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Koh Samet (Samed) island

 There are 14 of calm and white beaches around this Island and surrounded by colorful coral reefs, providing such aquatic sports as swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving.

You can engage in these activities all year around because not only the weather is always warm, but the island is not much affected by the monsoon, being located off the east coast.

You can also enjoy sunbathing and delicious seafood lunches. If you plan to stay overnight, Samet Island offers air-conditioned bungalows and accommodation in resorts and hotels .

Download map of Koh Samet island

The ferry to Samet Island

The ferry leaves from Banpae 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 Banpae Pier to Samet , which costs around 1,000 Bath/Trip.

How to get there:

Four operators; namely, Nuanthip, Si Ban Phe, Phe Port, and Saphan Pla, around Ban Phe offer shuttle boat services between their ports and the main port of the island. All operators charge a flat rate of 100 bath per person for a round trip or 50 bath for a single journey. Boats can leave anytime when more than 20 passengers are waiting. The service is available around the clock, seven days a week.

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 Bath/trip/person
- From Sai Kaew Beach to Vong Duen Beach, 30 Bath/trip/person
- From Sai Kaew Beach to Praw Bay, 40 Bath/trip/person

You can hire also a taxi for a group of maximum 12 persons.
- From Thadan Pier to Vong Duen Beach, 200 Bath
- From Thadan Pier around the island, 1,000 Bath
- From Vong Duen Beach to Kew Bay, 400 Bath

 The beaches of Samet Island:

  • Vong Duen Beach (many tourism)
  • Tien Bay
  • Chow Bay (Diving point)
  • Wai Bay (Diving point)
  • Kew Bay
  • Nuan Bay (many tourism)
  • Tub Tim Bay
  • Phai Bay (Night life here)
  • Sai Kaew Beach (The longest beach of the island)
  • Praw Bay (Diving point)
  • Loong Dam Beach
  • Karang Bay (Diving point, View point)
  • Kewna Nai Bay (Diving point)
  • Kewna Norg Bay (Diving point)

Koh Samet attractions:

Khao Laem Ya - Koh Samet Group National Park

It is located in Ban Phe, 20 kilometres from Rayong town, the park totals an area of 81,875 rai comprising land, sea and islands. Its major attractions include Mae Ramphueng Beach, Khao Laem Ya, and Samet Archipelago. The most famous island is Samet where many private-owned bungalows are available. The park has three nature trails; namely, Koh Samet, Koh Kudi, and Khao Laem Ya. On each route, visitors can enjoy nature as well as beautiful view points.

Hat Sai Kaew

One of the most beautiful and most popular beaches on Koh Samet, Hat Sai Kaew is 1 kilometer long and 25 – 30 meters wide. The name speaks for itself, Hat Sai Kaew, which literally means Crystal Sand Beach, is a nice beach filled with activities. From dusk to dawn, visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, jet skiing, windsurfing, riding on a banana boat or even partying at night. Accommodations provided include bungalows and villas.

Glistening Haad Sai Kaew (White Sand Beach) is a beach of superlatives. Undoubtedly the most popular, it is also the longest, busiest and at one time was the most beautiful of Ko Samet's beaches. Pricey bungalow operations line the beach, along with karaoke bars, restaurants and shops, while the beach itself is covered in deckchairs and inner tubes, with jet skis and banana boats whizzing by in the sea all day long. Popular with Bangkok-based Thai and expat families along with daytrippers from Pattaya, the best thing about Haad Sai Kaew is the array of good seafood eateries. It may be a bustling beach during the day, but in the evening the atmosphere is more relaxed as a dozen restaurants commandeer the sands with inviting mats and pillows. This is a lovely spot for a meal under the stars followed by an evening stroll along the kilometre-long stretch of white sand. Leave some room for an after-dinner roti from one of the carts on the beach.

Ao Noi Na

Ao Noi Na, which is located near Hat Sai Kaew, has different ambience. It is quieter and therefore more suitable for those looking for a truly relaxing experience on the white, clean sandy beach.

