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Overview

Ko Samet is a mixed bag. On the one hand, its proximity to Bangkok has made it a popular weekend escape for young Thais keen to frolic in the sunshine before Monday morning rolls round once again. As a result, the northern end of the island, around the main beach of Hat Sai Kaew, has become a scruffy jumble of baking bodies, beach bars, volleyball nets and dripping ice creams. Here, zinc cream, Speedos and a sun visor are de rigeur. But that is not the whole story. Headed south through Ao Hin Khok (the de facto backpacker's ghetto), towards Ao Thian and distant Ao Wai, Ko Samet's eastern shore gets steadily quieter. Scattered along these ...

Ko Samet is a mixed bag. On the one hand, its proximity to Bangkok has made it a popular weekend escape for young Thais keen to frolic in the sunshine before Monday morning rolls round once again. As a result, the northern end of the island, around the main beach of Hat Sai Kaew, has become a scruffy jumble of baking bodies, beach bars, volleyball nets and dripping ice creams. Here, zinc cream, Speedos and a sun visor are de rigeur. But that is not the whole story. Headed south through Ao Hin Khok (the de facto backpacker's ghetto), towards Ao Thian and distant Ao Wai, Ko Samet's eastern shore gets steadily quieter. Scattered along these more southerly sections are some pretty bays and more than a handful of pristine, soda white beaches. In short, if you're prepared to make the journey, there are still a few pockets of paradise to be found among the developments. Perennially dry, with a relatively monsoon-proof climate, you even have a better than average chance of getting a week of blue skies.

Joe Cummings
About the Expert

Joe Cummings has contributed to more than 35 guidebooks, maps, atlases, phrasebooks and photographic works, including his bestselling Lonely Planet Thailand and Buddhist Stupas of Asia: The Shape of Perfection.

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Joe Cummings for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December to May