4 Incredible Waterfalls to See in Koh Samui

January 10, 2024

When you think of Koh Samui, you most likely picture tropical beaches or sipping a Mai Tai by the pool at a fancy resort. And while Samui is a great place to indulge in those things, if you head inland to the lush jungle, you can also discover many beautiful waterfalls. In this article, I'll show you how to get to the 4 incredible waterfalls we visited on our last trip to Koh Samui. 


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Where is Koh Samui?

Koh Samui is an island off the east coast of Thailand, located in the Gulf of Thailand. It is Thailand's second-largest island after Phuket and is part of the Surat Thani District. Best known for its tropical beaches, mountainous rainforest, and luxurious resorts, it's a great place to spend a holiday.

Visiting Koh Samui's Waterfalls

During our trip in December 2023, we visited four of Koh Samui's gorgeous waterfalls. And believe it or not, this is less than half of the waterfalls on Koh Samui! You can really spend days exploring the dense rainforest interior of this island to see waterfalls.

Some of the falls are difficult to reach than others. Some are harder to access due to the steep roads you drive on to get there. Others are more challenging due to the jungle hike involved to reach the actual falls. 

How to Get to the Waterfalls

We rented an automatic scooter (Honda Click 160) from a local motorbike rental shop in Bang Por Beach - MMV Scooter and Car Rental. It was 300 baht (~9 USD) per day and we rented the motorbike for 6 days.

On this motorbike, we were able to reach all of the waterfalls on this list. However, the island has other falls that may not be as accessible by automatic scooter. Since we only went to these four, I can't say for sure what the conditions are to reach the others. We did notice that some of the steeper mountain roads are off-limits to automatic scooters.

Other options you might consider for getting to the waterfalls include: renting a car, calling a Grab or taxi, or joining a tour.

What to Bring/Wear to the Waterfalls

Most of these waterfalls require at least a short walk through the jungle to reach the falls. Here are a few items that I think you should wear or bring with you when visiting the falls.

  • WATER: It's hot and humid so be sure to have enough water for the hike.
  • Sneakers: Easier and safer on the rocky, slippery trails if you wear proper footwear, though you'll see plenty of people in flip flops.
  • Bathing Suit: Most of the falls have pools where you can take a dip to cool off.
  • Mosquito Spray: It's pretty buggy in the jungle and we got eaten without it!

When to Visit the Waterfalls

The best time of year to see the waterfalls on Koh Samui is probably late-December into January, which is when we visited. The falls were full and powerful after the rains. However, it was not raining a lot while we were there, so the trails were not overly muddy.

Secret Falls Koh Samui

Secret Falls

If you go during rainy season, you'll have to be more careful on the slippery trails. And if you visit during dry season, the falls may not be as full. 

Many guides I read recommended arriving early to beat the crowds. Not an early riser, we didn't follow this advice so there were crowds. However, the falls that required a hike were generally less crowded than the others. 

4 Koh Samui Waterfalls

The four waterfalls we visited on Koh Samui were Tan Rua (Secret Falls), Hin Lad Waterfall, and Na Muang Waterfalls 1 & 2. 

In our first day of waterfalls, we saw Tan Rua and Hin Lad Waterfall. Then, a couple days later, we visited Na Muang Waterfalls 1 & 2. Although we only squeezed in two waterfalls per day, you could visit more if you get an early start.

1) Secret Falls (Tan Rua)

The Secret Falls, also called Tan Rua, are deep in the jungles of Koh Samui and driving to them is an adventure in itself. We drove into interior from the northern side of the island.

Driving to Secret Falls by Motorbike

On Google Maps, you can find it listed in Thai - น้ำตกโตนเรือ - or you can put in directions for Tree Bridge Zipline. The mountainous roads are steep in places, the final descent to the parking for the falls in particular. We made it on our automatic scooter, but you'll want to be sure to rent one powerful enough for hills.

Secret Falls Adventures

Once you reach the Secret Falls, you'll find a cafe, decent restrooms, and a zipline adventure. The start of the trail to the Secret Falls is just past the cafe and you'll see a sign pointing you in that direction. 

