Have you awoken to a rainy day on Koh Samui, or has a storm cloud just rolled across your sun-bed? Don’t worry – this could still be your favourite day of your trip. Really. There are tons of things to do in Koh Samui when it rains – and most of them are ideal for the lazy, super indulgent, totally relaxing “stuff of Thai vacation dreams”.
Rainy day preamble
1. Some good news.
Koh Samui is a hilly little island with lots of micro-climates. If it’s safe to do so (as in ‘normal’ rain, no flooding), you can often rent a car and drive to another part of the island to find your sunshine. There’s nothing I love more than sitting on Bophut Beach and watching a storm wallop Koh Phangan … storm schadenfreude = pure bliss.
2. What kind of rain are we dealing with?
“Little bitty stingin’ rain”, “big ol’ fat rain” or “rain that flies in sideways”? Some of the rainy day activity suggestions below are perfect for a short storm, but aren’t recommended during extended periods of heavy rain (like in Koh Samui’s rainy season), due to the small chance of flooding. If it’s really raining, and has been for some time, avoid all “intrepid exploration”. It won’t end well. Reputable tour companies will cancel activities if very bad weather makes them unsafe.
3. No self pity!
Rain in the tropics is incredible – you’re about to star in your own Herbal Essences commercial. Outside of Koh Samui’s rainy season, the island’s rain usually comes as short and frantic tropical storms that last just an hour or two. If you’re reading this in July or August, that’s especially likely. With few exceptions, your vacation is not ruined. Promise!
If you haven’t left for Thailand yet
If you’re reading this before leaving for Thailand, (A) wow, you’re prepared and (B) so am I.
Perfect weather prep
Bring your own rainy day activities
Then, more than anything, make sure to bring rainy-day entertainment that can out-last any island power cuts. Consider easy-to-pack activities like Uno, Kindle books, Cards Against Humanity (see activity #10, below), plus activity kits and travel games for any applicable children.
Get total island expertise
Better still – you’ll find absolutely everything you need to know about the island in The Koh Samui Guide
Right … on to saving your rainy day!
14 Koh Samui rainy day activities
Whether you’re coming to Samui during its rainy season, or meet some soggy weather for a day or two of your trip – here are a few activity ideas to best enjoy (or completely forget about) Koh Samui rain. You’ll need some loose-fitting clothes: I’m about to assign food and beverage homework.
#1. Eat two breakfasts… two lunches…
Most Koh Samui restaurants, including those on the beach, have rain screens. Consider precipitation an invitation to gluttony, and rain is no longer a hardship. With nowhere else to be, your day unfolds at a leisurely pace.
#2. Samui spa day
Samui is rightly known as ‘the best spa destination in Southeast Asia.’ Heed the call of “hello, massaaaage” and submit to the sublime. Indulge your inner brat at any of Samui’s famous spas. In rainy season, when the island is relatively quiet, you can usually get appointments at no notice. If the weather forecast looks bad in busy periods (especially Christmas/New Year), you’ll want to book in advance.
#3. Watch a perfect movie
Consider your rainy Koh Samui day the most indulgent Saturday you’ve ever dreamed of – and chance to enjoy the hotel room you spent so long choosing. Get comfy in bed, perhaps order room service, and watch a movie that’s perfectly suited to the weather outside: lots of lashing palm fronds and tropical mayhem. Koh Samui’s WiFi speeds are pretty good, so you can choose a movie and stream/download to watch right away. Build your pillow fort and snuggle in!
Movies with amazing rain scenes
Movies set or filmed in Thailand
Movies with *lots* of tropical
Scary shark movies (in shark-free Samui)
4. Foot massage
Reflexologists will easily pinpoint your troubles & ease any pain away. An hour of this heaven costs about 300-400 THB (US$8-12) at any beach town massage shop.
5. “Pop up and do less”
You’ve come on vacation to relax and be lazy, right? Well, get going! Get on Skype with long-neglected friends, get bingey with Pinterest or actually write actual postcards to your people at home. If your hotel room has an insane bath tub situation, check your room service menu – lots of Thai hotels offer “bath-drawing services” with bubbles, magic potions and the whole nine yards.
Back in the real world, many island restaurants & cafés offer WiFi, giving you every opportunity to add breakfast with bacon to your plans. Or, curl up with your iPad in your closest outdoor living room – most Samui hotels have a handful of secret spots. Got a good view? Get comfy and watch the storm clouds from your bed.
6. Get a new suit
I’ve posted my ‘buyer beware’ story about Koh Samui tailors – but to each their own!
7. Take a Thai cooking class
8. Learn to carve fruit
Once you can make a mean pad Thai, try your hand at Thai fruit carving lessons.
9. Read stacks of books
Get comfortable and deservedly indulge. These are the 10 books I couldn’t put down on past trips to Koh Samui.
10. Unleash your inner horrible person
With over 36,000 5-star reviews on Amazon and an insistence it’s for “horrible people”, we packed this grown-ups card game for our latest Koh Samui holiday. As bona fide horribles we were certain we’d enjoy it ourselves. We had reservations, though, about our respectable, Baby Boomer relatives. Had they heard of Britney Spears? Could they handle edible underpants (and worse… much, much worse)?
The results of our trial run? Our most upstanding family member nearly choked to death laughing. A surprise indeed: Cards Against Humanity is tremendously cross-generational (mis-typed that as ‘gross’…. which is also true). It’s definitely not for small children but teenagers will love it.
TIP! If you’re definitely a horrible person, but are already in Thailand – you can print your own deck of Cards Against Humanity cards: here’s a free, downloadable PDF provided by the
horribles nice people from Cards Against. Finally, a legit business use for your hotel’s “business centre”.
11. Your $5 solution
A trip to one of Samui’s movie theatres (or the bowling alley) could fill a rainy afternoon. Seeing a movie at a theatre in Thailand can be just as cultural an experience as visiting a night market.
12. A nice yoga session
Put on something comfortable, and enjoy some Koh Samui yoga. A wide range of options are available on the island for all interests and skill levels.
13. Settle the matter, once and for all
Do you prefer pineapple shakes? Or coconut shakes. Perhaps with some Koh Samui rum? Maybe it’s no contest – you’d rather have Thai beer. Happy hour starts early when it’s raining!
14. Puppy party
Saving the best for last? Koh Samui’s only animal shelter, Dog and Cat Rescue Samui always needs volunteers for any length of time. You’re very welcome to drop in for just a few hours – no experience needed – and play with puppies. (Or cats … if you’re one of those people). I recommend wearing scruffy clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, bringing bottled water and wearing tons of mosquito repellent. For more details and other animal shelters in Koh Phangan, Phuket and Chiang Mai, see how to help Thailand’s dogs.
Certainly a day of Koh Samui rain demands a slower pace. No matter what the weather, many of these activities will be a relaxing part of your holiday. Note that I don’t recommend visiting Big Buddha when it’s raining – the steep, tiled steps are very slippery when wet – The Koh Samui Guide is chock-full of tips like this! Enjoy!
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