For vacationers in Pattaya and Rayong province, not so long ago a new excursion destination became available, which quickly gained popularity. This is Samaye San Island, which has two unofficial names at once. It is also known as "princess island" and "turtle island".
Samae San is a very small piece of land just 1 km wide and 4 km long, shaped like a turtle when viewed from above. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, at a distance of 1.4 km from the mainland, surrounded by seven other islands that make up the so-called Samae San group. In the neighborhood are more than a dozen islands. Administratively, they are all part of the Sattahip District of Chonburi Province.
Useful information about the islands of Pattaya.
One often hears that the island belongs to a Thai princess. However, apparently, this is only a PR move designed to attract tourists. As you know, all the land in Thailand belongs to the king. At one time there was a small fishing village, but today the island is uninhabited. No princesses have ever been on Samay San.
Nevertheless, the reference in the name to the princess has a right to exist. The Ko Kham Undersea Park, which includes the Samae San, is under the patronage of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
After more than 1,200 fishing families were relocated to the mainland, Princess Island was given to the use of the Thai military department. Various exercises and training camps of the Thai army's naval units are held here. For this reason, Samaye San, located so close to the central parts of the country (and it is separated from Bangkok by only 2.5 hours), is not a tourist destination in the full sense of the word. There are no hotels and bungalows. The only tourist infrastructure is a café, where tourists arriving during the day can eat something simple and inexpensive.
The best time to visit Princess Island is from November to April inclusive. During this time there is almost no rain, and the temperature rarely rises above +33 degrees C.
What is Princess Island interesting for tourists
Visiting Samaje San is eco-tourism in its purest form. The island has five beaches. Tourists are brought to the most beautiful of them - Hat Luk Lom - which with its soft white sand resembles the coast of the Andaman Sea. Near the coast there is a beautiful coral reef, inhabited by numerous marine life.
What you can do in Thailand on Princess Island:
- swimming, including snorkeling;
- A boat trip for snorkeling over the coral reef;
- For those who want to swim deeper, visit the neighboring island with its diving center;
- boat trip with a transparent bottom;
- bicycle tours along paved routes with stops at the best viewpoints;
- hiking trekking deep into the island (forest landscape);
- beach games (volleyball, soccer, darts);
- Thai lunch at a specially equipped place on the beach (cafe).
There are several awnings on the beach to protect you from the sun. Sun loungers are available for visitors.
A visit to Princess Island is the main, but not the only element of excursion programs offered by travel agencies.
Tourists usually visit on their way to and from the island:
- Liang Po Dam Temple, which offers the opportunity to participate in a karma cleansing ritual and a wishing ceremony;
- turtle farm located on a military base;
- a place where warships are docked with an opportunity to be photographed against the background of an aircraft carrier;
- the mountain of the Golden Buddha (Khao Chi Chan).
How to get there
Princess Island is located 40 km from Pattaya. It takes 10 to 30 minutes to get from Sattahip mainland pier to Samaye San.
Princess Island is restricted to visitors. Tourists are only allowed as part of guided tour groups.
Staying on the island is allowed from 9.00 to 16.30.