Visit Beautiful Island of Ko Samet in Thailand
Ko Samet is known for being a favorite respite from the bustle of Bangkok. Though the majority of the island is a national park, there are a number of vacation spots located there with different amenities depending on the type of experience sought. One of the great attractions of Ko Samet are its white sand beaches.
Named after the ‘Samet’ trees (Thai for cajeput trees), which grow on the island in abundance, Koh Samet offers all the essential elements that make up a fun-filled holiday escape – an endless expanse of turquoise blue sea, crescent bays with fine white sand, lots of water sports and a throbbing nightlife. Koh Samet has significantly less rainfall than other Thai destinations but visitors get soaked anyway – in the sea.
Visitors can choose from peaceful and relaxing settings or popular beaches with lots of activities. Ao Noina, Ao Phutsa, Au Nuan, and Ao Wai are known for being more serene, and feature cozy accommodations and stunning sunset views. Hat Sai Kaeo and Ao Hin Khok are busier, and visitors to these beaches frequently come to sunbathe, swim, windsurf, or enjoy nightlife.
It is believed that once upon a time, Ko Samet was the home of pirates and that to this very day there are still lost treasures buried somewhere on the island. Thailand’s legendary poet Sunthorn Phu was the first one to put this island on the map when he set his classical epic there, Phra Aphai Manee “The Story of Princes, Saga, Mermaids and Giants”.
Even though Bangkokians had known about the beauty of Ko Samet for decades before, the Thai government put this island off limits and restricted overnight stay there until 1981. In that year, on 1st October, the Forestry Department of Thailand declared Ko Samet and its surroundings to be a National Park.
Only a three-hour drive from Bangkok and about 45 minutes by ferry from Ban Phe Pier on the mainland, the island is usually packed with visitors on weekends and long holidays. A whole range of accommodations, from beachfront bungalows to cliff-top luxury resorts cater to equally diverse groups of tourists. Walk-ins are not advised on weekends, as the entire island’s accommodation is usually fully booked.