Koh Samet, Thailand

Area Code 038, $1=38, May 31, 2006

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Trat | Koh Chang | Photo: Taka's 2006

Tropical island with beautiful white sand and blue sky. It is the closest beach paradise which is 4 hours away from Bangkok. It could be an ideal island for a person who do not have time but want to see a coral island.

Boats to Koh Samet leave from Ban Pae, 30 mins by songthaw from Rayong.
At Ban Pae a few boat companies operate to Koh Samet. Each one has its own pier. If you travel from Rayong by a songthaw and if you have a ticket already, you may inform the songthaw driver the name of your boat company or its pier. All piers are walking distance from the bus stations at Ban Pae.

Most boats go to Nadan pier which is in N part of the island and the main pier of the island and others go to some other beaches. If you have already booked a room, ask your hotel which boat you should take and when the boat leaves from Ban Pae.
If you go to a pier without a ticket, all boat companies are really pushy to you to buy a return ticket. No need to buy this unless you can get a big discount fare. Without the return ticket, you can take a first boat available and you do not need to waste time to wait for the same company boat.

To get here:
From Rayong:
From the bus station, take a truck songthaw to Ban Pae, 25B, runs every 15min.

From Bangkok by public bus: Many buses leaving from Ikamai(Eastern) bus station to Ban Pae directly. A2-122B 4hrs Some bus companies offer joint tickets(bus + boat).
From Bangkok by tourist bus: It leaves from Khaosan Rd to Ban Pae. Many travel agents in Khaosan Rd. sell joint tickets. The fare is seasonal and it may cost more than ones of the public bus. But this is a non-stop bus so it may save time.

From Trat: Many bus companies run the buses to Rayong. 2.5hr All A2 class. 15km before Rayong, you should get off at the intersection where you catch a songthaw to Ban Pae, 15B.

From Koh Chang: Minibus from Lae Ngob pier which is a pier to take a ferry to Koh Chang to Ban Pae, 13:00 350B 3hrs. convenient but over priced. Otherwise you may go from a pier to Trat, 40-50B

From the Ban Pae piers to Koh Samet, there are a few boats to see the pier info

Main Land Pier: Ban Pae

All facilities listed below are on the main road near the pier
which is leading to Rayong. (2001 info)
$ Bangkok Bank: 8:30-15:30
Hp Pharmacy: 8-17:00 Good pharmacy. It also curries Mosquito repellent, sun block lotion, etc
@ Intent: next to pier(F1) 1, 8-20, First 5min 10B then 1B/min
@ Internet: between the pharmacy and T.N. 9-23:00, 1B/min.
h T.N. Place GH: f ab s200B, d 250B R(8-18\9 cheap)C4. Nice family-run GH. Very large rooms, clean and cozy bathrooms
r Ravolon Rest: nest to the pier(F2), 8-20:00 cheap local sea food.
B Bus:
to BKK Ikamai(Eastern) bus terminal(2007 info):
A1-157B Just in front of Nuantip pier. From other pier as you land, walk to right. There is another bus station, rather W from the most pier. No info at this moment.
to Koh Chang: leave from most piers
350B 9:30, 12:00
F Piers to Koh Samet: There are 7 piers at Ban Pae.
to Nadan(major pier): a few companies leave from various piers:
50B 30min, every hour
to other beaches:
To Ao Phrao
from Ban Pae Lungwang pier, 60B 35 min,10:00, 13:00
To Vongduern: 70B 45min., 9:30, 13:30, 17:00,
To Ao Wai: small boat 100B, between 10-16:00, To Ao Kui/Pakarang: 100B btw 9:30-15:20

Koh Samet

The main port is Nadan, N of the island. Most of the boats arrive at this pier. Some boats, run by some hotels, connect Ban Pae and the hotels' beaches.
From the main port, you can walk 10 mins to Ao Sai Kaew beach, NE part of the island.From there the road runs to S. If you want to go to remote beaches, you can take a songthaw from the Nadan and the fares to the each beach are listed on the board at the port.

National Park Admission fee 200B will be collected at the gate of the National park, near Ao Saikaew, which is located at the end of the road from Nadan. If you land at other beaches directly, such as Ao Wai by boat, you may not be collected. It seem to be that the fee is required to only tourists who stay within the national park. It means that if you stay at hotels before the gate, you may not asked to pay the fee. If you pass the gate without your large backpack, they may think you take just a day trip.

