We swam in the sea at Ao Prao beach and we constantly felt a small sting or bite.
We didn't know what it was, but we both felt it.
It doesn't hurt, but it was strange and a little bit annoying.....
No idea if it was a small jellyfish, a fish or something else!! We couldn't see a thing.
When you feel the sting or bite, that spot stays for a while. But when you go out of the water, you feel nothing......
Strange isn't it?????
Once you are in the Park there are no paved roads almost. All you got are gravel and mud "roads" where two cars can't meet. When we went by motorcycle on the island we had to stop all the time and I had to jump off from time to time because Mathias didn't dare drive with me on the back.
The picture here shows a very steep hill, totally damaged by previous rains presumably...
The only nuisance with Ko Samet is the pier on the mainland. The touts are especially aggressive there, and they constantly lie at tourists: they lead them to a boat (to make a small commission), saying it will leave in a moment, finally waiting up to two hours for more passengers ...
How to avoid that?
Don't talk to them approaching you. Arriving by bus, get into the small lanes and sois of Baan Phe, go into an agency of one of the Resorts, and ask them at what time they are having a boat.
Try to get a boat directly to the beach you are heading to, as the cost of transport will be quite high on the island, for example, chartering a pick-up from the Northern Na Daan pier to Vongeuan beach would be around five hundred Baht.
For speed boats there are other piers . Ask a mototbike taxi to take you there (speed boat in Thai: rüa duan) for not over a hundred Baht (two and a half dollars). Next time you would have their contact numbers and would go directly there to avoid the hassle at the main pier. A speed boat would be approximately five hundred Baht to Na Daan and a bit more to the Southern beaches.
Proceed in the same way when returning from Ko Samet, should you look for a taxi. Go into an agency for bargaining and have a look at the car and driver before boarding it.
just a warning: there are very tiny insects here which my friend named "sand flies" (I'm not sure it is correct name though). they bite quite painfully as strong as mosqiutos. the only difference is - bite effect lasts much longer. my friend told me about it and first I didn't believe her. but at the moment of writing these lines I'm still acutely aware of multiple bites all over me, very itchy and annoying. I've heard that if one try to simply ignore the itching and tolerate it for a while - it will be gone faster. but you know - this is very common classical example of one's ability to control senses - extremely difficult, almost impossible to resist scratching the itchy bite - and it gets worse, till the bloody sores. today I'm trying to use tiger balm to reduce this annoying and disturbing sensation. amazing - those nasty little creatures bitten me 1 week ago already!
sorry - can't provide u with photo of "sand flies" - they are too tiny. perhaps u simply can try some mosquito reppellent....
(by the way - their size, agressiveness and effect remind me a lot of their relatives few thousand miles up north, in the tundra-like hills above the polar cirlce and near the Finland border - only difference their number, here is few hundreds if not thousands times less - lucky for this island !)
Most resorts insist that you pay for your room on a daily basis and will issue a receipt for each payment. I learnt how important it was to keep these little bits of paper, when one of the staff members came knocking on my door, claiming that I hadn't paid.
I was staying at Silversand Resort, but I heard someone telling a similar story on the beach about different accommodation.
It is best when you go to Ko Samet to just find a great beach and stay there because travelling around on the roads is very dangerous.
The dirt bike I rented was not in great condition to begin with but these roads will just shook the you know what out of us and the poor old bike.
In many places they are very sandy near the beaches and then in the hills they are very bumpy and corragated.
Most beaches have either a songtow type taxi truck service or boats from one beach to another so it is best to use them if you want a more pleasent trip. ;-)
If you are an adventurous person like me you will be fine, but I can warn you no-body will want to travel around with you on the back of a bike for too long. ....Ouch!!
If you do get a bike though you will find it better if the tyres are a bit on the flat side.
The boats going the few miles across to Ko Samet are not in the best condition. The boat I was on had extensive stress cracking in the overhead beams. On the way over to Kao Samed, the wind was blowing from the South, creating waves up to 1 meter high. Part way over, the engine lost cooling water and overheated. They sent out an outboard powered speed boat to take us to the island.
Because of the wind and waves, the crossing from the disabled ferry to the speed boat was extremely perilous. The speed boat was going up and down nearly 2 meters as the waves slammed into the side of the ferry. It would have been easier going across at the stern of the boat, but the crew was too inexperienced to realize this. I ended up with an egg on the top of my head from the overhead of the ferry boat as I crossed.
Once on the speed boat, the inexperience of the driver made the remainder of the trip uncomfortable. He had only 2 speeds, slow and full. He ran the throttle beetween the two speeds as the boat alternately hit waves or smoother water. We took a beating getting to the island!
Tons of dogs, where they come from i dont know. are they someones pets im sure some are. But some they jsut wander. I saw quite a few people playing and petting them but you wont catch me anywhere near them. One guy tried to bed down at my feet when i was at a bar, well he got a suprise that made him move. have fun with these animals at your own discretion. This poor bastard needed to be taken away and put out of his miserey.... he could barely hold himself up.
The stray dogs are everywhere an while most are harmless and just laze around the lace all day I have to mention that one evening I was chased by at least 4 of them as I was walking down a back road to my bungalow. They didnt bite me, just kept sortof nipping at my feet.
Anyway, my tip is stick to walking along the beach to get anywhere - dont take the backroads at night.
All over the island are stray dogs. I havent heard of anyone getting bit, all they want is food, so when you are sitting at a restaurant or a bar dogs will come up to you and lay around you, most owners and places dont mind the dogs so you have to deal with it. Lots of the dogs have cuts on them and open wounds so i dont suggest touching one.
Also there is a pack of dogs on each beach, and in front of every bungalow on the beaches there is a dog or two, when another dog enters they chase them around, its pretty funny. Its their land i guess.
In the pic are dogs outside our bungalow, everynight they would sleep out there, all 3 of them. They lay on your sandals and stuff and i got grossed out just cause they have cuts everywhere.
Ko Samet can get very crowded during Thai holidays and on weekends. So if you are planning to visit the island then, do book accommodation in advance! Note that prices then also rise about 50%!
Make sure you have some good repellent as the mosquito on Samet here are the biggest that I've seen in Thailand. Sleep under a Mosquito net.