If you’re wondering what are the best things to do in Koh Samet then make sure to read the rest of this article to learn about it!
Koh Samet island in the Gulf of Thailand is waiting to welcome you for a perfect holiday. If you are looking for pristine, tranquil beaches, you would not be a stranger as this island is popular among foreign tourists. It is located at Thailand‘s eastern seaboard, a part of Rayong province.
Koh Samet is about 220 km southeast of Bangkok and can be approached by road, water, and air. The average travel time by road is 2.5 hours; however, it may take 3-4 hrs during congestions.
Koh Samet is near to the coast and is spread over an area of 6.8 km. One needs to travel 10 km from nearby Phe town to its closest beach. Most of Koh Samet is a part of the Khao Laem Ya–Mu Ko Samet National Park and is protected. You would also get to mingle with local residents, as they prefer to visit the island on weekends.
Koh Samet’s white beaches, translucent waters, and coral reefs beckon you. Unlike some nearby islands such as Koh Samui, the construction boom has not hit Kok Samet yet. Sumptuous food and buzzing nightlife are the added attractions here.
Koh Samet’s microclimate makes it a place with less rainfall than the mainland. However, one needs to be careful about storms visiting the island occasionally.
Top 11 BEST Things to do in Koh Samet
Admire the amazing views of the beaches in Koh Samet
You have landed in Koh Samet as you love beaches. In all, 16 beaches with breath-taking views offer you a variety of choices. You just need to pick and choose as per your taste to unwind. The choice ranges from peaceful inlets to bar-studded bays. Here are some of the beaches with their special features:
It becomes easier for you to hop beaches as most of them are located on the east coast. All the beaches, except Ao Kiu, which is an exclusive beach in the far south, are open to all. If you love swimming, most of them are safe.
If you are an early riser and love viewing the rising sun, do not miss Laem Yai, which in local language means ‘Big Peninsula’. The long stretch of stones and forest marking the northern end of Haad Sai Kaew is referred here.
It is at a short distance from Samet village and Haad Sai Kaew. It is a rocky coast that bestows wonderful views to Koh Kudee and Koh Kham.
Haad Sai Kaew
Haad Sai Kaew is the most sought-after beach, being the longest one, and offers a soothing experience to those who love walking on its white sand. It is also called ‘Diamond Beach’. Though a bit costly, youngsters may love discotheques, live music, and barbecues that dot the beach.
Among the other popular beaches are Ao Hin Khok (white sand), Ao Phai (nightlife), Ao Phrao (enjoy a drink), Ao Tubtim (laidback), Ao Nuan (hillside), Ao Noi Na, Ao Lukyon, Ao Cho, Ao Wong Duean, Ao Sang Thian, Ao Lung Dum, Ao Wai, Ao Kiu, and Ao Pakarang.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Koh Samet
Watch a fire show at Ploy Talay
Sitting back and watching a fire show is a pleasure one cannot describe in words. The kaleidoscopic designs against the backdrop of the night sky never fail to please you. Ploy Talay beach is famous for its fire shows put on display by some restaurants. This allows the opportunity for relaxing and raising a toast to the serenity and peace.
If you are ready for a surprise and have no qualms about being at a large gathering, you must visit this beach. The fire shows are a spectacle to watch.
Go diving and snorkeling in Koh Samet
If you are planning for scuba diving in Koh Samet, you would not have many options. It has alone scuba diving center while another one is in the pipeline. However, snorkeling will not disappoint you as there are frequent boat trips to nearby islands daily. The islands have a rich aquatic life.
Ao Phrao Bay
Ao Phrao Bay diving site is famous among tourists for practicing your skills and for beginners. One gets an ideal shallow dive along a lively coral reef, which has a thriving aquatic life. Coral conservation work is carried out from here.
Laem Rua Taek
Just at the mouth of Ao Prao Bay to the north, this site again offers shallow dives along a rocky coral reef with the bounty of fish in the reef, where they find shelter and protection from bigger predators.
