Ao Thian Beach, Ko Samet

Ao Thian Beach, Ko Samet

Ao Thian Beach, Ko Samet

Taken on: 17th January, 2004. Copyright: All Rights Reserved - See travelfishery's page of Flickr

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As the closest major island to Bangkok, Ko Samet is one of the most popular places in Thailand to watch teal water caress feathery white sand shores. It's not the kingdom's most picturesque, enchanting or cleanest island, but Samet consistently draws droves of travellers seeking a quick, easy getaway from the Thai capital.

One of the very first Thai islands to surface on the foreign traveller radar back in the 1970s, Samet's old days of crashing in hammocks next to beach campfires are long gone. The island now competes with Hua Hin as the weekend beach playground of choice for middle to upper class Thais from Bangkok. This means better Thai food than on some islands, though it also results in bars and resorts that chiefly aim to satisfy middle- to high-end Thai tastes. On weekends, big groups of Thais zoom by on ATVs before congregating around bottles of scotch in the beachside bars (hopefully after returning the ATVs).

The island is famous among Thais as the ... Read our complete Ko Samet travel guide

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