A long-time favourite locale for Scandinavians travelling to Thailand, Koh Samed had managed to stay off most other international tourists radars, so the quite island is a stark contrast to the usual masses that descend on Phuket and Koh Samui. Those who end up here come for the beaches as well as the greenery, as the island is also a national park.
Although there are a number of resorts on Koh Samed, the island hasn’t been built up as much as its neighbours have, so don't expect quite the same level of fancy frills. What you will get though are serene nature walks, invigorating massages and friendly staff that make the trip the relaxing vacation you were looking for.
Where to stay
Ao Prao Resort is located on the west coast of Koh Samed, and the ferry to the island drops guests off within sight of the property. Expect exceptional Thai hospitality from the moment you set foot on land, as well as a refreshing welcome drink at check-in.
On the outside, the hotel’s rooms are simple wooden cottages built up against the hills, interlinked by staircases. Inside, the rooms are spacious, and anything but sparse, done in traditional, island wood décor.
What to do
We recommend trying Ao Prao’s al fresco dining by the beach, where you can immerse yourself in the island atmosphere. With a wide selection of Thai cuisine and seafood, the restaurant has something for everyone. Make sure you also look at the wine menu. For the restaurant’s location on a small Thai island, it offers an impressive selection of local and imported fine wines, and the staff members are able to help with a pairing for dinner if you’re not quite versed on what goes with Pad Thai.
Before dinner, stroll over to Dhivarin, Spa By The Sea pamper yourself with a series of relaxing treatments. The slight scent of lemongrass that lingers around the spa compound will put you at ease as soon as you step through the door. Plan for a late afternoon treatment (all offerings are naturally based, inline with the spa’s holistic wellness philosophy) to take advantage of spa’s view the Koh Samed sunset.
How to get there
The southern Thai town of Rayong is approximately three hours from Bangkok. Bus tickets are available at the Ekamai Bus Terminal booth located beside the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) station of the same name.
From Seree Ban Phe Pier in Rayong, free shuttle boat transfers are provided for guests of Ao Prao Resort. Look out for the signage (as shown in the picture) before getting on the ferry and check-in at the Ao Prao Resort office prior to boarding the ferry.
Ao Prao Beach, Koh Samet, Rayong
This article is contributed by Tan Pei Ying. Besides writing for CozyCot’s Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion sections, an interest in politics sees her opinion pieces featured by international bodies such as Commonwealth Secretariat’s www.yourcommonwealth.org initiative. An avid reader of history, Pei Ying enjoys solo travels to experience the alternative. In her spare time, Pei Ying keeps her beloved cat company, although a good party is also welcomed any time. More information on her publications may be found here.