Starting in the north of this long and slender island, Ao Noi Na is a fine option with a small village feel near Nadan Pier. Nearby Samet Village has the island’s only real selection of rooms for less than 1,000 baht a night. Next comes Laem Yai with its confusion of resorts set along a rocky coast, followed by mostly pricey beach resorts on Haad Sai Kaew. Ao Hin Khok was traditionally a backpacker enclave that still hangs on to a few old huts. Next comes a lively atmosphere on Ao Phai, the last of the busy northern beaches.
Continue south and you’ll reach a crossroads: right (west) leads to Ao Phrao’s three upscale resorts, while left (east) carries on to conveniently located Ao Tubtim. Just south of that is tiny Ao Nuan, followed by mostly dire accommodation on beautiful Ao Cho. Then comes Ao Wong Duean, Ko Samet’s second longest beach at roughly the centre of the east coast.
South of Ao Wong Duean stretches rocky Ao Sang Thian, which tapers into Ao Lung Dum’s old-style beach bum vibe. A more remote feel overtakes Ao Wai and Ao Pakarang, both featuring just one resort each in the far south. In between is Ao Kiu Na Nok, a small beach that’s fully occupied by the lavish Paradee Resort’s rooms starting at 15,000 baht a night.
Not sure where to stay on Ko Samet? here is a primer to get you started,
You’ll notice an unusually high number of poor reviews when browsing Ko Samet’s resorts and guesthouses on the big booking sites. Does the island attract picky travellers with unreasonable expectations, or is the accommodation really that rough? It’s a little of both, as it turns out, but fear not: We’ve sifted the saffron from the soot to uncover solid options in all price ranges. The... Read our full review of Where to stay on Ko Samet, Thailand.
Facing north towards the mainland, Ao Noi Na is accessed by its own narrow road and has several modest houses along with a handful of resorts. The coast is rocky near Nadan Pier but turns into a splendid white-sand beach in front of Mooban Talay Resort. Narrower patches of sand are found in between, though high tide erases most of them and the many piers can make swimming difficult. Ao Noi Na’s low-key village vibe is a good choice if you want easy access to conveniences -- Samet Village is within walking distance -- but also prefer to steer clear of the busier beaches.
An easily overlooked resort in a quiet setting, Chom Samed offers spacious and comfortable rooms in freestanding wood cabins or a three-storey polished concrete stack. Either are solid choices. Around a dozen stilted dark-wood cabins overlook a lawn filled with frangipani, swings and hammocks, with an attractive three-storey concrete structure and the reception area on the other side. All... Read our full review of Chom Samed Resort.
With a name that translates as “Sea Village,” Mooban Talay was one of the first upscale resorts to appear back when Samet was still mainly a backpacker island. Arriving early to the party allowed it to snag one of the best locations on Samet: a wide expanse of tree-lined land fronting a beautiful beach with views to Khao Laem Ya and the mainland. The resort made the most of the property... Read our full review of Mooban Talay Resort.
Located midway between Nadan Pier and the good part of Ao Noi Na beach, Baan Pra Kai Kaew serves up well-equipped air-con rooms in detached concrete bungalows or in a concrete guesthouse set on stilts over the sea. It’s a comfy choice if you’re searching in the 900 to 1,900 baht range -- especially if you like German food and beer. A German/Thai couple runs the small resort (or large... Read our full review of Baan Pra Kai Kaew.
Sporting a collection of white concrete villas set over rocks within a few steps of the surf, the old Sunrise Villas underwent major renovations in recent years. The once-grimy bungalows have re-emerged as smart and comfortable rooms in a convenient location with sea views. The mini-resort offers older/smaller bungalows built at ground level and some larger editions set on chunky concrete... Read our full review of Sunrise Villas.
Clustered along the main drag from Nadan Pier to Haad Sai Kaew, Ko Samet's not-so-charming village is a good place to score affordable rooms, meals, motorbikes and massages. The village doesn’t win points for atmosphere, but backpackers and long stayers may find that it makes a good base with the island’s best selection of food at your fingertips.