Secret Falls trail

Secret Falls

The dirt trail to the Secret Falls is short and easy. Before you know it, you'll be at the falls. Once we reached the falls, there wasn't a lot of space to sit and enjoy it as much as we would have liked. Although there was a pool at the base of the falls, swimming seemed more difficult given all the rocks and no easy access point.  

Tan Rua Koh Samui

Word of caution: We saw some people trying to climb up the rocks on the side of the waterfall. One of them slipped, scraped her leg, and had blood everywhere. So, I wouldn't recommend trying to scale the falls.

We spent about 30 minutes at the Secret Falls from the time we arrived at the cafe to when we left.

2) Hin Lad Waterfall

Our next stop was the Hin Lad, or Hin Lat, Waterfall, which is around the eastern side of Koh Samui. Hin Lad Waterfall is the second largest waterfall on Koh Samui and definitely worth a visit.

Driving to Hin Lad Waterfall by Motorbike

Although we saw a shortcut on mountain roads from the Secret Falls, the road we needed to take prohibited automatic scooters. Instead, we drove back out to the main road and around the island. Reaching the trail for Hin Lad Waterfall from the main road is very easy and there are signs pointing to the turn.

Hin Lad Waterfall Entrance

The road to the waterfall dead-ends in a small village where you'll find cafes, a hostel, a temple, as well as the start of the trail. We ate lunch before our hike at Krua Hinlad Restaurant. The food was decent with good fruit smoothies, plus it was a good call to eat before the hike.

Hike to Hin Lad Waterfall

The hike to the Hin Lad Waterfall surprised me. I thought it would be a short stroll beside the river to reach the falls. Instead, it turned into a more involved hike than I anticipated. And though it wouldn't have seemed challenging in cooler weather, you have to factor in that heat and humidity!

Overall, the hike to Hin Lad Waterfall was probably a little less than a mile (~1.5 km) in distance from the parking. It took us ~30-40 minutes to reach the main waterfall, not counting our swim along the way. 

Trail to Hin Lad Waterfall

The trail was muddy, rocky, and sandy in places and had some hills to it as well. This trail is one on which I'd especially recommend wearing sneakers. We saw some people hiking in flip flops, but I wouldn't have wanted to try it.

Rocky climb on Hin Lad trail
Wet trail to Hin Lad Falls

Along the way, there are several forks in the trail but generally you just keep following the signs for the next landmark. I think these landmarks are the smaller cascades you'll pass along the way.

Signs to Hin Lat Waterfall

Hin Lad Waterfall

After hiking for a while, the trail finally veers towards the river and some of the small cascades. We honestly thought we'd made it and started swimming, completely forgetting that Hin Lad was supposed to be quite a bit taller.

Once we looked at Google maps and realized we weren't there yet, we continued on to the end of the trail. The main Hin Lad waterfall is quite impressive though hard to see around the rocks as you get closer. Probably the best vantage point is in the water.

Hin Lad Waterfall
Hin Lat Waterfall

What we enjoyed about this waterfall was the hike through the jungle and the many places to swim - from the large pools at the base of the main waterfall to all of the plunge pools lower down the river. With how hot and sweaty we were, we took several dips along the way.

River Hin Lad

One thing I did not like so much was the tiny fish that live in this river and nibble on you as you swim!

3) Na Muang Waterfall 1

Na Muang Waterfall 1 is one of the most popular waterfalls in Koh Samui and the easiest on this list to reach overall. 

Driving to Na Muang Waterfall 1 by Motorbike

Located on the southern end of Koh Samui, you'll see many signs directing you towards the Na Muang Waterfalls. To reach the first Na Muang Waterfall, turn at the first road you'll come to if you're driving south. The road is a bit hilly, but dead-ends at the waterfall parking lot. Parking for our motorbike cost 20 baht.

Na Muang Waterfall 1

Once you leave the parking, you're practically already at the waterfall. Just past the small shops at the entrance, you'll see the beautiful cascade. 

