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Bangkok to Ko Samet, a Tropical Island Getaway

Want to combine Bangkok with a beach holiday? In that case think about the Gulf of Thailand islands and try Ko Samet. The drive from Bangkok to Ko Samet only takes three hours, in which time you will enter a different world. 

We spent lazy days on Ko Samet’s white powder beaches, and active days on the island’s jungle paths.

This post will show you how we did it. I will show you what Ko Samet is like and what it offers the first time visitor.

Ferry to Ko Samet

Sailing towards Ko Samet, Thailand

In fact our Thailand trip was a Bangkok stopover between intercontinental flights so we went to Ko Samet directly from Bangkok Airport, without first going into the city. To make this short stopover stay easier we left our overseas baggage at the airport and only took what we needed.

At Bangkok Airport the left luggage counter was not easy to find. It is at the arrivals level, behind the escalator next to entrance 4.

Now, where is the island we headed to, Ko Samet?

Bangkok to Ko Samet Itinerary on the Map

Ko Samet is a Gulf of Thailand island, a short ferry ride from the coastal fishing village Ban Phe. I marked Ban Phe on the map, as well as the drive from Suvarnabhumi Airport. The map shows the drive duration by car or taxi.


Bangkok Airport to Ban Phe itinerary – and on to Ko Samet  

So Ko Samet is only some 200 km from Bangkok which makes its easy to reach. You first travel by bus, taxi or rental car and then take a ferry to the island.

How to Get from Bangkok Airport to Ko Samet

Public Transport

Bangkok Airport Public Transportation Center

Waiting for the bus at the Bangkok Airport Public Transportation Center 

For public transport from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Ko Samet Island we were advised to take the Intercity bus to Rayong. The buses leave from the Bangkok airport Public Transport Center.

Then in Rayong we should take a taxi or another bus to the coastal village Ban Phe where the ferries to Ko Samet island leave.

As there was a free shuttle bus from the terminal to the Public Transport Center, there we went.

However, things do happen. On the day we were traveling all Rayong buses were canceled and they sold us bus tickets to Pattaya, where we should catch another bus to Rayong and so on. After this our decision was easy.

Taxi from Bangkok Airport to Ban Phe

Taking a taxi from Bangkok to Ko Samet, Thailand

A taxi door with Thai writing

We took a taxi and arrived at Ban Phe in two hours. The taxi journey was good taxi journey and we felt safe at all times. The fare from Bangkok Airport to Ban Phe was 2500 baht.

Taking a taxi from Bangkok to Ko Samet, Thailand

Taking a taxi from Bangkok to Ko Samet, Thailand

From Ban Phe to Ko Samet

A Thai tourist boat

Traveling to Ko Samet from Bangkok: a Ko Samet ferry

As we arrived at Ban Phe pier the next ferry for Ko Samet was leaving in a minute. And only in half an hour we were in our destination!

Bangkok to Ko Samet Island, Ko Samet ferries

Safety first!

Ko Samet ferries: safety first!

For information on Ko Samet ferries and ferry times, check out my post Thai Village Life: Ban Phe Fishing Village Built on Poles.

On the Island of Ko Samet

Beach of Hotel Silver Sand, Ko Samet

Our Ko Samet hotel beach

Our Ko Samet hotel was less than 2 km from the main pier where we arrived, a perfect walk after traveling first overnight and half a day.

The hotel had modern rooms in small houses set in a tropical garden, a private beach and a cozy dining area by the sea, with dinner tables on the sand.

Working on the shady hotel balcony, Ko Samet

Our hotel in the jungle

So the hotel was good and we liked it. Yet the main reason to choose the Silver Sand Resort was its perfect location to Ko Samet walking trails that you can use to get to different beaches.


Our Ko Samet hotel in photos

So, we enjoyed our Bangkok getaway on our hotel beach, spending long whiles in the super warm Thailand sea waters  – and after a beach day the shady hotel garden was more than welcome.

Then, of course, we went to look at the village.

Ko Samet Village

Wooden statue in the main village of Ko Samet, Thailand

Beach tables waiting for customers to be seated

Beach tables waiting for customers to be seated

So we walked up and down the village lane, enjoying local street life, the sounds, smells and colors. This small-scale Ko Samet village is very different from Bangkok.


Photos of the village of Ko Samet

A Ko Samet shrine

A Ko Samet house

Ko Samet architecture

Beaches of Ko Samet

Empty beach chairs in Ko Samet, Thailand

Empty beach chairs in Ko Samet, Thailand

We also spent a lot of time on Ko Samet’s lovely beaches. There are many of them, linked by a forest trail.

The many Ko Samet beaches deserve their own story: Thailand: The Best Ko Samet Beaches in Photos


Ko Samet beaches in photos

Ko Samet Evenings

Ko Samet beach after sunset

Ko Samet statues after sunset

Tropical beach after sunset

Evenings in the tropics are very pleasant, it’s still warm and the air is as soft as the sand on which can walk for hours.

When the sun sets, restaurants start carrying their tables and chairs to the beach, just choose your place to dine, sitting on the sand.

Some sun loungers still standing on the sand:

Early evening on Ko Samet

Our last evening in Ko Samet

Ko Samet to Bangkok

Tourists leaving the island of Ko Samet

Tourists leaving Ko Samet by boat

Then it was time to get back to the airport to travel on to Australia. We went to the airport but if you are going to Bangkok, read about the city here: Getting Around Bangkok by River Boat

We had been warned about minibus transfers and people were telling us they take risks in traffic. However when the Koh Samet Tourist Office sold us airport transfers first on a speed boat from our hotel beach, and then on a minibus to Bangkok Airport, it sounded so good that we took it.

The speed boat was very good, but not the minibus. The bus was very old, there was no air conditioning, and the driver didn’t obey any traffic rules or speed limits. For this reason I would think twice before using minibuses in Thailand and would definitely recommend choosing a taxi from Ban Phe to Bangkok.

Ko Samet Ferries at Ban Phe

Ko Samet passenger ferries and fishing boats

As a summary, Ko Samet was a lovely island getaway from Bangkok and we enjoyed our Thailand stopover.

Goodbye Thailand, with these Ko Samet ferries!

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