Three weeks ago I visited Koh Samet together with my 6-year old daughter. This was our first visit to Thailand, and before the trip to Koh Samet, we had visited Bangkok and Ayutthaya (there is also a JBR for Ayutthaya in the Ayutthaya forum).
We stayed on Koh Samet for 4 nights. We stayed in Sunrise Villas, which we enjoyed. This is an accommodation on the north coast of the island, so near to the sea as one can get, although there is no swimming option directly at the hotel. The staff was nice and helpful and gave us good tips re restaurants, trips etc. Sunrise Villas are located right beside the harbour, so they were very convinient to reach when arriving by boat, no need for a truck taxi. It takes a 15-minute walk from the villas to the main beach but it did not bother us at all.
We spent our days on the beach, mainly on the main beach Ao Sai Kaew but one day we also went to Ao Phrao which is called to be the most beautiful beach on the island. We took a shared taxi to Ao Phrao (actually, we were the only ones on the taxi going to that beach, most of the people just took a ride from the main pier to the village) and paid 50 baht for us two. Due to the road and the driver, the ride was quite an experience by itself, a smaller version of a rollercoaster ;). Back from Ao Phrao to Sunrise Villas we walked (not to avoid the taxis but just to enjoy), and the walk proved to be not too long at all because approx. 1 km can be walked on the seaside, through the beaches.
We absolutely enjoyed the beaches, and also the banana pancakes that were sold on the beach :). One day we also took a speedboat trip around the island (400 baht per person, we got 50% off the price for the child) because I wanted to see the other parts of the island, especially the south end, too. It was a nice ride but certainly not a "must", another time I would rather choose to walk more on the island.
We had dinner once in the restaurant of the Sunrise Villas - very good tom kha -, once in the Banana Bar in the village - very cheap, very local, good food, a family-owned (and it seemed that also a family-resided) place - and twice in Pray Talay on the main beach. All these were recommended by our guesthouse owners, and we enjoyed them all. But our most favorite was Pray Talay, right next to the more expensive Ploy Talay (which we were told that the food is not quite so good, can't comment on that as we did not eat there). The food in Pray Talay was very good, the restaurant had nice seaside seating and - due to the location we could enjoy the main advantages of Ploy Talay, the live music and the fire show :). We were so satisifed with our first visit that we went back in our last evening on Koh Samet.
As I asked re mosquitos on TA before the trip - our experience was that we met only very a few of them on the way through the forest to Ao Phrao and back. We saw none anywhere near the sea. Nothing as compared to a summer in Estonia ;).
We absolutely loved our stay on Koh Samet, and the first week after returning to Estonia and the winter I dreamed of Koh Samet and Thailand every single night. Would love to be back one day...