Discover the highlights to be found in Ko Samui during a wonderful orientation tour of this scenic island.
Depart the ship for the tender ride ashore and begin your tour with a scenic coastal drive past exquisite beaches and lush coconut plantations en route to Ko Samui, which is located off the northern shore of Samui on a small rocky island accessible by a causeway.
Your first stop will be an entertaining monkey show to learn how locals use monkeys to pick ripe coconuts. This centuries-old tradition certainly comes in handy as Ko Samui, the Island of Coconuts, produces over three million coconuts per month. You will observe the exceptional abilities of these entertaining creatures, along with their amusing antics.
Next, you will continue on for a visit to the Kunaram Temple, a small, unique monastery that embodies a true sense of simplicity and tranquility. During your visit, you will have an opportunity to view the body of Samui's most famous mummified monk, Loung Poh Deang. When he died more than 20 years ago, Loung Poh Deang was seated in the meditation position. Amazingly, he is still seated in that position, and his body shows few signs of any major decay.
From here, you will proceed to an elephant camp where you will be impressed by the extraordinary intelligence and dexterity of these noble beasts. During your visit, you will learn how elephants are utilized to help locals perform their daily tasks on the island and watch them perform a variety of feats, including a game of soccer. Also, enjoy a show performed by a baby elephant.
Next you will travel to a scenic viewpoint overlooking Chaweng Beach where you will have a short stop for photos.
Your tour concludes with a visit to the Big Buddha Temple, or Wat Pha Yai. The Big Buddha Temple features a 36-foot golden statue perched atop a wide staircase decorated with dragons. The statue of Buddha is visible from several miles away and creates an impressive silhouette against the sea and sky behind it. Surrounding the Buddha, you will find a number of meditation huts, or kutis, along with several striking golden statues and shops.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 1/2 hours of walking and there are steps to negotiate at the temple. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who are able to both make their way on and off the coach and sit in a coach seat. Those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. Lightweight clothing, a hat, sunglasses, sun screen and comfortable, flat walking shoes are recommended. Suitable attire is required for the temple visits. Shorts, culottes, tight trousers and leggings are not permitted. Trousers must cover the ankle and women must have their shoulders and knees covered. No tight or see-through blouses are permitted, even if a jacket is worn over them. All footwear must be removed before entering temples