White Rock (Hin Kow)
A small island, White Rock will surprise you with its big sea anemone garden inhabiting clownfish in its tentacles.
It is a peaceful diving site with no beach. It gives you a tight swim making you hone your skills. You can spot stingrays, puffers on this reef.
Among other interesting sites are Ao Kiu Na Nai (good for any level diver), Koh Chan is a diving site far away from crowds while the reef provides ideal conditions for the thriving of aquatic life. At peaceful San Shalam, you feel relaxed and get space for long drives. Koh Kudee, Koh Talu, and Hin Puern are some other sites.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Koh Samet
Join an island tour
A day-long boat trip is most rejuvenating if you want to break away from activities and wish to relax for a longer. The slow-paced trip will reveal unexplored coves and beaches while you relish a delicious lunch.
Boat operators will facilitate a visit to fish farms. You may go snorkeling or do island-hopping by visiting Plai Tin, Kham, Kudi, or Kruai. However, you must negotiate the fare before stepping onto the deck.
You may not have more time to relax and yet wish to visit all the islands (six) around Koh Samet. A speed boat tour would solve the issue as they are available daily.
They cover a lot of things in a half-day tour beginning around noon and ending around 4 pm. Some speed boat operators also provide lunch, fruits, snorkeling equipment, and local guide, which are included in the fare.
The speed boat tour includes stopovers such as Koh Ku Dee, where you can take a sunbath, go for walking, click pictures or merely lie down and enjoy the surroundings.
Your next stopover could be Koh Plai Tin, which is ideal for snorkeling. You may visit Koh Kruai, Koh Kham, and the famous limestone cave at Koh Ta Lu. Besides, you could get a first-hand experience of marine life. A bird’s eye view from the mountain top and spending time on the beach will fill your day with peace and joy.
Going on an island tour is indeed one of the best things to do in Koh Samet.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Koh Samet
Watch the sunset in Koh Samet
There are very few beaches on the west coast on Koh Samet. Hence, one needs to carefully choose a vantage point to get the best view of the sunset on the rocky coastline.
For couples preferring privacy, a secluded viewpoint on Ao Kiu Na Nok is ideal. You would notice a small way on the right side, a short distance away. This path takes you to a strip of the beach, leading to tall grasses over some distance. Once you arrive at the spot, you will see very few people around watching the setting sun.
Further south, you arrive at the national park station, which is the southern-most tip of Koh Samet. You will come across a scenic area with some benches providing a good sunset view. If you don’t want to explore any more viewpoints and want to reach the nearest one, then there is a hill south of Ao Phrao.
An easily visible way can be seen towards the south near Ao Sang Thian. Soon it takes you to a vast area some 20 meters on the coast. If you are looking to settle down quickly, you will come across parking facing west a few hundred meters down the way near a signage’ scenic area’.
WHERE TO STAY? Best hotels in Koh Samet
6. Enjoy a beachside massage
You have landed on Koh Samet to unwind and detox. Hence, you should pamper yourself by getting a massage by the beach while you sunbathe. Masseurs roam around the beach daily seeking patrons, who willing to give in to their offer of a massage at an affordable rate.
All sorts of massage from head to toe are available, irrespective of the place, on Koh Samet. You may be either willing to have a foot massage following day-long sightseeing or take a full body massage after an adventure sports-filled day to re-energize yourself. The duration of treatments for detox available on Koh Samet range from 30 minutes to a few hours. Moreover, they are pocket-friendly.
If you are in search of the ambiance of a spa or a massage center, which treats you like a rock star, then you would get top-quality comfort at a higher price. Detox therapies such as aromatherapy, herbal treatments, steam and mud baths, body wraps, and facials are also available.
Go Canoeing and Kayaking
Being in the lap of nature, you would like to follow eco-friendly practices that not only help preserve the environment but also take care of your physical fitness. Canoeing and Kayaking give you the perfect opportunity to practice what you preach.
