Koh Samet – Overview
Ko Samet – white shores island
Ko Samet (or Koh Samet) is part of a national park with incredible natural beauty in Rayong province, not far from Pattaya and Bangkok. In addition to the short distance between them, they have nothing in common. Koh Samet has fabulous beaches, some nightlife, bars and discos. The island is 7 km from the mainland and the town of Ban Phe in Rayong province. Koh Samet is one of the islands in an archipelago consisting of many skirt-shaped islands and rocks, in total, the 10 islands and the largest island is Koh Samet which is very well known in Southeast Asia and is certainly worth a visit on your Thailand trip. Koh Samet has some great beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. Koh Samet, Rayong is located on the eastern border of Thailand and 179 km by car from Bangkok.
Koh Samet is a popular tourist destination for Thais and foreigners on their Thailand trip. Since Koh Samet is so near Bangkok, the island is just a way for the capital’s residents who want to relax with their families for a few days without having to go through the hassle of traveling further south.
If you cannot imagine Koh Samet would be part of a national park, you will probably see Koh Samet visitor’s paradise with fantastic beaches, delicious seafood and a great nightlife.
How you choose to stay on Koh Samet depends really on what your ideal notion is. East Coast is popular, as there are sands “in a row”, bays and most of the island’s restaurants, bars and hotels. The small west coast beaches are more isolated and a little better, with only three luxury to choose from. The northern coast is Koh Samet quiet end with only a few small hotel located on the rocky coastline.
It is said that once long ago was Koh Samet inhabited by pirates and today is still a lost treasure buried somewhere on the island. Thailand’s legendary poet Sunthorn Phu was the first to put the island on the map when he wrote his classic epic stories set in the island, Phra Aphai Manee “The history of the princes, fairy tale, mermaids and giants.”
Even people from Bangkok have known the island’s beauty and decades ago the Thai government decided that the island would no longer be readily available and only limited nights was possible until 1981. This year, on October 1, said Thailand’s forests and natural board to Koh Samet and nearby islands is now National Park.
Most of Koh Samet is said that a part of Khao Laem Ya-Mu Ko Samet National Park and has an entry fee. Thais pay 40 baht for adults, 20 baht for children (from. June 2009), foreigners pay 200 baht for adults, 100 baht for children (from november 2009). This two-track price policy applies to all national parks in Thailand. If you can explain that you are actually living or working in Thailand so you may not need to pay the “tourist” price. An apology for the difference is that “Thai citizens pay taxes.”
If you during your Thailand trip choose to go to Koh Samet and your ferry arrives at the pier and you take a songthaew to the beach, there will be a stop at the main ticket check. The trip from the pier to the center is a relatively short walk, less than ten minutes. If your ferry arrives at one of the beaches, then a duty fee when you get off. Note that there is plenty of traffic going in and out of the park to get to the 7-Eleven, ATM or other shops and restaurants, and if you have any bags you can go unnoticed into the park without anyone checking your ticket. There is a way through the temple to avoid ticketing altogether.
Note: some bungalows might give the impression that the fee is included, but it is not. You may also be asked to pay fees when boarding the ferry to the mainland but if you mention that you live outside the park’s boundaries, you do not pay.
Koh Samet – Getting there
Boat to Koh Samet
On your Thailand trip, you get to Koh Samet by boat from Ban Phe. The boats from Ban Phe to Koh Samet go all day from the time 6:00 to 17:00. The price is 50 baht for one way and 100 baht for the round trip. The journey takes about 30-40 minutes.
The boats usually wait until they are full, so the schedule is more of a suggestion than a fixed departure time.
The alternative is two boats that depart from Ban Phe. Prices can range from 600 baht to NaaDaan pier, up to a few thousand baht for the outer bays and beaches.
Getting around on Koh Samet:
The island has only one road. Some parts are paved, while some parts are only a dirt road and therefore quite uneven. There are two ways to get around the island. The first is by songthaew (usually a rather worn pickup truck with two benches in the back and no roof), which costs 200 baht for a private trip, or between 20 and 60 baht per person for the whole car depending on which beach you want to. This is a pretty expensive way to get around the island and the dusty roads can make it an uncomfortable trip. The other way is to rent a motorbike for 300 baht / hour or 500 baht / day or ATV (4-wheeler) for 500 bht / hour or 1200 bht / day. You will usually be able to rent it from the hotel you are staying at. Leaving your passport or a deposit is not necessary or appropriate.
