Ko Samet has developed a loyal group of visitors who return to it year after year to enjoy the superb beaches and relaxed atmosphere. Less than seven kms off the coast of Rayong Province in the eastern Gulf of Thailand, it combines the allure of a tropical paradise with reasonable proximity to Bangkok.
Ko Samet has been known as a safe anchorage for sailors since at least the 13th century and in the 19th century its sheer beauty was the inspiration for the literary masterpiece of Thailand's most famous romantic poet, Sunthorn Phu. In the 1970's it was 'discovered' by Thai teenagers and young couples seeking a weekend retreat from life in Bangkok. In spite of its protected status as part of the Khao Laem Ya - Samet National Marine Park the island has developed into a resort destination much loved by both Thais and foreigners. Episodic attempts by the authorities to evict the developers have not yet dislodged them, and bungalow accommodations are available all over the island. More than a dozen coves and beaches provide visitors a range of choices from campsites on secluded, deserted beaches to bungalows with all the modern conveniences in more settled and gregarious communities.
A recently constructed reservoir has improved the availability of fresh water, which was an enduring problem on the hot and dry island where the rainy season is limited to the May to July period. Ko Samet gets significantly less rainfall than Rayong Province, even though it is only a few km offshore. Round the clock electricity is now available in most resorts on the island.
There are regular ferries to Ko Samet from three different piers in the fishing village of Ban Phe, about 20 km east of Rayong City. The trip takes about 30 to 45 minutes depending on which part of the island it goes to. Long-tail boats can be hired to make the trip in about half the time, but are much more expensive. There is a 20 baht entry fee to the National Park.
The beaches on the northeast of the island are beautiful and better developed. As you move south down the east coast the coves and bays become less congested, though no less beautiful. The beaches on the southeast coast are the least developed and least visited. The west coast is rocky but does have one very secluded beach with bungalow resorts and a nice view of the sunset.
Ko Samet and the minuscule islands nearby are surrounded by coral formations in shallow water which make for enjoyable snorkeling. Scuba divers may not find them very interesting. Other water sports, including sailing, parasailing, skiing, and fishing can be arranged at a number of resorts.
Article Source: http://www.thailand.com/travel/beach/beach_rayong_kosamet.htm