On our recent visit to Pattaya we took a day trip to Koh Samet, a small island 2 hours away from the hustle bustle of Pattaya. We took a taxi till Ban Phe which took 1and 1/2 hours and a half hour ferry aftwerwards till the island.
Samet has managed to stay away from quite a lot of commercialization and offers beautiful white sand beaches where you can just lie down and live it up. Food, beer, water sports are available in plenty and quite often a Thai lady will saunter about offering foot massages, pedicures, hair braiding and tattoos. The beaches are beautiful, clean and the water a cooling blue. We lazed around the whole day, breaking our laziness only to take a few laps in sea. Definitely recommend it over the Coral Islands where you end up seeing more tourists than the sea!