Koh Samed is an island in the Gulf of Thailand and it’s located just about 220 kilometers southeast of Bangkok – which makes it the most popular weekend getaway island for Bangkok Thais.
The island is pretty small though, and at a high risk of becoming overdeveloped. (Many people say it already is overdeveloped, but comparing it with other international tourist destinations, it’s still got a far way to go – for example, there are no large hotel complexes and so on, but rather just resorts and bungalows).
Here’s a video that gives you an impression of what it’s like there:
The island is actually part of a national marine park (although when you’re there, it doesn’t look like a national park with all the bars and restaurants).
It’s quiet busy, especially during the weekends when thousands flock here for a short weekend vacation. That’s why prices for accomodation (and sometimes even food) often rise substantially during weekends – simply because there is so much demand.
There are several beaches on the island. Hat Sai Kaew is the most popular and busy one, and it’s also the easiest one to reach. Here is where you find the highest concentration of bars, restaurants, shops and bungalows. If you like to mingle and meet other people, this is the place to be. The beach is around 1 km long and around 25m wide, lots of white sand and actually quiet beautiful.
There are also many activities that you can do: from jet skying, to riding on a banana boat, and of course swimming and sunbathing. Lots of seafood is available here, as well as Thai and international cuisine.
And there’s something else that’s really great about Koh Samed: the weather. Because it’s just nice and pleasant all year round. While other islands have to cope with monsoon rains and storms and incredibly unbearably hot periods, Koh Samed is geographically placed in a way that you couldn’t wish for better weather on an island. So it’s always a safe bet to come here.
If you come to the island for the first time a personal tour guide on Koh Samed can be a great advantage, because they can show you around and help you find the places and do the things you like to do. There’s also some unusal activities, like a school that teaches you the art of fire-spinning, last time we went there it was 900 baht for a three-day course, which included all the materials and is a very fair price.
If you like pain try Muay Thai (Thai boxing). There’s a school for that too at the Naga bungalows. Lessons take place every day at 4:30pm and cost 250 baht per hour, and the instructors speak English as well.
And if you want to soothe yourself and relax – there’s plenty of massage shops on Samed island.
Most of the beaches can be found along the eastern shore, and the western coastline is a lot less developed, and thus a lot more quiet. On the other hand, it’s a lot more expensive to stay here too, mainly because it’s largely luxury accomodation on Koh Samed which can be found here.
Actually another thing that you can do is go for a walk – going from the Northern end of the island all the way to the South takes about four hours in a comfortable pace, and that way you get to see the different places and beaches.
But what’s most popular there is doing a boat trip – and there are plenty of companies that offer boat tours on Samed.
Another popular beach for backpackers is Ao Hin Khok. It’s just about the perfect spot if you want to swim and sunbathe, with beautiful white sand.
A place that’s popular among regular visitors can be found at Ao Tubtim, and it’s called Tubtim Resort. If you’re looking for seafood on the island, this is a great choice.
It’s pretty easy to find your way around the island, because most is happening along the eastern shore of this relatively small island.