North Coast: Mostly rocky shore with a little sand bay and a exclusive hotel resort. Nadan pier is located at the NE of the coast.
West Coast: Very rocky shore. Strong dangerous current. Ao Phrao bay and the piers are located at the NW of the coast. Sandy bay and some expensive hotels are here.
East Coast: All beautiful bays, beaches, resorts, GHs, and facilities are located here. Ao Saikaew is in NE of it. Ao Phai is in the center of it, The middle and S part of it is not so commercial nor crowded. But since not many facilities are here, the prices are more expensive.

Generally speaking the Koh Samet is totally overpriced. All basic products like cosmetics, toiletries, etc are very very expensive The exchange rate is low. So better to change money in Ban Pae before you get a ferry.

Warning: Avoid coming here during peak period such weekend, the new year/Xmas period, Thai New Year Period. The price of a room will be tipple.

Songthaw from Nadan pier to beaches:
to Sai Keaw Beach
10B, to Ao Phai/Putsa/Tuotip/Noina 20B, Ao Prao/Vongduern 30B, Ao Sang Thain 40B, Ao Wai 50B, Ao Kiu 60B

i Tourist Information: 30m from Ao Saikaew, on the main Rd. next to National Park check point. 7-20:00 English speaking staff. Map available but no other information available except his bother's resort.
$ Exchange: ATM is just outside from the National Park gate. It also can be exchanged at GHs, resorts, but the rates are very low. Cash advance need high commission.
P Police: on the Main Rd. between Nadan pier and Ao Saikaen Beach. next to the Hospital 24hrs, English speaking staff.
H Hospital: on the Main Rd. between Nadan pier and Ao Saikaew Beach, next to the Police station above. 24 hrs emergency and doctor on call.
M0 Post Office: On the Main Rd.to Ao Phai, next to Naga Resort. M-F8:30-17:00, Sa8:30-13:00
@ Internet: just outside of the national park gate. Also available at many resorts and GHs Expensive, such as Saikaew Resort( on the way from the gate to the beach), 3B/min. Video chat is possible at most internet cafes.
s 7 Eleven: just outside of the national park gate.

The accommodation are over priced and no budget accommodation can be found on this island. The most rooms equipped with ab a/c TV and some has fr. Roughly speaking there are 3 different rate, low/high(will be double)/peak(triple). The high season is usually from Jan to April and weekend(F Sa) all year around. The peak is during Xmas-New Years holiday and Thai New Year holiday week.
The rooms rates mentioned below are low season.

Between Nadan pier and the gate
Along this road there are some mini hotels can be found.The price starts from f sb/ab d300B C1 to a/c ab HW TV d800 C4 None of the hotels has resort atmosphere.

Ao Saikaew
N part of E coast. Very popular and the closest beach from Nadan pier. Just after passing the gate walk toward the sea passing Saikaew Villa. There are many hotels on this beach. The price of the rooms are from f ab TV HW d800+, a/c 1200B+ C4
The water on the beach is not so clean but not the worst. In the evening many tables are set on the beach and you can enjoy meal with music and dance.
h  Hat Saikaew Villa: f ab TV d800B, a/c d1500B HW C3-4 On the same beach, Diamond Beach Hotel and Coconut House offering similar rooms.

Ao Phai
Small beach just S from Ao Saikaew, easy to walk from Ao Saikaew. Except Silver Sand, no hotel faces to the beach.
h Naga Bungalow: f sb 400B C2, ab HW 800B+, R(8-26:00) C3, Run down bungalows, basic and not clean bathrooms. Noisy.
h Jep's Bungalow: T018533121, f ab 800B TV, R(7-26:00) HW C4, medium size bungalows and large bathrooms. They were built close each other so it is noisy.
h Ao Phai Huts: T013532644, f ab 800, a/c 1200B, R(8-22:00, Expensive) HW C4, Large bungalows, small bathrooms.
h Silver Sand: T012185195, ab a/c s/d1000 fr TV R(Expensive) HW C4, very nice beach bar with a pool table. The bungalows are built very close each other. Noisy.
h Sea Breeze Bungalows: T012394780, f ab 600B+, a/c 800 mos-net, R(7:30-24:00 moderate) HW C4. Bungalows are located in the forest, not on the beach. Many different types and prices.

