The Island of Ko Samet
Ko Samet is one of the eastern seaboard islands of Thailand. It is in the Gulf of Thailand off the coastline of the Thai province of Rayong, and it is the largest and westernmost of a cluster of islands not far from the coast. Ko Samet is a perfect getaway for residents of the camp who want to visit parts of real Thailand as most of the island is in the Khao Laem Ya–Mu Ko Samet National Park. In 1981, the Royal Forest Department declared the archipelago of Samet to be a national park, and thus Ko Samet is under the protection of the National Parks Division of the Thai government making it clean and relatively unspoiled. The island offers a variety of resorts, from the quiet and family-orientated to those catering to the party-till-dawn crowd.
Ko Samet is very popular for its beaches and sea-food restaurants, though it is very small in comparison to the more tourist populated Thai islands around, so exploring the island can easily be done on foot, bike riding or by hiring a motorbike/ATV; alternatively, you can drive down the island to visit a few of the smaller more secluded beaches and take in some of the more naturally forested areas further down to the south.
With the calm surrounding waters and coral reefs Ko Samet has something to offer those of all levels of diving, but it is an especially good place to learn to scuba dive with classes nearly always on the smaller side and often one-on-one with an instructor. With depths ranging from 5 m down to 25 m, there is a variety of local sites to dive on and explore and there are also the outer islands that surround Ko Samet which offer stunning coral reefs, such as Ko Talu.
If you are relaxing on the beach during the day there are plenty of hawkers selling fresh fruit, BBQ chicken wings, dried squid, papaya salad (can be extremely spicy) and even ice creams slightly more expensive than if you got up to get it. In town (Na Dan), there are a few traditional Thai eateries that serve good quality Thai food priced for locals. Most have menus in English. Everyday on Ao Phai, flyers are handed out from the different bars that advertise the drink specials for that night, and might even give you a free drink. Biggest nights are generally Thursday-Saturday, when more backpackers, expats, and locals from Bangkok come to the island.