Monday, 14 April 2008

Koh Samet

We spent a very lovely 4 days on Koh Samet island that's just a hop, skip and a jump from Bangkok. Incredibly easy to get to, you just jump in a mini-van that depart whenever full at Victory Monument. The van ride is around 2.5 to 3 hours and they drop you at the pier where you can either catch the ferry that departs hourly for 50 baht or get a speed boat that costs around 200 baht, I think. The ferry ride only takes 30 minutes and is over before you know it. They also have super chill out deck chairs to have a lil snooze on the way over.

On arrival at the Koh Samet pier you have the option to either walk to wherever you want to go or to get on one of the million green island taxis (4x4 songtaews). The crowds all seem to go with the vehicle option, but being the scrimp & savers that we are, J and I walked the 10 minutes to the main drag. Since the island is a national park, westerners who enter have to pay a 200 baht entry fee (Thais 20 baht) BUT if you walk in and avoid passing the NP office by taking a short cut through the temple on the left (wink wink) you don't have to pay!

The main beach and generally the first beach you come across on Koh Samet is Sai Keow Beach. It's a nice long beach with lovely clear water but a bit too many deck chairs, wall to wall bungalows and loads of people for my liking. So, the next beach along was Ao Phai which had dramatically less chairs and a nicer atmosphere. We stayed at Jep's Bungalows in a cuteso wooden bungalow, set back on a jungly hillside, with fan and hot water for 500 baht a night (~$18). The restaurant on the beach was uber-lovely but a tad expensive so after the first meal we explored the island and found on the next beach up at Tub Tims Resort had the cheapest and tastiest meals on the beach, so we set up camp there.

This is a bungalow at Tub Tim Resort. They cost 600 baht/night or 1200 for air-con including breakfast. We'll stay here next time because it has a lovely little beach and the food was divine and cheaporama... barely inflated at all considering it's island food.

Every night at 8pm they have a fire show on Sai Keow Beach that was pretty fantab and a huge crowd pleaser... dine on the beach and watch the fire show..

The island is only about 4 km long so we traversed it the first 2 days we were there to explore and get some much needed exercise. You can pretty much walk straight down the eastern side of the island as all the beaches are connected, although sometimes you have to go bush for 50 metres or so. Walking down the main road of the island can be a bit of a hazard as the taxis drive like looneys and it's not paved so the dust is pretty full on... stick to the beach walks is all I can say! Was a lovely lovely get away, and quite surprising to find such nice beaches with clear blue water so close to Bangkok.

4 commentaramas:

Amy said...

I like Koh Samet too, and we also passed by Sai Keow and opted for Ao Phai. Thanks for the temple shortcut too! :) I think we even stayed in the same bungalows, but will for sure check out Tub Tim Resort next time, it sounds even better.

Carol and Chris said...

Great post hun!! Chris and I have been talking about visiting since you and J went....and now we know how to do it!!

Photo's are fab!!

C x

Anonymous said...

Looks great, hope I can go there too!
xtrace

Mel said...

Amy - Ao Phai is a lovely beach and so much quieter then Sai Keow. It's a great place to take visitors close to Bangkok, that's for sure.

C - Ta muchly! It is a good little weekend getaway place, too bad half the population of Bangkok think the same on weekends too..gets very full on Sat/Sun.

Trace - hopefully can go somewhere even better. Can't wait to see you.x