Samet Nangshe is a superb panoramic viewpoint in Phang Nga Bay. It’s a little far outside Phuket island, but if you have a car or a big bike, it is worth the drive. From up there, you can admire the fantastic limestone formations of Phang Nga Bay, but it requires a good deal of effort. You need to drive 25 kilometres past the Sarasin bridge that connects Phuket to the mainland, but the drive in the backcountry on Thailand is fantastic. The road is surrounded by trees and palm trees all the way, and when you approach your destination, you are rewarded by the jaw-dropping Nangshe bay which is beautiful, even from the road.
To give you a better idea of the distance, Samet Nangshe is 76 kilometres away from Patong beach, which would take about 2 hours drive.
Getting up there
There use to be a serious 20 minutes climbing (and in a way there still is), but a pickup truck will be waiting for you to drive you up there regularly. We recommend you to use it. 90 baht is definitely worth the energy saving! Note that if you choose not to use the pickup truck, there is still an entry fee to go up. If you plan to sleep in up there, you can rent a tent for 130 baht or a tiny bungalow for 700 baht per night.
Once you reach the top, don’t expect a peaceful, solitary hilltop as there is always a little crowd of avid photographers, amateurs and professional. Families and teens are all over the place taking all kinds of creative poses for their selfies. It’s a real Instagram playground.
Some advanced photographers even stay all night to capture the milky way and the sunrise that occurs around 5.30 am. If you are planning to go at night, remember to bring not only a headlight, but also a long sleeve jacket because it’s colder than you think. And some mosquito repellent! (you will thank me later for that)
There are two viewpoints on the way up. If you find the climb too challenging you can stop at the first one, it’s already impressive.
What to do?
You can buy food and drinks from the restaurant built at the top of the hill and even enjoy some cold coconuts and ice creams too. You will be able to sit down at one of the many tables available all around. It’s a relaxing break with a jaw-dropping bird view you will never forget.
Note that if you plan to climb to Samet Nangshe by yourself, you better remember to take some water with you as it can get scorching, but you can buy some at the main road parking when you arrive. It’s a steep and long climb, not worth the sweat anyway.
Story written in collaboration with photographer Joey Santini
Samet Nangshe information
Open: 4 am – 10 pm
Phone: 081 894 1159
Price: 130 baht per tent, 700 baht per bungalow
Distance from Patong: 76 km
Distance from Phuket airport: 44 km