Ao Putsa/Ao Tumbtim
h Putsa Beach Bungalows: #75 M4 Tumbol. Phe, T038-644030, f ab HW d700B(HS +100B) C2 Large rooms and big bungalows, not well maintained. Basic facility.
h Tubtim Resort: T038644025, 13/15 M4 Tumbol. Phe, www.tubtimresort.com , f ab d4-600B(small) C2, d800 C3, a/c HW d1200-1500 C4 R Very nice large rooms. Huge bathrooms, quiet location, Nice restaurant, friendly staff.

Ao Nuan
h Nual Bungalows: f sb d500 C2 Porch + chair, but very primitive.

Ao Cho
Boat from Ban Pae Lungwang pier at 10:00, 13:00 60B
h Lungwang Wonderland Resort: T038-644162, f ab HW TV d700B(HS1200B), sea front d900B(HS1500B) C3. Small rooms and over priced.
h Ao Cho Resort:: T01-4468944, f sb 300-500,ab 500B(small) C4, a/c ab HW fr TV 2500B+ C4,
h Ao Cho Grand View: a/c ab HW TV fr 3000B+ C4

Ao Vongduean
Boat from Nuantip pier at Ban Pae. 9:30, 13:30. 60B
To Ban Pae 8:30, 11:30, 13:30
h Rayong Chalet Resort: 4/32 M4 T038-648287, a/c ab HW TV fr d2000 sw C4
h Malibu: T038-651057, www.malibu-samet.com, a/c ab HW TV fr d1550 C4 (season 10% off)
h Sea House Bungalows: T038-644276, www.seahousebungalow.com, f ab 400B TV fr d500B a/c d800B HW C4
h Vong Deuan Resort: , a/c ab HW TV fr d2-2500 C4 (season 30% off)
h Vong Deuan Villa: T038-652300, a/c ab HW TV fr d1200 C4 (season 30% off)

Ao Thian/Ao Luang Dam: (2001 info)
h Candle Light Beach Resort: T012-186934, f ab 600-900, mos-net E(24hrs), R(7-22:00) C3-4 Beautiful quiet location.
h Luang Dam Beach Resort: T651810, f ab s300, d600B E(18-6:00), R(6-16:00, 18-2:00) C2. Large bungalows with nice balconies with sea view. Quiet, They set table at beach at night.

No info at this moment

From N to S on the East side. Ao Saikaew is the most convenient beach with wide sand shore and good place for swimming. The other bays are smaller and sand stripes are also narrower.
Be1 Ao Lukyon: Rocky shore with some flat parts for walking into the water or swimming. Nice and quiet but current may be too strong.
Be2 Ao Saikaew: Good beach, but too noisy and too crowed. Many resort, shops, bars and restaurants. Pollution for speed boats.
Be3 Ao Phai: Similar to Ao Saikaew, but less commercial. Nice beach with a few rocky parts.
Be4 Ao Putsa: Small bay with narrow sandy beach. Shallow water.
Be5 Ao Tubtim/Ao Nual: 2 small bays next to each other. Rocky shore with some sandy parts. Romantic view and quiet.
Be6 Ao Cho: A little nice bay with nice beach, but many boats come here to the pier to spoil the atmosphere. Not clean water
Be7 Ao Vongduern: The most beautiful bay in the island. Nice half moon bay. Clean beach. Too many speed boats
Be8 Ao Thian/Lung Dam: One large bay with 2 beaches divided by a cliff. quiet beach but the water quality is low. Narrow sand part and some rocks. Very cozy and very scenic but the water quality is the lowest.
Be9 Ao Wai: Beautiful sandy beach with lots of trees on the beach. Good place for swimming but you have to watch for passing speed boats.
Activities (2001 info)
Not many things to do on this island, except laying on the beach and water sport.
Water sport equipments can be rented on Ao Saikaew and Ao Phai.
Cost 30min/1 hr
Water ski 800/1500, Wake board 900/1700, Knee board 800/1500, Jet ski 700/1200, Banana boat 700/1200, Sea canoe, 150/300B. snorkeling 50B/hr, 200b/day, beach chair 20B/day
Scuba diving.

Only one qualified PADI center. But many are offering the service.
Ao Prao Padi Center: at Ao Prao Resort, T038-616883, discover 7500B for 2 days
Scuba dive 10000B for 2 days, Open water 12000B, 4 days

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