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Your Guide to Samed Island, Thailand

Thailand is home to many a tropical island just waiting for you to explore and get lost on. The enchanting island of Samed situated a short journey to the southeast of Bangkok is no exception. It’s famous for its beautiful sandy beaches and clear waters. This is a good place to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the ‘Big mango’ for a few days and simply soak up the sun. This picturesque island is just over 13 square kilometres and will be a great way to go off the grid. Read more about Samed Island, Thailand and get lost with us for a while.

Photo from author

Put it into context:

Koh Samed is usually fairly quiet during the week, especially in the low season, which runs from June to September. However, this island serves as a popular weekend retreat for Bangkok expats and local people and the atmosphere on Koh Samed tends to be much livelier on Friday and Saturday nights, while the main beaches can be rather crowded on Saturdays and Sundays.

The main town area runs from Na Dan Pier to the entrance to Sai Kaew Beach and is lined with several cheap guesthouses as well as shops, restaurants and bars. Prices tend to be slightly lower in this section of the island than in the main beach areas and this area is popular with local people and Koh Samed’s business owners.

Note that there is a 250 Baht national park fee for entering Koh Samed, which is collected from the designated ticket booth near the entrance to Sai Kaew Beach. People who have a work permit or a student card should bring their documentation with them so that they can pay the reduced rate of 50 Baht.

Indonesia Halmahera Widi Islands Landscape

Photo via MaxPixel

Beach, please

Sai Kaew Beach is the longest and most popular stretch of sand on Koh Samed and runs for one kilometre. Practically the entire beach is lined with bars and restaurants as well as a few resorts that offer stunning views from their balconies.

Ao Hin Kok: Climb over the rocks at the end of Sai Kaew to find this slightly quieter stretch of pristine white sand. A couple of restaurants line the beach, while shade is provided by beach umbrellas and trees. Silversand Resort and bar can be found at southern end of this sandy strip and provides vibrant evening entertainment.

To the South: Getting to these chilled out beaches requires either vehicle hire or a taxi. However, people who are in search of pure peace and quiet away from the pumping music and neon lights of the main beaches will find that the journey is worth the effort.

Ao Wong Duan: Follow the sandy path alongside the beach to find this pretty beach. The atmosphere here is friendly, which makes its popular with families, while a chilled out setting and great cocktails are provided by venues such as Trio Bar.

Ao Sang Thian: Also known as Candlelight Beach, this area provides a tranquil retreat from the beaches to the north. There are plenty of great resorts here that offer a peaceful place to stay as well as services such as massages and dining.

Ao Lung Dam, Ao Wai, Ao Kia Na Nok and Ao Prakarang: Each of these small beaches follows in sequence as you make your way south along the east coast. These beaches feature high end resorts with their own restaurants, tranquil atmospheres and crystal clear waters.

Ao Prao: This is the only beach located on the west coast of Koh Samed. The beach is mainly lined by exclusive resorts that offer their guests exclusive beach access and a range of amenities to make use of.

Photo via Flickr

Getting there

Koh Samed can be found 200 kilometres to the southeast of Bangkok and just six kilometres from the coastal town of Ban Phe. Large VIP buses regularly depart from the bus station at Ekamai and take visitors to Ban Phe. The journey takes around three and a half hours and costs approximately 180 Baht.

Mini buses can also be taken to Koh Samed from a number of different parts of Bangkok including the Khaosan Road area and Victory Monument. People who book the minibus service in advance will be collected from a designated point at a prearranged time, while it is also possible to simply turn up at one of the bus stations or mini bus stations and queue for the next vehicle. Mini buses cost around 200 Baht and the service starts at 05:00 each day.

Once at Ban Phe, visitors can take a public ferry to the island from one of a number of piers. The first ferry departs at 06:00, while the last ferry is at 18:00. The journey takes around 40 minutes and costs 50 Baht, although some ticket sellers sometimes try to sell tickets for an inflated rate. Ferries take passengers to Na Dan pier, which is located in the northeast of the island. Small green pickup trucks wait for passengers at the pier to take passengers to their guesthouse of choice for just a few Baht. Alternatively, it is possible to take a speedboat to Koh Samed. Private speedboat hire costs around 1,500, although you may be able to share the expense with other people who have already chartered a speedboat.

Up for an adventure? Yeah, we knew you were.