Koh Samet is the island that is missing from the travel excursion boards across hostels and travel agencies in Bangkok, featuring lists of island names and corresponding travel prices. Pattaya and Koh Samui are the best-known Thai beaches, and Koh Phangan and Koh Phi Phi have gained their own recognition, but Koh Samet is still relatively unfrequented by tourists. The majority of the island’s visitors are Bangkok locals on a getaway for the weekend.
Koh Samet is physically the closest and most accessible island from Bangkok: a three hour drive and forty minute ferry away. Once you get there, it’s easy to hop into a shared 4X4 car that will drop you anywhere along the island’s main bumpy road, the main stretch of which features small restaurants, guest houses, scooter rentals and internet cafes.
Koh Samet has a choice of accommodations that ranges from hostel rooms to boutique hotel suites. There are options to stay right on the beach, or a little further back in sparsely furnished but well-maintained bungalows that are nestled in jungle overgrowth.
Tall palms lean out over a white sand beach, and puppies play in the lapping waves. The beach is lined with restaurants offering incredible Thai food and an array of continental options. The island is relatively small and easy to explore on foot. The best aspect of Koh Samet is what is absent from the beach: you won’t find any raves or full moon parties there. The island seems to attract far fewer tourists, and those who go are not the partying type.
Koh Samet is quiet, unshowy and unspoiled. If you find yourself in Bangkok, take the time to journey to Samet and stay overnight to enjoy the wind and silence. You’ll be glad you did!
Bronwyn McBride is from Vancouver, Canada. After years of circus school in Montreal and Quebec city, and then a long summer in Varanasi, she now lives in Mumbai. Besides working in communications and fundraising for an educational NGO, going for runs and sampling Mumbai’s fabulous variety of street food, Bronwyn loves to observe and write on all facets of Mumbai’s diversity, beauty and struggle. Her personal blog can be found atwww.littlebirdbombay.com