Yesterday I was lucky enough to hike through Lipa Noi Valley on Koh Samui in Thailand. Thailand isn’t considered a must go to place for hikers, indeed even if we are referring to only South East Asia or the Far East we can think of places like Borneo in Malaysia, mountains such as Kelimutu in East Nusa Tenggara and Rinjani on Lombok in Indonesia plus the countless hikes in countries like Japan, China and South Korea.
Having said that if you do find yourself in Thailand and your looking for a rather picturesque island hike, then Lipa Noi Valley is the place to go. Yes places like Chiang Mai and Rai offer better overall hiking but Samui offer’s something a little more relaxing whilst taking in the sea view.
Luckily enough I was accompanied by a dear friend who charters boats out in Thailand. We sailed his boat from Pattaya to Samui before we began our hike on day 2. This was my first time sailing a boat so Ivar showed me all the ropes on how to navigate the seas. The journey took around 2 days and was a pleasant one, especially with Ivar who has 30 plus years experience sailing boats of all kind. He lives and runs a private boat rental business in Thailand called thaisabaicruise.com. So he knows all the waters like the back of his hand.
While the journey from Pattaya was on very gentle waters, the speed of the sail boat was so slow, I think people take for granted just how fast motorised boats go. Thankfully the waters between Samui and Pattaya don’t get too crowded once you further out at sea so dealing with other boats wasn’t really an issue once we left the pier.
The trek on day two took roughly 5 hours as we weren’t in a hurry to reach the top of which is only 600m high. It’s a very steady hike which beginners should be able to do too and intotal it’s around 10km.
The good thing about this trek is you get an ideal viewpoint of the whole side of the island, which is definitely the quieter side. Most of Samui’s action and development is on the East side and the West side is more residential.
The above image shows the Secret Buddha Garden which you will pass on your way. It make’s an excellent stop off point to relax and enjoy the statues.
Down the other side of the mountain you enjoy uninterrupted views of the West side of the mountain making it a great reward for a steady trek.
Samui also offers some other worthwhile treks which I have done in the past, notably the Nathon Mountain Ridge Trek – which spans 13km and takes you through some jungle parts of the island near the top. You can again enjoy great views of the West side of the island.