Warning: We only recommend rent bikes from licensed hotels and accommodations during your Thailand trip. Shops that rent motorcycles and ATVs may attempt to require money from you for repairs and labor because you have damaged the bike. The initial offer of repairs is often unfair and they take prices that are far beyond the price of labor, spare parts and repairs.
Koh Samet – Weather
Koh Samet avoid most of the heavy monsoon rains that plague other islands and destinations on your Thailand trip and the weather is guaranteed to be good at almost any time of year.
Although Koh Samet is only a few kilometers from the mainland to the island with its micro-climate of the driest islands in Thailand and get much less rain than the rest of eastern Thailand. The rainy season is from May to September, but here’s rainfall still far lower than on the other islands in Thailand. Tourists should be careful of occasional storms.
Koh Samet – Beaches
Most beaches are on the eastern side of the island. The beaches hides in small bays and has a distance of about 200 meters. From the north there are Hat Sai Kaeo, Hat Hin Khrong, Hat Khlong Phai, Ao Phutsa, Ao Thapthim, Naun Ao, Ao Cho, Ao Thian, Ao Wai, Ao Kio Na Yok and Ao Karang. The only beach on the western side is Ao Phrahis. Note that the spelling of the beaches can be changed depending on the translation.
The most famous beaches on Koh Samet are Hat Sai Kaew, Ao Phai, Ao Vong Duan, Ao Wai and Ao Kui Na Nok on the East coast and Ao Prao on the West Coast. Many of these beaches have sand that is so fine and white almost like flour.
And even though the beaches have been developed, they are still beautiful, with sparkling white sand between your bent coconut palms and clear cerulean waters.
Hat Sai Kaew
Hat Sai Kaew or Diamond Beach is the longest and one of the most popular beaches on Koh Samet. Located on the northeast side and is about 780 meters long. This is the beach which you should choose if you want to have a few people and activities around you, but stay next to an almost paradise-like beach. The sand is almost snow white and the water is inviting green-blue, perhaps the most beautiful thing you can find on your Thailand trip.
Ao Vong Duan
Ao Vong Duan is a 500-meter crescent shaped beach with the most amazing sunrise on the island. The sand is as inviting as on Hat Sai Kaew and the atmosphere here is really incredible.
The only beach on the west coast of Samet is a real beauty even a few stylish hotel is located here. The beach is about 200 meters long and very pleasant. The sunset from Ao Prao on a clear night is a great memory of your Thailand trip, that will probably last a lifetime.
On the east coast, from north to south (apart from the beaches we have already mentioned) you can find in order: Ao Phai, Ao Wai, Ao Kui Na Nok and Ao Kui Na Nai. They are all very beautiful small beaches and the white sand Samet. The further south you go on this island, the fewer tourists you will find there.
Koh Samet – Attractions
Koh Samet is a relaxing paradise islands where there are very few things to do but enjoy the island’s beaches.
For those people who want something to do on their Thailand trip, the island has some of the activities, the beauty of the beaches are not quite enough to keep them occupied. From the simplest of activities such as walking along the beach to take a PADI-certified scuba diving, there are a number of ways to be active.
Different ways to explore the island:
– The island is very small compared to the more tourist-populated Thai islands around, so to explore the island can easily be done on foot, bike, horse riding, or by renting a motorcycle / ATV and drive around the island to visit some of the smaller and more secluded beaches. See some of the more natural forested areas and then further down to the south of the island.
-There are several companies on the island that offers a variety of boat trips from the island, either on a large slow boat or speedboat. One option is a day trip where you visit seven of the many surrounding islands. These tours are all of good value but you need to have a chat before you order so you make sure that you get the trip you want. Let them not talk you into a second trip, because they cannot do it. Also remember that all the tours depend on how the weather is.
Samet boat trip:
-One of the original with the family boat trips from Samet they still offer a daily boat trip around the island. If you are lucky, there may be a private trip or with only a few other people relaxing on board. Their fleet consists of 2 large slow ships and four boats so different tours are available daily.
