Hat Sai Kaew
The most northern and one of the most popular on the island is Sai Kaew (Diamond Beach), which can be a too busy for some but it is a beautiful stretch of coastline with lots to do when it comes to watersports and other activities. It is the closest beach to the pier and to the only 7/11 convenience store on the island located in the village. There is a great – well, the best on the island! – selection of bars, cafes and restaurants on Hat Sai Kaew, nightly fire shows and some sort of nightlife: attention here as it can be very noisy well up to small hours!
If you’re not the sort who wants to lie around in peace on a beach, this could be a good choice. Similarly busy beaches include Ao Wong Deuan and Ao Wiang Wan (see below), although they are quieter than Diamond beach. If you ask our opinion, though, Hat Sai Kaew is the last spot we are checking on the island – too many tourists spoil the charm of Koh Samet completely!
Hat Naga and Ao Hin Hok
Hat Naga and Ao Hin Khok are both a peaceful spot down the coast from Diamond beach just immediately after the Mermaid cape. The former got its name from the sprawling Naga Guesthouse and the latter has probably one of the best beach restaurant around which belongs to the Avatara resort, formerly known as Jep’s Bungalows. Chilled out music and specialty fried rice are the two things which will win your heart.
The neighbouring Ao Phai has a different vibe: there is a lot of huts and bungalows here and the beach is if not crowded, then much busier compared to two previous beaches. Ao Phai has several nice restaurants to enjoy in the evening – they all have small tables with mats coming close to the tide which adds to the atmosphere.
Ao Tubtim and Ao Putsa
These two small bays house a variety of accommodation out of which the beautiful Ao Tubtim Resort is probably the most chic one. Backed with trees and flanked with boulders, the bay look peaceful and tranquil. Ao Tubtim and Ao Putsa are great for families and indeed there are some package tourists here who are actually the reason it is always busy.
Ao Nuan is a beautiful beach hidden between the towering rocks. It is so isolated and full of character, that you should definitely consider it if you come to Koh Samet to get away from it all. That said, the only resort which occupies the bay, has a decent restaurant which is a great destination for an evening meal even if you do not stay here. No Internet here, guys so come prepared.
Ao Cho is often overlooked as it has its own wooden pier and some say the water is not so transparent because of that. It is true to some extend, but nevertheless it is a good alternative to the crowded Ao Malibu, next door, and too quiet Ao Nuan. There is a decent choice of accommodation and food options here, and the trees provide a lot of shade.
Ao Wong Duean (Malibu Beach)
The headquarters of packaged tourists yielding only to Hat Sai Kaew, Malibu Beach is nevertheless quite beautiful. A perfect crescent of the bay looks picturesque from the path linking Malibu to Ao Cho. There are nice restaurants here plus Malibu boasts the only easily accessible from the shore coral reef and though the corals are mostly dead and colourless, there is some marine life you can have a look at while snorkelling there.
Ao Thian and Ao Wai
Candlelight beach (Ao Thian) and Ao Wai are both very quiet and peaceful compared to some of the island’s busier beaches that feature resorts and nightlife. No package tourists here, so come and enjoy the sea, sun and sand with a low-key vibe.
The only beach on the western coast of Koh Samet, Ao Prao is arguably its finest and definitely its most upscale. Remember though, that if you end up in Ao Prao, you are a far way from all the nightlife and eastern beaches: just you, your resort and the sea. And the sunset!