Koh Samet

Koh Samet is essentially an island for relaxing and enjoying the quiet life close to nature. As more tourists arrive, more facilities and outdoor pursuits are being offered, particularly along the more developed north-east coast at Haad Sai Kaeo (Diamond Beach) Ao Pai,  and Vong Deuan. Sailing, snorkelling, boats for hire and windsurfing can all be arranged through most of the resorts. Windsurfing is particularly good north of Haad Sai Kaeo and the rocky north coast where strong currents and offshore winds offer a challenge. Windsurfers are available at most guesthouses for around 100B to 200B per hour) You can also rent jet-skis at Haad Sai Kaeo.

For around 300B per person, you can book a speedboat at the main beaches. Take a tour around the island and/or go snorkelling off the rocky uninhabited western side, or around the reefs at the southern tip. They'll be happy to do a morning drop-off and afternoon pickup if you want to relax at one the secluded bays along the island's east coast. Or negotiate a price and explore the islands of Kudi, Kruai, Kham and Plai Tin which lie a little to the east of Koh Samet. The islands are fringed by lovely beaches - ideal for swimming and camping. Scuba diving excursions can be arranged at Vong Duang.  

The beaches on the south-east coast are the least developed and least visited. The west coast is rocky but does have one very secluded beach Ao Prao (Paradise Beach) which has a comfortable bungalow resort and a alternative health centre offering courses in yoga, painting, dance, meditat ion and Reiki healing among others. Courses are conducted in English.

Generally walking and "Songtaews" (local open air taxis) are the main modes of transport. As the island is tiny it's really not a problem. Samet Island has only one road going from north to south with tracks running from it. You can catch a songtaew anywhere along the road and at all the main beaches. Transfer from beach to beach costs around 30-40 Baht per person per trip, depending on distance and negotiating skills. Or, hire a taxi for a group for the day.

Many of the resorts and guesthouses around Hat Sai Kaeo (Diamond Beach) - the most developed beach on th e north-east cape, are linked by a local path. Diamond Beach is also only a 10-minute walk from the ferry port at Na Dan. You can also hike the shoreline path between beaches.

This tiny island (about 7 km long and 5 km wide) lies about 6 km off Thailand's East Coast in the province of Rayong. Ferries leave the small fishing village of Ban Phe (about 20 km east of Rayong town) to Koh Samet daily from 06.00 - 17.00 hrs. The trip takes about 30 to 45 minutes depending on which part of the island it goes to. It's possible to hire a local "long-tail" boat which makes the trip in about half the time. There is also a 20 baht entry fee to the National Park.

To get to the ferry terminal at Ban Phe takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes by bus from Bangkok. Travelling by car takes about 3 hours.