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  1. #1
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Koh Samet instead

    I recently posted in the Chiang Mai forum about my trip there, which I cut short due to the air pollution. Instead I decided to head to an island to finish off my holiday. Having already been to Phuket (and nearby islands), Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Chang, it seemed that next on the list should be Koh Samet (or Samed, according to some).
    After a night in Pattaya at my wife's family's guesthouse (see my home page) we arranged a private hire car to take us to the Ban Phe pier for Koh Samet for 1000B. About a 90-minute drive.
    The boat trip to the island was on an old wooden thing, listing to one side, with no lifejackets visible on board. Yes I know, this is Thailand. At least it was a short trip on smooth water, took about half an hour and only 250B or so for both of us.
    We hired a motorbike to look around for somewhere to stay. They charge Farangs two hundred baht just to enter the national park (which is most of the island) but none of it gets spent on the road, which is just dirt, rocks and potholes for the length of the island.

    First stop was at Ao Phrao on the west side of the island. This is a very quiet spot to stay, with a calm, clean beach and supposedly some good snorkelling about. We decided it was a bit too quiet for our tastes so we had a look at some other places.
    On the east coast we went as far south as Ao Wong Deuan, which is quite busy but also downmarket and a bit messy. The tour boats look set to run over a swimmer at any minute so we kept going.
    Hat Sai Kaew near the ferry pier had the only sealed road on the island, but again a bit too busy and crowded for us. We found the best compromise at Ao Phai, choosing to stay at the Silver Sand resort.

    The east side of the island was a bit more wavy, but we're only talking 50cm waves, so still a relaxing place to loll about in the water. Probably due to the state of the road, some of the resort staff used trolleys like this on the beach to move laundry etc.

    Our room was about 3000-4000B a night (varied over weekdays and weekend rates), very modern with a big TV and separate shower room, dressing room and toilet. Short walk to the beach and bar, but far enough away to be quiet.

    I spent most of my time at one of the bars or on a deckchair. We found the food was pretty good at the Silversand restaurant and the beer is reasonably priced too compared to other resorts. If you want you can buy beer in their little convenience store and take it back to your room, but it's the same price anyway. About 110B for a large Leo from memory.
    The only complaint I could make about the place really is that the service is by a bunch of Burmese who seem to have made a group decision not to smile at anyone. I'm sure they're getting paid bugger all, but they really couldn't be less interested in helping you. My wife managed to have a joke with one waiter and after that he was more helpful, but if poor service upsets you this is the one bugbear of Silversand.

    In the evening the restaurant spreads out onto the sand. Like most Thai beaches you can expect to see some tea-light hot air balloons, and quite regular fire shows.

    There were three different bars at the beachfront for Silversand. The one on the right in the next photo is the nightclub, which was quite popular on the weekend. They had a "full moon" party, but it wasn't much different to any other night apart from more young tourists from other resorts turning up to party.

    We prefered the bar on the left, where a small bottle of Sangsom and mixers was only 150B. After drinking beer on the beach all day this was enough to send us off to bed.

    We stayed for three nights before taking the speedboat back to Ban Phe.
    Unfortunately as it stopped three times before actually making the crossing it wasn't really any faster than the ferry, despite costing three times as much.
    Overall I think I still prefer Koh Chang to Koh Samet, as there is much more to do there (and the road isn't so awful), but Samet is a 90min shorter drive from Pattaya or Bangkok and entertaining enough for this length of trip.
    Last edited by BenBenBaa; 17-04-2012 at 12:24 PM.
    Did you just make that up?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenBenBaa
    room was about 3000-4000B
    Looks very expensive; paid 800 baht in Cha-am for a not too different room. Is the island generally expensive? I've never been, always thought I'd be full of Bkk and Pattaya folk getting away for the weekend; I'd rather go elsewhere.

    The night-time beach pics look exactly like what I'd need to avoid, but you did say that other beaches looked quieter, so I suppose it comes down to personal preference.

    With the expense of the car, accom, boat there, boat back, etc, you seem to have made some strange choices... Just sayin like... Maybe I'm just poor and need to take more care with expenses...
    How do I post these pictures???

  3. #3
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    went to samet in 2003 and have no intention to go back

    I think I would rather go to Koh Chang

  4. #4
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BenBenBaa
    room was about 3000-4000B
    Looks very expensive; paid 800 baht in Cha-am for a not too different room. Is the island generally expensive? I've never been, always thought I'd be full of Bkk and Pattaya folk getting away for the weekend; I'd rather go elsewhere.

    The night-time beach pics look exactly like what I'd need to avoid, but you did say that other beaches looked quieter, so I suppose it comes down to personal preference.

    With the expense of the car, accom, boat there, boat back, etc, you seem to have made some strange choices... Just sayin like... Maybe I'm just poor and need to take more care with expenses...
    Cha-am is not exactly an island resort now is it? Yes Samet is quite expensive compared to Koh Chang etc. But for a three night stay on holiday it didn't bother me. For a long stay I would keep driving to Koh Chang.

  5. #5
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    ^ no it's not, very true. But it is a close and easy drive from Bkk - the beach at Cha-am is just like a Southend trip really, nothing much unless you particularly like the sea; I'm sure an island is much nicer, but at what cost?

