What to Expect:
Koh Samet is a small island in the Gulf of Siam just a couple of miles from the mainland and 140 miles from Bangkok. At its widest part, it’s only 4 miles across but despite its size there are plenty of beach resorts and bungalows to stay in, scores of beach bars and restaurants, too. The island is a national park so although things are quite built up around the beaches, the interior is mostly jungle.
All of Koh Samet’s beaches have soft white sand, gently curving coastlines and the warm tropical water Thailand is known for. But, since the island is so close to the mainland, you won’t get crystal clear water.
Where to Stay:
Getting to Koh Samet:
By bus: Take a direct bus from Ekkamai Bus Terminal in Bangkok to Ban Phe Pier in Rayong.
By minivan: Take a minivan from the Victory Monument Skytrain station to Ban Phe Pier.
By car: Take Highway 36 or Highway 3 to Rayong then follow the signs to Koh Samet/Ban Phe.
By boat: Once in Ban Phe, take the ferry to Baan Nadan on the north side of the island. The ferry only runs till 5 p.m. so if you miss it (or you want to be dropped off at a specific beach instead of Baan Nadan), you can charter a speedboat for about 1,400 Baht.
Getting Around Samet:
Visitors can get around using the island’s taxi system or motorbikes but most find it small enough to walk.
Taxis are pickup trucks with seating in the back and they only leave when full. If you hop onto one on a regular route expect to pay 50 Baht. If you can't wait, you'll be charged between 100 Baht and 300 Baht depending on your destination.
Motorbikes are very popular among visitors but can be tough for novices since the island's limited roads are in rough shape, hilly and often prone to flooding. If you're renting a motorbike, look for a dirt bike with better suspension and adequate tires for the terrain.