A bunch of small guesthouses with mostly air-con rooms for around 1,000 baht a night are on offer here. We recommend only a few places (reviewed below), but you’ll find passable rooms and standoffish service at Mossman House, I-Talay Trio Guesthouse, Samet Smile House, Miss Hong House and Koh Kaew Village, to name a handful. Beyond these “official” guesthouses, many of the pubs and cafes also rent out a room or two.
Opened in 2014, Olly’s Bar and Hostel came as a much-needed option for budget travellers on pricey Ko Samet. At research time it was the only hostel on the island -- and it’s a good one. Olly offers a mixed dorm room set in an attached concrete building just back from the street. Guests staying in one of the roughly 12 bunks, including some that accommodate two guests, will use several... Read our full review of Olly’s Bar and Hostel.
Run by an affable Canadian/Thai couple with help from their adorable little girl, Red Ginger has three rooms located above and behind the phenomenal restaurant of the same name. With violet walls and a Bohemian vibe, two small and basic double rooms are well suited to solo travellers while a larger upper-floor edition with four beds will do the trick for groups. Both options come with... Read our full review of Red Ginger.
Falling somewhere between miniature resort and large guesthouse, Barbados Terrace has freestanding concrete bungalows packed around a garden just off a quiet stretch of the main drag. This isn't a place where you'd probably want to hang out during the day, but it wouldn't be so bad if you had to. Most of Barbados’ rooms come in the form of detached bungalows with small porches clustered... Read our full review of Barbados Terrace.
Samet’s longest and busiest beach has several tired old resorts to the south that were practically built on top of one another. These include Ploy Talay, Sai Kaew Villa, Sinsamut and White Sand, and we wouldn’t recommend any of them. If seeking a room in the 1,000 to 3,000 baht range without sacrificing a seaside location, head a smidge south to Ao Hin Khok or north to Laem Yai. If you’ve got more to spend, a few quality resorts are found on the northern half of the beach.
With its modernist villas, chic blue-and-white decor and tropical accents, the long-running Haad Sai Kaew Beach Resort sets the luxury bar on Samet’s most popular beach. It’s an excellent choice if you’re up for a splurge. The cheapest deluxe rooms are about a two-minute walk from the beach and, while perfectly comfortable and with all the mod cons you'd expect, offer questionable value... Read our full review of Saikaew Beach Resort.
Squeezed between two of Samet’s biggest resorts, Summerday is a more stylish and personable place to stay on a beach where most places lack personality. It makes up for the lack of a swimming pool with multiple hammocks, loungers and a bar looking straight towards the sea. Set in an attached single-floor building, the six rooms feature brick walls painted white, framed black-and-white... Read our full review of Summerday Beach Resort.
For an all-in-one midrange beach resort, the Grand View gets it done. Set on a prime patch of Haad Sai Kaew, this large-scale resort has a lively vibe to go with half a dozen different room options. The resort’s various buildings were added piecemeal over the years: After getting used to the newest rooms in a sleek polished concrete building it can feel like wandering into an entirely... Read our full review of Grand View Hat Sai Kaew .
The addition of air-con in most rooms thrust Laem Yai Hut into the flashpacker range as of 2016. Even so, the ragtag old joint held onto a lazy backpacker atmosphere that’s otherwise missing from the Haad Sai Kaew vicinity. The revamped rooms aren’t too shabby if you can put up with non-existent service. Laem Yai Hut has a fabulous location on a leafy hill that stretches from one side of... Read our full review of Laem Yai Hut House.
A rocky cape extending from Haad Sai Kaew’s northern end, Laem Yai’s north coast has a tightly packed cluster of small resorts stacked so closely together that it can feel like a maze. Often with sea views and quiet atmospheres, some of them are solid options for a comfy stay in the flashpacker range. Larissa Resort has a tiny stretch of sand, but most who stay here stroll over to nearby Haad Sai Kaew for beach time.
The funkiest and most affordable of the Samed Resorts group’s eight offerings on the island, Baan Supparod rose from the demise of an old budget joint that closed in 2014. Though certainly not cheap, it’s worth considering for a quiet cottage within a five-minute walk of Haad Sai Kaew. White wood-and-concrete cottages are spread fairly far apart over a leafy hill leading down to a rocky... Read our full review of Baan Supparod.
