How to Get to Koh Samet
The small port of Ban Phe is the departure point for speedboats and ferries to Koh Samet. There are regular, scheduled boat services but timetables aren’t necessarily fixed as public boats will until there are enough passengers before departing. At the weekend or during High Season this isn’t an issue as there is a steady stream of people arriving throughout the day. But during Low Season (May to October) you may have to wait at the pier for up to an hour on weekdays.
If you find that you have to wait for a boat there are a multitude of small coffeeshops and restaurants close to the piers plus several mini-marts where you can get a drink and bite to eat. For visitors who haven’t booked accommodation on the island, there are also numerous tour agents which can book bungalows for you.
This does save you time when you arrive. But outside weekends and the busiest times of year advance booking isn’t necessary to find a room in almost any budget. The only advantage is saving you time and effort when you arrive.
Koh Samet is a National Park, although you might not think that given the amount of development on the island. This means all visitors must pay a National Park entrance fee. Thai tourists pay 40 Baht for an Adult and 20 Baht for Children. Foreign tourists pay 200 Baht and 100 Baht respectively. You can usually pay this either when you buy your boat ticket or when you arrive on the island.
Google Streetview shows the main piers clearly. You can enjoy a virtual drive along the high street in Ban Phe which runs past all the piers. You’ll see it’s lined with small minimarts, coffeeshops and restaurants, catering to people visiting Koh Samet.
Which Pier Do I Use in Ban Phe?
As you’ll see from the map there are several piers in Ban Phe. The all offer a range of boat services to Koh Samet either by wooden boat or speedboat.
The wooden boats are much slower. They take around 45 minutes to get to the island. Whereas the speedboats are a lot faster, crossing in around 10 minutes, but are far more expensive. Scheduled boat services only run in daylight, form around 07:00 – 18:00 daily year round.
Most of the wooden boats used are refurbished fishing boats powered by an old diesel engine. They are slow but are reliable and on a sunny day you’ll be able to enjoy the views as you head to the island. The speedboat services are handy if you are travelling to one of the beaches further south on the east coast or are in a large group.
Also, if you need to get to or from the island very early or late night then you’ll need to hire a speedboat privately. The price depends on the number of passengers and destination on Koh Samet.
The wooden boats all moor at Na Dan pier on the northeast shore of Koh Samet. This is the main pier on the island. In addition to the National Park fee, visitors arriving at Na Dan also have to 20 Baht for the pier maintenance fund.
The piers in Ban Phe are all relatively close together, so walking from one to the other isn’t a problem. Buses and minibuses tend to drop visitors off at Nuan Thip Pier. This is where you’ll be able to take a wooden boat or speedboat to the island. The wooden boats run hourly but the speedboats require 10 passengers before they will depart. Boat tickets for the wooden boat are the same at all piers 70 Baht one way and 100 Baht return. There is no requirement to buy a return ticket. You’ll be able to buy tickets from your hotel or any tour agent on the island.
A stone’s throw Nuan Thip Pier is Tarua Phe pier. This is the most popular pier for anyone wanting to take a speedboat to Koh Samet. Two speedboat companies ‘Black Pearl’ and ‘White Shark’ are based here. Ticket prices are from 200 to 500 Baht per person, depending where on the island you want dropping off.
Wooden passenger ferries also run hourly from both Chok Krisda Pier and Sri Ban Phe Pier also known as Seree Pier. These are more popular with Thai visitors, simply because they have secure, covered parking areas for passengers to leave their vehicles.
If you are staying in one of the larger resorts, a luxury hotel or resort owned by one of the extended local families, then it will probably have it’s own private boat service. This is usually free but the downside is that there will only be a handful of departures per day. So if you miss a boat then you’ll have the choice of waiting until the next boat or taking a public boat and then also having to pay for a pick up truck taxi to the hotel when you ready the island.