-With the calm surrounding waters and reefs, Koh Samet something to offer everyone at different levels of diving. It’s a good diving school to learn to dive on your Thailand trip and where groups often consist of very few participants or you are alone with an instructor. With depths from 5 m to 25 m, there are a number of local places to dive in and explore from and there is also the outer islands of Koh Samet offers great coral reefs, such as Koh Talu.
Turtle Conservation Center:
Koh Man Nai is home to Rayong Turtle Conservation Center, which is a basis for endangered sea turtles. You can experience this by going to one of the many boat trips that depart from Koh Samet.
Koh Samet – Restaurants
Seafood, seafood, fish and seafood. Some of the best barbecue restaurants found along Ao Phai and Haat Sai Kaew beaches, but they are of course also on the other beaches and most serves almost the same food. There are also local food, curries and Western dishes such as pizza, steak and hamburgers. Almost every hotel and bungalow has its own restaurant. Many also have seats on the night of the dinner on the beach. Remember that large crowds at restaurants do not always mean they are good.
If you’re relaxing on the beach during the day there are plenty of street vendors selling fresh fruit, BBQ chicken wings, dried squid, papaya salad (can be very spicy), and ice. The food is obviously a bit more expensive than if you went out to buy something.
If you’re after a traditional Thai breakfast, it’s a day some ladies who set up their mobile eateries next to the tourist police station. They boiled chicken on rice (Khao Man Gai empty), fried chicken and rice (Khao man gai) or rice porridge (jok) for 20-30 baht. The food is fresh and they do a brisk trade with both locals and tourists.
Gecko Bar – At the end of Ao Phai beach next to Silver Sand Resort you will find an excellent barbecue with chicken steak in mushroom sauce and beef and chicken plates. The price is between 100 and 200 baht and these meals are definitely worth it.
Joe’s – next to Ploy Thalee on Saikaew Beach, this newly decorated restaurant one of the best rated barbecue restaurants on the island – large portions of kebabs, corn, potatoes and salad for around 100 baht.
Samed Villa Resort – serves delicious Thai and European food.
Tapas & Tacos – One of the more unique places to eat on the island. It is the first restaurant on the north coast, a minute or two from Nadan Pier, which serves some excellent authentic Spanish and Mexican cuisine in an atmospheric setting straight out to sea.
Warning! Be aware that many restaurants near Koh Samet has developed the habit of charging extra dishes that you did not order. This idea seems to be scattered all over the island. Always check your bills carefully and if they are in Thai so ask them to translate the right for right.
Koh Samet – Nearby
Is a small island about 10 minutes from Sai Thong Beach. The waters surrounding the island are clear and give a fascinating picture of the underwater coral. There are bungalows for rent on the island.
Is located about 6 km from the mainland. Besides Ko Kudee is two small islands, one is Ko Khangkhao and the other is Ko Rusee Bay. All three islands are located just east of Koh Samet. The islands have beautiful natural landscapes and is surrounded by beautiful beaches, perfect for swimming and camping on your Thailand trip.
Is located 6 km east of Ko Kudee, this island another dive among the coral reefs. The island is an area of 111 920 km2, most of it is still forest. While the west side consists of high cliffs, comprises the eastern and southern part of the white sandy beaches. Ko Thalu is a habitat for gulls, raccoons and turtles.
Tourists who want to visit Ko Kudee, Ko Kruai, Koh Kham, Koh Platinum and Ko Thalu their Thailand trip can rent a boat from Ban Phe and Koh Samet. They need to bring food and water as there are no facilities or supplies of food on these islands.
Koh Samet – Articles
The growth of Koh Samet
Blog: Matthew’s Travel Blog – My thoughts on everything – July 24, 2010
I have been to Koh Samet a half dozen times over the past 7 or 8 years, I felt in love right on my first visit. My family and I live in the same place every time, Sai Kaew Beach Resort and it is at this resort that I saw the growth of tourism on Koh Samet.
This island has a unique niche in the Thai beach industry. One, because of its location just 4 hours or so from Bangkok and two because of its unusually dry climate. It’s so small and lacks the infrastructure and entertainment available on Koh Samui or Phuket. That is why there has been no mass tourism until recent years.
