About 125 miles from Bangkok in the Gulf of Thailand there is a small island called Ko Samet. While not as popular as the big islands down south, it does have white sandy beaches, exotic coral and aquamarine waters. Back in 1999 a thatched bungalow cost about 10 bucks. No AC and the electricity would often be out. The roads were dirt, rocks and potholes. It was cash only and hardly any English. But, it has developed steadily over the past decade which is both good and bad. The mafia got booted and the army is currently in charge. Everything is now booked online and it is at least $30 a night for a house on the beach and the new 5-star resorts ask Hollywood prices. Many of the restaurants serve a delicious cuisine, ranging from breakfast buffets, seafood, steaks and plenty of Thai food to Mexican dinners.
The island is around 5 sq. miles and about 80% jungle. Lots of wildlife, for now. Ko Samet is considered a National Park and has an entry fee of around $6 for a non-Thai. The wife pays about a dollar. We often go there to chill-out for a few days during the low season. Many times we have been the only ones on the beach. Don’t ask which beach.
It is believed that once upon a time, Ko Samet was the home of pirates and that to this very day there are still lost treasures buried somewhere on the island.
It’s not really my island…
We keep looking for buried treasures, but no luck so far.
The views along the sea shores are fantastic.
The trek to reach this bungalow takes some effort, but the isolation makes it worth while.
Keep in mind that big ones eat little ones.
A great way to tour the island is to rent a motorcycle. The locals say that no one has ever stolen a motorcycle from the island. Some people use the green truck taxis. Prices are negotiable.
Yes, there is WiFi.
Food can be pricey but after-all, this is an island.
If money is not a problem, the 5-star resorts have rooms starting at B10,000 or $300 a night. Food and drinks not included. We once enjoyed an iced tea by the pool by the sea. Our motorcycle rental for the day was cheaper.
Here is the story. Back in the early 1800s a famous Thai poet liked his drink. He ended up in prison where this epic poem (which is 30,000 lines long) was written. Basically, it is about a prince who has some troubles but eventually falls in love with a mermaid. They finally escaped to the ‘Magic Crystal Island’ or Ko Samet and lived happily forever.
A Relaxing Walk
Most of the workers on the island seem to come from Cambodia. They earn about B9,000 or $250 per month. Housing and food included.
Hauling in supplies. Sometimes once a week. Sometimes daily.
Ko Samet National Park