Most people turn left once they get off the ferry docking at Ko Samet. Those who turn right get to see one of the island's quieter beaches, Ao Noi Na, which benefits from being relatively secluded yet close enough to the action for a change of pace. The view from here is of Ban Phe and the mainland, rather than out to sea; for some, this takes away from the thrill of being on an island, though others may find the view of distant blue peaks rather romantic. Previously littered with abandoned resorts, the north coast is experiencing a resurgence -- and though it's still a quiet stretch of sea, there are now a lot more places to stay and the guesthouses tend to be friendlier than elsewhere on the island. The island's most offbeat restaurant is here. Ban Ploy Samed floats out in the bay. To reach it, a little bell needs to be rung on the mainland, as though you were summoning a butler. An unmanned boat attached to pulleys then whizzes across the water and lands at your feet. You hop in, get hauled back out to sea, and entry is gained. Once 'on board', the platform has openings in the floor through which to dangle your legs as you sit over the water, while hundreds of expectant fish wait underneath for any morsels that fall down. Unfortunately during our visit the rooms were closed and it wasn't clear if they would open again in the future, so for now it's just a restaurant.

Ao Hin Khok

Ao Hin Khok is separated from Hat Sai Kaew by a small rocky sea point where a mermaid statue is located. The beach, which is half the size of Hat Sai Kaew, is famous for its strangely shaped rocks. There are inexpensive bungalows/huts located along the beach, and also value-for-money restaurants providing fresh, quality seafood dishes.

Stunning Ao Hin Khok is a 200m stretch of beach that has been left largely undisturbed thanks to resorts being built back from the sand. Instead the beach is home to Chawalee, a Bangkokian who left the big smoke to lead a hermit's life on Ko Samet. Her humble abode is just south of the centre of the beach and she'd prefer you didn't lie about right out the front of her place. She speaks excellent English it you want to have a yarn. Hin Khok Bay is one of the best beaches on Ko Samet for swimming and sunbaking, with silvery-white, extra fine sand that sneaks up between the toes. The only downside is the lack of shade on the beach, aside from a couple of patches out the front of Jep's Restaurant - so don't forget the sunscreen. The accommodation is better value than some neighbouring beaches, though the cheaper the room the higher up the hill you'll have to hike. Ao Hin Khok is one of the main backpacker and traveller centres on Ko Samet and in season it can have a festive feel to it, with a lot of travellers and a fairly large ex-Bangkok contingent descending over the weekends and across public holidays. At these times, it's essential to book in advance.

Ao Pai

Located close to Hat Sai Kaew, Ao Pai is therefore quite crowded. For visitors interested in sunbathing, this is the ideal place as swimming is not recommended as there is whirlpool on the sea, as designated by the red flag.

Popular Ao Phai is a stretch of white sand with some of Ko Samet's best swimming. There's little in the way of shade though, so budget for a deckchair and umbrella if you don’t want to be burned to a crisp. While this isn't one of Samet's longest, it is nevertheless a very pleasant and certainly very well-located beach, set between Ao Tubtim to the south and Ao Hin Khok to the north. As with many beaches on Samet, the guesthouse and resort scene here is moving upmarket as bungalow operators look to cash in and expand. Many of the backpacker retreats are gone and in their place stand midrange resorts. The few budgetish places left tend to be back off the beach a bit. Ao Phai remains busy during the day as it's an easy walk from the adjoining beaches, so even if you don't like the prices you can still enjoy the views by just wandering here on a daytrip. Entertainment wise, a few restaurants are just off the beach and evenings are generally quiet, except for the occasional beach party that will keep light sleepers up all night.

Ao Phutsa

Ao Put Sa is a small bay on Koh Samet which draws repeat visitors intent on relaxing. Suitable for those who are tired of crowded beaches and nightlife activities, Ao Put Sa offers a quite retreat that reunites visitors with nature in its crystal clear waters.

Ao Thapthim (Tubtim)

Ao Tub Tim, which is set in a tranquil atmosphere, is located near Ao Put Sa and is well known for its white sand and clear water. Ao Tub Tim has a small, cozy resort, which provides nice services in a well decorated compound.

The cute little beach of Ao Tubtim is also known as Ao Phutsa and is home to the long-running and very popular Tub Tim Resort – one of our favourite places on Ko Samet. Many travellers seem to agree, as this beach attracts a steady trade of regular visitors, foreigners and Thais alike, and over weekends and holidays the accommodation can be packed. The bay is pleasant and reasonably sheltered although, as with most of Ko Samet's beaches, there isn't too much in the shade department. Ao Tubtim is a good swimming beach with just a couple of small patches of rocks you'll need to dodge. Come the evening, the only bar is the Lighthouse, where you can play pool or try out their sublime lemon teas. As for accommodation there are only two options, and when it comes to eating there are even fewer. Praise be then to Tub Tim Resort, which manages to provide excellent beds and food. Their seafood is outstanding, and while the service can be a little offbeat, it all comes with a smile.

