Koh Samet

Koh Samet, is one of the Eastern Seaboard Islands of Thailand. It is located in the Gulf of Thailand off the coastline of the Thai province of Rayong, approximately 220 kilometres (140 mi) southeast of BangKohk. Koh Samet is part of the Phe (Thai: เพ) Subdistrict of the Amphoe Mueang Rayong (Thai: เมืองระยอง, the capital district, or Amphoe Mueang), of Rayong province. Koh Samet is the largest and westernmost of a cluster of islands not far from the coast.

Popular with foreign tourists and as a weekend getaway for residents of nearby BangKohk, most of the island (excluding the Na Dan area) belongs to the Khao Laem Ya – Mu Koh Samet National Park. In 1981, the Royal Forest Department declared the archipelago of Samet, along with nine other small islands, the headland of Khao Laem Ya, and the 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) Mae Ramphueng Beach to be a National Park, and is thus Koh Samet is under the protection of the National Parks Division of the Thai Government.

Koh Samet is 6.5 kilometres (4.0 mi) south of mainland Rayong province and is surrounded by the Gulf of Thailand.

History

The Thai government restricted overnight stay on the island until 1981 (even though BangKohkians had known about the beauty of Koh Samet for decades before). In that year, on 1 October, the Forestry Department of Thailand declared Koh Samet and its surrounding to be a national park.

Geography and climate

Located just 220 km from the capital in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samet is approximately 13.1 square kilometres (5.1 sq mi) in size, and shaped somewhat like a letter “t”. Along the length of the “t” (north-south) the island measures approximately 7 km, and measures 4 km across the “t” (west-east). Forest remains blanket up to 80% of the total area.

Closest to the Rayong coast, lies the small island port village of Na Dan, commonly known as Koh Samet Village, with its nearby beach Hat Sai Kaeo , the longest beach on Koh Samet. Most of Koh Samet’s beaches lie along the eastern shore of the island. Other beaches on the island include: Ao Phai, Ao Wai, Ao Kio Na Nai, Ao Cho, Ao Kio Na Nok, Ao Wong Duean, Cape Kut, Ao Toei, and Ao Karang at the southern tip, and Ao Phrao on the western shore of the island. Just off the southern tip of the island are three small rock-islands, Koh Chan (Moon Island; Thai: เกาะจันทร์), Koh San Chalam (Shark Fin Island), and Hin Khao.

Koh Samet is one of the driest archipelagos in Thailand. Koh Samet gets significantly less rainfall than Rayong Province, even though it is only a few kilometres offshore. The island’s “rainy season” extends only from May to July, but even during this season it has less rain that other islands in Thailand. The island despite being arid, consists of lush forested hills, covered with evergreen and deciduous forest and cajeput trees grow abundantly. Owing to the lack of rain, Koh Samet still ships in potable water to the island.