Koh Samet Bangkoks weekend beach getaway
We first discovered Koh Samet in November of 2011. We went to Bangkok despite hearing of the flooding. The city was pretty beat up from the floods and the happy-go-lucky place we knew was now shuttered up and sand bagged. Our friend there suggested we get out of the city and head over to an Island off the eastern coast of Thailand. Koh Samet is a really cool little island that is also designated as a national park . To get there you can catch a bus in Bangkok or hire a taxi to drive you there. We have taken both and find the taxi a much faster and more convenient way to go, though the bus is considerably cheaper. The cost for a taxi from Bangkok to Ban Phe pier is between $50 to $70 dollars U.S. but keep in mind that it is a 2 to 2 and a half hour drive. A cab would cost me that from LAX to my home in SFV.
Once you get to Ban Phe you can either travel to the island by public ferry or speed boat. The ferry will set you back about $4.00 USD. The speed boat private will be about $ 50.00 USD. Sometimes you can share speed boats with other visitors for a discounted price. Mind you these prices are one way. Once at a resort, book your return through your hotel and you can save up to 50% on the return trip to the mainland. I like returning on the ferry, it gives me time to mourn my departure.
There are several great beaches on Koh Samet. Ao Wai is our personal favorite. It’s on the southeastern coast of the island and has a beautiful large white sand beach. There are several trees on the sand so shade is easy to find while still laying out at the beach. At the southern point of the resort is a great snorkeling spot. The hotel is Samet Ville Resort. It’s a large but very quiet place. It’s a clean, cozy and stress free chill kinda resort. With room rates starting at about $30.00 USD there isn’t much stress at all. The bay is very shallow here and the water clear and calm. Just a couple of feet off shore your surrounded by small fish that don’t seem shy at all. It’s a private beach, owned by the resort so its pretty much only hotel guests here. Not a lot of day trippers like you’ll find at the beaches on the northern tip. It’s the perfect paradise hideaway. Watching the sunrise here is well worth getting up early.
Another favorite Beach is Ao Thapthim. It is located on the eastern side of the island about half way down the coast. It’s near the night life but still far enough away to not be too bothered by the noise from the clubs on Sai Kaew beach. There are some nice resorts here, Tub Tim Resorts , Pudsa Bungalows and Samet Villa. The beach is white sand and the water is bath water warm. There is a great Bar here between Tub Tim resort and Pudsa bungalows called Trio Cocktail Bar. The music at this little watering hole is always the best of the best anywhere … anytime. Their drinks are very nice too. It’s a friendly laid back place to get your island relax on. Stop by and say hi to my favorite little guy on the island an adorable Jack Russell that is the Trio mascot.
There is a fairly new road that connects all the resorts and crosses the entire island. I recommend you rent a scooter and take a couple of days and exploring the different beaches and resorts on the island. I think the best sunsets can be seen at Ao Prao, a small cove with some very nice resorts. These are the only resorts on the western side of the island. One of the best snorkeling sport is at the southern most end of the island. You’ll come to stop and see national park signs . The spot is down a steep trail on the western slope, get to the bottom and you will have a nice easy entry into some great waters.
Keep in mind your on an island. Everything must be brought in including water which arrives by the boat full daily, so costs are higher than say Bangkok or the north. Also please be mindful of garbage and waste, what comes in must be carted out. When I tell people I had a great time in Koh Samet I often get a look of surprise from them. Koh Samet it is a great little island with beautiful white sand beaches and wonderful waters. It’s close to Bangkok and easy to get to for a weekend. If sun, sand, good food and nightlife isn’t enough adventure for you, keep in mind that you can always go check out the four neighboring islands via boat tour. You can learn to windsurf, Dive or spend a day visiting Ban Phe. I recommend that if you travel to Bangkok you give yourself a trip to Koh Samet. Is it affordable?…yes. Is it easy to get to?… Yes! Is it a tourist trap…I usually see more Thai nationals there than I see foreigners there. Night life? Yes! Peace and quiet? Yes! Will we go again? 100% Yes!