According to simplyyellowpages, Samet is an ideal place for lovers of peace and quiet. The proximity to Pattaya, fairly convenient logistics and almost untouched nature contributed to the popularity of this small island. And this is also a favorite destination for the Thais themselves, especially the residents of Bangkok – the capital’s guests prefer to get out here for the weekend.
The island is divided into 4 parts. North – with a fishing village with a pier and a temple, south – a national park. On the western side there is a straight rocky shore with one sandy beach. To the east are long sandy beaches. Moreover, the sand here is so pure that it is used by a number of companies to produce high-quality glass. The island is small, which allows you to go around it in two hours. Since Samet is part of the national park, a resort fee is charged for staying here.
Since November 1, 2018, the import of plastic, including plastic bags and foam plastic, has been banned on Koh Samet in Thailand. Before arrival, tourists will be forced to leave all plastic bags at the airport and at first, if necessary, paper pacts or bags made of environmentally friendly material will be issued. Violators will have to pay a fine of 1500 THB. It is expected that soon the same measures will be taken on the island of Koh Samui and by 2021 – throughout the country.
How to get to Samet
The island is located near the popular resort of Pattaya, in the province of Rayong. By the way, it was the proximity to Pattaya that made Samet a popular place for those who want to combine an island vacation with a vibrant entertainment life with minimal travel time. The way to the island consists of a transfer to the Bang Phe pier and a trip by ferry or speedboat. Almost all ships arrive at Na Dan Pier (Lang Wat Soi 1/1, Phe, Mueang Rayong District, Rayong).
Hotels in different parts of the island almost do not differ from each other. Is that in the western part there are more expensive options. A five-star hotel on Samet is one – a stylish resort complex Paradee is located in the south of the island. A night in it costs from 15,000 THB.
4* hotels will cost 4800-5400 THB per night. Almost all of them have a swimming pool and massage rooms. You can rent a room in a three-star hotel for 1800-3000 THB.
For lovers of authenticity, many locals rent out rooms in their houses. If you bargain well, the cost of living will be only 400-500 THB per day.
Going to Samet with children, it is better to consider accommodation options on the more developed eastern part of the island. So that the trip does not turn into torment, you should pay attention to hotels, and not to bungalows from local residents. When booking accommodation, it is advisable to clarify the availability of animators and children’s playgrounds. However, most hotels from 3 * and above have such an infrastructure.
There is no public transport on Samet. You can move around the island by taxi, rented mopeds or bicycles. Songhaews (pickup trucks converted to carry passengers) stand near all beaches. Signs with prices are always posted next to the parking lot. Moreover, two prices are indicated: the first is low, but you have to wait until the car is filled with people, the second is high, the car is fully hired by one person.
Mopeds are another popular means of transportation. Scooters are rented by numerous rental offices and hotels. True, it must be borne in mind that the roads on the island are very bad. Often this is either a dusty primer, periodically washed away by rains, or concrete slabs with joints. And add here the numerous descents and ascents with covered turns… You can rent a bike, but it is advisable to be confident in your abilities – the relief of the island is a bit hilly, with uneven paths and sharp turns.
Shopping and souvenirs
Samet is clearly not the place where you need to spend your time shopping. All things that are sold on the island are delivered from the mainland. That is, the price of the same trinket here will be 20-30% higher than on the “mainland”.
However, it’s not even about the price. The range of goods is limited to consumer beachwear, flip flops, insect sprays, air mattresses, chips and cans of cola. The shops are small, thatched-roofed kiosks. They are located both in the villages and near the beaches. There are especially many such stalls on Hat Sai Kev and Ao Wong Deuan. As a souvenir, you can buy a “sarong” – an element of the traditional Thai costume.
Cuisine and restaurants of Samet
Samet cuisine is all about seafood. Even the smallest bungalows offer fresh fish and shrimp, complemented by a cup of rice and a glass of beer. There are no special features of the local cuisine. Usually the dishes are pieces of fish, squid, shrimp impaled on skewers.
Fried seahorses are loved on the island – perhaps this is the only food that can be called a local specialty.
Most establishments try to treat tourists with literally the entire palette of Thai cuisine: from fresh fruit salads and chilled coconut pulp to dried squid, nam tok (pork neck salad), pla plao (fried fish with sour sauce) and hot catfish tam” – a mix of papaya, tomatoes and green beans with a dressing of fish sauce. The cost of dinner does not exceed 500 THB per person.
Inexpensive restaurants specializing in European cuisine are located mainly near the Hat Sai Kev beach. Here, in the eastern part of the island, the most popular bars of Samet also work. By the way, you don’t have to go anywhere to eat – hawkers walk along the crowded beaches, selling everything from fresh fruits, coconuts and squid to fiery “som tam”.