Koh Samet hotels
Cruisey Koh Samed
If you’re looking for a serious historical and cultural centre where you can release your inner nerd and explore ruins and temples and more, turn back. Now! Besides navigating the crystal waters of Ao Hin Khok and getting boozed on Hat Sai Kaeo, the most exciting thing to do on the Thai island of Koh Samed is probably shopping for shiny things at the Lotus Crystal Factory or looking at a bunch of cajeput trees.
But as a perfect tropical retreat with white sandy beaches and clear water, Koh Samed can’t be beaten. Unlike a person, an island’s brilliance often lies in its simplicity – and that’s definitely the case with Koh Samed. And if you do get bored, they do fire-spinning classes down in Nadan Village…
Koh Samed's Top 10
10. Ao Put Sa A quiet beach where tourists come to escape the busy side of the island.
5. Ko Thalu The nearby islands are perfect for diving and snorkelling through untouched coral reefs.
9. Ao Tub Tim Purchase the catch of local fisherman and take it to a restaurant where they’ll cook it for you. It’s almost like you did it yourself!
4. Ao Thian Known as a great skinny-dipping spot, it’s a great place to get close to your summer love without too much company.
8. Ao Phrao Got a competitive edge? This is where locals race for pride, not prizes.
3. Ao Wong Deuan The second-largest beach is known for its tantalising strip of delicious seafood restaurants.
7. Ao Karang A favourite amongst locals, this beach is the closest you’ll get to authentic Koh Samed. Have a beer with a local and hear some of the island’s history.
2. Ao Noi Na The perfect beach for anyone wanting some serious R&R.
6. Ao Wiang Wan Packed with tropical fish hunters, each trying to catch the elusive ‘big one’.
1. Diamond Beach The most action-packed beach is buzzing 24/7, with games during the day and partying all night.
Koh Samed History
- City Pillar Shrine - This shrine is the location of an annual Song Kran celebration in April.
- Phra Ched Klang Nam - This historical stupa near Koh Samed can be seen from a great distance.
- Somdet Krommaluang Chumphon Shrine - This shrine near Koh Samed honours the founder of the Thai Navy.
- King Taksin Shrine - This shrine commemorates the king’s brief stay in the area.
- Sunthon Phu Monument - This monument honours the birthplace of the great Thai poet.
Koh Samed Art & Culture
- Song Kran - This festival celebrating traditional Thai New Year is held every April.
- Ao Karang - This is a great place to see the real culture of the area.
- Rayong Fruit Festival - Just outside of Koh Samed, this annual festival celebrates all things fruit.
- Thot Pha Pa Klang Nam - This special ceremony has existed for over a hundred years.
- Prince Aphai Mani Statue - This statue commemorates the title character from poet Sunthon Phuâ’s epic.
Koh Samed Shopping
- Banphe Town - This is the best place to find tasty local snacks.
- Lotus Crystal Factory – This is a great place to find crystal items.
- Ban Phayun Housewife Group - This unique store is worth the short trip from Koh Samed, as it sells handmade items.
- Ban Sak Yai Women Volunteer Development - This store sells local handicrafts made by women.
- Ban Khlong Ban Bo Agrotourism - This store sells organic local fruits and vegetables.
Gay & Lesbian Koh Samed
- Nimmanoradee Boutique Resort - This gay-friendly resort sports beautiful beach views.
- Ao Phrao Resort - This resort is open to everyone, but is a favourite romantic getaway for gays and lesbians on the island.
- Moo Ban Talay - Great food and outdoor pool make this a favourite spot for gays and lesbians on Koh Samed.
- Tubtim Resort - This is where the trendy gay crowd from Bangkok chooses to go on holiday while on the island.
- Vongduern Villa - Retro bungalows and a dance floor make this resort a hot spot for the gay crowd.
Koh Samed Outdoor
- Ao Noina - For those looking for a quiet place to relax on Koh Samed, this beach offers a break from the crowds.
- Ao Wong Duean - A great place to enjoy a meal outdoors, also one of the best spots to watch a sunset.
- Ao Phai - This quiet beach offers an outdoor retreat for those tired of the nightlife.
- Ao Wai - Many people come to this beach to take a quiet walk and enjoy the sounds of the sea.
- Ao Phrao - This is known as one of the best spots for swimming, a favourite among locals.
Koh Samed Sports
- Take a swim at Hat Sai Kaeo, the most popular beach on Koh Samed.
- Windsurf in the beautiful water near Ao Hin Khok on Koh Samed.
- Snorkel off the coast of Koh Samed at Ko Thalu.
- Dive with the sharks and turtles at Ko Kut.
- Learn to box like a Thai at Naga Boxing Gym on Koh Samed.
Koh Samed Events
Celebrating the ripening of local fruit, growers from across the islands join together in May to swap (and steal) secrets at the Rayong Fruit Fair.
A local literary legend and poetry god is celebrated in June during Sunthorn Phu Day, with processions, poetry competitions and local mural painting.
The five-day Banpae Beach and Koh Samet Festival sees locals and international adventurers compete in feats of strength and stamina each December. For the less physically adept, there’s also a quiz show based around squid. Seriously!
November’s religious festival The Robing of the Phra Chedi Kiang Nam includes local music and a procession, but the real draw card is the boat race around the island.
Intense rave parties take place every Full Moon. Cocktails come in buckets, music is blaring and the hangovers are as crazy as the rave itself.
When To Visit
- November to February is the best time to visit, when days are warm and nights cool.
- The cool season is also the busiest as backpackers from around the world flood the island to get sunburnt and boozed.
- March to May and June to October are less busy, but the respective heat and wet are even harder than crowds to deal with.
- Travelling via songthaew is a Koh Samed right of passage and perfect for tackling the main (and only) road.
- Motorbikes are also a good way to get around, but avoid having your first lesson here.
- It’s a small island, so one of the best modes of transport is walking.
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