Na Muang Waterfall 1 Koh Samui

Almost impossible to avoid getting people in your photos as they swim.

The best views come if you skip across the rocks to the other side. The opposite side is also the best access point to the pool at the base of the waterfall for swimming.

Na Muang Waterfall 1 opposite side

4) Na Muang Waterfalls 2

Na Muang Waterfall 2 is located close(ish) to the first waterfall, but higher in elevation and requires more effort to reach it. If you put in the work to get there, you'll be in awe of the beautiful view from the top in addition to seeing these gorgeous falls. 

Getting to Na Muang Waterfalls 2 by Motorbike

Despite the Na Muang Waterfalls sharing the same name, the entrances are not right next to each other. To reach Na Muang Waterfall 2, you need to drive back out to the main road, turn left, then immediately turn left at the next street. Although Google Maps shows a connecting road before the main road, it didn't exist when we were there. 

Follow signs along the road to the waterfall. When you reach the first "Waterfall Parking" near the Samui Elephant Kingdom Sanctuary, don't stop. We made this mistake and walked an extra 650 m or so that wasn't necessary as there is another lot closer to the trail.

Parking for Na Muang 2

Parking at the trail - look for this sign

Pro Tip: If you're looking for a nice place to eat lunch between the waterfalls, I recommend Tara Bistro. It's located on the property of a jungle resort - Cascade Tara - on the road to Na Muang Waterfall 2. The bistro had delicious food and smoothies in a lovely garden setting.

Hiking to Na Muang Waterfalls 2

Lower Na Muang Waterfalls 2

From the parking, the lower part of Na Muang Waterfall 2 is a short hike. First, you'll cross a rickety bridge then walk a short way on a muddy, rocky trail. 

Rickety bridge
Trail to lower Na Muang Waterfall 2
Na Muang Waterfall 2 lower falls
Upper Na Muang Waterfalls 2

To reach the upper cascades of Na Muang Waterfalls 2, you'll have to trek up through the jungle. It's a steep, but short ~20-minute hike for which I definitely recommend wearing sneakers.

Trail to upper falls

Follow blue arrows along the trail to reach upper falls.

In several sections, you're basically hiking over the side of a rock and need shoes with decent grip. You'll find ropes along the way to help you out, but I didn't trust them and they never seemed to be positioned well.

Rocky trail to waterfall Koh Samui
Rocky Trail to Koh Samui Na Muang waterfall 2

Once you reach the upper falls, you'll be able to cool off in the 2 small plunge pools and sunbathe on the rocks. The water was kind of cold, but felt great!

Na Muang Waterfall 2 upper falls
Plunge pool at Na Muang Waterfall 2

The view from the top is another reason to make the short trek up the mountain as you can see all the way to the coast on a clear day.

View from Na Muang Waterfall 2

Ready to Chase Waterfalls?

Koh Samui is truly a waterfall-lover's paradise. With so many impressive falls deep in the lush jungle, you can spend several days exploring them. Although we didn't see them all, I hope this brief list gives you an idea of the beautiful falls you can see and helps you find them once you're on your next trip to Samui.

Find a Place to Stay on Koh Samui

Still trying to find the perfect place to stay on Koh Samui? Given the plethora of luxury resorts, hotels, jungle hide-aways, and beach villas available on the island, it's tough to choose. You can use the map below to start your accommodations search by inputting your dates and filtering your preferences. 

Koh Samui Accommodations

After looking at what feels like a million places in Koh Samui, here are a few that caught my eye that you may want to consider.

Vacation Rentals Koh Samui

When looking for accommodations in Koh Samui, you should also consider Airbnb and VRBO. The island has a ton of beautiful properties for rent. Especially if you're staying longer-term, they are a great option! We stayed in a lovely beach house on Bang Por Beach and really enjoyed our stay. 

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A Guide to Visiting 4 Incredible Waterfalls Koh Samui Thailand
4 Incredible Waterfalls to See in Koh Samui
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