Ultimate Guide to Koh Samet: A Tropical Paradise Island Near Bangkok
Nestled just off the coast of Rayong province in Eastern Thailand, Koh Samet is a picturesque island that remains relatively undiscovered by many tourists. This hidden gem offers a tranquil escape from bustling city life and promises pristine white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, and a range of outdoor activities. Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a fun-filled family vacation, or an adventurous retreat, Koh Samet has something for everyone.
Getting to Koh Samet:
Conveniently located approximately 200 kilometers southeast of Bangkok, Koh Samet’s serene and untouched atmosphere makes it an ideal getaway for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty.
The journey from Bangkok to the coastal town of Ban Phe takes approximately 2.5-3 hours via the following options:
Public Bus at Ekkamai Bus Station
Location: Below BTS Ekkamai to Ban Phe
Hotel van transfer (Maximum 6 persons)
Location: From Suvarnabhumi Airport or Hotel in Bangkok (limit area) to Ao Prao Pier at Ban Phe
The impressive Ao Prao Pier exclusively serves guests of Samet Resorts (Sai Kaew Beach Resort, Baan Ploy Sea, Ao Prao Resort and Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa) while Jadet Pier serves guests of Paradee. The air-conditioned lounge provides a comfortable waiting area with a café, clean restrooms, and secure parking with 24/7 security.
They have fixed departure timings for the ferry/speedboat to Koh Samet. It is quite a distance from the lounge to boarding area, but there will be a shuttle tram to bring you over in comfort without having to walk under the hot sun.
From Ban Phe, you can choose between a 30-minute ferry ride (from 320THB/pax) or a 15-minute speedboat ride (from 580THB/pax).
Guests of Sai Kaew Beach Resort and Baan Ploy Sea will disembark at Na Dan Pier, while guests of Ao Prao Resort and Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa will disembrak directly in front of the resort.
Upon arrival at Na Dan Pier/Koh Samet, an entry fee of 200THB is required, as the entire island is designated as a national park.
Before you leave the pier, you might want a picture with Phi Suea Samut, a mystical mermaid made of bronze. It relates to Thailand’s famous epic 48,700-line poem, Phra Aphai Mani by Sunthorn Phu.
Getting around Koh Samet:
There are no Grab, Gojek, or Uber services on Koh Samet. The island’s road traffic is limited to pick-up truck taxis and motorbikes. To get around, you can use the green songthaew, a shared transportation option.
Activities to Do in Koh Samet:
Koh Samet offers a diverse range of activities to suit every traveller’s preferences.
For beach lovers, the island boasts numerous pristine sandy stretches, including Sai Kaew Beach and Ao Prao Beach. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, and jet skiing in the clear waters.
Where to Visit on Koh Samet:
Apart from its stunning beaches, Koh Samet is home to several popular attractions worth exploring. Take a stroll along the vibrant promenade at Na Dan Pier, lined with shops, restaurants, and bars.
For those seeking vibrant nightlife, head to the beachfront bars along Sai Kaew beach, where you can spend the night away under the starlit sky.
For now, the most important question.
Where to Stay in Koh Samet?
Here are five remarkable resorts on the island, each catering to different preferences and target groups, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all.
Sai Kaew Beach Resort (4.5*)
Located on the stunning Sai Kaew Beach, this resort is perfect for beach lovers seeking convenience and nightlife. With a prime beachfront location, the resort offers breathtaking views and direct access to the soft sands and shimmering waters.
Accommodation options range from cottages to beachfront villas, ensuring a comfortable stay for couples, families, and groups of friends.
With a plethora of water sports activities available, including snorkelling, scuba diving, and jet skiing, Sai Kaew Beach Resort is an ideal choice for those seeking an action-packed vacation.
For those not into water activities, you can chill on sun-tan beds or sandbags at the various beach clubs along Sai Kaew beach.
Having walked along the whole stretch of Sai Kaew Beach, Winkks Beach Club is most beautiful, offering you a memorable dining experience.
Winkks Beach Club serves Thai and international cuisine, and not to be missed is the fire show every evening!
There are a few Instagrammable spots in Sai Kaew Beach Resort. Just take a stroll around, and you will be able to spot them.
Couples, don’t miss out on the “Love Tree”!
The swimming pool just before the access to the beach is also a great spot to laze the afternoon away.
Stroll along Sai Kaew Beach, and you will reach the Mermaid (and the child) Monument.
The monument depicts a graceful mermaid holding a playful child out as they both gaze out towards the vast ocean horizon. The statue symbolizes the harmony between humans and nature, embodying the island’s deep-rooted connection to the sea. Visitors often flock to this spot to marvel at the artistry and to witness mesmerizing sunsets, making it a cherished must-visit location on Koh Samet.
Located just outside the entrance of Sai Kaew Beach Resort is Wat Koh Samet.
