The joys of Thailand's eastern seaboard are notorious - an area on the opposite coast to that hit by the recent tsunami - and most people think of Pattaya but OutUK correspondent Robin Newbold went a little further afield to the island of Samet and discovered what's become the weekend getaway for gay Bangkokers and their foreign admirers.


Don't come to Samet expecting an adventure, well not an adventure of the X-game variety.
Most seem to be quite content soaking up paradise on one of the many beaches but if you are of a more active bent there are island boat tours, kayaking, snorkelling and jet-skiing to be enjoyed. Though having a good time can cost under a pound a day, that's a retro-style deck chair (30 baht) and one of those big inner-tubes to float on the crystal-clear sea (20 baht).
This is the fishing boat cum ferry which no doubt you'll zip past on your privately chartered speedboat to Samet. Photo:Robin Newbold.
Add a good book and a lithe young companion to the mix and it can be quite heavenly. You can even get a massage and a manicure on the beach and if you can't be bother to get up they'll come to you. There are also vendors trawling the sands at irregular intervals offering fresh fruit, sarongs, fake RayBans and the like and they're nowhere near as intrusive as somewhere like Pattaya where they've become a nuisance.


Don't be expecting an Ibiza-style experience from the nightlife but one of the reasons behind Samet's surge in popularity in recent years is that it seems immune to the government's so-called "social order campaign", which means unlike Bangkok, for instance, the bars party on long after 2am.

You can go all night if you want - Red Bull & vodka is incredibly cheap here and served in buckets! - and there's even a monthly Full Moon Party on Hin Khok beach, though it's nothing on the scale of the infamous one on Koh Pan-Ngan in southern Thailand.

There are a plethora of beach-side bars but one of the most happening is Silver Sand Bar part of the Silver Sand Hotel on Phai beach and it's just a short distance from Tubtim and Hin Khok. It's a gay-popular open-air bar & restaurant with a dance floor where you can twirl in the sand to contemporary-ish dance and swig back drinks that won't set you back much more than a pound.

The place has a bar area under an awning along with a small dance floor, though the scene also spills out onto the sand where there are strategically placed mats so you can lay back and look up at the stars.

It's normally packed from about 10pm onwards when a semi-naked muscled hunk performs a nightly fire show. He also doubles up as barman so you can compliment on his skills later in the evening.

The nightly fire show at Silver Sand Bar on Phae beach makes for a fine spectacle as does the half-naked performer. Photo:Robin Newbold.


To get to Samet you can take a bus from Bangkok's Ekamai station to Ban Phe port and then a ferry to the island. But a far more glamorous, and much, much quicker alternative is to arrange with a friendly Bangkok taxi driver to whiz you to the aforementioned port (don't expect to pay over 2,000 baht) and from there charter a speedboat - well, we did say glamorous - for 1,600 baht return and travel to your stipulated beach. Doing it the OutUK way should take about three hours door-to-door and you should be sipping a cocktail under the palms way before sundown.

Robin Newbold is a Bangkok-based writer whose debut gay novel, Vacuum-Packed is now available.


Jep's (Hin Khok beach; T: +66 38 644 112)
Naga Bar (36 4 Phe, Mueang Rayong District, Rayong; T: +66 38 644 035; facebook)
Silver Sand Bar & Hotel (HF74+HV5, 2 Moo 4 Tumbol Phe, Amphur Muang, Rayong; T: +66 81 996 520; Website)
Tubtim Resort (Tubtim beach; T: +66 38 644 025; Website)

Revised November 2023.

Back to Koh Samet Overview


search | site info | site map | new this week | outuk shop | home | outgoing | more



  UK gay lads | Gay news UK | Gay travel and holidays UK | UK & London gay scene

OutUK features the latest gay news, advice, entertainment and information together with gay guides to cities and holiday destinations around the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. There are hundreds of galleries of photos and videos of the sexiest gay guys plus intimate personal profiles of thousands of gay lads from all around the UK.