Using paddle boats, tourists can better explore the islands and beaches. The eastern shores are better suited for Canoeing as the coastline is less rocky and dotted with fewer boulders as compared to the western coast. There are many advantages to this mode of transport.
You can visit the remote corners of the island. It is also affordable, and one has a lot of fun with family and friends. Canoeing or Kayaking is best enjoyed in the afternoon.
Explore Khao Laem Ya – Mu Ko Samet National Park
The Mu Ko Samet National Park, which occupies the most area of Koh Samet, is popular among foreign and local tourists. It is open all seven days from 6 am to 6 pm. However, it is out of bounds for the public from May 1 to September 30. The entry fees for foreigners is THB 200 for an adult and THB 70 for a child.
The park consists of areas on land and in the sea. There are three nature trails in the park on Ko Samet, Khao Laem Ya, and Ko Kudi. These trails have various species of trees and wild animals. You are likely to spot owls, Javan mongoose, masked palm civets, squirrels, barn swallows, and long-tailed macaque. Accommodation within the park is available for THB 800-4,800.
See the Big Buddha on Koh Samet
The Big Buddha statue remains top of tourists’ priority list. It is built on a small island northeast off Koh Samui. It is known as Wat Phra Yai locally. The 12-m tall idol is golden and was consecrated in 1972. A causeway connects the statue site with the main island.
It is a landmark site and remains visible from several kilometers. Buddhist devotees offer flowers, fruits, and burn incense sticks daily on the platform it is set up. One gets a panoramic view of the sea and beaches from here. The statue is lit in a golden glow at night, which is a sight to behold.
The site also serves as a cultural center, and various cultural festivals are held here. Among them is Loy Kratong or Songkran. After paying their obeisance, devotees enjoy entertainment, shop at markets established during celebrations. Accommodation is available in hotels here.
If you go by road, then Route 4169 will take you to Samui (the northeast region). Later, take Route 4171. The nearest landmark is the Samui International Airport, from where the statue temple is 3 km in the north.
The best hours to visit the temple are early morning time when Thais offer food and other things to Buddha while monks chant mantras. It is open throughout the week. Being a holy place, one needs to wear a decent dress such as a shirt, trousers, and scarf covering the shoulders.
Sip coffee at a local restaurant
Relishing a cup of coffee at a local restaurant is a soothing experience on Koh Samet. Locate a decent restaurant or coffee shop facing the beach and just spend 15-30 minutes sipping the hot brew.
Enjoy every sip while it spreads on your tongue and then gulp it down and feel the warm liquid going down your food pipe at the accompaniment of music or just listening to blowing wind. If you are accompanied by your near and dear ones, you will savor the hot drink even more.
Enjoy seafood dishes in a local restaurant
If you love seafood, Koh Samet has delightful seafood to offer in restaurants, which arrange barbeques on the beach in the evening. Here are some best eateries offering delectable seafood on the island.
Nong Ning Seafood
Nong Ning Seafood has a large variety of seafood, including shellfish. Their specialty is fresh crabs, prawns with the special chili sauce.
Na San Restaurant
Na San restaurant is an exclusive seafood place. Live music is played on weekends at the adjacent bar.
Tok’s Little Hut
It is a pocket-friendly restaurant and is located near the Mermaid statue on Saikaew beach. They have dishes ranging from Thai to European. They serve delicious chicken, beef, pork, and seafood.
Thai and European cuisine is served here.
Besides seafood, grilled meat, beef kebabs, pork, and chicken is among their specialty. Usually, it is packed at night; however, you would miss great taste if you merely consider the slow pace of service during peak hours.
Among the other best restaurants are The Breeze Restaurant, Ao Prao Resort, Sea Horse, Ao Hin Khok, and Ao Phai (wooden interiors under big trees with continental dishes), Buddy Bar and Grill, The Zea Restaurant (terrace view of the beach) and Red Ginger.
Thailand is indeed a great place to visit when it comes to eating and this is also one of the things to do in Koh Samet you must not miss if you visit!