Farang's First Island: Koh Samed
If you haven’t already learned, “farang” is a Thai term for a foreigner - particularly a white, westerner.
Koh Samed is a pretty island, on the East side of the Gulf of Thailand, in the Rayong province.
To get to Koh Samed, two of my friends and I took the BTS to Ekkamai - where we walked basically just across the street - to the bus station. We bought a round trip package including a bus ticket to Ban Phe [Pier], a ticket for the ferry from Ban Phe to the Koh Samed pier and the same return tickets. This was less than 400 baht. We had a nice, longgg travel time of about 7 hours, including getting to Ekkamai from our home, so we departed at 5 am on Saturday to start our three-day weekend. I didn’t want to head out Friday night because we wouldn't have made it to the pier in time for the last ferry. The bus was about 4 hours (give or take… mostly give because, ya know, Thai time), and the ferry takes 45 minutes or so.
Originally, one of my friends and I were going to stay in Sabai Sabai guest house (solid 10 minute walk from the beach), but moved to Sea Breeze bungalows (1 minute walk) because a couple of our friends from orientation were staying there already, plus it was cheaper! For 500 baht per night for the whole room, we snagged two beds without A/C, but it did have a really nice fan. This was completely fine because it’s the cooler season now, so the fan was perfectly pleasant. Sea Breeze was definitely not the cleanest place - there was a constant string of ants in the bathroom, and there were black crumbies on the sink, but it did the job! Our type of room wasn’t supposed to get towels; we asked if we could rent towels at the front desk, and they just gave them to us! However, I couldn’t get the free wifi to work, but mai pen rai!
It’s important to know that the beach is a national park, so you have to pay to get in. We paid 100 baht each. Supposedly if you can prove you live in Thailand, you only have to pay the local price of 40 baht; however, this didn’t work for us. We actually stayed within the park because there are an obscene amount of places to stay, restaurants and bars - especially on the main, touristy beach, Hat Sai-Kaew. When you get through the gate at the national park, walk straight, and you’ll end up on the beach! :)
We additionally spent time on Ao Hin Hok and Ao Phai beaches because they were close to our accommodations.
Walk south (right, from the first point you get to the beach, if you follow my instructions above), and it's the next, connected beach on the other side of the mermaid. Don't forget to pose like a mermaid!
You can also get a Thai massage on the beach for 350 baht (100 more than other tourist areas).
There’s definitely good night life on the touristy beaches: i.e. Naga Bar. So if you want to do what I did, go to Naga, participate in the happy hour from like 2:30 - 9:30 and take part in body painting, so it’s literally #lit.
Naga Bar before I happened:
Naga Bar after I happened:
Don’t drink Hong Thong (pronounced “tong”), but for the love of God, if you do, don’t mix it with shots of tequila, a mojito and two sex on the beach. Also if you’re a young lady such as myself, when you say, “sex on the beach?” the bartender might just say, “let’s go!” ;)
On a serious note, please be careful, especially when you travel around to different towns, to always be aware of where you are eating or consuming anything from drinks to just water. Force yourself to use hand sanitizer frequently! I picked up a nasty case of food poisoning from my weekend on Ko Samed, and you do NOT want to have to go through the comedic mess that I’ve gone through with my health… more to come on that soon! #writingfrommyhospitalbed
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