Ao Nuan

Clambering down the cliff to get to the sheltered Ao Nuanbay, you get a feel for how Ko Samet used to be. The secret to its seclusion lies in the fact that the only way to get there is by foot, making the development that has come to every other beach somewhat difficult. Access is from Ao Tubtim to the north, up and over a small hill, or from Ao Cho to the south. Home to a single, low-key, traveller-orientated resort, Ao Nuan is certainly worth making the effort to visit either on a daytrip or to stay at (if you can get a hut -- they don't accept reservations as they don't have a phone). While the lodgings get mixed reviews, especially regarding their value for money, there's no denying this is an old-school backpacker joint in both the good and not so good ways. Few places like this are left on Samet. The sleepy evenings under the stars are a particular attraction here, but the more lively Samet beaches, with their bounty of restaurants and bars, are still just a short stroll away, allowing guests to enjoy the best of both worlds. Do take a torch if you take the trail down to the beach at night.

Ao Wong Deuan

Ao Wong Deuan is the second largest beach on the island (the first being Hat Sai Kaew). Ao Wong Deuan attracts tourist groups during both the high and low seasons due to its beautiful white sandy beach and good accommodations. On top of this, good seafood restaurants with nice views are also available.

Sweeping and well protected Ao Wong Duen is one of the most popular beaches to stay and play at on Ko Samet. Home to some quality mid-range accommodation, the beach is easy to reach thanks to the stream of ferries, speedboats, jet skis and banana boats plying their trade, so an isolated and quiet beach this is not.
That said, backpackers tend to stay elsewhere and cocktails rather than buckets of vodka are the order of the day as the beach moves more upmarket. If you choose to stay on Ao Wong Duen you may find yourself spending much of your time on other beaches to dodge the noise and hustle and bustle, while returning to Ao Wong Duen for its fine selection of eateries and drinking holes in the evening.

Ao Thian (Candlelight Beach)

Ao Thian’s topography is painted by rocky beach in which some nice spots for skin diving are available. This beach is very quiet and free from group tours with bungalows and resorts available around the beach area.

The name may mean Candlelight Beach but this place is so developed now you won't need much help to see your way around here. Ao Thian has developed considerably over the last decade. As with most of the far southern beaches on Ko Samet, Ao Thian is quite pleasant and the choice of accommodation is good. The beach, albeit a little rocky, is great for swimming and snorkelling. Being a short walk from the far busier Ao Wong Duen means you're never far away from a wider choice of restaurants but on Ao Thian the restaurants are well located on a boardwalk area just above the beach, creating a perfect setting for enjoying time with friends. Popular with Thais and particularly busy on weekends, you're more likely to rub elbows with someone from Bangkok or Khorat than Berlin or Copenhagen here.

Ao Wai

Ao Wai is located within a short walking distance of Candlelight Beach. Shaded by coconut trees, the beach is a quite, scenic and serene spot for sea lovers.

The long and out of the way Ao Wai is a pleasant well-shaded spot that is home to Ko Samet's most eclectic resort, which stretches for the entire length of the beach. For those seeking small crowds and a quiet natural atmosphere, Ao Wai could be the answer. Not quite as isolated as Ao Kiu Na Nok in the far south, this bay is still isolated enough to deter most daytrippers, but close enough to neighbouring Ao Thian that should you want to go elsewhere for a drink or a meal it's not a major expedition. The single resort on the beach stands out thanks to its huge range of room styles, making it the most unusual place on the island.

Ao Kiu Na Nok

This bay is a perfect secluded den for those planning to keep their distance from the busy, crowded beaches and vibrant nightlife. From Ao Kiew Nok, visitors can actually walk to Ao Kiew Nai which is the ideal spot to see the spectacular sun rise and sun set.

