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Published: March 4th 2014
Haat Sai Kaew
Or Crystal Sand Beach. Also the most popular, akin to a mini-Chaweng (Samui) or Patong (Phuket). A very, very mini version though.
This might have been the most anti-climatic beach getaway yet so far.
I'd heard much about Koh Samet, a tiny-island about a half hour's boat ride away from the mainland in Eastern Thailand, and had for some time hoped to be able to pay a visit. Being just a four hour bus ride away from central Bangkok, and therefore really an easy weekend getaway, it's a wonder why I hadn't gotten down to it yet, until now.
But it turned out to be perhaps not quite worth the wait after all.
The reviews on Wikitravel and LP were good, and I also distinctly remembered a fellow traveller that I'd met way back two years ago in Myanmar who'd first raved about the place. But I wonder whether I've been spoiled by too many a beach escape. And perhaps it was because I went during a weekend, when the island fills up with weekending Bangkokians, taking the prices of everything up with them. Or perhaps it was because I mistakenly stayed in the busiest part of the island. But either way, Samet offered neither the tranquility nor atmosphere that I'd been led to believe existed there.
Ploy Talay Fire Show
Worth forking out the over-priced seafood here.
Hat Sai Kaew/ Crystal Sand Beach) essentially seemed like a very miniaturised version of Chaweng in Koh Samui, or Patong in Phuket, with neither the edge/buzz nor the off-setting peace that I would have expected from a smaller place. Yes the sand was white and powdery, and the waters azure, but when you pack that many beach-side restaurants and jet-ski and parasailing operators within such a small stretch of sand, something's gotta give. Oh, and did I mention the jacked-up weekend prices? The evening fire show was good, but the obligatory accompanying over-priced seafood dinner not.
I wouldn't say it was terrible, but it was disappointing enough for me to cut short my originally-intended two-night stay to one. Hopefully this doesn't set the tone for the next impending leg of my travels.
Stayed at Monludee Guesthouse.
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