I had my trip to Koh Samet booked through the Samet Island travel company (phone numbers below) which service the Malibu garden resort on Vong Duen beach in Koh Samet.
This company has thier own boats which travel from the fishing village of Ban Phe to Vong Duen 3 times each day and return.
Below you will see the Malibu boat that I travelled on and other similar transport vessels that service Koh Samet.
We booked the trip to Ko Samet from Holland. But there's a booking agency at the coast in front of the island. It's in a place called Ban Phe (17 km. east of Rayong).
There you can book a stay on the Ao Prao resort or Sai Kaew Beach resort (same owner), both beautiful resorts next to each other at Ao Prao beach.
This boat from Ban Phe to Ao Prao leaves a couple time a day (at the message bord at the booking agency). We left at 1.30 PM to arrive in 30 minutes at Ao Prao beach.
There's a short stop at Laem Noi Na at the North side of the island.
It's a nice boat, really Thai and colourfull.
If you want to get faster at Koh Samet you can hire a speed boat at the little harbour from Ban phe; but this will cost you a lot more.....!!!
From Bangkok and back to Ban Phe, I have taken the bus, minibus, meter taxis but the last few years use Image limo who have safe drivers (in short supply in Thailand). Maybe not the cheapest but excellent service.
We travelled from Pattaya to Koh Samet and believe we found the cheapest way to get there.
First, to Sukhumvit Road and catch the Rayong bus that passes frequently, this cost 60THB.
At Rayong bus station at the side of the ticket counters was a pick up bus which cost us 20THB to the pier and then we paid 50THB for the ferry which leaves when it has 20 customers. Total price 130THB.
The ferry to Samet leaves from Banpe Pier, Rayong everyday, from 07.00 until 17.00 .It goes to 3 piers on Samet Island, which are Thadan Pier (25min), Praw Pier (30min), Vong Duen Pier (45min).
You can hire also a speed boat from Banpe Pier to Samet , which costs around 1,000 Baht
Getting TO/AROUND: You can catch a air-con bus to Banpe Pier at Ekamai or Morchit Bus Station.The fare is about 157 baht and buses leaves regularly .The trip takes 3-4 hours depending on the trafic going out of Bangkok
It will take about 2.5 hours to drive to Ban Phe town using a private car.
The cost of transfer from Bangkok to Ban Phe Pier is approximately 2,500-3,000 baht per car/taxi.
The highway was in good condition and mostly we travelled between 100-120 km/hour. Although traffic was quite heavy getting out of Bangkok, it was pretty smooth flowing once we got out of Bangkok. Nearing Rayong, we found quite a few traffic lights which made the journey slower than we had expected.
(more details on how to get to Ban Phe & Samet are listed under my "Things to Do")
Note to Malaysians: By comparison to Malaysian expressways, the highways here are not as straight and because of the heavy vehicles, you won't be able to speed along quite so easilly. If you are taking the bus/coach, please be prepared to spend twice as long, around 4-5 hours on the coach for the same journey.
In order to get to Ko Samet from Bangkok, you would firstly need to drive to the town of Ban Phe. There are several highways out of Bangkok and onto Ban Phe/Rayong area.
1) Take the highway to Pattaya using Highway No 34 (Bang Na Trat) (pay a combined toll of 60 baht), and from there it is about 60 km to BanPhe/Rayong on Highway 36.
2) The more direct route is to take the highway 34 from Bangkok to Chon Buri, and then Highway No. 344 (Ban Bung-Klaeng), then turn into Highways No. 331 and No. 36 to Ban Phe/Rayong.
Since I got into Nadan pier I saw many local buses waiting for visitors. You can easily notice as they are all in green color. You can go like a share bus or just hire them private as a taxi. I took a bus for 10 Baht to Hat Sai Kaew Beach which is so close! Wow didn’t know that so on the way back I just walked. The street seems to be good only distance from pier to Hat Sai Kaew Beach after that it looks like a little adventure way!
Since I took off the bus at front of the pier, walked across the street into the pier, if you didn’t buy the boat ticket from Akkamai bus terminal in Bkk, you have to buy boat ticket at the pier. The boat ticket to Nadan pier (pier in the island) which close to Hat Sai Kaew Beach is 100 Baht for round trip. There are also boats to other beaches/area with a little different price. Check info at the pier. I spent around half hour on boat from Nuanthip pier to Nadan Pier (which is the closet pier). If you are in hurry they have speed boat service.
Nuanthip Pier at Ban Phe (Rayong Province) is the place I took a boat to the island. In Bangkok I went to Akkamai Eastern bus terminal by skytrain, got off at Akkamai skytrain station.
At bus station go to ticket counter no.5 It’s the bus of Cherd Chai Tour go directly to Nuanthip Pier, bus leaves every hour. I spent around 3 hours and a half on bus. The bus ticket is 157 Baht (one way). You can also buy a boat ticket from there too (boat round trip is 100 Baht) if you buy a boat ticket they will give you a ticket and a map of the island with info of boat / bus time table. My bus left Bkk, went directly to the pier and dropped all passengers at front of the pier area. On the way back to Bkk I just brought a ticket where the ticket counter just across the street from Nuanthip Pier.
To get to Koh Samet, the most convenient way would be to go to the town of Ban Phe, and either get one of the regular ferry services or take a speed boat (which is what we did although the cost is significantly more) to save time. The speed boat at least takes you straight to the beach infront of your bungalow.
You may also book accomodation in Ban Phe if you come unprepared. That's what we did. We booked our accomodation and speed boat all from Ban Phe... then were were on our way! In fact, we were so unprepared, we got a taxi from Pattaya (fare agreed prior to departure)! So, no matter how unprepared you are, you may still get to Koh Samet no problem. ;)
Expect to take about 1.5 to 2 hours from Pattaya and around 3.5 to 4 hours from Bangkok. If you go straight from Bangkok's new international airport, it may take you about 3 to 3.5 hours.
If you are planning to go around on Ko Samet it's best to hire a motorbike/scooter. Expect to pay something like 200-300 THB per day.
You can also get to other places by pick-up, but that can be comparetively expensive if you don't travel in a larger group. The one way trip from Sai Kaew Beach to Ao Wai (only 5km away) will cost you 800 THB if you're travelling alone.
This easiest way to get to Ko Samet is probably the combined bus/boat ticket which you can buy in most travel agencies in BKK (especially around Khao San Rd of course). The bus trip to the village of Ban Phe from where you catch the boat to Ko Samet takes about 2,5 hrs, the boat transfer about 30 minutes.
Should you arrive in Ban Phe at low tide, you might have to do some serious climbing to get on the boat. No good if you have loads of luggage.
The boats arrive at Ao Pacha on Ko Samet from where it it's a 10-15 minute walk to Sai Kaew Beach.
I was a little scared to get a motorcycle after all ive only ridden a few times in my life. Well i shopped around and the first one i looked at was a auto, yes i was gonna be a wuss... he wanted 500 baht for the day and my passport, wellyou aint getting that, ok he wanted my ID well you aint getting that either. Then he said i can sign a contract and give a 1000 baht deposit. Forget that.. I walk further down and find another auto... 500 baht or something like that too... well he showed me his bargain bike, .... 250-350 i cant remember which... either way it was the cheapest probably on the island. It had been dropped a time or too before. So the guy gave me a run down on how to operate it and off i went.. also no deposit or anything... downside it had street tires... i highly recommend one with dirtbike tires... quite a few times it almost slipped out under me, but i got the skills to pay them bills.. or soemthing...... i didnt wreck, BE CAREFULL THOUGH!!!