Easily overlooked amid a tangle of small resorts, Larissa has four rows of white concrete villas to go with its own little sandy beach. Simple yet comfy rooms, quiet atmosphere, cheerful staff and convenient location are all selling points here. Spacious freestanding villas face one another across narrow lawns with a few trees. While you don’t get a sea view through the glass sliding doors,... Read our full review of Larissa Resort.
A small beach stretching just south of Haad Sai Kaew and north of Ao Phai, Ao Hin Khok has three long-running places to stay on the inland side of the road. While most of the rooms now fall into the flashpacker range, Naga has kept a handful of very basic fan-cooled bungalows.
Tok’s Little Hut made a major turnaround since our previous visit. A strong selection of revamped air-con rooms stretch up the hill overlooking Ao Hin Khok, and it seems that staff attitudes had undergone renovations as well. The older Thai guys who run the place were quick to show us several different rooms; the man who led us around even apologised to a couple of guests for not getting... Read our full review of Tok’s Little Hut.
Along with basic accommodation, well dug-in Naga Bungalows has a post office, internet shop, mini-library, tour desk, money exchange office, gem dealer, bar and restaurant, though the old muay Thai ring was missing at research time. Climbing up the concrete steps with mythical naga serpents for handrails takes you to a concrete roofed platform with reception and many of the services mentioned... Read our full review of Naga Bungalows.
Party-oriented Ao Phai packs a lot into a pint-sized bay. The whole central stretch of the beach is dominated by Silversand, known more for thumping parties than its forgettable rooms. You’ll also find some quieter spots around the fringes of the bay that we recommend below.
White bungalows dot a tree-lined hill at Ao Pai Hut, the first place that you’ll see if coming from nearby Ao Hin Khok. As long as you don’t expect much in the way of service, you’ll probably be psyched with some of the cheapest fan bungalows that we came across on Samet. The old wood-and-cement bungalows with metal roofs still look handsome from the outside, even if they’ve seen... Read our full review of Ao Pai Hut.
If you simply need an affordable air-con room to retire to after partying the night away on Ao Phai, Samed Inn has got you covered. Located just up the road from Silversand, the small and straightforward inn delivers function over form. Accessed by steep stairs, the rooms aren’t huge and definitely won’t be highlights of your travel memories, but they will get the job done for a decent... Read our full review of Samed Inn.
With its lush tropical gardens, uniformed staff and relaxing atmosphere, Samed Villa is like the responsible adult of the bay, staring down disapprovingly at the juvenile beach bars. Located at the quieter southern end of the bay and extending for quite a distance over the rocks, the resort maintains an air of quietude that's hard to find on Ao Phai. The elegant resort has a selection of smart... Read our full review of Samed Villa.
Also known as Ao Pudsa, medium-size Ao Tubtim is one of our favourite beaches on Samet. With only two places to stay on the beach and a couple of guesthouses on the dirt access road, the location is strategic for day trips to all other parts of the island. Often filling up on weekends, the resorts attract a mix of Thais and foreigners, including a lot of families.
Located an easy stroll from Ao Tubtim along a dirt road, Sky Friend Guesthouse is worth considering if you want nothing more than a cheapish air-con room to sleep in. The family-run establishment has about a dozen rooms set on the second floor of a concrete house fronted by a large shared terrace with a few tables. The double room that we inspected was a straightforward deal with air-con,... Read our full review of Sky Friend Guesthouse.
In business since 1981, the venerable Tubtim Resort has done an excellent job of maintaining older rooms and adding some new ones from time to time. Stretching over a gradual hill from the centre of Ao Tubtim all the way to the southern rocks, the resort dominates the bay. With footpaths meandering through flower bushes, trees and dark-wood bungalows that are spaced fairly apart from one... Read our full review of Tubtim Resort.
Going with Ao Tubtim’s alternate name, long-running Pudsa Bungalows offers a string of simple concrete rooms in the spirit of low-key Thai island life. You’ll do fine here if your only expectation is a great seaside location. The cheapest tin-roof wood bungalows with fans are cramped and grimey, with old linens on rock-hard beds, cold-water bathrooms with bucket-flush toilets and tiny... Read our full review of Pudsa Bungalows.