The temple’s architecture showcases intricate Thai craftsmanship, adorned with colourful murals and carvings that depict Buddhist teachings and legends. Devotees often come here to offer prayers and seek blessings, while tourists are welcome to explore the sacred grounds and appreciate the cultural richness of the temple.
Baan Ploy Sea (3*)
For those seeking stylish simplicity, check out Baan Ploy Sea along Ao Klang Beach. With 2 distinct zones, one by the beach and one surrounded by lush tropical forest, guests can enjoy the best of both worlds in one place.
Located close to the beach is a L-shaped building consisting of 16 rooms showcasing unique furnishings made from natural elements to communicate the theme of the resort.
The beach is easily accessible through spacious wooden decking with a vivid orange swimming pool a few steps away.
Guests who prefer greenery should check out the newly-built rooms in the Jungle zone, surrounded by lush tropical trees and shrubs. The charming panoramic landscape surrounds each of the 12 rooms with a fresh, serene ambience. There are also 2 tree houses.
The loft and its homey subtle decor invites guests to unwind, appreciating every moment throughout their stay.
Baan Ploy Samed is where we had our most memorable meal in Koh Samet. The restaurant is a beautifully constructed contemporary Thai Sala (open pavilion) with high ceilings. Sit on Kantok-style floor cushions and enjoy the natural sea breeze while dining on the simple Thai dishes done right.
After lunch, head over to Brown Cabin Chocolate Cafe, a new cafe within the resort grounds.
This is the place for chocolate lovers, serving a variety of chocolate drinks. Situated among the verdant tropical woods and rose garden, this hidden cafe is known to be one of Baan Ploy Sea’s most instagrammable spots.
Ao Prao Resort (4*)
Nestled within Ao Prao Beach’s serene bay, Ao Prao Resort offers a luxurious beachfront experience combined with a tranquil ambience.
The resort features spacious and tastefully appointed villas, providing guests with the utmost comfort and privacy.
Rooms are spacious and well-maintained, an excellent choice for families and couples seeking a peaceful and upscale getaway.
As Ao Prao Resort is located away from the hustle and bustle of Koh Samet, you will have to specially arrange transportation around. The idea of staying in this area is for privacy, so if you want convenience, just get your meals settled in the resort at Breeze Restaurant.
They serve a variety of cuisines, including authentic Thai, international dishes, seafood and BBQ at an unrivalled beachfront setting.
Ao Prao Resort provides a harmonious blend of nature, luxury, and warm hospitality.
Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa (4*)
Perched atop a hillside overlooking Ao Prao Beach, Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa offers breathtaking panoramic views and a unique eco-friendly experience.
The resort features rustic yet stylish cottages nestled amidst tropical gardens, creating an authentic and charming atmosphere.
Perfect for nature enthusiasts and eco-conscious travellers, Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa allows you to reconnect with nature while enjoying modern comforts.
Explore the nearby hiking trails, indulge in a spa treatment, or savour authentic Thai cuisine at the resort’s beachfront restaurant (Buzz or “O” Restaurant).
Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa is a haven for those seeking a tranquil and environmentally-conscious holiday.
Situated on the secluded and pristine Ao Kiew Beach, Paradee epitomizes luxury and exclusivity.
During check-in, you have the option to choose your preferred aromatherapy fragrances and soap for your stay.
This five-star resort offers lavish villas and suites, each with its own private pool and direct access to the beach.
Ideal for discerning travellers and honeymooners, Paradee provides unparalleled privacy and indulgence.
Paradee is also the only resort in Koh Samet where you can catch both the sunrise and sunset!
You can enjoy the welcome cocktail at Sunset Bar. Don’t miss it because the views are simply breathtaking.
The Restaurant of Paradee serves authentic Thai and Western cuisine, with every dish being well executed.
During your stay at Paradee, check out Koh Samet’s Sunrise and Sunset View Point nearby!
Despite the strong winds, it is worth making the trip because the views are simply magnificent.
Here I am, fully experiencing the epitome of luxury and tranquility at Paradee.
For guests of Paradee, there is a private pier where you can arrive and depart straight from the resort via speedboat.
Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or romance, Koh Samet’s diverse resorts cater to various preferences, ensuring an unforgettable vacation. Immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty, warm hospitality, and unforgettable charm. Start planning your dream getaway with Samet Resorts to this idyllic tropical paradise island today.
This post is brought to you in partnership with Samet Resorts. As always, all reviews and opinions are entirely my own.
AroiMakMak.com is the brainchild of Wilber Suen. He is based in Singapore but loves Bangkok so much that he keeps returning. He loves travelling, eating, technology and has high standards for them. In his free time, he will be sourcing for new places to visit so that he can document and share. Try to catch him in Bangkok eating local dishes, enjoying aromatherapy spa or chilling at a rooftop bar.