The island covers approximately 13 sq kms (5 sq miles) in size, & is shaped somewhat like a letter “T”.Up to 80% of the total area of the island remains dense forest.
It is believed Koh Samet got its name from the “Samet” trees that can be found all over the island. Samet is the Thai word for the “cajeput” tree. Koh Samet is also known as the “Magic Crystal Island,” or “Koh Kaew Phitsadan” in Thai.
Koh Samet is famous not only because of its glorious white beaches, but also because of its unique place in Thailand’s literary history. Sunthorn Phu, a Thai poet, had set part of his epic poem “Phra Aphai Mani” (also known as “Pra Apaimanee”) on the island. Phra Aphai Mani is the story of a prince that had got trapped in a kingdom beneath the sea.
Even before the foreign tourists started visiting this beautiful island, Koh Samet was already popular with Bangkok residents as the ideal weekend getaway,due mainly to it’s proximity to the capital & year-round lovelyWeather .
The Forestry Department of Thailand declared back in 1981 that Koh Samet and its surrounding areas as part of the “Khao Laem Ya – Mu Ko Samet National Park”. Prior to that declaration, overnight stays on the island was restricted!!.
There are several beaches on Koh Samet ,and most of them tend to be found on the eastern side of the island. The beaches are typically 200-meter stretches of sand, hidden in small bays around the island.
Hat Sai Kaew (Diamond Beach) is one of the most popular and most beautiful beaches on Koh Samet. It is around 1 km long. Its Thai name also means Crystal Sand Beach. Lots of water activities are offered here like windsurfing, jet skiing, banana boat rides, and many others. The smaller and less crowded beaches near Hat Sai Kaew are Ao Noi Na and Ao Pai.
The second largest beach on Koh Samet is Ao Wong Deuan. Many tourists frequent this part of the island all year round because of it’s good choice of Places to Stay and the nice stretches of beach. Many sea-view restaurants can also be found in this part of the island.
For tourists who are interested in learning about the island culture, Ao Karang is the best place to go for interaction with local residents.
The other beaches on Koh Samet are Ao Phutsa, Ao Thapthim, Ao Wai, Ao Kiu Nok and Ao Phrao. These beaches are quieter and preferred by visitors who are interested in just relaxing or sunbathing.
Getting There is easy, all journey’s involve the short crossing by either ferry or speedboat to the island all departing from Ban Phe in Rayong Province, transport to Ban Phe can be by either car or bus.
If you have been to Koh Samet before, and have really great memories of places to stay, visit, beaches or just fun things that happened, please share your Koh Samet Memories here.