(Written by Chad & Ben)
When traveling to Thailand, of course, the beach is a must! Thailand is known to have gorgeous beaches along the coast and on the islands. But most only know about beaches in the south. So, in my recent trip, I decided to go to Samet Island. After all, I have heard good things about it a gazillion times. And I knew that I was going to have an amazing time. Hey, I am a beach-bum!
I am not much of a solo traveler, so I went on this trip with a good friend of mine. Samet Island is one of the most popular destinations in the east of Thailand for both local and international tourists. Tourists from around the globe visit Pattaya mostly since it is super close to Bangkok. But many have come further to Samet Island which is about 2-2.5 hours away from Pattaya and 3-4 hour away from Bangkok.
Samet island has many white sand beaches with such beautiful nature all around – all of it is still unspoiled. Hotels and Resorts on the island offer many water sport activities, spa, massage and fine dining. There are cool clubs beside the beach at night where you can show your dance moves, or just sit and drink or just simply be a people watcher. There are many 4 and 5 stars hotels here where you can spend your time with your lover, besties, or even your family and love ones.
I made an arrangement to stay at one of the best resorts on the island – one that belongs to Samed Resort Group, its name is Paradee Resort. This is the place I was going to spoil myself for 3 days and 2 nights. Paradee Resort is a 5 star resort that received the “Traveler Choice Award” by TripAdvisor in 2017. The hotel has a private beach name “Ao Kiew” which is the most well-known white sand gorgeous beach on Samet Island. I heard from a local that Paradee Resort is “the need to stay here one time in your life” kind of place! So, I am very happy with my choice to stay here.
Anyway, my friend and I left Bangkok and drove to Rayong Province, which took us about 3.5 hours. Generally, when you arrive at the port, you need to get the speedboat or public boat to Samet Island from the main land. But the great thing about Paradee is that, when you are their guest, the resort will provide a complimentary “luxurious speedboat” from Jadet Pier to the resort.
If you stay in any other hotel under Samet Resort Group such as Sai Kaew Beach Resort, Ao Prao Resort, Le Vimarn Cottage & Spa, Baan Ploy Sea, Samed Club and Baan Supparod, you will get complimentary speedboat service from the pier as well, but the speedboat will leave from Seree Baan Phe Pier.
At Jadet Pier, Paradee Resort had their own welcome check-in with a warm welcome drink while my friend and I waited for the boat. While waiting, the staff asked us to choose our own scented soap, so they can prepare them and have them ready in our room when we arrived at our villa. I found that to be quite luxurious. I chose lemongrass, and my friend chose cinnamon. From Jadet Pier to the resort took only 15-20 minutes. This vacation was already on a great start.
Paradee is absolutely a stunningly beautiful resort. I couldn’t help but think, “Wow… This is really a great place for a honeymoon.” The villas, the environment, the beach, the pool, the staff… everything is just so perfect. I was quite amazed by this property. People do not have to go down to the south of Thailand to experience all this, just a few hours away from Bangkok, they can have similar experiences already.
Paradee Resort has about 40 villas and each villa comes with the private pool. My friend and I can absolutely spend time here for a whole week or even a whole month here. This sort of environment is what I look for when taking a vacation. Walking on the resort’s private beach, seeing the sunset, having cocktail while laying out in the sun getting tan, kayaking, snorkeling or sailing in the ocean, doing spa and massage during the day or evening, etc. are simply heaven. Or I can just spending time in my ocean view pool villa. That is already a perfect vacation don’t you think?
Apart from the above, the resort has such an amazing spa and massage. The menu offers a variety of services such as Thai herbal compress, aromatic senses, four elements massage, aromatherapy & Swedish massage to a Traditional Thai massage. The spa specialists are very skillful. It was so good and I was so comfortable that I almost fell asleep. With a gentle touch and a bright smile, I am game!
The resort takes care to make sure that the environment is very well kept. They do not allow any boats or any vehicles to park on the beach and they always keep the beach clean. Therefore, the guests can enjoy every bit of the property at the fullest without any interruption. The hotel staff is also superb, very friendly, helpful and informative which is a very crucial factor to the guest’s experiences.
Since I am quite a gym rat, even when I am on a vacation, I always want to exercise. But it is not always that every hotel and resort is equipped with the gym. But this place has! So you can imagine how thrilled I was. This place practically has everything! I mean “everything!” … big pool, gym, spa, restaurants….. and a gorgeous beach for me to just sit and watch the sun goes down.
Why is Samet island the most popular destination? It is because there are many beautiful beaches and many hotels & resorts to choose from. Ao Kiew beach in the south of the island is where Paradee resort is located. However, one of the most popular beaches on Samet island which I would recommend anyone to visit is “Glass Sand Beach”, also called “Sai Kaew Beach”. You can see a very long beach along the coastal where tourists can lay down getting tan and participate in water activities.
It is also very easy to get food here as there are many restaurants and street vendors in the area. This beach can be quite busy since it is a public beach. Nevertheless, I am quite certain that you will enjoy your leisure time here and perhaps even make some new friends. If this sounds like you, you may want to check out “Sai Kaew Beach Resort”. This resort is the most beautiful resort in Sai Kaew beach area with Luxuriously Hip Beach Escape concept – the 28 villas surrounded a luxurious infinity edged swimming pool with Jacuzzi. The resort also offers another concept which is a Laid Back Resort Lifestyle for those who prefer to stay not too close to the beach (and want more privacy).
Another beach which is also popular, but not too busy or crowded is “Ao Prao”. Ao Prao is quite unique as you can find tranquility and privacy amongst the gently swaying palms. The most 2 popular resorts there are “Ao Prao Resort” and “Le Vimarn Resort”. Ao Prao Resort is an exclusive boutique resort on Koh Samet’s most serene palm fringed beach and Le Vimarn Resort is an upscale Boutique Resort along the unspoiled white sands of Ao Prao beach where you and your love ones can retreat from the hectic pace of cosmopolitan life.
Ao Prao beach is quite private as they have only 2 main resorts here when comparing with Sai Kaew beach and others. Both resorts are perhaps suitable for family and couples, however, Le Vimarn resort is a little bit on the upper scale than Ao Prao resort. So, if you are thinking about special occasions like honeymoon, I strongly recommend Paradee and Le Vimarn. Your lover will love you forever!
The last beach on Samet island which is very popular during the Thailand long public holidays is “Tubtim beach”. This beach is well-known for local and international LGBTQ community. You can walk from Sai Kaew beach to Tubtim beach (gay beach) which would take about 15 minutes. During the day, people like to just lay out in the sun getting tan and make some new friends. At night during the holidays, there are many locals and tourist coming out and party and have a great time. It was a lot of fun, I must say. Samet island has the most popular bar on the beach called “Silversand” where locals and tourists come out and drink, dance, make friends and have a great time. You can enjoy the music and some fireball show here as well.
We left Samet island very fulfilled as we got to do just about everything we planned to do and to experience. I can see myself coming back here again and again. It is not only the beauty of the island that captivated me, but also the resorts. This time, I stayed at Paradee which I love so much. But if there is next time, I will certainly be staying at Le Vimarn. Other resorts will be next.
Anyhow, if you plan a trip to Thailand and want to visit the beach, you may want to consider Samet island which is in the east of Thailand. The island is not far from Bangkok, but yet, is able to offer you great experiences and beautiful beaches where there are still unspoiled with less tourists when compared to Phuket and Krabi. Whether you are straight or gay or still unsure, you will enjoy your vacation or honeymoon here. Unil then! Latergator!
(Photo: Sunset Bar at Paradee Resort)