Squeezed between Ao Tubtim, Ao Cho and a wooded hill, tiny Ao Nuan’s lone place to stay is among the only places left on Samet where you can snag a simple bungalow with a remote, old-style vibe. If staying here you can while away the days on a private beach by day, and then head to the nearby beaches after dark for some eating and drinking variety.
Ao Nuan Bungalows is one of the few spots left on Samet where you’re more likely to hear the song of birds and drill of cicadas rather than rumbling speedboats and parties. Throw in a private cove location that puts you within easy walking distance of the conveniences of Ao Wong Duean and Ao Tubtim, and you’ve got one of our all-time favourite places to stay on the island. The back... Read our full review of Ao Nuan Bungalows.
Ao Cho beach has a lot going for it: fluffy white sand, clear water and even a wood pier that you can jump off at high tide. Unfortunately, the accommodation is dismal save one pricey resort at the south end. At the centre, Lung Wang and Tarntawa are both run down, while Tongta Pha View at the north end charges a solid 1,000 baht more than their rooms are worth. Here’s a secret: If you stay at Blue Sky Resort in Ao Wong Duean’s northern corner, you can snag a basic fan bungalow facing south over Ao Cho.
Like its sister property up in Haad Sai Kaew, the Grand View Hideaway Resort has a clash of rooms that were built in different eras and with totally different designs. If you don’t mind the lack of a focused theme, it’s a comfortable choice stretching over the entire south side of Ao Cho. Clustered close together behind the reception and restaurant area, the original concrete villas are... Read our full review of Ao Cho Grand View Hideaway Resort.
Families and couples seeking comforts and conveniences, but not all-night beach parties, tend to favour Ao Wong Duean’s long half-moon of silky white sand. With all of the same conveniences found on Haad Sai Kaew, the bay hosts several solid-value midrange resorts along with a confusion of flashpacker spots and even one backpacker joint still hanging on.
Thanks to solid value and attentive service, the Bell House stands out among a cluster of flashpacker-range options packed between the bigger midrange resorts. Located a three-minute stroll from the beach and with easy access to the island’s main road, the property has a small collection of freestanding concrete bungalows and rooms in an attached building, all facing a tiny lawn. The... Read our full review of Bell House.
Completely off the online booking and review site radar, Blue Sky dishes out a mix of old fan and air-con bungalows spread over the headland in Ao Wong Duean’s northern corner. Consider it the unruly budget boy of the bay. Dressed up in hanging seashells and a royal blue paintjob, the wood air-con bungalow that we checked out came with woven bamboo walls, hard bed raised over a wood floor,... Read our full review of Blue Sky Bungalows.
Fronting a wide northern stretch of Ao Wong Duean, Samed Cabana offers 60 rooms set in tan cabanas along the beach and in two-floor stacks, including one set beside a swimming pool. As a midrange choice, it’s a tossup between here and Vongdeuan Resort. The least expensive superior rooms are in a two-storey concrete block at the resort’s rear. We'd probably spend the extra 600 baht for a... Read our full review of Samed Cabana Resort.
A strong selection of spacious bungalows helps to make the long-running Vongdeuan Resort a reliable midrange favourite. Culminating at a big beachside swimming pool, the freestanding rooms are spread over a huge chunk of tree-lined land that was mostly preserved when concrete stacks were packed into the other end of the beach. The well-kept bungalows come in four different styles, each with a... Read our full review of Vong Deuan Resort.
Just south of busy Ao Wong Duean, Ao Sang Thian’s rocky beach maintains a sedate atmosphere that befits its name, which means “Candlelight Beach.” All of the small resorts fall into the flashpacker category and are especially popular with Europeans. Blending into Ao Lung Dum to the south, the beach consists of several short stripes of sand between rocks and break walls.
