Koh Samet, Thailand: Best Beaches & Attractions
Koh Samet, more often spelled as Ko Samed, is a small island about 6.5 kilometers long on the eastern Gulf coast of Thailand. This enchanting island jewel is one of the most beautiful islands around Pattaya, and travelers from all over the world appreciate the numerous white dream beaches. In addition, the small island exudes an indescribably idyllic flair! Although Koh Samet has also become a popular destination for excursionists from Bangkok, you can still find enough paradisiacal places on the island, some of which you still have almost to yourself. The atmosphere on the island is really romantic, especially in the south, and so many vacationers come back again and again. On top, Koh Samet has great hotels and bungalows directly on the beach, but also backpackers and long-term travelers find cheap accommodation.
In this travel guide you will find all the important information about Koh Samet in Thailand. We share with you our experiences and give you useful tips on how to get there, the best beaches of Koh Samet, the attractions, and where to find great accommodations on the island.
General info about Koh Samet
Koh Samet Island is one of the smaller islands in Thailand with a length of only 7 kilometers. It is located about 2.5 hours from Bangkok and 1 hour from Pattaya, and is therefore also a popular destination for Thailand’s city dwellers. The island owes its name to the cajeput tree, which grows there and is called “Samet” in Thai. However, Koh Samet is most famous for the fine sandy white beaches that line the east coast of the island and that inspire with almost kitschy turquoise blue sea colors. In particular, beach vacationers looking for relaxation will find their personal paradise on the 14 breathtaking dream beaches of this island.
The capital of the island is Samet City or also called Samet Village. It is located just a few minutes from the ferry and is the tourist center of the vacation island. Along the main street of the village, bars and restaurants line up, there are small supermarkets, 7-Eleven and ATMs, as well as cheap accommodation for backpackers. The main beach, Sai Kaew Beach, can also be reached on foot from here.
Things to do on Koh Samet
Koh Samet is a really popular island in Thailand, and besides the gorgeous beaches there are a lot of nice attractions and activities. There is so much to experience here, so a visit to this fantastic vacation island is guaranteed not to get boring. Here are the most beautiful things to do on Koh Samet island:
Wat Koh Samet
One of the most beautiful attractions on Koh Samet is the Wat Koh Samet, or also known as Wat Ko Kaeo Phetchabun. This really worth seeing temple is somewhat hidden in the village of Samet Village, not far from the main beach. The centerpiece of the temple complex is the large smiling Buddha statue, which is also a popular photo motif. The area is constantly expanding and you can find more statues as well as temple buildings. Interesting is also the temple right next to the big white Buddha, where beautiful murals tell the saga of Koh Samet.
The Pier & Marmaid
Already at the Na Dan Pier of Koh Samet, visitors are greeted by one of the most interesting sights of the island. A huge mystical mermaid made of bronze, the so-called Phi Suea Samut, which it seems comes straight up from the sea to greet the guests of the island. Several legends and stories surround the mermaids of Koh Samet, which come from the famous poems of Phra Aphai Mani. The statue is a really unique photo motif and definitely one of the most special attractions.
The Statues at Sai Kaew Beach
Koh Samet is famous for its beautiful colorful statues, which can be found at several places on the island. The mermaid statues on Sai Kaew Beach are particularly worth visiting and should therefore not be missed on any island tour. They are the landmarks of the island and are one of the most photographed attractions of Koh Samet. A bit below, directly on a rock in the sea, you will discover another bronze figure.
Explore the island by scooter
Many people explore the small island of Koh Samet by scooter. Due to its relatively small size, you can easily discover all the beaches and interesting places on your own. The prices for scooter rental are cheap and range around 300 baht per day. Often, a tank of gas is already included. In addition, the roads are in pretty good condition, and the traffic is also very manageable on the small island.
Tip: Alternatively, you can borrow bicycles or take one of the green shared taxis, which take vacationers to the various beaches of the island.
At the southern tip of the island is the beautiful cape Laem Toei. During a visit you will experience Koh Samet from its wild romantic side. Especially impressive is the rugged rocky coastline with its beautiful landscape, Mediterranean vegetation, and where you can also find several breathtaking viewpoints. The tranquility and atmosphere that prevails here is unbelievable. A real highlight there are the sunsets, which are among the most beautiful on Koh Samet!
The Best Beaches on Koh Samet
Hard to believe, but although this island is relatively small, there are 14 different beaches on Koh Samet for swimming and relaxing. Most of the bays are really uniquely beautiful, and the sea colors are also stunning on this island. Here are the best beaches of Koh Samet summarized at a glance:
Sai Kaew Beach
Sai Kaew Beach, also known as Diamond Beach, is the stunning main beach on Koh Samet Island and also a popular destination for day trippers from Pattaya and Rayong. This white velvety dream beach is absolutely paradisiacal, but the crowds can get quite large during peak season. Really wonderful is the ambience in the late afternoon, when you enjoy the sandy beach from its quiet side. You should definitely also visit the main beach in the evening, because then the nightlife including fire shows takes place in the nicely covered restaurants and beach bars.
Tip: The Sai Kaew Beach Resort is one of the absolute best hotels on the main beach. Guests love the charming grounds with pool, the delicious breakfast and the brilliant location on the dream beach.
