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If you’re crunched for time and only passing through Koh Samui, our Forbes Travel Guide editors feel the best way to see it in one day is to start your day early with an adventurous half-day tour through Koh Samui’s lush interior jungles, which you can do either atop an elephant or on a 4x4 vehicle safari; Mr. Ung’s Magical Safari, based out of Chaweng Beach, is a recommended tour company that offers both options. Afterwards, hire a taxi to zip you over to the island’s famous Wat Phra Yai (home to the huge Big Buddha) on the northwest coast, then stop for an excellent seafood lunch at Wannai or Chef Chom’s in Bophut.
It’s been a busy day so far, so spend the rest of it lounging around at the beach nearest your hotel, though if for some reason you’re still feeling antsy many beachside hotels offer early-evening boat rides through those crystalline ocean waters. When you’re ready to go out for the night, head to Chaweng for some quick souvenir shopping followed by dinner at Spirit House, where you’ll enjoy authentic, well-prepared Thai cuisine in a magical setting marked by cascading gardens and lily ponds. If you still have energy, burn it off on the packed dance floor at popular The Green Mango Club.