This is the last in my series of blogs about my visit to Koh Samet and Rayong. I did enjoy myself during this trip to this beautiful tropical island in Thailand. It was a shame that my time was limited. I really want to make a return trip though I will make sure it is during the week to avoid the crowds. In this blog I want to tell you a bit about some of the activities you can do on this island other than sunbathing and swimming.
I told you before how I walked from Sai Kaew beach down the coast to Ao Thap Thim. On the map the island doesn’t look that big but it will take you some time to walk down the coastline. Your alternative is to go on a boat tour (I will talk about this in a minute) or to rent a motorbike. This costs 100 baht per hour or 300 baht for the day. (On smaller beaches it will be 400 baht for the day.) It is advisable to rent for the day as it is better value for money. I had to leave my Thai driver’s license with the guy though I guess a passport would be just as good. I have very limited experience driving a motorcycle and so I wasn’t too sure if this was going to be a good idea. However, for a little extra, I rented an automatic motorcycle which was exactly like riding a bicycle. No need to worry about changing gears or anything.
The roads around the island are pretty bad and I imagine would be impassable during the rainy season. Be careful when you are driving because of the hairpin bends and loose gravel on the roads. As I was approaching the crest of a hill, someone came over the top towards me and right in the middle of the road. He hesitated about which side to pass me on and ended up falling off his bike at my feet! The songtaew buses go up and down this road, so best to drive slowly and carefully. Try to stay on your side of the road but that is not always easy due to the many holes. The signs for each beach are posted in both English and Thai so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding your way around.
When you arrive on the island you will see notices on just about every beach advertising boat trips around the island. Prices for these start at 350 baht per person. A six hour trip around the island costs from 400 baht which is good value for money. The trip includes snorkeling, fishing, lunch and a visit to a fish farm which has sharks and turtles. Use of mask and fins are included in the price. For 600 baht you can visit some of the nearby islands. The full day tour runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Or a shorter day is 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Night fishing trips start at 6 p.m.
On the more popular beaches like Hat Sai Kaew you can take part in various watersports. You can rent a jet ski for 1,200 baht for 30 minutes. Or, if there is a group of you, try a ride on a banana boat which costs 700 baht for a 30 minute ride. Swimming in the sea is free of course though will cost you 30 baht to sit on the deckchairs. In the evening, restaurants on Hat Sai Kaew lay out mats on the beach with traditional Thai triangular cushions to lean on. However, with mosquitoes biting my ankles I didn’t fancy staying out too late. It wasn’t that long ago that Malaria was eradicated from the island. So, make sure you take appropriate precautions.
I think I have only scratched the surface here. The island is a national park after all. So, you can also go on walks into the interior. There is plenty of beautiful natural scenery to see. However, if sunbathing is your thing, then it is easy enough to walk down the coastline to find a quiet and secluded beach. I wouldn’t say Koh Samet is the perfect tropical island. I have seen a lot better in Australia. However, it is the nearest tropical island to Bangkok. There is no doubt I will be going back again. Though I wouldn’t necessarily spend all my time on the island. I found the beaches on the mainland to be more convenient and therefore more relaxing.