Koh Samet – the perfect weekend trip from Bangkok
- Posted onDecember 17th, 2015
There is no doubt that Bangkok is one of the best places to live in Thailand. However, every once in a while it just feels good to get out of the hustle and bustle of the Big Mango and to spend a few slow days on the beach.
Even though Bangkok is very close to the ocean, there are really only two islands within reasonable distance for a weekend trip. One of them is Koh Larn off Pattaya, but you need to be aware that there are huge crowds from Pattaya taking the cheap 30 Baht ferry every day, as well as Bangkokians on the weekends and so it’s definitely not the best place to calm down and relax.
Koh Samet in the Rayong province is different. The most developed beach on the island is Hat Sai Kaew and even there, you don’t find too many people, beach chairs and street vendors. Instead, it just makes a nice spot to relax, read a book, take a swim and enjoy fresh seafood at one of the beach restaurants in the evening by candle light.
How is the quality of beaches on Koh Samet?
Hat Sai Kaew and neighbouring Ao Phai are the biggest and most visited beaches on Samet. Their quality is decent, white sand but the water is not really crystal blue – probably because of the jet skis and speed boats that regularly depart from here. We would definitely agree with the guys from Thailand Redcat that the most beautiful beach on the island is Ao Wai (picture), on the south-eastern coast. The best way to get there is by motorcycle.
Since there are not really that many tourist attractions like temples on Koh Samet, the most fun experience is to rent a motorcycle (from 200 baht a day) and cruise along the scenic coastal roads and stop every once in a while to explore the different beaches. Make sure you don’t miss the southern end view point, which is probably the most romantic spot on the island.
As you can see in the pictures, Koh Samet does have some really nice places and if you visit with your friend or girlfriend, it can be a lot of fun. However, if you decide to travel by yourself, then it doesn’t take long until you get bored here. Truth to be told, you can explore all view points and all beaches within one day and when you wake up the next morning, all by yourself, you start wondering what you can do besides sitting on a beach chair for hours and reading a book.
But again, this is what There isn’t nearly as much fun things to do here compared to other major islands in Thailand, especially Koh Samui and Koh Chang but then it’s also a lot easier and cheaper to get there. And this is what the final part of this guide is about.
How to get to Koh Samet from Bangkok?
There is no airport on Koh Samet, so you will have to travel by bus and ferry. There are bus services daily every 1-2 hours from 7am to 6:30pm at the Ekkamai Bus Terminal. If you have ever taken the bus to Pattaya or Koh Chang, this is the same terminal with all services going to the eastern provinces.
A return ticket to the ferry terminal at Ban Phe in Rayong costs 292 baht (one way 166 baht), and for an additional 100 baht you can get a return ferry ticket as well. We would recommend you don’t purchase the ferry ticket in advance, as the services depart very irregularly and there are often delays. If this is the case, then you can simply take the speed boat for 150 baht and avoid queues and hassles.
The bus ride from Bangkok to Ban Phe takes 3 hours and the ferry another 40 minutes (big boat) or 10 minutes (speed boat). Once you have reached the pier on Koh Samet, there are already Songthaews awaiting the arriving travelers. It costs 30 Baht for them to drop you at your hotel on Hat Sai Kaew or Ao Phai.
A final note to the national park entrance fee: If you take the Songthaew, they will stop on the way and a fee of 200 baht per person (20 baht for Thai people) will be collected. If you instead walk from the ferry pier to Hat Sai Kaew (about 20 minutes), you will not need to pay. Little trick here, so keep that in mind as long as it works and enjoy your relaxing days on Koh Samet.