2 Week Itinerary – Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao

Set your trip off right with this perfect 2-week itinerary for Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao - Thailand's best islands for budget and adventure travel!

Discover the hidden gems in the tropical archipelago of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao – a two-week adventure designed for the budget-savvy adventurer.

From the lush waterfalls and spiritual retreats of Koh Samui to the vibrant markets, legendary parties, and tranquil beaches of Koh Phangan, and finally, the adventure-packed adventures beneath the waves and atop scenic viewpoints of Koh Tao, prepare for an unforgettable journey in the heart of the Gulf of Thailand. Embrace the charm, discover hidden gems, and immerse yourself in the magic of these tropical havens.

Sunset on the beach in Koh Samui, Thailand, with long tail fishing boats floating in the distance

Table of Contents

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Arrive In Koh Samui

Since this is the only island with an airport and the most direct access to the mainland, it’s easiest to start your travel in Koh Samui! Koh Samui is a popular tourist destination and relatively easy to get to from the mainland! 

Koh Samui is the most touristy, and expensive, and has the least to offer of the 3 islands in my opinion – we are still talking pristine beaches, clear warm water, delicious Thai food, and vibrant exploration!


You can get to Koh Samui via ferry from the Raja Port, or via plane from any nearby airport including Bangkok and Phuket.

Day 1-2 - Koh Samui (West & South)

Na Muang Waterfall

Begin your island adventure at the enchanting Na Muang Waterfall on Koh Samui. A moderate hike through the lush jungle leads to the two-tiered cascade, surrounded by vibrant greenery. 

Cost: 30 THB

Time: 2-3 hours.

Samui Elephant Sanctuary

Connect with majestic elephants ethically at Samui Elephant Sanctuary. Take a guided tour, providing an opportunity to feed and bathe these gentle giants while contributing to their conservation. You can volunteer to feed the animals, and learn about their rehabilitation process! 

Cost: From 1,500 THB

Time: Half-day.

Not all animal experiences have ethical actions for the animal. Do not support places where: animals are forced or coerced into interacting, there is no education or conservation efforts, and if the animals are used for profit rather than awareness.

Asian elephant with a man reaching his hand out to touch the elephant's trunk at an ethical animal sanctuary

Kerton Hostel

Beds in a hostel in Koh Samui

Baan Hin Sai Resort

View of a pool and a beach at sunset on Koh Samui, Thailand

Sea Dance Resort

An aerial view of beach villas and a pool in Koh Samui, Thailand

Day 3-8 - Koh Phangan

Bottle Beach Viewpoint & Trek

Get an unparalleled panoramic view of one of the best beaches in Koh Phangan – the crescent-shaped Bottle Beach. The viewpoint is accessible by a well-marked trail that winds through the lush jungle. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, and bring a camera to capture the breathtaking scenery from the viewpoint, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to spot some monkeys overhead! This is a budget-friendly way to appreciate the natural beauty of Koh Phangan.

To continue to Bottle Beach, you can either continue the trek for a total 5-6 hour trip or head back to the lot and catch a lift for only 150 THB! 

Cost: Free!

Time: 2-3 hours round trip

Thongsala Night Market

Immerse yourself in the vibrant Thongsala Night Market. Located in the island’s main port town, the market comes alive in the evening with a myriad of stalls offering everything from street food to handmade crafts. The market is free to explore, and prices for food and souvenirs are budget-friendly. Sample traditional Thai dishes, indulge in local delicacies, and soak in the lively atmosphere. Consider bringing a reusable bag for your purchases and an adventurous palate for trying new flavors.

Cost: Very affordable
Time: 2-4 hours in the evening

Spiritual Escape in Srithanu

Indulge in the serene atmosphere of Srithanu with budget-friendly yoga classes. Drop-in classes start from 300 THB, offering a rejuvenating experience for the mind and body. Join experienced instructors in open-air studios surrounded by lush greenery. Bring comfortable clothing and an open mind for a session of relaxation and self-discovery. Experience an authentic Ecstatic Dance at Pyramid Yoga, or a healing sound bath at the Dome Sauna

Cost: From 300 THB

Time: 2-6 hours

Thai Cooking Class

Explore Thai cuisine (my favorite) with a budget-friendly cooking class in Koh Phangan. Learn the art of Thai cuisine using fresh, local ingredients. Classes typically include hands-on instruction, a visit to a local market to source ingredients, and the joy of savoring your creations. Classes are suitable for all skill levels, and instructors provide insights into the rich culinary heritage of Thailand. We went to Muai’s Thai Traditional Cooking Academy and it was an incredible experience!

