Despite being relatively small, Koh Samet accommodation packs in a surprising number of establishments. These range from charmless back rooms for budget conscious Thai students through to a few five star villas. On the whole, the island offers mostly bungalow style resorts in a charming ‘on the beach’ setting, but with varying degrees of comfort and atmosphere. Due to the island’s limited size and popularity over weekends accommodation is overpriced and not terribly good value.
In a nutshell, the three beaches on the northeast of the island, Sai Kaew, Hin Kock and Ao Phai, have the most choices, mainly in the budget category. This is where most the action is, with the more upmarket places are found at the southern end known as Ao Phutsa.
Further south you have several standalone bays that are quieter and have better choices for those looking for comfort and a more upmarket crowd. You’ll find a mixed bag of lovely and dreadful places on Ao Chao, and Wong Duen. The latter is busier, both have boats arriving directly from the mainland. In both cases the nicer places are at the southern end. Another, even quieter, option is Ao Thian, further south still.
There are some really rustic isolated bungalows in the last two bays. None of these east coast places boast spas, pools or a large selection of facilities, in line with the character of the island. But there are a couple of luxury establishments on the more exclusive west coast bay of Ao Phrao.
Guesthouses on Koh Samet
Most of the accommodation on Samet can be classed as guesthouse/bungalow variety ranging from 300 to 1,000 baht depending on location, comfort and time of the week. Avoid the weekend crush of Bangkokians for better value, but don’t expect dirt cheap deals. Here are a few we recommendations, all of them located on the long northern stretch of beach from Hat Sai Kaew to Phudsa. There are some rustic hideaways at the extreme southern end, the mid-east coast bays are typified by overpriced characterless places frequented by Thais, but it’s worth taking a look for yourself.
Jep’s Bungalow: a popular dining place among the action right on the beach at Hin Khok. Peaceful all the same with nice beachfront and relatively central, but lacking privacy. Bungalows are clean and comfortable…more details and booking
Coconut Bungalows: at the top end of the strip, on Sai Kaew Beach, has quaint bungalows with small verandas, away from the concentration of activity (a plus!). Easiest to get to if you have a heavy pack to lug around. 93 Moo 4, Phe, Koh Samet. Tel: (038) 651 661.
Naga Bungalows: Further along from Jeps, not exactly on a sandy part of the beach but one of the cheapest decent choices, with a popular bar and elevated views of the sea. Rooms are nothing special but the price is right. Noisy. Located at Ao Phai, Koh Samet. Tel: (038) 644 167.
Silver Sand Hotel: site of the popular evening party venue, which means sleep can be problem if you’re not a night owl. All the same the bungalows are really nice, and beach in front great. (no road service road in-between)…more details and booking
Pudsa Bungalow: just around the headland from Ao Phai Beach, so bring a torch for the short trail by night. Nice and quiet tucked among trees and right near the quieter Phudsa Beach. Not well maintained but nice location…more details and booking