One of my favorite places to visit in Thailand is Koh Samet. Koh Samet is a small island, just over three hours south of Bangkok, that’s very popular with tourists and especially with low-budget travelers. It’s a perfect place for a long weekend outside Bangkok but it can be difficult to get there if you don’t know how. If you plan on going to Koh Samet though, just follow these quick tips and you’ll have no problems getting there.
Going to Koh Samet From Bangkok By Bus – The first time I went to Koh Samet from Bangkok, I took the bus. From the Southern Bus Station, which is next to Ekkamai sky train station, you can catch a bus to Rayong. The buses leave every 30 to 40 minutes throughout the day and cost less than 200 baht.
It’s a three and a half hour trip to Rayong and once you arrive there, you need to take a tuk-tuk, songtaew or bus to Ban Pae – the neighboring town to Rayong – which is less than 15 minutes away.
You can also catch a bus to Ban Pae from Bangkok, although they run less often than the bus to Rayong, which is usually more convenient.
Once you arrive in Ban Pae, a sleepy little fishing village, you can catch a boat across to Koh Samet, but, be warned, the last boat leaves at 5pm, so time it properly or you’ll get stuck in Ban Pae overnight. The trip across to Koh Samet by boat is only 30 minutes and, once you arrive, you’ll be picked up by truck at the pier and taken to the beach you’ll be staying at. On the return trip, you can catch the bus back to Bangkok very near the boat pier. Just buy a ticket at the small bus kiosk.
The buses are nice because, included in your fare is a bottle of water, a snack and one or two movies on the screen at the front of the bus. Just be warned, the bus drivers do tend to drive fast and there are quite a few bus accidents in Thailand, some of them fatal, so, if you’re at all nervous, you might want to consider going by car or taxi instead.
Going to Koh Samet From Bangkok By Car – Probably the best way to get to Koh Samet from Bangkok is by car. There are quite a few routes you can take but the best two are either taking Sukhumvit all the way out of
Bangkok through Chonburi and Pattaya and into Rayong and then on into Ban Pae, or take Highway 34 until it hits Sukhumvit and follow Sukhumvit into Ban Pae from there. Park your car at one of the couple of parking lots in Ban Pae (there’ll be a small fee to leave it overnight or for a few days) and take the ferry across to Koh Samet. On the return journey just go the opposite way that you came right back into Bangkok.
Going to Koh Samet by Taxi – Don’t forget, you can also hire a taxi to take you to Koh Samet from Bangkok. It will probably cost you around 3,000 to 4,000 baht one-way, but is a much faster and more private way than by bus. Most taxi drivers seem to make it down to Ban Pae in around three hours, in plenty of time for the boat across to Koh Samet.
To take a taxi you either have a choice of waving one down in the street or pre-arranging a taxi ride either through your hotel or via a Thai friend or taxi service (a taxi service will usually charge you an extra 50 baht fee for the booking). The nice thing about a taxi too is you can ask the driver to stop anywhere along the way that looks interesting for bathroom facilities, eating, sightseeing etc. Coming back to Bangkok, you should be able to get a taxi locally that will bring you back and, if not, just hop on the bus.
Going to Koh Samet by Mini Van – Some people like to go to Koh Samet by mini van but this is my least favorite option. Sure, they drive faster than the buses and stop less (they will stop a couple of times for bathrooms and snack stops) but, because they’re so small you feel pretty cramped in them and they’re more expensive than the bus. They’ll also show a movie but, because Thais like things loud, it will usually be blasting all the way to Ban Pae. Not my idea of a relaxing ride.
If you do want to take the mini van option though, you can catch one at Victory Monument near the sky train station for around 300 baht, and it will drop you off at the same place the large bus does. From there, take the ferry across to Koh Samet.
Koh Samet is a pretty little island with many beaches and something in everyone’s price range. It’s only a few hours drive from Bangkok, is easy to get there by at least four different modes of transportation, none of which will break the bank. Ban Pae itself is also a pretty little fishing village that you can spend an hour looking around before you take the ferry across to Koh Samet.
Photo – Prince and the Mermaid – Copyright letsgoeverywhere – Creative Commons License