More recently, the island has seen an explosion of Chinese tourists (mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong) and also the people from Bangkok and surrounding provinces. This brought popularity even to Western visitors. Bangkok weekend guests gives hint to Koh Samet finally seems to be “with” …
Of course, all this rising prices and the development of existing towns to more luxurious boutique locations. And it appears more than anyone else on Sai Kaew Beach Resort. Prices have more than doubled from our first visit in 2002 to our last visit in late 2007, when the city had already undergone a massive development, roughly doubled in size and there was more development taking place. It is now so large that there is a golf cart to transport people around! Unfortunately, the newest half of the city has no direct access to a decent beach, imagine my disappointment when we each placed in a bungalow at the far end! Trying to catch a golf cart to the beach every day has taken away a lot of my enjoyment.
There are certainly cheaper places to stay but make no mistake, Koh Samet is still a beautiful place, but who knows how long it can remain so. Look at the great development of places like Pattaya and Koh Samui and the pressure on resources in those places. Samet produce fresh water, fresh water must be sent along with the non-seafood food. They have large generators to try to supply the growing demand for electricity. Koh Samet is officially a national park but you would never know it from the amount of development along the eastern side of the island and all the piles of debris. The water surrounding the island is certainly not as clear as it used to be, but still better than most other places in Thailand. General waste on beaches are also becoming more and more a problem.
There was a time when you could visit Samet a week and almost have the beach to yourself, apart from a few backpackers. It is no longer the case as the constant stream of rich young Chinese tourist’s increases. Weekends on Samet have always been full. As this demand grows, we will see more development and expansion?
Let’s hope so, because the island is already quite congested. But as I said, despite all this, still retains Samet its beauty and charm that attracts me and my family back time after time. And no doubt that this is what attracts the other visitors to the island. How long can this go on is a doubt, as this is Thailand where the development and performance goes against possible environmental and sustainability working concern.
In Thailand with kids: 5 things we love about Koh Samet
Blog: Q Family Adventures Travel Blog – June 14, 2010
By: Amy @ Q Family
When we were in Thailand, we went the whole family. This includes all my siblings and their children and my cousins. We do not have a big family so it’s not comparable to a family reunion in America. It was basically a size of about 15 adults and 7 children.
This time we opted for a quick weekend trip from Bangkok to Koh Samet. Check out why we loved our time on Koh Samet!
5 things we love about Koh Samet
First Good place for a quick trip from Bangkok
This trip was a bit easier because Koh Samet is a great weekend destination from Bangkok. With less than 3 hours drive from Bangkok and a 45-minute boat ride, we were transported to our home for the weekend.
Koh Samet is perhaps not as well known as Phuket or Phi Phi Island, but it is a very popular destination for Thais because of affordability and proximity.
2nd Family friendly accommodations
We stayed at Sai Kaew Beach Resort on Sai Kaew Beach, the most developed beach on the island. It was a perfect place for the whole family.
Our room was literally steps away from the pool and it was where we spent most of our time.
3rd Pool is the best for family
Although our resort is an easy walk from the beach so we spent most of our time in the pool.
Because of the rainy season the water was not nearly as good. Weather in rain was not good the next day, either, because our plan was to spend the day soaking up the sun on the beach. But it was not a big disappointment for the children because the pool was as good or better than the beach.
4th Relaxation and even more opportunities for fun and exciting dishes.
Koh Samet is small enough for a relaxing holiday for the whole family but still have the island enough fun activities and good food to keep us entertained and well fed.
One of the best ways to enjoy a good meal was on Ploy Samed restaurant by the sea, where you have to take a free sailing to come out to their restaurant. The atmosphere was relaxed but a little nerve-wracking for family with small children.
5th Time for socializing and relaxing with family
There, we have received no matter where we decided to take our vacation. But Koh Samet has the perfect location and accommodation for children so that they can interact with each other. So did all the planning and the large number of flights and the costs worth it!
For many of you who are still afraid to come to Thailand, I have been in Thailand for more than two weeks after curfew and protests and I’ve never seen any problems. I feel safe here! Then the Thais need your help to get back on its feet. Plus you will get good discounts on everything, everywhere you go!