Sporting royal-blue bungalows near a break wall and concrete rooms built into a steep hill, Ban Khiang Talay has a laid-back vibe while offering a more present staff than at some of Ao Sang Thian’s resorts. Ground-level wood bungalows with tin roofs get the job done with firm beds and cheap blankets on hardwood floors, fridges, TVs, standard wet bathrooms, large swing-open windows, blue... Read our full review of Ban Khiang Talay.
The long-running Viking Holiday Resort changed hands in 2015 and a new English-speaking manager appears to be doing a fine job with it. You still get a Thai-Nordic theme to go with thoughtfully kept rooms tucked behind a seaside restaurant. Built close together, two rooms are situated in each of the four concrete buildings. Connecting doors make these great options for families. The room that... Read our full review of Viking Holiday Resort .
Stretching beyond some rocks to the south of Ao Sang Thian, Ao Lung Dum is a small and beautiful bay with an old-style beach gypsy vibe. While the creative Apache Bungalows enjoys most of the beachfront, the neighbouring Jelly Fish Bungalows and Ton Had Bungalows both offer air-con rooms overlooking a rocky coastline with prices and designs that are similar to Apache’s air-con digs. All three are holdouts from Samet’s previous life as a backpacker island -- even if their rates are now well into flashpacker range.
Signs at Apache Bungalows instruct guests to “chill” and “relax,” not that you’ll need the encouragement at one of Ko Samet’s most laidback places to stay. The eclectic old joint has held onto its backpacker soul, even if rates now run into flashpacker territory. Look no further if you’re after a chilled-out beach bungalow spot where you can let your hair down. Ramshackle — in a... Read our full review of Apache Bungalows.
Down towards the end of Samet’s hilly southern tail, Ao Wai is arguably the most beautiful beach on the island. It’s not huge, though, and a single resort controls the entire bay, with lacklustre concrete villas stretching from one headland to the other -- and beyond. While the resort is nothing to write home about, the location might make it worth a stay.
One of the larger resorts on the island, Samet Ville’s rooms dot the length of Ao Wai along with the bay’s southern headland, the forested hill that backs the bay and a neighbouring rocky bay called Ao Hin Kleang. With 14 types of white concrete rooms advertised and more being built at research time, the quality of your stay could come down to which room you choose. Our favourites are the... Read our full review of Samet Ville Resort.
A hundred metres shy of Samet’s southern tip, Ao Pakarang is a small and remote bay with a mix of sand, rocks and trees reaching out to a rocky cape. Travellers seeking serious peace and quiet can check into the charming Nimmanoradee Resort, the only place to stay. From here it will take some effort to navigate the steep hills along the road leading north up to Samet’s more developed quarters.
We let out a big sigh when it came time to leave the tranquil Nimmanoradee Resort, situated near the far southern tip of Samet. Along with numerous kayaks, a small swimming pool, Thai massage salas and a gazebo-style restaurant and bar, the grounds brim with orchids, frangipani, hammocks, swings, birdsong and secluded benches and loungers. The pastel-pink windmill might be overly cutesy, but... Read our full review of Nimmanoradee Resort.
The only notable beach found on Ko Samet’s west coast, Ao Phrao is a favourite of luxury travellers who stay at one of three large resorts overlooking a pretty khaki-sand bay. The Samed Resorts group operates both the swish Le Vimarn and slightly less fancy Ao Prao Resort, while the colourful Lima Coco is a good midrange option in between. All three feature swimming pools and small armies of uniformed staff.
From the white umbrellas lining its turquoise pool to the dramatic oceanfront entranceway, Le Vimarn is one of Ko Samet’s most luxurious resorts. The second priciest of the Samed Resorts group’s eight properties, after top-end Paradee, the swish spot sets the tone for Ao Phrao’s upscale atmosphere. Topped with thatch or wood shingles, the white villas feature vaulted woven bamboo... Read our full review of Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa.
Spanning the hillside between a pair of pricier and more pretentious resorts, the Lima Coco shrugs off Ao Phrao’s serious air with its Mediterranean-style villas sporting bright red, blue and yellow accents. Expect to see at least a few young Thai fashionistas here on the weekends. Fronted by wood-and-glass doors and terraces facing the sea, rooms are set in single-floor attached concrete... Read our full review of Lima Coco Resort.