Ao Phai Beach
The Ao Phai Beach, often known as Bamboo Bay, is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Samet. This sandy beach is particularly fine and bright, and trees provide pleasant shade here. The turquoise sea is breathtaking and truly invites you to swim and snorkel. Along the beach there are cozy beach bars, where you can enjoy a cool drink and a very unique atmosphere. If you like, you can rent a kayak and paddle down the coast.
Tip: Ao Phai beach is a great choice for a vacation! Really nice is the Samed Villa Resort in a gorgeous beach location and with fabulous restaurant.
Ao Prao Beach
This beach is an absolute highlight of the island, and for many travelers Ao Prao Beach is even the most beautiful beach of Koh Samet. It is located on the west coast of the island and once there, you immediately feel like in paradise. Gorgeous emerald sea, huge palm trees, soft sand and lots of vacation flair. There are sunbeds and umbrellas for rent, and a beach bar serves cool drinks with a view of the sea. Plus, you’ll find two fabulous hotels on this stretch of beach, perfect for a beach vacation!
Tip: For a perfect stay on Koh Samet, we recommend Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa. If you are looking for paradise, you will definitely find it here!
Ao Wai Beach
A picture-perfect ambience makes Ao Wai Beach one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Samet, if not in all of Thailand. The contrast between the snow-white sand and the turquoise sea is almost kitschy and conjures up Caribbean flair at its best. In addition, the beach slopes very flat and is quite wonderful for swimming and snorkeling.
Ao Lung Dum Beach
The Ao Lung Dum Beach is a real insider tip on Koh Samet! Here you can expect a beach like out of a picture book. Powdered sugar fine white sand, crystal clear turquoise sea like in the Caribbean and hardly any tourists, make this bay a paradise par excellence. The beautiful jetty with the colorful flags as well as the cozy Apache Restaurant conjure up a beach ambience that is second to none. If you like it quiet, you should definitely spend a bathing day or even several vacation days here.
Tip: The Apache Loongdum Koh Samed offers a few simple but cozy bungalows directly at the sea.
Ao Thian Beach
Ao Thian Beach is a hidden gem of Koh Samet Island. It is located in the middle of the island and consists of a number of small romantic bays. In between you will find numerous shady trees, where you can relax your soul in the hammocks. This beautiful beach is very quiet and the atmosphere is really cozy. With a little luck, you will have a section of the beach to yourself. In addition, there are great places for snorkeling at Ao Thian Beach next to the rocky outcrops.
Ao Hin Khok Beach
Ao Hin Khok Beach is located not far from the lively main beach and the center, and is one of the most beautiful beaches of Koh Samet. At this romantic part of the coast there is relatively little going on, and so you can enjoy pleasant swimming even in the high season. Here, too, the sand is really fine, the water crystal clear and turquoise blue. This sandy beach is perfect for swimming, and the trees provide cool shade.
Tip: The Avatara Resort spoils its guests with delicious breakfast right by the sea, the rooms are well equipped and also the location directly on the beach is fantastic!
Ao Wong Duean
Ao Wong Duean beach enchants with a beautiful long crescent moon shaped bay, with soft light sand and crystal clear sea water. This bathing bay is not quite as quiet and secluded as other beaches on the island, and you can find everything a vacationer’s heart desires. There are good restaurants overlooking the sea, cool beach bars, a few stores as well as several cheap accommodations. This bay is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches of Koh Samet, and a side trip is recommended.
Tip: The Vongdeuan Resort is a quiet bungalow resort right on the fine sandy dream beach.
Ao Cho Beach
The Ao Cho Beach, or also known as Ao Chor Beach, is a fabulous choice for unforgettable vacations on Koh Samet. This magnificent stretch of beach delights with unique idyll and fabulous atmosphere. Along the sandy beach you will find a few cozy restaurants as well as quaint beach bars, where you can enjoy the beach ambience quite wonderfully. There are also some good opportunities for snorkeling and swimming.
Tip: The Ao Cho Grandview Hideaway Resort is in a prime location directly on the sea.
How to get to Koh Samet
Getting to Koh Samet is easy! If you want to travel from Bangkok to Koh Samet, it is best to take the public bus from the Ekkamai terminal. It leaves every hour and stops directly opposite the Nuanthip Pier. It is about 190 kilometers away from Bangkok, and the trip takes at least 2-3 hours depending on traffic. The ticket costs about 150 baht.
The cheaper ferry to Koh Samet departs from Nuanthip Pier. The one-way ticket costs 70 baht, and a round trip is available for as little as 110 baht. More expensive, however, are the speedboats.
Tip: Great combination deals with minibus and speedboat transfer, but also cabs can be found on 12go.asia.
Where to stay on Koh Samet
For a vacation on Koh Samet you will find a small but fine range of accommodations. Most resorts are small beach hotels with bungalows, but there are also cheap backpacker hostels and expensive luxury accommodations on the island. If you’re looking for tips on where to stay on Koh Samet, we can give you these recommendations along the way…It’s worth a look!
Highly recommended are the pretty beachfront bungalows at Nimmanoradee Resort. This hotel is located at Ao Pakarang Beach and impresses with its colorful cottages, the quiet location and the beautiful beach.
One of the most beautiful hotels on Koh Samet is Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa. The quiet location, the great beach and the beautiful pool area are simply a dream.
Find the best accommodation on Koh Samet:
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