Photo: Peak hour on Ao Wai.

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Dotting the far south of Ko Samet's long peninsular tale, this trio of secluded, picturesque beaches could be just the ticket for those seeking quietude and romance.

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With luscious white sand shaded by palms and a few mangroves, Ao Wai is arguably Ko Samet's most idyllic beach. It's a good choice for families or couples looking for a peaceful spot to splash in the surf, though a gentle drop off makes more serious swimming possible as well. Even if you don't stay here, it's well worth stopping by on a day trip.

Ao Kiu Na Nok is dominated by salubrious top-end resort, Paradee, which sadly replaced the basic bungalows that once made this a skinny-dipping backpacker hideaway. Luxury doesn't come cheap at Paradee and you can spend over 70,000 baht a night if you wish to avail yourself of all their creature comforts.

Along with the tiny Ao Kiu Na Nai beach along the west coast, the beautiful stretch of white sand that makes up east-facing Ao Kiu Na Nok has been fully blocked off from the main road by Paradee's ever-watchful security guards. The beaches themselves are property only of the King of Thailand, but unless you shell out to stay here, you'll have to access them by sea.

Southernmost Ao Pakarang is as remote as Ko Samet gets, and it truly does feel a world away from the bustling northern beaches. Most who stay in one of Nimmanoradee's charming octagonal cottages either speedboats directly here or is picked up at the pier, never straying from this isolated outcrop until they leave the island altogether. Ao Pakarang has a pair of thin mangrove beaches that hug either side of a dramatic stone peninsula. The swimming isn't great, but the cast away atmosphere is unlike any place else on the island.

Ao Wai isn't so far from Ao Thian and Ao Wong Duen that it would be a major expedition to go out for a taste of the busier beach civilisation. Ao Kiu Na Nok is located way down there and reachable only via a rough, hilly road. Even further to the south, Ao Pakarang requires a somewhat harrowing drive over what feel like a rocky stream bed.

Any of these resorts can arrange motorbike rental at inflated prices, but inexperienced riders are not encouraged to attempt riding the road's far southern hills. Otherwise, taxis can be arranged, again for inflated prices. Thankfully, the restaurants at all three of the resorts on these beaches have good reputations.

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