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The first island I’ve ever visited in Thailand is an almost unknown little T-shaped island called Koh Samet, a few hours away from Bangkok.
This island is located in the Gulf of Thailand, off the cost of the Rayong Province, away from the tourist trail. It’s the closest island to Bangkok and a quick weekend getaway for many burned-out Thai people or tourists in a hurry. It’s just about 200km from the capital so in just 4hours, you could jump in a bus from the airport and chill by the beach in your private bungalow.
Koh Samet is tiny, it’s just 13 square km (5.1 sq mi) in size. Don’t listen to people saying you need a taxi to go from the pier to the nearest beach. It’s just about a 20min walk.
The island is a National Park. You have to pay a small entrance fee to stay there. The beaches are very clean, often empty and the water is pretty clear depending on the season and currents. Snorkeling and kayaking are popular activities around the island.
Another popular activity is getting an ATV and exploring the length of the island on muddy and bumpy dirt roads. My advice is to make sure to keep your belongings safe as you would not notice your phone/wallet/whatever fall from your pockets. My friend and I both lost our phones on these roads!
Also, if you’re up for it, legend says that Koh Samet was the home of pirates and that until this day there is still a lost treasure buried somewhere on the island waiting to be found.
The island isn’t very developed so most of it is still a jungle. The eastern part is where most hotels/guesthouses are with a few popular more expensive resorts on the western side. If you’re on a budget, go to the eastern coast.
If you’re looking for wild party nights, this isn’t the place to go to. It’s pretty quiet during weekdays and it gets more crowded during weekends after people escape from the chaos in Bangkok, but it’s still a pretty low key island. I find it a great place to grab a book and chill on the beach away from the blasting music of overcrowded bars.
I must admit that Koh Samet has also a special place in my heart too. It’s the place where I got to know a beautiful girl who is now my lovely wife. You never know! You could find your soulmate on a beach while admiring one of those beautiful sunsets too!
And if you’re ever thinking of visiting the country, chilling by the beach down south or playing with elephants up north, do yourself a favor and check out Turquoise Holidays to plan yourself a nice break away from home.