Bangkok’s getaway beach
Many tourists who go to Thailand are not very familiar with Koh Samet, but it is actually a favourite holiday spot for many people who live in Bangkok and a good place for a weekend getaway.
Located 150 km south-east of Bangkok, Ko Samet has one of the most beautiful beaches in easy reach of the capital with year round windsurfing, snorkeling, water skiing and other water activities. It is Thailand’s third largest island, with yellow-white floury sand beaches, bordered by coconut trees, palm trees and tropical jungle.
One of Koh Samet’s claims to fame is that it hardly ever rains there. It’s one of the driest places in Thailand.
At the time we visited (and probably still today), Koh Samet did not even boast a sealed road, although there were some vehicles driving along the beach and there is a central track from Sai Kaeo beach to Ao Phai and Ao Phutsa which has a Songthaew service running on it.
The accommodation on Koh Samet is not flash, but there are some some nice resorts and bungalows along the beach where you can stay overnight and there’s a pretty vibrant party atmosphere along the beach most evenings.
The northern end of Koh Samet is a national park (Khao Laem Ya – Mu Ko Samet) and most of the island is under the protection of the Thai National Parks Service. The eastern side of the island has the best beaches and bays for snorkelling. The most famous beach is Ao Wong Duean in the middle of the eastern side, which forms almost a complete circle of very fine crystal sand.
Places to stay on Koh Samet
Paradee Resort – (#1 on TripAdvisor) located on Rayong Beach between the West and East Bays of Ao Kiew, on a beautiful stretch of beach, this 5-star resort has large comfortable villa houses with big cathedral ceilings and your own private patio area and swimming pool. Butler service and a jacuzzi are all part of the treatment here. There are only 40 villas with prices starting at around USD$500 per night.
Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa – (Best rated family accommodation on TripAdvisor) located on a stunning beach at Ao Prao, this 4-star hotel has 31 villa style cottages with balconies overlooking the swimming pool and your own private spa. Quiet and romantic place to stay and the seafood in the restaurant is highly recommended. Prices start at around USD$250 per night.
Sea View Bungalow – (best rated vacation rental on TripAdvisor) is a self-contained bungalow looking out over Vong Duen Bay and beach. The bungalow is about 50m from the beach and features a king bed, bathroom and deck with sea views. Breakfasts and wifi internet are included in the rate of around US$100 per night.
Baan Ploy Sea – a more affordable option if you’re on a budget, this 3-star hotel located near the pier and the open air cinema at Ao Klang has 23 rooms starting from USD$135 per night. This is an eco-friendly hotel and its own private beach and swimming pool, but it lacks a few of the creature comforts of the better hotels.
Bar and Bed Resort – a cheaper option for budget travellers, this 3.5 star resort is located at Ao Klang near the pier and Lima Coco Beach with 32 rooms starting at USD$85 per night. It has a really nice balcony bar overlooking the beach with nice meals. The beach is not really that attractive but there are other nice beaches in walking distance.