  6. #6
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo View Post
    ^ no it's not, very true. But it is a close and easy drive from Bkk - the beach at Cha-am is just like a Southend trip really, nothing much unless you particularly like the sea; I'm sure an island is much nicer, but at what cost?
    About the same cost as a motel room in Sydney

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    Nice report mate. Thanks.

    I was on Samet in 88 at Xmas time. Very bad decision, ain't been back since.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat aging one's Avatar
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    3,000 to 4,000 for a good but in no way great room. Maybe fine for couples or people with small children, but there is no way in hell I am paying for 2 rooms at that price on that little island. Last trip was 10 years ago, and like many dont plan to go back. Much better deals and more to do on Koh Chang.

  9. #9
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    i used to go there in the eighties, i also went once in the nineties and have never been back. the beaches used to be quite good, and most of the accommodation was in small rustic bamboo huts, with no electricity, on some of the remoter resorts you had to draw water out of a well with a bucket to shower with. it was a haven of clean underused beaches. the attraction was the robinson crusoeness of the place.

    the island started its inevitable decline when they started replacing the bamboo huts with concrete ones and when they started enforcing the increased foreigner national park fees that naive falang simpletons smilingly hand over, the fact that not one penny of those fees has ever been spent on park improvements seems to go unoticed.

    to find empty beaches, free from dreadlocked firethrowers, and full mooners, these days one needs to drive or bus it at least as far as petchaburi or prajuab.

  10. #10
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    Went to Chiang Mai 2 weeks ago, never saw the sun. It reminded me of home, just like Los Angeles in the summer time.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by taxexile
    they started enforcing the increased foreigner national park fees that naive falang simpletons smilingly hand over, the fact that not one penny of those fees has ever been spent on park improvements seems to go unoticed.
    I suppose you'd beat them all up and not pay?

  12. #12
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    when i am charged 10 times more than a local for the same "service" i would just walk away, as would most people in possession of common sense and self respect.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by taxexile
    i would just walk away
    More difficult when you're on an island, mate. But, I fully agree with your sentiment. If the money went on the local community of park upkeep then I'd probably be fine with it, but when it's just another scam, likely stolen by 'officials'...

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat aging one's Avatar
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    For the entrance fee, all you need is a Thai drivers license, or a work permit. Never had that problem at least.

  15. #15
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    Or you can drag all your luggage along the beach and bypass the tollgate.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BenBenBaa
    room was about 3000-4000B
    Looks very expensive; paid 800 baht in Cha-am for a not too different room. Is the island generally expensive? I've never been, always thought I'd be full of Bkk and Pattaya folk getting away for the weekend; I'd rather go elsewhere.

    The night-time beach pics look exactly like what I'd need to avoid, but you did say that other beaches looked quieter, so I suppose it comes down to personal preference.

    With the expense of the car, accom, boat there, boat back, etc, you seem to have made some strange choices... Just sayin like... Maybe I'm just poor and need to take more care with expenses...
    Nah...rich or poor, seems like an all-around.
    Could be worse there.

    BBB, nice piccy collective. Cheers!

  17. #17
    Elite Mumbler
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one
    For the entrance fee, all you need is a Thai drivers license, or a work permit. Never had that problem at least.
    I didn't even need that. Told them in Thai that I lived here, paid the Thai price.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat aging one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pickel
    I didn't even need that. Told them in Thai that I lived here, paid the Thai price.
    Better still mate. It all came to play for us on Chang. The waterfall inland from Klong Prao. Everybody else was paying the full price in the queue I was in. But we all paid the Thai price in Thai and in we went.

  19. #19
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    like samet, went for new year last year and the year before, get away from the main areas, nice and quiet, lovely....

  20. #20
    Member BenBenBaa's Avatar
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    Yes Ao Phrao is a nice quiet spot, but prices there started at 4000 a night and went up. This was in high season of course. Where we were in Ao Phai the range was 3000-5000 a night. Other beaches on Samet are likely cheaper but not as appealing. Either way I follow the general sentiment that Koh Chang offers more for less. I don't think Samet offered much that you couldn't get cheaper at Koh Larn, but it was a pleasant few days for me all the same. Sometimes when you're on holiday it pays to shrug off the occasional expense and relax.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat aging one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenBenBaa
    Sometimes when you're on holiday it pays to shrug off the occasional expense and relax.
    Exactly right, and I hope you came back refreshed and clear headed.

  22. #22
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    nice pics and info BBB, for a tenderfoot to thailand it's good how you compared it to other islands

  23. #23
    ความสุขในอีสาน
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    Or you can drag all your luggage along the beach and bypass the tollgate.
    Or you can get the speedboat and land on the beach ,, done that a couple of times ,, also missed those poxy pot hole crater roads on that island .

    Nice little thread mate ,, although I would never be paying those amounts for accommodation

  24. #24
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    I'm not that keen on Koh Chang or Koh Samet. Koh Phi-phi is nice for a smal island and Koh Phuket has a better selection of beaches (depending on what your after).

    I actually hated Hua Hin (sea was rough and dirty-looking), although I stayed at a very expensive and nice resort (Marriott I think). I haven't been to Cha Am, although some people say nice things about it.

    Haven't been to Koh Samui, Koh Tao, or Koh Phangan yet, but I plan to remedy that this December and January.

    RickThai

  25. #25
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    I live 10 mins from Ban Phe.
    Samet was my favorite place on the planet.
    Not now, they've fucked it.
    Have'nt been in 3 years now.

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