Thailand Koh Madsum Guide
Koh Madsum and Koh Taen are two secret haven islands off the coast of Koh Samui. With an outstanding stretch of sand and fantastic clear water, making Koh Madsum popular among snorkelers, the island recently became famous for another reason. Rebranded to Pig Island, Koh Madsum welcomes daily visitors with a myriad of semi-wild pigs, who stroll around the island. The neighboring Koh Taen island is undeveloped but offers coral reefs tucked away in secret lagoons only accessible by boat. Since there are not many snorkeling spots left on Koh Samui, Koh Taen serves a popular half-day escape for snorkel or kayak excursions through its clear inshore waters. Koh Taen is also famous throughout the region as the island with no dogs. According to a local legend, any dog that has been brought to live there has quickly gone insane, but luckily, the locals seem not to suffer the same fate.
Koh Madsum and Koh Taen are two islands within Koh Samui archipelago, which comprises around 60 islands. Located 3 kilometers off the southern shore of Koh Samui, Koh Madsum is the smaller island next to the big neighbor Koh Taen. Boat trips from Koh Samui take about 15 minutes. Still regarded as off the beaten path, both islands pack a punch when it comes to snorkeling, unusual beachcombing, and kayaking in clear waters and bays.
If you are looking for peace or would like to interrupt your stay on Koh Samui for a half-day, then Koh Madsum “Pig Island” can throw up surprises. Here, you can beach comb among semi-wild pigs, snorkel, or kayak along the shore. There are two main beaches on Koh Madsum – Sandy Beach with beautiful and elegant sands, as well as Coral Beach interspersed with coral stones. If you’re looking for the best snorkeling spots in Koh Madsum, head over to a northern tip of the island and enjoy the beautiful coral reefs, the abundance of fish, and warm waters.
Heading further, you can experience a virgin island vibe at Koh Taen just 20 minutes away by speedboat from Koh Samui. The reefs around Koh Taen offer outstanding snorkeling opportunities, with mostly undamaged coral reefs. Just let yourself drift, enjoy the warm waters and the underwater world in the Gulf of Thailand. Since Koh Taen doesn’t have any tourist infrastructure – and the majority of the local population migrated to neighboring Koh Samui – experiencing a vibrant and colorful underwater world is only possible from the boat. The eastern coast, pointing to Koh Madsum, features a massive coral reef that inhabits various fish species, sea turtles, and stingrays.
Ready for more Islander tips? The southernmost island of the Samui archipelago is Koh Rap. Just 30 minutes boat ride from Koh Samui, this uninhabited island is a real gem. Covering over 4 km and 80% of the island’s length is white, unspoiled, sandy beaches, while coral reefs on both sides of the island pRotect it from the strong waves. With such a name attached to it, you will likely hear more about Koh Rap soon!
Arguably, the best time to visit Koh Madsum and Koh Taen is from March to late September. That period is known as a high season featuring sunny and stable weather, warm and calm waters, and lovely snorkeling spots. Avoid October to December since these three months experience the highest level of rainfall and windy weather that sometimes makes it impossible for boats to reach these islands.
Since both islands are still off the tourist radar, the tourist infrastructure is limited to a few restaurants, small beach bars, and only one resort on Koh Madsum. Limited buildings are allowed on the islands to keep their natural look and feel. Both islands are within easy reach from Koh Samui, so getting on a boat tour with Islander is the most convenient way to explore the hidden beauty of these paradise-like islands.
There are numerous ways to reach the islands of Koh Madsum and Koh Taen from Koh Samui, as they are less than 5km away. The most budget option is to join an organized tour by long-tail boat. With Islander, however, you can explore this hidden paradise in total comfort on a private boat charter, while having the freedom to personalize your tour. How about a picnic on a secluded beach, or a massage? Our favorite secret snorkeling spots away from the crowds, guaranteed.