Have you ever dreamt of going to one of those beautiful tropical postcard like beaches you have seen in magazines or on television? White sandy beaches, palm-fringed with turquoise crystal clear water? And have you ever asked yourself where to find those paradise places?
Ok, the answer is simple now: Go to Koh Samet. This small island is a true beach paradise with not only one such dream beach but lots of them lined up on the east coast.
Ko Samet lies 220 kilometres southeast of Bangkok. It is a small island formed like the letter T, only seven kilometres long, and 80% of it is covered with forest. On the east coast there are fifteen beaches. Until 1981 staying overnight on Ko Samet was not allowed. At the same time the island was declared a National Park together with some other islands. Since that time tourism has developed rapidly on the island. Over the weekends many citizens of Bangkok come here as it is only a two and a half hours drive away.
These are the sandy patterns created by little crabs digging themselves into the sand. You can watch them but you have to stand still for quite a while. If you approach them or only move your little toe they will feel it and immediately escape into their holes to hide. They obviously know about your seafood preferences.
Apart from the beaches there is not really anything else to do or see. These statues of a mermaid and a prince with a flute commemorate a poem playing on Koh Samet are the only official sightseeing pieces on the island.
I rented a motorbike for one day and drove around the whole island taking photos of the beaches and the wonderful coastal landscapes. The rent is 500 Baht if you go to one of the rental stations near the beach. That is pretty expensive compared to other places in Thailand,.just like everything else is more expensive on Ko Samet. The streets are mostly sandy and dusty dirt roads with lots of potholes. I could hardly ever drive faster than 20 km/h. Paved roads account for maybe only 25%.
The biggest community, Nadan, is located in the north of the island with a large pier where most of the ferries from Ban Phe land. Nadan is a small village with a few roads. But it is here where you find the longest beach Hat Sai Kaew, the diamond beach. You could also call it the party beach because all night long the bars and discos play their music for the young crowds. And the wind is carrying the bass sounds all the way down the coast to the resorts and hotels on the southern beaches where the tourists want to relax and have a good sleep. But they don´t get it without earplugs. This is the only downside I have perceived during my two days on this beautiful island.
I have also been to wonderful and peaceful places with bungalows or cottages right on hardly populated beaches. A more idyllic surrounding is not possible, I guess.
At the southern tip of the island you can watch the sunset on Ao Pakarang, a rocky cliff you can climb down to.
Ko Samet is located a fifty minute ferryboat trip away from Ban Phe. The one way ticket is 70 Baht. The ferries take you either to Nadan pier or to the Wong Duan beach, where I stayed. In contrast to Nadan with a real pier, Ao Wong Duan is a beach. And this means that the ferry will drop anchor around hundred meters away from the beach. A small boat will then take you to the beach. But beware that getting off this small boat you cannot avoid to jump into the water. So better wear short trousers and flip-flops or sandals.
Your luggage will be unloaded and placed on the sand. Now from here on you have to either walk and pull or carry your heavy luggage to one of the resorts right on the beach or you must walk around 200 meters to the taxi stand, where not real taxis but songthaews are waiting for passengers. These are pickup trucks and carry maybe up to ten people sitting on benches. Beware that they will charge you a fully loaded tariff if you want the songthaew for yourself only.
Click the slide show above the post to see more images.