Southernmost Ao Kiu Na Nok is where the jetset come to stay as it's as far from the backpacker pads as you can get – in terms of price and distance. What was once a little hideaway now hosts the island's most expensive resort, though the beach itself is still largely undisturbed and is one of Ko Samet's finest. There's some good shade at the centre and north of the beach while the best swimming is towards the south. Mirroring the development across much of Ko Samet, Ao Kiu Na Nok was once a remote patch of sand that few got to see. The former slap-dash Ao Kiu Resort is now long gone, replaced by the salubrious Paradee Resort. Luxury doesn't come cheap at Paradee and you can spend up to 80,000B a night if you wish to avail yourself of all their creature comforts – a sharp contrast to the rustic bungalows that once dotted the area.

Ao Karang

The best place to experience the traditional lifestyle of the residents of Koh Samet is at Ao Karang where there also are a number of seafood restaurants providing fresh seafood dishes at reasonable prices.

Ao Wiang Wan

Ao Wiang Wan is located on the west of Na Dan Pier, a large bay where lots of sport activities such as fishing, etc. take place.

Ao Phrao

Ao Prow is one of the quietest beaches of Koh Samet. Located quite far away from the lively nightlife of Koh Samet; Ao Prow is preferred by travelers who quietly enjoy the deep blue sea and white sand in the sunshine. Ao Prow has a long white sandy beach which is ideal for swimming.

One of the only beaches on Ko Samet's west coast, Ao Phrao is a scenic bay with a sweeping shallow beach. It's also the most luxurious beach on Ko Samet, with just three top-end resorts. It's a popular choice amongst hi-so (high society) Thais, so don't be surprised at the sight of sudden influxes of VIP-keepers dossing around while their self-important employers sip overpriced wine at Le Vimarn before jetting off again by high-powered speedboat. Despite the beach having some fancy resorts, it is not all that spectacular. Yes, the sunsets are pretty, but as a swimming beach the waters are very shallow -- better for frolicking than swimming. Many guests take advantage of the scuba diving lessons available as the shallow waters make it easy to perfect those underwater skills.

Ao Cho:

Just over the hill from Ao Wong Deun, Ao Cho is a reasonable medium-sized beach split in half by a pier that gets a daily ferry in from Ban Phe. The swimming here is particularly good just to the south of the pier, which is fun to jump off. Despite being a centre for boat drop-offs, Ao Cho accommodation isn't that impressive. Some newcomers have arrived on the market, and one of them, Ao Cho Grand View Resort, clearly hopes to attract a more upmarket set. Like pretty much everywhere on the island, this beach tends to fill up on weekends, but through the week we found it to have a half-abandoned feel - others might see it as hippyish and unkempt.

Ao Lukyon:

Visitors tend to walk straight past Ao Lukyon without even knowing it's there. This rocky cove is on the northeastern tip of Ko Samet and has merely a sliver of sand at its centre accompanied by some terrific sea views. It's one of those places where staff give guests a cautious eye upon arrival, suspecting that they are lost.
If your prime goal is to get away from the crowds, then Lukyon is a reasonable choice, but bear in mind you really will be out on a ledge here – we've never seen another guest here – ever. So if you want to share the (admittedly very small) beach with not another soul then you're in the right spot, but wouldn't you feel better served at least picking a beach with some sand on it?

What to do in Koh Samet:

Most beaches are on the eastern side of the island. The beaches hide in small bays and stretch some 200 metres. From the north, there are Hat Sai Kaeo, Hat Hin Khrong, Hat Khlong Phai, Ao Phutsa, Ao Thapthim, Ao Naun, Ao Cho, Ao Thian, Ao Wai, Ao Kio Na Yok and Ao Karang. The only beach on the western side is Ao Phrao. One of the famous beaches is Ao Wong Duean in the middle of the eastern side. This beach stretches in the shape of an almost complete circle. Both Ao Wong Duean and Hat Sai Kaeo have very fine white sand.

Boat trips

Walk on any of Ko Samet's beaches and you'll soon see signs advertising a day out on the water. Choose from two main options: a speedboat trip covering more islands, or a more relaxing slow-boat trip.

Both tend to go for most of the day (11:00 until 16:00 or 17:00) and include either a pre-packed lunch or barbecue, snorkelling gear and all the water you can drink. A speedboat trip to Ko Thalu, Kud, Pateen and Kham along with a visit to the fish farms should cost 600B. A slow-boat trip to 11 beaches on Ko Samet costs 350 to 600B, depending on the duration and your beach of origin. Overall the speedboats are better value as you get to see some of the other islands for just an extra 100B. Night-boat trips to go fishing for squid last from 18:00 to midnight and cost around 500B.


