Bangkok's island playground
Aquamarine sea meets secluded coves and busy beaches on Ko Samet, one of Thailand’s most popular islands. Crowds of foreign tourists, expats and Thais have reinvented this one-time backpacker bastion as a relatively pricey destination, especially at peak times of year. Though not our favourite island by any stretch, Samet does make a handy getaway from Bangkok.
Browse hotels in Ko Samet on Agoda
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No fewer than 16 beaches offer a variety of different scenes, often with white sand so fine that it’s like stepping on silk-feather pillows. The longest, Haad Sai Kaew, resembles parts of Phuket with its large-scale resorts and fleets of speedboats. Head further south to find a “lifestyles of the rich and famous” vibe on Ao Phrao; a comfy family-friendly setup on Ao Wong Duean; and a lazy beach-bum attitude on Ao Sang Thian. Near the end of Samet’s long tail, stunning Ao Wai feels like a totally different island when compared to the busier beaches.
Thais know Samet as the setting for a 30,000-line epic by Sunthorn Phu, a famous 19th-century poet from the nearby town of Klaeng who called the island Ko Kaew Pitsadan, or “Magic Crystal Island.” With help from a few mermaids and hermits, the namesake character of Phra Aphai Mani kills a jealous giantess with his magic flute while on a tumultuous path to kingship. The toothy ogress welcomes visitors to Nadan Pier, while Phra Aphai is shown fluting away alongside a mermaid at the southern end of ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,300 words.)
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