is actually on a beautiful coconut plantation so you’ll be doing a bit of landscape sightseeing while you’re there! Win-win!
PS: Coconut water is an amazing hangover cure!
Location: Soi Ang Thong 2, Ang Thong, 84140
Cost: Prices can vary depending on special events, check the website for the latest info
Hours of Operation: 7:30am – 4:30pm Monday to Saturday, closed Sundays
What Dusit Dhewa lacks in polish it makes up for in atmosphere. This isn’t a formal museum but rather an eclectic collection of traditional and cultural artefacts, many of them hidden in a slightly overgrown garden. As a visitor you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a secret hiding place as you wind your way around the site, and the opportunities for unusual and quirky photos are endless. There isn’t a ton of explanation about the objects on display but the inside rooms are packed full of antiques to wonder about and marvel at. Recommended for people who don’t need an audio guide and a flashy gift shop to enjoy an experience!
Location: Lipa Noi, near Wat Samutharam, 84140
Cost: 120 baht (about $4)
Hours of Operation: 10am – 6pm Monday – Sunday
Our final pick is a cultural museum of sorts, but you’d be hard pressed to guess the main exhibit! Wat Khunaram is a lovely temple located away from the main tourist beaches and there’s a real atmosphere of tranquility here. Devotees from around the world flock here to pay their respects to the now-deceased famous monk Loung Podaeng, but they’re not just worshipping his memory. Quite the opposite. Instead they can leave offerings right in front of him as he’s still on display! Yep, this is the temple of the mummified monk.
It’s a slightly surreal experience standing in front of his preserved remains as they sit upright in a glass case, not least because he’s got dark sunglasses on! Don’t worry though, Loung actually made the request himself that he be left on display if he didn’t decompose, so he’s alright with the whole thing.
Location: Route 4169, between the turning to the Na Muang waterfall and Hua Nthon, 6km from Lamai Beach
Cost: Free to enter
Hours of Operation: 6am – 5pm daily
Our top tip for visiting museums in Koh Samui:
Checking out some of these museums is the perfect way to balance your beach time with a bit of culture. We recommend getting out and starting exploring early in the day, so you can be back next to the water in the late afternoon in time for sunset beers. You’re still on holiday after all!