Best beach near Bangkok
In my opinion, Koh Samet is a somewhat underrated island in Thailand. Not only is it only a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive from Bangkok to Koh Samet, but I think the beaches are just as beautiful as the further away islands of Thailand such as Koh Samui and Koh Phangnan. For the best beach near Bangkok, if you’re looking for expat day trip ideas or beach breaks for tourists in Thailand, Koh Samet is a great option.
Many of the more famous islands of Thailand can sometimes be a little too touristy, taking away from the Thai culture and way of life. However Koh Samet is a very popular island in Thailand with local Thais who visit on the weekends to escape city life in Bangkok and just chill out on the beaches. This gives it a really different, special vibe to the other Thai islands and makes Koh Samet much more laid back and real.
Where to stay in Koh Samet
Koh Samet is not an island for sightseeing and temples; it is a notorious island for simply relaxing on the beach, eating and drinking. There are still many water sports to try along the shores though. When looking for hotels to stay in Koh Samet, bare in mind that accommodation on all of the Thai islands is quite a lot more expensive than northern mainland Thailand and Bangkok.
Sai Kaew Beach
Sai Kaew Beach (pronounced Sai Gaew) is the most popular area of Koh Samet in the main town to the North Eastern end of the island. The sea is clear with soft white sand beaches and a huge choice of restaurants and bars along the sea front. Sai Kaew beach is great for groups of friends and couples with plenty of nightlife including open-air clubs and beach bars with bean bags lining the beach. Sai Kaew is where many young Thais from Bangkok spend their weekend to let their hair down and it has a fun and carefree atmosphere. Nice, clean, reasonable priced hotels at Sai Kaew are Chilli Hotel from only 800 baht per room and the Lima Bella Resort from 1600 baht per room
Wong Deuan beach
Wong Deuan is another popular main beach of Koh Samet only it has a slightly more sophisticated reputation with less vodka buckets than Sai Kaew. The beach at Wong Deuan is arguably not as nice and less clean than others on the island though. Vongdeuan Resort provides the best value accommodation in Wong Deuan and offers reputable and charming mid-range cottages to stay from only 1400 baht.
Ao Prao and Ao Kiu Na Nok beaches
Ao Prao and Ao Kiu Na Nok are contrastingly more secluded and peaceful than the other beaches of Koh Samet, arguably offering the best beach near Bangkok. Ao Prao is along the West of Koh Samet and Ao Kiu Na Nok is to the southern end. Accommodation is more expensive in these areas and the atmosphere is much more quiet for an exclusive, romantic getaway. Ao Prao Resort is a beautiful hotel to stay in at Ao Prao or the luxurious Paradee Resort is ideal for honeymooners or special occasions.
Bangkok to Koh Samet
Firstly, you will need to head from Bangkok to Rayong. You can get from Bangkok to Rayong by bus for only 170 baht from Ekkamai bus station. Ekkamai bus station is located right at the bottom of Ekkamai BTS station. Buses leave hourly from 8am and the journey takes about 4 hours.
However a slightly quicker alternative to this is taking the minibus from Bangkok to Rayong from Victory Monument for around 200 baht. This takes around 3 hours instead. To take the minibus from Victory Monument to Rayong, take the BTS to Phayathai and take exit 4. At the bottom of the stairs turn back on yourself until you find a row of buses.
All buses and minibuses from Bangkok to Rayong stop directly opposite Ban Phe pier. You can catch either a ferry (45 minute ride for 100 baht) or a speed boat (20 minute ride for 250 baht) at the pier every hour from 8am until 6pm. The main ferry to Samet takes you to Nadan Pier near Sai Kaew. The speed boat ferry to Koh Samet also stops at Nadan pier but can also drop you directly at the shore of your preferred resort.