Koh Samet. My favorite moment of the day was in the early evening when the sun began to set and the shades of orange, pink, purple and grey colored the sky. I was in the warm ocean, truly in the moment and waiting for the dusk to descend and the first star to appear. And then the second and third.
Another favorite moment was having mojitos on the beach around midnight during low tide in the best company and watching the stars when the fireworks all of a sudden began.
Koh Samet is a dagger-shaped island in the Gulf of Thailand and located approximately 220 kilometers Southeast of Bangkok, which equals a taxi ride of around two and a half hours and a big boat trip of 45 minutes. You can rent a speed boat or take the big boat from the port of Ban Phe to the island. We went for the big boat option since we weren’t in a hurry and this way we got to enjoy the sea views and the pleasant light breeze. The island is only about six kilometers long from the north to the south tip and it has several beaches (note: if you opt for the speed boat, remember to give the driver the name of the beach you are staying at, otherwise he might drop you off to the Na Dan pier).
The island is quite the perfect destination for example for a weekend getaway. The island is a popular holiday spot for people living in Bangkok. We were in Thailand altogether for eight days so the combo Bangkok and Koh Samet (with five and three days in each) worked really well. Koh Samet has beaches with soft and fluffy white sand, bungalow villages, tall palm trees and crystal clear water.
I wouldn’t necessary call the whole island a paradise island but it definitely had paradise beaches. Just one wish for the people working on the island and the visitors as well: especially since it is a nature reserve it would be really nice if the garbage at some places by the roads would be picked away.
We stayed at Ao Cho Grandview Hideaway Resort, which was very nice. A special mentioning goes to the restaurant on the beach and the delicious dishes. One evening we arrived late and ended up having a hot pot of Tom yum and a savory curry just the two of us by the sea under the stars with our toes in the sand when the restaurant closed and all the other diners had gone to their villas.
So, what to do on Koh Samet? Swim. Swim. And swim. I love to swim. We had planned to do some hiking in the nature reserve on one of the days but any program which included going further than 20 meters from the sea didn’t seem too alluring. Besides swimming and floating in the sea we went beach hopping, canoed, enjoyed the spicy Tom yum, fresh fruit and light Singha in the restaurant by the beach, had a Thai massage, relaxed and read by the sea and marveled at the praying mantis in the roof of our bungalow’s terrace. With beach hopping I mean that we followed the shoreline and walked from one beach to another and where there were cliffs in between the beaches we climbed and hopped over them. During our beach walk we discovered that the beaches were quite different atmosphere-wise. For example the longest beach and a lively one is the Haad Sai Kaew: it has many beach restaurants and water sport activities whereas our beach, Ao Cho, was beautiful and peaceful and had an old beautiful wooden pier. If you are into doing all kinds of water activities, from riding a banana boat to snorkeling or parasailing, Koh Samet is the place.
A few practical tips. If you want to go from beach to beach by foot, bring swimming shoes. There are rocks between some of the beaches and they can be slippery and a bit sharp. Also, bring mosquito repellent. Your legs will thank me. A flashlight can come useful if you want to do a nightly adventure, since it gets pitch dark. I didn’t see any street lights. There is an entry fee to the nature park area (that is, the island) of 200 baht. I can recommed Koh Samet for a relaxed holiday with plenty of beach time.