Koh Samet, The Island Paradise, is a small island located 200 kilometers from Bangkok in the Gulf of Thailand off the coastline of the province of Rayong. It is a very popular destination among Thai nationals and also visited by many foreigner tourists. Koh Samet is a relaxing island where one can swim, dive, snorkel, scuba diving among coral reefs or just take it easy on its powdery white sand beaches.
Is koh Samet worth a visit?
The West coast is rocky and has many places to watch spectacular sunsets, while the East side of the island is an almost continuous strip of dozens of beach resorts, massage shops, bars, and restaurants. Since forests cover most of the island and has only a single main road, most areas of the Koh Samet are car free and there are just a few songthaew and pick-up taxis which costs around 200 baht. Koh Samet has no banks, only 3 ATM machines all over the island: one outside the 7-Eleven in Nadan pier, and two near the 7-Eleven just outside the national park entrance booth by Haad Sai Kaew.
Koh Samet can be easily reached from Bangkok and Pattaya. Getting Koh Samet from Bangkok is easy. You can go by Bus from the southern bus station, take a taxi which costs around 2000/2500 Baht one-way or take a minivan at the Victory Monument, near the skytrain. Once in Ban Phe or Nuan Thip piers you can take a ferry to Koh Samed island which usually takes 40 minutes to get the island and costs from 100 to 200 baht one-way. The ferry schedule varies depending upon the destination on Koh Samet: Nadan pier, Ao Vongduean, Ao Wai, Ao Phrao, Ao Kui or Samet cliff and the boats tend to wait until full. The ferry stops far from the beach and passengers will continue their trip on a motored landing craft which pulls up just short of the beach and then passengers disembark with their luggage and walk a short distance to the beach. Another option is to hire a speedboat which takes around 15 minutes but this will cost you from 200/300 Baht per person one way. As Koh Samet island is a part of Khao Laem Ya – Mu Ko Samet National Park, all visitors have to pay an entry fee, which is ten times higher for foreigners as it is for Thai people.
Koh Samet tips:
Make sure that you use mosquito repellent around dawn and dusk as it is possible to contract dengue fever on the island.
It is advisable to hire motorbikes only from reputable hotels and lodgings, some shops renting out motorbikes or ATVs may attempt to overcharge you even for minor repairs.
Many restaurants around Koh Samet have taken to inflate their bills with extra items you did not order, check your bills carefully.
Most resorts will insist that you pay for your room on a daily basis and will issue a receipt for each payment. Keep your receipts on hand.
Koh Samet gets crowded on weekends and holidays, and prices rise accordingly. Go during the week or book in advance.
-Thailand News (TN)