Riding down the spine of Ko Samet

Riding down the spine of Ko Samet

Find the hidden beaches

More on Ko Samet

If you want to make the most of Ko Samet, buy the national park tickets and head south down the seven-km spine of this stingray-shaped island. You could stay at one of the more isolated resorts for extended serenity, or do as we’ve done more than once and roll down the lengthy southern tail on two wheels. If you make it to the remote spots, watch out for the red ants.

Travelfish says:
Even the road has views. Photo by: David Luekens.
Even the road has views. Photo: David Luekens

For us, a bicycle is the ideal vehicle for beach hopping on mid-size islands like Ko Samet. Most of the grades aren’t too steep, and anyway, we can certainly use the exercise when reaching the hillier terrain.

We hold up our tickets at the national park gate and barely catch a glimpse of bustling Haad Sai Kaew as we pass the ugly concrete hotels built in decades past. We roll down to Ao Hin Khok, where most of the old fan-cooled huts have been replaced by concrete rooms, before wheeling by the trendy resorts and bars of Ao Phai. Our wheels splash into a mud puddle where banyan-tree roots have diced the pavement up into puzzle pieces.

The lane turns inland and we soon hang a left to avoid heading straight across the island to the swanky beach resorts at Ao Phrao. Pedaling south through rolling terrain blanketed in some of the jungle that Thai authorities managed to protect as part of Khao Laem Ya - Mu Ko Samet National Park, we descend beyond the turnoffs for Ao Tubtim, Ao Nuan, Ao Cho and Ao Wong Duean. Each of these beaches are worth visiting, but on this day we seek the more distant of Ko Samet’s sands.

The view from Apache. Photo by: David Luekens.
The view from Apache. Photo: David Luekens

Some 40 minutes after setting out we reach Ao Loong Dam, a beach of khaki sand broken up by boulders as large as economy cars. Named after a certain “Uncle Black” who settled here last century, we’re told, Ao Loong Dam is one of the only spots left on Ko Samet where you’ll find a backpacker vibe that hasn’t changed much since the 1990s. ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 900 words.)

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Reviewed by

David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.

Tours in Thailand

Our top 6 other sights and activities in and around Ko Samet

Boat trip to Ko Thalu, Ko Kudee and Ko Kham
Boat trip to Ko Thalu, Ko Kudee and Ko Kham

A great day of island hopping

Sunsets on Ko Samet
Sunsets on Ko Samet

Explore the bays


Plenty to choose from

No pic at the moment — Sorry!

A few options

A weekend on Ko Samet
A weekend on Ko Samet

Let your hair down.

Wat Ko Kaew Pitsadan
Wat Ko Kaew Pitsadan

The island’s only temple