I used to joke about having a 2-day workweek instead of 5, and funnily enough the already many Thai holidays happened to cram together where we had a 5-day holiday, then went back for 2 days of work… before a regular weekend!

It was rainy season, but we still went because we now know that it never rains ALL the time. There seems to be a misconception about rainy season in Thailand – the weather’s actually very balanced, where you can enjoy beautiful storms all night, and then carry on avoiding the sun all day (you do get burnt in the shade).

You CAN get sunburnt with clouds like this

We were only 15 minutes late to leave, got the usual lattes from 7-11 and got on a bus. On a wrong one that is. We got off at the next stop, and almost instantly a young Thai lad advised us of all the approaching buses and their routes (only #23 going to Ekamai!?) Apparently the buses which are supposed to go all the way along Sukhumvit, on some days they turn elsewhere. So we were lucky to have encountered him. I think he was the famous student (featured on Coconuts BKK) who took 2 years to voluntarily map out and suggest better Bangkok bus routes.

The journey from Bearing to Ekamai only took 20 minutes and we got on the bus. Return from Bangkok to Samet (bus + ferry) for two = 800 baht. It seemed like second nature navigating the station, not asking for advice, knowing where everything is, which was awesome because that meant we actually travel from there quite often! The Cherdchai tour company owns like half of all the buses and they’re quite good. They have toilets on board, good air conditioning and even their branded bus-shaped water bottles that they give to each passenger.

It took us 4 hours to reach Ban Phe pier where we were greeted by a friendly ladyboy assistant, and got on the ferry right after. We were pleasantly surprised that almost all passengers put on life jackets when asked to do so, but knowing Thailand it was really more of the fact that there WERE that many life jackets available. You have to confirm your bus ticket at the bus station around half an hour before departure back to Bangkok.

 Surprising welcome to Samet

I can guarantee that the first thing everyone has said upon arriving by boat was “What the..?”, as it is impossible to not notice the huge creepy lady-boar statue sticking out of water. Thai people roam free, and foreigners pay 20 baht entrance fee. When we rented a motorbike the first time we thought we were ripped off – 400 baht per day! – after all, it was just outside 7-11. We mumbled disappointingly for not shopping around while we drove past dozens of rental places with “100 BAHT” baht signs above them. What we found out was that the signs said 100 baht per hour, not day. Phew!


Double-pricing joke

Koh Samet is actually a national park. The entrance is by the two 7-11’s a short drive from the pier. Foreigners pay 200 baht/100 baht concession, and Thais pay 40 baht/20 baht concession. Those who have spent a fair amount of time in Thailand know that foreigners with work permits pay the Thai price, indicating a potentially lower income compared to other visitors.

We approached the kiosk, flashed our work permits to the officer with a quick “Bpen khon thai” – two tickets of 40 baht secured. Now I don’t know what we did wrong the second visit, literally two months later, but the officer must have decided to go on a special collection that day. We approached the kiosk, flashed our work permits to the officer, and received a friendly smile back – not a good sign.

-“Foreigner pay 200 baht.”

-“But we have work permits.”

-“Nooo, work permit cannot.”

-“What about my Thai driving license?”

-“Noooo, only Thai national ID.”

-“But we paid 40 baht last time.”

Officer brings out an all-Thai document with only “work permit” written in English and a hand-written “200 baht” next to it (FTW!?)

-“New rule, changed last year”

We took a photo of it, sent to our Thai friend and she literally texted back “Why does the document have the price written in pen?” Anyway… We went back to the officer, handed out 400 baht for the two of us, and the weirdest thing was that he took 300 baht, gave us 3 foreigner concession tickets, a nice big smile, and said:

-“I give you 100 baht discount.”


Our own little creation. Maybe it’s still there…

Alien Rocks

In the south of the island there is a viewpoint with a spot for lunch, and you can see an interesting creation – piles of rocks! It looks like a thing – people (or perhaps not people…) just put rocks on top of one another and leave this mysterious phenomenon. We left our mark too. It was actually a lot of fun to practice balancing the stones!


If you’re anything like the typical Chang-chugging backpacker, no doubt you’ve flown around intoxicated on Samui or Phangan. Fortunately, you can’t do that on Samet… SPEEDBUMPS! But motorbikes are the most popular, or perhaps convenient way to investigate the island. Samet is long, and it’s vertical span is clearly visible on Google Maps. There are quite a few viewpoints along the way, and it’s possible to find some secluded beaches. It’s definitely worth the 400 baht considering how much it would cost getting the songthaews throughout the day.


Singlehandedly this was the best thing on Samet! There are plenty of poster displays on the main beach, and you see people flying about all day long. It was 1,000 baht per person, and worth every baht! They take around 10 people on a speedboat, go further away from the beach, put some straps on you and you hang onto a parachute connected to a rope. Neung, song, sam… and you’re slowly floating up. Auste has jumped with a parachute in the past, and she said this was more enjoyable as the floating in the air lasts a lot longer. Since you’re not directly connected to the parachute it’s super comfortable. You’re more of a basket in this case, and can effortlessly enjoy the gorgeous view. The funny crew mess about and during each person’s turn and lower you down to dip you into the water at least once.

Definitely worth checking out – open all day everyday!


Contrary to Parasailing from the same company, this was an appalling experience. It was the first time that 20-minutes into the half-day tour we actually thought to ourselves “Is it over yet?”. It was 400 baht per person, which is not much for a speedboat tour, but there’s just nothing to see around Koh Samet. The snorkeling was not rushed, but the waters were as muddy as the blues band from the 50’s! The first island we went to was Koh Stayawayfromhere, which was full of boats, and loads people were just dropped off to eat watermelon for 45 minutes. FTW? There were some shady locals, questionable bungalows, basically a beer-shop, a functioning toilet, lots of rubbish, and there were piles of brought-in gravel, a.k.a. sand. A few similar spots later we were blessed with the return part of the trip.

The half-day tour sucked.

If a storm comes – go home, it may NEVER stop. Stand on the porch, listen to the heavy rain while enjoying a drink 🙂


During the rainy season you can see some captivating thunderstorms. When we stayed in Ao Wai we had almost 180 degree view of the sea and took some long-exposure lightning shots from our bungalow. Depending on how strong the storm is, you can see lightning almost every second, then they quiet down. One night I couldn’t sleep thinking whether it is still heavy and perhaps I could take some more shots. Overnight the storm made its way to above Koh Samet and it was just firing down all over the place. It was so close that the bungalow was shaking slightly, I’m not even joking. With each lightning strike it felt like a small earthquake. In my head I was going through the steps I would take if a bungalow got struck by lightning. Scary stuff.


Weather permitting, between 5 and 6 AM you can get some nice sunrise shots, and between 5 and 7 PM you can set your tripod and wait for the colours in the sky. After the sun has just risen, until around 7 AM there are plenty of locations to shoot some silhouettes, water, or just nicely lit places. The best time to ride out is around 7 in the morning, when the sun is rising and you can see the beautiful rays, especially in the mild fog after the rain. It’s quiet, there isn’t much traffic, and at this time you can actually enjoy the little yellow dot in the sky.

One of the bungalow mornings, putting some work while it’s cool