Koh Samet Holidays
This delightful island, just five miles off the eastern Gulf of Thailand, is a designated national park; in fact all visitors have to pay an entrance fee on arrival (approx. £3.50). Its fourteen small but dazzlingly white beaches are breathtakingly beautiful, lapped by invitingly green-blue water and many are shaded by coconut palms and cajeput (samet) trees.
Hat Sai Kaew (or Diamond Beach) is situated in the northeast and at 780 metres is the longest on the island and one of the main tourist areas. The only major west coast beach is Ao Prao, a scenic bay with a tranquil crescent of sand and calm, shallow waters; it's also renowned for the spectacular sunsets. On the southern tip is Ao Kiew where you'll find secluded sandy beaches and warm tropical waters.
Speedboat trips to pristine surrounding islands, including Koh Man Nai, Koh Talu and Koh Kudee, are a popular diversion from the inviting beach and give the opportunity for snorkelling around the colourful coral reefs. Kayaks and canoes are available to hire and are a perfect way to explore the picturesque coastline and remoter beaches. If you prefer to stay on land there is a coastal walk which takes in nine beaches along the east coast, and if you tire of walking, you can simply laze on the sands.
Koh Samet is not a shopping mecca with only convenience stores selling basic essentials along with a few shops near the piers in Ban Phe. Most hotels and resorts have their own restaurants serving a selection of Thai and international cuisine, but if you wish to try some local food head to Hat Sai Kaow, Ao Phai or Ao Hin Khok where you'll find lots of seafood options. Nightlife may be limited, but not totally absent; there are lively bars to be found along the beaches of Hat Sai Kaow and Ao Phai as well as a string of fire-dancing shows which can be quite a spectacle.
- Picture-postcard beaches
- Hiking and walking trails
- Excellent snorkelling and diving
- Golden sunsets