Travellers with limited time often squeeze in Ko Samet as a last-minute beach getaway before flying home from Bangkok. The island’s relatively close proximity to the Thai capital also makes it a go-to weekending option for city dwellers. A few days is enough for a trip to Samet, but how to make the most of it?
Samet has in part been cursed by its convenient location. On weekends the shores are flooded with visitors as crowds squeeze onto ferries, room rates jump by significant margins and the best resorts fill up well in advance — do reserve a room ahead of time if possible. But don’t worry: Even on weekends you can find relaxation on the beaches of Ko Samet.
Where to stay
Let’s makes this part as painless as possible: We’ve sorted through the island’s prickly accommodation scene to flush out the best places to stay on Ko Samet. If you’re trying to figure out which of the 16 beaches is right for you, start by checking our virtual tour through all of Samet’s beaches.
Whether you arrived the previous night or left Bangkok early enough to reach the island with plenty of daylight left, go ahead and take that long lounge on the feathery white sand — you deserve it. If you’re feeling peckish, ask one of the roving beach vendors to whip up a plate of som tam and grilled chicken from the comfort of your beach chair.
After a leisurely swim, take a stroll along the sand before washing up at a beach bar to sip on a few cold ones. When the dim green lights of fishing boats appear on the horizon, head to a barbecue joint to feast on grilled squid, prawns, cockles and more. Head to Haad Sai Kaew or Ao Phai if you’re in the mood for live music and a dance in the moonlight, or just lie back to the sound of the waves.
Sleep in if you must, but don’t pass up a chance to explore! Rent a mountain bike, motorbike or golf cart and hop from bay to bay in search of the finest sand and clearest water. Venture to Samet’s far southern tail for snorkelling and kayaking off Ao Wai and Ao Pakarang, or hike the headland paths that connect Ao Tubtim, Ao Nuan, Ao Cho and Ao Wong Duean.
In the late-day light, make your way to one of the island’s remote viewpoints to watch the sun dip into sea. Samet’s only west-coast bech, Ao Phrao, has got you covered if you’d prefer to take in the sunset from the comfort of a beach bar. If Western food sounds good for dinner, Red Ginger is a great choice in Samet Village. From there you could hop over to Olly’s or Roger’s for some cheap drinks and lively conversation.
By now your responsibilities will probably push you, begrudgingly, back towards the ferry pier and the reality that lies beyond it. Time to get back to Bangkok, to prepare for the work week or have one last hurrah on Khao San Road before checking in for that long flight home. Hey, we can respect that.
But you know what? Maybe reality can wait. Maybe you sense an awful “sickness” coming on that your boss will surely understand. Maybe the only “cure” for that sickness is a boat trip to Ko Thalu, Ko Kudee and Ko Kham for snorkelling and lounging on beaches that beat any of Samet’s. If you ask us, they’re well worth a sick day.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 22nd April, 2016.