Koh Samet Island
Koh Samet has superb beaches and relaxed atmosphere. Less than seven kms off the coast of Rayong Province in the eastern Gulf of Thailand, it combines the allure of a tropical paradise with reasonable proximity to Bangkok.
Koh Samet has been known as a safe anchorage for sailors since at least the 13th century and in the 19th century its sheer beauty was the inspiration for the literary masterpiece of Thailand's most famous romantic poet, Sunthorn Phu. In the 1970's it was 'discovered' by Thai teenagers and young couples seeking a weekend retreat from life in Bangkok.
In spite of its protected status as part of the Khao Laem Ya - Samet National Marine Park the island has developed into a resort destination much loved by both Thais and foreigners. Episodic attempts by the authorities to evict the developers have not yet dislodged them, and bungalow accommodations are available all over the island. More than a dozen coves and beaches provide visitors a range of choices from campsites on secluded, deserted beaches to bungalows with all the modern conveniences in more settled and gregarious communities.
A recently constructed reservoir has improved the availability of fresh water, which was an enduring problem on the hot and dry island where the rainy season is limited to the May to July period. Koh Samet gets significantly less rainfall than Rayong Province, even though it is only a few km offshore. Round the clock electricity is now available in most resorts on the island. There are regular ferries to Koh Samet from three different piers in the fishing village of Ban Phe, about 20 km east of Rayong City. The trip takes about 30 to 45 minutes depending on which part of the island it goes to. Long-tail boats can be hired to make the trip in about half the time, but are much more expensive. There is a 20 baht entry fee to the National Park.
The beaches on the northeast of the island are beautiful and better developed. As you move south down the east coast the coves and bays become less congested, though no less beautiful. The beaches on the southeast coast are the least developed and least visited. The west coast is rocky but does have one very secluded beach with bungalow resorts and a nice view of the sunset.
Koh Samet and the minuscule islands nearby are surrounded by coral formations in shallow water which make for enjoyable snorkeling. Scuba divers may not find them very interesting. Other water sports, including sailing, parasailing, skiing, and fishing can be arranged at a number of resorts.
Ko Samet - Beaches
Hat Sai Kaew
Hat Sai Kaew or Diamond beach is the longest and one of the most popular beaches on Ko Samet. It is located in the North-East and it is about 780 meters long. This is the beach You should choose if you like to have a little people and activities around you, but at the same time live next to a almost paradise-like beach. The sand is almost snow-white and the water is invitingly green-blue.
Ao Vong Duan
Ao Vong Duan is a 500 meter long half moon shaped beach with the most fantastic sunrise on this island. The sand is as inviting as on Hat Sai Kaew and the atmosphere here is really pleasant.
The only beach on the West coast of Samet is a real beauty and a few elegant hotels are located here. The beach is about 200 meters long and very pleasant. The sunset from Ao Prao is on a clear night a memory that will probably last a lifetime.
On the East coast from North to South (apart from the beaches we already mentioned) You will find, in order: Ao Phai, Ao Wai, Ao Kui Na Nok and Ao Kui Na Nai. They are all very nice small beaches that all has the white characteristic Samet sand. The further South you go on this island the less tourists you will find in general.
The ferry to Samet Island
The ferry leaves from Banpe Pier everyday, from 07.00 until 17.00 ,arrive at 3 piers on Samet Island, which are Thadan Pier (25min), Praw Pier (30min), Vong Duen Pier (45min).You can hire also a speed boat from Banpe Pier to Samet , which costs around 1,000 Baht/Trip.
Getting around Samet Island
Samet Island has only one road going from the North to the South of the Island.
The taxi fees from beach to beach are
* from Thadan Pier to Vong Duen Beach, 30 Baht/trip/person.
* from Sai Kaew Beach to Vong Duen Beach, 30 Baht/trip/person.
* from Sai Kaew Beach to Praw Bay, 40 Baht/trip/person
You can hire also a taxi for a group of maximum 12 persons.
* from Thadan Pier to Vong Duen Beach, 200 Baht.
* from Thadan Pier around the island, 1,000 Baht.
* from Vong Duen Beach to Kew Bay, 400 Baht