Complete Guide to Koh Samet beaches
Koh Samet beaches are some of the best you can find in Thailand, it’s the main reason people come to the island. There are lots of beaches on the island, ranging from very small enclaves such as Ao Nuan, to large beaches with plenty of hotels and restaurants.
The busiest and biggest of all Koh Samet beaches. With its pristine white sands and crystal blue seas, Saikaew Beach has long been the reason that many people come to Samet again and again. The sea has an all-sand bottom, so as you wade into the sparkling blue sea the ground is soft beneath your feet, with very few rocks. The beach is roughly a kilometre long and has a width of 10-30 meters (depending on the tides). During the day there are many restaurants and activities to keep you going till the sun goes down over the tree-topped peaks. After dark, Saikaew Beach relaxes for dinner time and then slowly picks up till the early hours of the morning with fire shows on the beach and live bands.
Ao Hin Kok (often called Ao Phai)
Just past the Prince and Mermaid Statue from Saikaew beach you can find Ao Hin Kok beach. A more relaxed beach, with the last real backpacker vibe to it, it is a nice spot to sit and relax any time day or night. Dips in the sea here are leisurely and there is no need to worry about rocks as the white sand bottom continues uninterrupted into the blue. The beach is backed by a rock-faced cliff And then there are only a handful of restaurants near to the beach before they too give way to palms and jungle. You can reach Ao Hin Kok either with a leisurely stroll along the Saikaew beach or there is a road running parallel to the sea front that can be reached either by motorbike or taxi.
Just round the headland from Ao Hin Kok you can find the much narrower white sand beach of Ao Phai. Typical of several Koh Samet beaches, the beach starts after a little out-cropping of rocks. The beach is backed by resorts and restaurants with no road running directly behind it. During the day, especially in high season, this little bay can get quite crowded with all the people staying at the resorts.
Ao Prao –
Located on the west cost of Koh Samet, Ao Prao is the only beach on the otherwise rocky west coast. This small bay is well-sheltered most of the year with a coral reef extending all the way out to the far southern corner of the bay, perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving. From July to September the wind can get quite strong here and the waves can grow as high as 1 meter. The sandy bay rounds to a half moon shape about 300m long, with a paved road behind it, this road is only used for staff vehicles and occasional taxis, all other vehicles have to park before the beach and walk down to the sea front. The lack of vehicles makes the beach utterly peaceful, perfect for sunbathing or relaxing in the lovely crystal clear, sand bottom seas. On Ao Prao beach they have worked very hard to keep the beach secluded and exclusive, it is well worth a visit but sunbeds, activities and food may be more expensive. Like many Koh Samet beaches, this bay does have a couple of rocky areas, due to the coral reef and cliff face. A warning in this area around the rocks and coral, there are often sea urchins, although they are not poisonous they can be painful so be careful (sea urchins are a black spiky crustacean whose spines are very sharp and once they enter the skin they will not come back out, don’t try and pick them out, best thing is to seek advise from sport staff on the beach). Several years ago there was on oil spill on Ao Prao, it is fully cleared up and no visible trace of it remains.
Ao Noi Na/Ao Klang/Nadan
The Northern end of Koh Samet often boasts the calmest sea, though with less spectacular beaches. For a quiet beach, go to the far North of the island, where the road stops. If swimming in the sea doesn’t appeal, then there are great views of the peaks on the mainland and other smaller islands off to the east. Also the north boasts vantage points from where you can enjoy sunset views over the Northern peaks of the island
Ao Putsa / Ao Tub Tim
Fairly typical of the smaller Koh Samet beaches, this little stretch of sand has a more relaxed atmosphere, with less emphasis on activities. The sea conditions are the same as on Saikaew beach. Try to avoid this beach at high tide as the beach is very slim and high tide leaves very little sand to relax on, it can feel a little too crowded if you are trying to share with 20 other people! The sea is calm and rocks in the sea are usually obvious, if you stick to the centre you are invariably safe. Tub Tim resort has also created a pontoon out at sea that you can swim out to. It’s perfect for a little blissful sleep at sea.
This tiny little beach is a blink-and-you-miss-it bay. One of the most secluded of all Koh Samet beaches, This is a real castaway beach where you can forget everything else and concentrate on a good book or quality time with the one you love. Ao Nuan is a tiny white sand beach, truly a hidden gem in Samet, the sea has a few rocks dotted here and there but chances are you’ll be the only people on the beach so it won’t be hard to avoid them. Lay back on Ao Nuan’s white sand beach and listen to the tropical birds with nothing to see but blue seas for miles – it’s a truly tropical island experience
Ao Vong Duern
One of the liveliest Koh Samet beaches (after Haad Saikaew) this is a particular favourite with young Thai professionals from Bangkok looking to forget the city at the weekends. This horseshoe-shaped bay retains much of its natural beauty but has become more cluttered over the years with day trippers, speedboats and restaurants. The bay is partially sheltered from the outside elements, so the seas can be calm all year round, although at high tide there is often little beach available. The sea bottom is soft sand with very few rocks. If you are a swimmer and like to venture out a little bit further try to stay within the safety lines.
Ao Sang Thian or Ao Thian
Ao Thian beach (also known as Candlelight Beach) is a long stretch of beach with rocky outcrops jutting out into the sea. It’s a tranquil little setting, good for escaping the busier northern beaches. There is some nice swimming and snorkelling to be found depending on the sea condition when you visit. Not the most beautiful of Koh Samet beaches, but the relaxed vibe makes up for it. There are several hotels near the beach, and you can get a massage right by the water.
Ao Lung Dam
This small beach is slim but with very little accommodation nearby it is never crowded. Not the most spectacular of Koh Samet beaches but with a lovely old fisherman’s pier jutting out from the centre of the beach, it has a unique feel to it. The pier has been modified to include a restaurant, so while still a working pier it can be a great spot to sit and watch another world go by.