Marine National Parks
Khao Laem Ya - Samet Island Group National Park
In 1981 the archipelago of Samet island, the headland of Khao Laem Ya, and 11 km Mae Rampeung beach was declared a marine national park. Located 200 km south-east of Bangkok in Rayong Province, Khao Laem Ya - Samet island park covers 131 square kilometers of land and sea.
The head land of Khao Laem Ya is composed of particularly hard silicates which are quite resistant to erosion. The resulting cape maintains the extensive Mae Rampeung beach to the west and protects a smaller secluded beach and seagrass bed to the east. Seagrasses are rapidly dissppearing in Thailand and throughout the world.
Many small coral reefs are found in the park water. The most popular ones are located nearthe islands: Koh Khudi, Koh Thalu, and off the southern shores of Koh Samet. Unfortunately some of these areas have been ravaged by dynamite fishing and anchor damage.
Though much of the park is marine oriented, the vegetation is mixed decidous and lowland scrub, largely secondary growth. Wildlife includes monitor lizards, long tailed macaques and variable squirrels. Koh Thalu harbors a colony of large fruit eating bats, sometimes refered to as "flying foxes". A variety of birds include several species of nesting terns, herons and hornbills reside seasonally or year-round in the park.
Samet island has been exploited (by so-called tourism) for many years without cultural and environmental consideration. It is hoped that the visitors, business operators and the governmental organizations will take careful action to clean up the island and its water soon.
Accommodations and facilities
Shores of Samet island offer a variety of privately run accomodations. Numerous restaurants serve various kinds of foods.
There is a national park camp ground on Koh Khudi. Koh Thalu is a popular destination for a day trip, but is not available for overnight guests.
The headland of Khao Laem Ya also has a few park's bungalows. There are many privately run accommodations outside the park boundary, along Mae Rampeung beach (on the main land).
How to get there
From eastern bus terminal (Ekamai) in Bangkok, there are regular buses to Rayong and Ban Phe. From Rayong tourists can take a local bus to Khao Laem Ya, Mae Rampeung beach or Ban Phe. Most ferry boats for Samet island leave piers in Ban Phe throughout the day, from 0600 hrs to 1700 hrs. A 25 minute boat ride brings you to the main pier at Samet village (which is outside the National park boundary). There are ferry boats to other piers around the island.