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“Beautiful serene getaway from busy Pattaya”
Review of Ko Samet

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New Delhi, India
Level Contributor
4 reviews
11 helpful votes
“Beautiful serene getaway from busy Pattaya”
Reviewed April 30, 2011

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!

Helpful?
4 Thank PriyankaG2211
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
11 reviews
20 helpful votes
“Pure and Unspoiled Ko Samet”
Reviewed April 20, 2011

Unlike Pattaya, Puket, Koh Samui etc.. this place was just NOT sleazy. The beaches are pristine and unbelievably clean. You almost feel like you’re in some desolate as yet undiscovered island paradise.
The island itself is quite tiny and everywhere we went we saw lots of families with kids and quiet well behaved tourists. So the experience was that of a quiet, relaxing getaway.
There are two ways to get to any hotel on this island. Either way, you still need to get to the main pier which is Ban phi Pier, and take either the ‘big boat’ which is a scheduled shuttle that is cheaper but slower, or the ‘speed boat’ which is available at any time but more expensive. If you could find others to share the speed boat with you, it might then be a faster and easier option. There is a speed boat hire place called “White Shark” located at the pier which offers such a service where you can share a speed boat with some others. Usually you could just make your way down to the pier and sort our transport out once you get there. If you take the “big boat” tourists are charged a 200bt entry fee since Koh Samet is a national park. Since the speed boat drops you straight at your hotel you can bypass this entry fee.
The boats usually stop a little way from the shore (owing to the corral) and passengers must then get onto a raft that will be rowed or manually pulled, or pulled by tractor (depending on which part of the island your hotel is located) to a point beyond which you must get off and navigate your last few yards to the hotel on foot over very very shallow water. So remember to wear appropriate footwear! Don’t worry about your luggage- the people from the speed boat will carry it safely to shore for you.
The west coast of the island “Ao Prao” is more upscale, with a row of restaurants, resorts etc.. while the east coast “Sai Kaew” offers cheaper accommodation and dining options. The beach on the west coast however is shallower, calmer and overall far more swimmable.
In Ao Prao (my favorite coast) you can rent two deck chairs with an umbrella and towels for the day for 100bht. I’m sure a similar set up exists in Sai Kaew as well.
At the southern end are a few more resorts where things get really quiet and one can enjoy both the sunrise and the sunset. The beaches here too are shallow and calm.
There are no ROADS in Koh Samet! What is depicted as a road on the map is nothing more than a dirt bike track. Unless you are an experienced rider these ‘roads’ will be quite challenging to navigate. There are no street lights either, so all explorations need to be done during daylight hours. The cheapest way to get about is by renting a bike although you are likely to pay twice what you would in Pattaya or Bangkok or Ko Samui. There are a few ATVs for rent as well (Id reckon these would be far easier to navigate). Taxis are just open pick-up trucks and they are stupidly expensive. I’d recommend renting a bike for a day if you are an experienced rider. Its rather challenging and a lot of fun. Besides it’s the best way to experience the island. Tip: appropriate footwear will help.
Activities such as Para sailing, snorkeling, diving, banana boat, jet skiing, canoeing etc.. were available in abundance on the Ao Prao and sai Kaew coasts.
For the most part of your holiday, relaxing and communing with nature is the best thing one can do in Koh Samet where the night life is limited, road access challenging, and shopping virtually nonexistent.
Bring plenty of sun block. Bring plenty of bug spray. Also it may be a good idea to bring some antihistamines and maybe a topical steroid crème in case of bites and allergies.
One of the down sides to being in such an undeveloped island are the bugs and creatures that you will be co-inhabiting with. I wished I brought ear plugs from home because the sound of the nocturnal creatures fighting/mating (or whatever they were doing) was rather disturbing for a light sleeper like myself.
Ko Samet is overpriced!
Yes, everything from food and drink to accommodation to massages, bike rentals, you name it, is double what you would pay in any other part of Thailand. For example, the price you would pay for a decent 5 star hotel in Pattaya is probably what you would end up paying in Ko Samet for a place with no stars at all. So be prepared for this. Change your currency before you arrive, don’t plan to shop here, and budget accordingly for meals, massages, rentals, water sports etc.
Don’t expect to find 7-11s all over the place (I think I saw only 2 of them in all my travels). So bring whatever you might need with you.

Helpful?
1 Thank PatCatCat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
37 reviews
44 helpful votes
“overpriced, spoiled, dirty place”
Reviewed March 14, 2011

Twenty years ago, the island of Samet was reserve. Now a man in uniform gathers with farang to 100 baht. You can look around and find Rayong - industrial zone. There are many oil refinery plants and more another. You're lucky, if there is a storm, when the bay throws piles of garbage. Do not go to the rear yard, where all of your waste. The toilet paper is prohibited to throw, probably so as not to spoil the view of the bay.
Be careful! Beaches heavily contaminated sand fleas. The bites of these insects, and long-lasting itch severely swollen. Escape from insects is a thick layer of sunburn protection cream.
Large bay heavily loaded speed-bots and ferries. Water on the island does not, then brought to the "mainland" through the blue fire hoses from ferries. There are isolated small area for swimming, where there is no danger to get the bolt cutters.
Prices of all the inflated three to four times. At a speedboat, accommodation, restaurants. Be careful when choosing food, can be strongly poisoned.
If you do not live in Bangkok or Pattaya, I cannot recommend travel to the island of Samet.

Helpful?
4 Thank YurgenW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bangkok
Level Contributor
6 reviews
14 helpful votes
“Not the ultimate”
Reviewed March 6, 2011

I started going to Koh Samet when was in my eary 20's. At the time, it wasn't so developed, mostly families, university students and international travellers mostly under 30. 7 years later, the crowd is still the same but the island somehow isn't.
More bungalow type accommodations have sprung up. Honestly someone looking for a simple beach adventure could do so much better than this for half the price. True, the water is clean and blue, but why lie on the beach and watch speed boats and trucks drive past when you don't have to. Despite the growth of the island absolutely no money has been spent on infrastructure and so there is very little in the way of road transportation around the island and if it rains? Forget it! Not only is it unpleasant, it is also not safe! You deserve a better experience than this!

Helpful?
Thank thaliaandrews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cape town
Level Contributor
4 reviews
2 helpful votes
“magical get away island”
Reviewed October 16, 2010

Went on a day trip from pattaya to koh samet, I wished i could stay a few days there with my partner but we were in a group. Next time i will def stay there on a romantic holiday

Helpful?
Thank yolisborch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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