Photo: Boy playing on Hin Khok beach.

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Introduction

Skirt the rocks where Phra Arpaimanee and the mermaid hang out at the southern end of Haad Sai Kaew, and you'll enter 200 metre long Ao Hin Khok, with slightly larger Ao Phai just beyond that. While the former remains a favourite of budget travellers thanks to a trio of long-running bungalow joints, the latter has become somewhat overcrowded in recent years.

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On a leafy stretch of on Ao Hin Khok's southern sand, you'll find the humble abode of one of Samet's most interesting characters. After having her fill of the city life in Bangkok, Chawalee moved to Samet to live a hermit's life by the ocean, and she remains despite the development that's sprung up around her. She'd prefer you didn't lie about right in front of her place, though she speaks excellent English it you want to have a yarn.

Both beaches (if not for a few rocks it would be one long one) boast some of the finest white sand on Samet, with some great swimming also possible here. With Haad Sai Kaew an easy stroll to the north and the quieter southern beaches not too far off either, the central location is a draw for many.

Unfortunately, the main road runs immediately behind both beaches, and the continually passing trucks and motorbikes detract from the atmosphere. Once again, if you're seeking peace and quiet, head further south.

Though Ao Hin Khok hasn't changed much in recent years, Ao Phai has seen drastic development since our last visit. Silver Sand Resort constructed a massive concrete awning that now dominates the beach, and it's here that you'll find one of the island's biggest and loudest beach parties every Saturday night (and well into Sunday morning).

If you don't mind a short walk to the beach, a couple of decent budget spots are located inland, just north of Ao Phai.

 Browse places to stay in Ao Hin Khok on Booking.com. Free cancellation.

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