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Koh Samed (Samed Island)

Sundhorn Phu, Thailand’s Shakespeare, described Koh Kaew Pitsadan (the magical crystal island), which is believed to be the present Koh Samed, in his famous Thai literature ‘Phra Aphaimanee’ as a beautiful island that shelters his main character from a lovelorn giant – she is broken-hearted and dies on the crystal sandy beach of the island. Even though you won’t see her remains anywhere on Koh Samed, you’re sure to see its crystal white sandy beaches, especially on the Had Sai Kaew or Sai Kaew Beach.

Koh Samed Beach

Koh Samed was named after the Samed Tree or the cajuput tree that grows everywhere on the island. It was declared ‘Khao Lam Ya – Samet Archipelago Maritime National Park ‘ in 1981. The park encompasses Had Mae Rumpueng-a beach on the coast of Rayong , Lam Ya Mountain and the Samet Archipelago that consists of Koh Samed, Koh Chan, Koh San Chalam, Koh Hin Khao, Koh Kang Kao, Koh Kudee, Koh Kruoy and Koh Plateen. An ecological tour can be conducted through three itineraries on Koh Samed, Koh Kudee and Lam Ya Mountain.

Local fishing boats carry tourists to the island every hour but you can charter a speed boat for about 1,200 Baht per trip. There are direct routes to some beaches including Had Sai Kaew and Ao Wong Duan, from which one can walk to other beaches through a relatively primitive inland road network. Most of the beaches are located on the northern and eastern sides of this T-shaped island whereas only a few, that is, Ao Prao, Ao Kham and Ao Kiu Na Nai lie on the west. It is more convenient to reach Ao Prao by a direct ferry from Ban Phea.

The weather on the island is more comfortable than inland area. However, the rainy season runs from May to September with heavy rains, high surges and monsoons in May. Ideal activities here are sunbathing on the beach, making an inland excursion on foot or by chartered bus, and taking a boat trip around the island. Also recommended is making a trip to some nearby isles.

Koh Tai Kang Kao and Koh Tam Rusi, located near Koh Kudee, offer swimming, scuba diving, seeing coral reefs and camping. There is information for accommodations and campgrounds provided at the park office on these isles. Koh Kruoy, Koh Kham and Koh Plateen, 600 meters north of Koh Kudee, are also other sites superb for coral reef exploring while Koh Talu is excellent for trekking, seeing some rare species of bats and turtles, and deep water diving.

Take note that the island is popular among local and foreign tourists and it is hard to find accommodation during the peak season, usually March, while September is the scantiest.