Southeast Asia offers a wealth of island holiday destinations for travellers from all around the world, but Koh Samed, a white-beach paradise in the Gulf of Thailand, could be the best of them all.

Home to Khao Laem Ya–Mu Ko Samet National Park, the island is a scenic weekend destination for locals from Bangkok, only two hours away. With an array of beachfront bungalows and luxury resorts perched on cliff-tops, the small “T-shaped” island boasts a number of beaches, including the largest, Hat Sai Kaeo, and lush, forested hills.

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From its northern shores, which offer beach barbeques and parties for the young and young-at-heart, to its more secluded and slower-paced southern regions, this island is a welcome retreat that serves as the perfect alternative to the likes of Bali.

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