Just 200 kilometres from Bangkok, Koh Samet is the nearest major island to Bangkok. With fine powdery sands, gentle waves and shady, tree-fringed beaches, it offers a great break for families. Here are 5 of the island’s top family-friendly resorts on Samet’s smaller, less busy beaches.
Located towards the southern end of Samet, Paradee has 40 luxury beachfront villas sprawled out across a landscape of tropical gardens. Each villa contains a mini-apartment boasting tall vaulted ceilings, an individual living room, spacious bedroom and a private outdoor living space. Resort facilities include a 20m infinity pool, a fitness centre, library and access to 2 separate beaches. A wealth of water sports can be arranged and there’s also a babysitting service available. Hotel transfer service is available from Jadet pier on the mainland.
Luscious tropical gardens and white sandy beaches make Ao Prao Resort the kind of place you can feel instantly relaxed. Located on the west coast of Koh Samet, the resort’s spacious accommodation options include 1 and 2-bedroom suites that feature their own separate living rooms. In addition to babysitting services, families will appreciate Ao Prao Resort’s super-convenient location – it’s just a 5-minute walk from the ferry terminal on Samet. Resort shuttle boats depart from Ban Phe pier.
3. Lima Coco
Lima Coco offers families a sense of blissful seclusion on Ao Prao beach. The gorgeous sugar-white sands are great for relaxing and playing with the kids, while shallow, aquamarine waters are perfect for snorkelling. Day trips to surrounding islands, sunset cruises and deep sea fishing trips can also be arranged. As for accommodations, the premium ‘Goota Beach Front’ rooms are ideal with a large balcony, 32″ LCD TV, iPod-docking stereo speaker and a location just steps from the beach. The resort offers free transfer from/to Chokkrisada pier at set times, or on-demand speedboat service (at additional cost).
This casual resort situated beside Ao Phai Beach offers no less than 6 different types of accommodation for families. Looking for maximum space and comfort? Go for the ‘Superior Family Bungalow sea view’ option. These big bungalows include a large private balcony and 2 separate rooms with a king sized bed in one room and 2 single beds in the other. You’ll also find plenty of fun-packed activities to fill your days. Book snorkelling, kayaking and boat trips to the mainland, or visit Khao Laem Ya–Mu Ko Samed National Park – just a 2 km drive from the resort. Access to the resort is via chartered speedboat at an additional cost.
Situated on a beautiful and secluded section of Ao Prao beach, Le Vimarn offers families a relaxed retreat in Koh Samet. Rooms are spacious and the service is incredibly attentive. Alongside playing on the beach and snorkelling in crystal-clear waters, families can enjoy access to an infinity edge 15m pool, fitness studio and 2 restaurants, including an Italian restaurant with a wood-burning pizza oven – always a favourite option with the kids! A babysitting service and baby cots are also available. Access is via chartered speedboat at an additional cost.
Tips on Getting to Ko Samet
First, travel to the Municipality, Nuan Thip, or Ban Phe piers in Rayong; they are all on the same oceanfront strip within 200 to 300 metres of each other, along with a number of other piers. The easiest options for families are to drive to the piers and park in a paid lot, or hire a private car/van with a driver to bring you there (and pick you up). You cannot bring a car to the island.
If your hotel does not have ferry/speed boat service leaving from a specific pier, you can easily charter a speed boat from a private operator to your desired beach. The cost is about 2,000 to 3,000 baht for a one-way journey (larger boats cost more and you can try to negotiate a better rate for a round-trip transfer). The ride takes around 20 minutes.
For a more tranquil (and cheaper) option, you can take one of the ferries that leave regularly from the above piers. They stop at Nadan Pier (the main ferry terminal on Samet’s north coast, which may require a “songtaew” or open-aired communal taxi ride to your resort) or Ao Vongduern, a large beach on the eastern side of the island. Check about docking options on other beaches, including Ao Prao. The ferry ride takes 40 minutes at the cost of around 70 to 100 baht per person, depending on your destination. Tickets can be purchased at the harbour offices or right before you get on the ferry itself.
Image Credit: Paradee Resort