Ban Phe to Koh Samet Boat Schedules
Please note that boat timings depend on which beach you are staying on and are also on ‘Thai time’ so may vary by 20 minutes or more. The weather and number of passengers may also affect when the boat departs.
Timetable For Passenger Boats to Koh Samet
|Ban Phe to Na Dan pier||07:00 – 18:00 (Hourly)||07:00 – 18:00 (Hourly)|
|Ban Phe to Ao Wong Duan||09:30, 13:30||08:30, 10:30, 12:30, 14:30, 16:30|
|Ban Phe to Ao Wai||11:00, 12:00||10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00|
|Ban Phe to Ao Kui||09:30, 11:30, 13:30, 15:30||09:30, 11:30, 13:30, 15:30|
Timetable For Speedboats to Koh Samet
|Ban Phe to Koh Samet ( all beaches )||09:00, 10:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00||10:00, 11:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00|
Ticket Prices for Boats to Koh Samet
As mentioned above, tickets can be bought as a single or return. It saves a bit of time when you are on the island if you buy a return ticket, but you don’t save any money. The boat companies charge the same prices:
Ban Phe – Koh Samet by Wooden Boat
|To / From Ban Phe||One Way||Return|
|Na Dan Pier||50 Baht||100 Baht|
|Ao Wong Duan||70 Baht||140 Baht|
|Ao Wai||100 Baht||200 Baht|
|Ao Kui||100 Baht||200 Baht|
Ban Phe – Koh Samet by Speedboat
|Hat Sai Kaew||200 Baht||400 Baht|
|Ao Wong Duan||300 Baht||600 Baht|
|Ao Wai||400 Baht||800 Baht|
|Ao Kui||500 Baht||1,000 Baht|
Private Boats From Koh Samet Resorts
Several of the better resorts run free boat services for guests. Boats usually run 3-4 times per day in each direction. If you are arriving outside those times then you will have to take a public boat to the island. But it makes travel much easier if you can use your resort’s own service.
Based at Sri Ban Phe pier. Take this boat if you are staying at: Paradee Resort, Le Vimanrn Cottages, Ao Prao Resort, Saikaew Beach Resort, Samed Club or Ban Ploy Sea Resort.
Based at Chok Kritsada pier. Take this boat if you are staying at: Lima Bella, Lima Coco or Lima Duva Resort
Based at Municipality Pier. Take this boat if you are staying at Vongdeuan Resort
Private Speedboat Charter
This is the quickest way of getting to Koh Samet. There are several companies and the speedboats run 24 hours / day. Note that night time sailings are more expensive then daytime. Figure on around 2,000 Baht to hire a private speedboat to take you from Ban Phe to Koh Samet during daylight hours. Check tour agents in the village or around Municipality pier if you arrive late night and want to get to the island in a hurry.
White Shark Speedboats Tel: 038 653 181 or 081 781 4803 or 081 857 5638 (Office at Tarue Phe pier)
Samed Speedboats Tel: 038 651 134-5 ( Based at Seree Phe Pier )
Follow Me Tour Speedboat Tel: 038 864 7405
Chokmana Speedboats – Tel: 038 651 531 or 038 653 577
Taxi Service on Koh Samet
When you arrive at Na Dan pier on Koh Samet, you will see green, shared pick up truck taxis ‘songthaews’ waiting to take passengers to the beaches on the east coast of the island. These take the island’s main road. A narrow strip of concrete that runs from the north of the island down the east coast to the south. The driver will drop off at resorts on Hat Sai Kaew, Ao Phai, Ao Tubtim, Ao Lung Wung and Ao Wong Duan. The taxi fares are expensive, from 50 – 200 Baht per person.
On the way the taxi will stop at the National Park office so that passengers can pay the National Park entrance fee. This is only payable once, when you arrive on the island. (If you take a speedboat and get dropped off elsewhere then you’ll avoid passing the ticket office. Hotels are supposed take this off guests in this situation, but rarely do.)