Tiny Ko Samet (เกาะเสม็ด) has been attracting backpackers making the relatively short hop from Bangkok for years, but these days you'll find just as many Thais and Chinese tour groups. The sandy shores, cosy coves and aquamarine waters attract ferry-loads of Bangkokians looking to party each weekend, while tour groups pack out the main beach and many resorts. Fire-juggling shows and beach barbecues are nightly events on the northern beaches, but the southern parts of the island are far more secluded and sedate.
Despite being the closest major island to Bangkok, Ko Samet remains surprisingly underdeveloped, with a thick jungle interior crouching beside the low-rise hotels. Most of the southern coves have only one or two resorts.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Ko Samet.