Koh Samet

Koh Samet, a small but popular island that attracts many visitors to its shores lies in the Gulf Of Thailand, only 220 km from Bangkok. Like koh Larn in being only a short journey from the capital it's visited not only by tourists but enjoyed by many of the Thai people, especially at the weekends and public holidays, thus giving the island a very nice mixed cultural feel. Most ferry's and speedboats running to the island depart from Ban Phe and Nuan Thip, very close to Rayong. The journey takes about 45 minutes on the ferry and about 15 minutes on the speedboat.

When arriving on the island, due to it being part of a national park non Thais will be charged an entrance fee of 200 Thai baht (Thai nationals pay significantly less). The island with its T like shape is very easy to navigate, with one main road running down it's centre and various roads running off leading to beach and resort areas. The Songthaew, rental motorbike and bicycles are the most common way of getting around. And with the island being relativity small its easily walkable, about a 1 hour 30 minutes walk will see you get from the top to bottom of the island.

The islands town situated in the north eastern area has shops, convenience stores, bars and restaurants. Most of the tourist oriented areas and beautiful  beaches are found running down the east side of the island. The busiest and liveliest beaches are found are at the top end of the eastern side. As you head further south down the island the beaches become quieter and quieter. Activities on the island are somewhat limited, with the islands main draw being it's numerous beaches, where people come to relax, play on the beach and swim in the ocean. But for those itching for things to do, diving, snorkeling, jet skis are all available and hiring a bicycle or a motorbike are great ways to get around and explore the islands sights.

Accommodation is found up and down the island, mostly on the eastern side around the town and beach areas. The island offers all price ranges and a wide range of types of places to stay, from beach bungalows to luxury resorts. Most of the budget to mid range places are found from the town area down to the centre of the island, with the south boasting many high end and luxury hotels. Also like Koh Larn, it's always better to book accommodation before arriving due to the islands popularity with Thai people, especially at the weekends.

Food can be found around the town and beach areas, with restaurants serving up Thai and western dishes, beach BBQ and hawkers selling food can be found up and down the beaches. The southern end of Koh Samet offers little nightlife and evenings here are quiet, though there are various beach bars around. Its in the north eastern beach areas where the action is, Sai Kaew and Ao Phai beaches being the liveliest, here you'll find many of the backpackers enjoying beach bars, music and beach entertainment like fire shows.

Highly developed over the years to deal with the high number of visitors, koh Samet is now a extremely popular Thailand destination. With its large number of wonderful beaches, clear water, relaxed vibes, good mix of people and easy accessibility, its no surprise that the east coast is becoming more and more attractive to visitors.