Laem Noina Speedbumps

The first time we stayed in Samet we booked a beautiful resort for a very reasonable price. Ban Chom Samed it was. And that was the catch. There’s nothing in the north, except speedbumps. A lot of them. On the other hand, it’s very quiet, there aren’t many restaurants, and definitely no beaches. One night we brought a takeaway to our resort, and a lovely cat joined us for dinner – she loved my homemade protein pancakes! Most Koh Samet beaches are pretty crowded, but the north is quiet – for a reason!

A beautiful affordable resort – if you don’t like beaches.

Beach bungalow – Ao Nual (Ao Nuan)

We came acros a secluded beach, with a quality restaurant on-site, and beachfront bungalow, so we booked THAT one. Now, knowing Thailand, come time to check-in, and we get assigned a different one… Luckily, it worked to our favour, as it had a laptop-friendly working space… just outside the bungalow… in the shade! And the view – we could see the rocks and the beach and the sea while laying on the bed. Wow. The bungalow is called “Ban Dokjarn”, it’s 800 baht per night, no air-con, but it has a mosquito net (that thing is vital!).

You can see the yellow Ban Dokjarn bungalow from the water

The pros of this beach are that it’s small and cosy, with couples coming and going, mostly staying for 20 minutes to take photos and stuff. It also has a swing, and a pull-up swing. The sand is not the softest, but still suitable for fun and games, and there wasn’t that much rubbish. And the best thing… FOOD.

The restaurant had some seriously delicious vegetarian options – tempura vegetables, mango and papaya salad, curries, stir-fries, omelets and so on. In fact, so delicious that we ate there every day for 5 days (and because it was a lot cheaper than anywhere else). However, when it comes to coffee, they keep it Thai style, so I wouldn’t recommend even their iced-coffee.

THIS GUY. The water level hasn’t risen yet, but that’ll do for a weird selfie.

The cons: in order to reach it you have to drive down a steep gravel hill (with a few pretty dangerous spots), and there are mosquitos in the evening. Loads of them.

Samet Ville Resort – Ao Wai

Apparently a private beach, where non-customers come and go, which doesn’t really matter as long as you’re not using their facilities. This is the number one beach on Koh Samet for soft white strip of sand, with not many boats cruising around, and some trees providing shade. Swimming and just being in the water on the flat seabed there is a delight, and it’s not all that busy. You can park on the main road and walk through this huge resort until you hit the beach.

Now it didn’t hurt to randomly look around the resorts the first time, to be fair it never hurts to look around in general! We booked the most fantastic bungalow: it stood right on the rocks, at the far end of the resort, away from all the sounds, overlooking the whole beach on one side, and the sea on the other. The wooden porch was very spacious, with two super comfortable wooden chairs and a perfect-height platform for laptops. I’d highly recommend the far-end ones (numbers 29-32) because ours had quality aircon, a fridge, lots of space, and no noise whatsoever. It’s 2,300 baht per night, including buffet breakfast. On top of that, I’m not sure why would anyone have a heated swimming pool right on the beach in Thailand, but there is one there!

You can almost see the end of the beach through the trees. Our bungalow was VERY secluded.

Food is delicious, western/vegetarian options available, but the portions are small and cost above average, at least for those residing in Thailand long-term. Coffee is not an option here… the next day we bought instant coffee from 7-11 which tasted better than theirs!There is an on-site snorkeling point which we haven’t tried, partly because there were people fishing nearby. You can rent a kayak, snorkel masks, or book a tour (it’s cheaper to book tours at the main beach at Hat Sai Kaew). In general, I’d recommend the resort and the beach, because it’s extra neat.

Ao Wai on a cloudy day. The soft sand compensates for the lack of sun…


All other beaches overview: (in no particular order)

Ao Karang

Started from the bottom… nothing there! The only thing that’s worth going all the way south for, is to put your engineering hat on and make piles of stones (it’s a thing there). The next one up was Ao Klew Na Nok, but the Paradee resort has blocked access to non-residents. Easy motorbike access.

Had Sai Kaew on a cloudy morning


Ao Hin Khok and Had Sai Kaew

The Had Sai Kaew is the main beach at the national park entrance where the two 7-11s are. There are countless bars and resorts crammed one next to each other. That reminded us of Koh Phi Phi, but felt a lot quieter. On a Saturday morning we saw monks collecting alms, and on a Sunday morning there was a smell of burning plastic across the whole beach, and some dogs tried to chase me to improve my cardiovascular capacity! It’s just nice to walk to 7-11, get a nice coffee and some snacks and enjoy the sea. During the day of course it gets busy, but not overcrowded.

Ao Cho

Decent sand, but has a pier and therefore is busier, has many bars. We saw some funny Thai guys messing around playing football on the beach. Good motorbike access. Air-con bungalows go for 3,500 baht. Ouch.

Ao Phrao

This beach is on the west side of Samed and is perfect for sunsets. There are posh villas for 14,000 baht a night, most of which have tables on the beach. One of the villas had a happy hour between 5 and 7:30 PM and I have to say their 130-baht cocktails on a beautiful beach with a perfect view of a beautiful sunset sure taste good.

Cocktail offers in the evening, with a view! All the villa residents sat in their deckchairs, so the beach-front seats were empty.

Ao Tubtim

The beach is ok, has easy access. We had a very bad Penang curry at the Tubtim resort: a tiny portion of gone-off tofu, topped with liquorice and a dash of hot water.

Ao Phai

The beach looked very appealing when passing by in the morning, with lots of white sand and almost no people and clear of rubbish.