Ko Samet is part of Khao Laem Ya-Ko Samet National Park, which encompasses Khao Laem Ya on the mainland, as well as various other islands. Ko Samet has been developed over the past few years and remains hugely popular with Bangkok folk who take up many of the rooms during the weekends.

Despite its national park status all of Ko Samet's beaches have been developed -- the only way you'd know you're in a national park is via the entry fee charged to visitors. Many who come looking for an island paradise complain that the island has been ruined: tacky resorts crowd the best beaches, and trash sometimes spoils the landscape. Nevertheless, Ko Samet retains enough beauty and appeal to win over a regular stream of return visitors and it's certainly a great, easy getaway from Bangkok if you need to kill a few days and have had enough of the big smoke.