Eastern Seaboard Beach Guide - Ko Samet Beach

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General Information

Ko Samet is one of the furthest beaches along the eastern seaboard coast, but is one of the most popular destinations in all of Thailand.

Ko Samet lies 220km southeast of Bangkok in the province of Rayong and 6.5 km from the mainland. The island attracts predominantly foreign tourists looking for getaways from Bangkok or Pattaya. The only way to Ko Samet is by ferry or speed boat. The National Park on the island charges a fee of 200 baht to foreigners and 40 baht to locals to enter. The schedule for boats ranges depending on your destination pier, but the last ferries back to the mainland finish at 6pm.

Cost of boat travel and time table

There are only two ways (speedboat or ferry) to reach Ko Samet from the main piers at Ban Phe (Tarua Phe) and Nuan Thip.

Speedboat

This is the fastest way of reaching the island and it operates 24 hours a day (may need to be booked in advance depending on the time). The cost for a one way trip ranges between 500 - 2000 baht depending on the destination. Speedboats will also drop you off on the beach as opposed to a pier, avoiding addition travel and possible taxi fare.

Ferry

Ferries from Ban Phe or Nuan Thip to Ko Samet take around 30 to 45 minutes.

Destinations and price

Destination PierRound Trip Price
Nadan Pier (Hat Sai Kaew)100 Bht
Ao Phrao120 Bht
Ao Wongduean140 Bht
Ao Wai200 Bht
Samet Cliff120 Bht
Ao Kui (Pakarang)200 Bht

Operating hours from Ko Samet to Nuanthip

PierSchedule
Nadan PierFrom 08:00 every hour until 18:00
Samet CliffFrom 08:00 every hour until 18:00
Ao Kui (Pakarang)09:30, 11:30, 13:30, 15:30
Ao Wai10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00
Ao Wongduean 08:30, 10:30, 12:30, 14:30, 16:00

Environmental Significance

Ko Samet has beautiful white beaches with very clear, clue waters. Being that the island is a national park, much of the islands interior remains thick with vegetation. This thick vegetation is also dotted with garbage dumps where biodegradable material is removed to create fertilizer and the remaining waste is either buried or burned. The increasing development in the area has been at direct odds with environmental interests. Many hotels continue to operate and be built all over the island, and boats line the beaches.

The island also allows tourists to rent ATVs and scooters and wander the island relatively unsupervised. There are no hiking trails or campgrounds maintained by the National Park, nor are there any integrated waste removal systems on the island. With that considered, in 2013 the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation demolished three illegally built resorts within the National Park, and put investments into rehabilitating the marine ecosystem for three years after that.


Environmental Assessments

In 2013, 50,000 litres of crude oil spilled into the sea around Ko Samet after an oil pipeline ruptured. It was reported that some areas around the island had mercury levels 29 times higher than allowed safety standards and approximately 70% of the coral off the western coast of the island was bleached. The Pollution Control Department's assessment of the nearby Rayong River found it to be deteriorated, with high levels of fecal coliform bacteria and high biological oxygen demands.

Historical Significance

Koh Samet is within the Khao Laem Ya – Mu Ko Samet National Park complex, and is under the control and supervision of National Parks of Thailand. The island officially became a part of the national park in 1981 by declaration of the Royal Forest Department of the Thai Government. The island began as a destination for locals and foreign backpackers.

Ko Samet gained much of its fame to local Thais from poet Sunthorn Phu, who set part of his 30 000 line epic, the Phra Aphai Mani, on the island. Ko Samet was the location in the epic where the prince plays a flute to kill a giant. There are numerous statues on the island that commemorate parts of the story that took place on the island, and the giant herself greets visitors as they arrive on the island.

Recreational Activites

The island is exceedingly popular to Thais and foreigners for both the recreational activities and the aesthetic appeal of the island. Travelers just looking for relaxation can rent beach chairs and cabanas with food and bottle service included. There are also many restaurants and bars lining the beach that range from cheap beach bars on the southern end of the island/ beach to luxury restaurants and hotels on the northern end.

The more adventurous traveler can participate in jet skiing, banana boat rides, snorkeling, parasailing and numerous other marine based adventure activities. Within the forested part of the national park, travelers can take part in hiking, ATV riding, and bicycle tours.


In The News

Map

Latitude: 12.57082383134126
Longitude: 101.46449128049815
UTM easting: 767779.8212570266
UTM northing: 1390929.5311443927