You can walk the main length of Ko Samet in three to four hours at a reasonable pace and most of the beaches can be reached by walking either around the headlands or via a network of trails.

The trails skip from one beach to another along the island's east coast while Ao Noi Na on the island's north coast and Ao Phrao to the west are reached by road. If you were to start from Ao Phai after breakfast, you could stop and swim at four or five beaches on the way down aiming to arrive at the bottom of the island for around 17:00. Once there, trundle over to the back beach of Ao Kiu Na Nai, which has some quite good snorkelling, then wander down to the viewpoint for sunset. Afterwards you can walk back on the road to whichever beach you are staying at (you will need a torch). Every beach has at least one restaurant, making it easy to stop off en route to refresh with a drink or enjoy a meal. The main dirt road is unlit, so it's best to get within striking distance of your resort as sunset approaches. The northern beach of Ao Noi Na has a better road for walking on and it takes 45 minutes to travel its entire length.


Relaxing on the warm sands while your back is gently massaged takes some beating. Most beaches on Ko Samet have at least one shaded pavilion with massages on offer for a fairly uniform 250B per hour.

Wandering masseuses in the Ao Hin Khok and Ao Phai area charge around 200B per hour. Nadan also has several indoor massage shops with extended hours.

Thai Boxing

Ko Samet is really a place to chill, but if you do feel the need to expend some energy then Naga Bungalows has a Thai boxing school with Thai- and English-speaking instructors.

Classes can be geared towards those interested in the sport or those who just need a good workout. Naga also organises regular Thai boxing matches at the ring adjacent to the Naga Bar. One-hour lessons are at 16:30 daily and cost 250B.

Fire spinning

A small school in Nadan village teaches the art of fire spinning. It's run by a chap named Bond, who dresses accordingly, and also has a centre at Cactus Bar on Haad Rin, Ko Pha Ngan.

The cost is about 900B for a three-day course, with classes two hours each and all materials provided. Several beach restaurants, including the Ploy Talay on Haad Sai Kaew, also offer free fire spinning shows nightly.


The main ferry boat pier on the island is in the little settlement of Nadan, which is little more than a row of shops lining the kilometre-long road from the ferry to the national park entrance booth. A few essential services are available here, including a pharmacy. Prices in Nadan tend to be lower than on the beaches, particularly for motorcycle rental. If you're really stuck there are a few places to rent a room in Nadan.

At the time of writing, Ko Samet is home to three ATMs. The first is outside the 7-Eleven at the arrivals pier in Nadan. The other two are near the 7-Eleven just outside the national park entrance booth near Haad Sai Kaew.

Once you're off the boat in Nadan, songthaews ferry passengers the one km from the pier to the national park entrance and Haad Sai Kaew for 10B per person, or to Ao Phai for 20B each, as long as a minimum of 10 passengers make the trip. For beaches farther south, the fare increases dramatically.

Notes and precautions
In the past Ko Samet had a bit of a bad rap for malaria, but it hasn't been a serious problem in over a decade. Dengue fever however remains an issue, so take all the usual precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. In the past rumours swirled of disease-ridden dogs roaming free in packs -- the truth is a lot of strays wander round, but they're well taken care of by the locals and are used to tourists, so they will be no bother. Just be sure not to leave your half-full Sangsom buckets on the beach after a night's partying -- the dogs have been known to imbibe. And though the climate on Ko Samet is generally pleasant, the tides manage to pull a couple of people to their deaths every year, so be wary when swimming.

National park entry fee
One thing that really bothers people about Ko Samet is the fee charged to all visitors upon arrival. It's bad enough having to pay the inflated fee to enter a well-protected national park, but being charged 10 times a local to enter a park that has been over-developed and largely trashed by developers is a bit of a joke. Thankfully, after spending a year at 400B, the entry fee was reduced in late 2007 to a more affordable 200B. In the past, it was possible to avoid paying this fee by arriving on the island at places other than Nadan or Ao Wong Deun. However, proactive rangers now meet arriving boats at almost every location to collect this fee.