Cost: From 800 THB

Time: Half-day

Full Moon Party

Join the legendary Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach, an iconic monthly celebration that draws revelers from around the world. The party kicks into high gear during the full moon, transforming the beach into a pulsating dance floor. Entry is free, and drinks are available for purchase at various beach bars. Bring comfortable beachwear, dance under the moonlight, and immerse yourself in the electrifying atmosphere of this must-attend event. For budget-conscious travelers, it’s an unforgettable night of music, dancing, and vibrant energy. 

Cost: Free entry, drinks available for purchase

Time: Nighttime festivities

Stay Safe! Stay out of the ocean for safety and hygiene (it becomes a toilet), wear shoes since there ends up being broken glass, and be aware of undercover cops selling drugs.

Haad Rin Rock Viewpoint

Hike to Haad Rin Rock Viewpoint for a mesmerizing perspective of Koh Phangan and the Gulf of Thailand. Accessible by a scenic trail, the viewpoint offers breathtaking vistas, especially during sunrise or sunset. The hike takes approximately 1-2 hours from a paved road, but you can get right to it on an off-road bike. Head to the lighthouse after the FMP to get a view from above!

Cost: Free

Time: 1-2 hours

Haad Rin Viewpoint on Koh Phangan, Thailand

Puk's Palace Hostel

Common space in a hostel with chairs and a bar on the beach in Koh Phangan, Thailand

Castaway Bungalows

Green Papaya

Days 8-13 - Koh Tao

Snorkel Tanote Bay

Dive into the crystal-clear waters of Tanote Bay for an unforgettable snorkeling experience. Tanote Bay boasts vibrant coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. This is a common scuba dive location, but all of the beauty can be experienced from the surface! Pack sunscreen, a hat, and some extra cash for a fresh coconut after the water.

Cost: Snorkel gear rental around 200 THB

Time: Half-day

Scuba Dive Trip

Koh Tao is known as a prime destination for scuba diving. With the migration of Whale Sharks, unique topography, and vibrant reefs, diving here is unforgettable. Stop by Black Turtle Dive shop to check out their work in Coral Restoration projects and see how you can get involved!

Read more about responsible Diving in Koh Tao, including the best locations and schools to dive with!

Side view of a coral reef that has taken over a sunken ship wreck

Koh Nang Yuan

Be sure to save a day to take a trip to the postcard-perfect Koh Nang Yuan. Boat trips start from 600 THB and typically include snorkeling, beach time, and a hike to the iconic viewpoint. The island’s pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a slice of paradise. Budget-friendly and easily accessible, Koh Nang Yuan is a jewel in the Gulf of Thailand. Although it looks close and accessible by a kayak, the locals thought we were crazy for trying! If you do make it this way, be sure to let me know in the comments!

Cost: From 600 THB

Time: Full-day

Assave Dive Resort

A blue pool and palm trees at a dive hostel in Koh Phangan, Thailand

Koh Tao Heritage

Lounge chairs and cabanas next to a pool, with the ocean in the back in Koh Tao, Thailand

Cape Shark Villas

An aerial view of a resort and pool on the ocean in Koh Phangan, Thailand

Day 13+14 - Koh Samui, Fiserman's Village

Big Buddha Temple

No matter which way you arrive on Koh Samui, it’s hard to miss the ‘Big Buddha’, which has become an icon of the island overseeing the ports and airports on the northern coast. Since this is an active Buddhist temple, entry is completely free, but visitors should be respectful of the customs while in this religious space. After exploring the temple’s grounds, head to any of the nearby shops and cafes to shop the local artisans or a refreshing drink!

Cost: Free

Time: 1-2 hours

Golden Big Buddha with stairs leading to it on Koh Samui

Fisherman's Village

Discover the charm of Bophut Fisherman’s Village, where traditional Thai architecture meets modern boutiques and eateries. The village comes alive in the evening with a vibrant night market, while the day time offers peaceful and laidback living on the beach. The area is definitely well-maintained and nice, and the prices reflect that! So be aware that you’ll be paying US prices in this area since it does attract a wealthier crowd. 

Cost: Free

Time: Evening

Summary - 2 Week Itinerary - Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao

This comprehensive two-week itinerary invites budget-conscious travelers to savor the best of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao. From the serene waterfalls and cultural gems of Samui to the vibrant markets and nightlife of Phangan, and the thrilling adventures and underwater wonders of Tao, each island unfolds a unique chapter of the Thai archipelago. Embrace the diversity, relish every moment, and let this tropical odyssey create memories to last a lifetime.

Posted by Taylor Mallaber

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