I’m not exaggerating when I say Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is the absolute most spectacular place to catch sunrise in Thailand. It is a “lesser-known” attraction sight and I say lesser-known because yes, it has become a little more popular over recent years. However, unlike James Bond Beach or The Grand Palace in Bangkok, it’s not a spot that is on everyone’s radar. Prior to my trip there, I found very limited information on it – most of which recommended visitors to camp nearby overnight. But of course, this is a luxury travel blog after all. Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about how to reach Samet Nangshe Viewpoint in comfort and in style!
Where is Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
Like I said, I knew very little about this hidden gem. In fact, I was quite misinformed and thought it was a viewpoint in Phuket. Even though it is not, it really isn’t too, too far away.
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint overlooks Phang Nga Bay and is located in Phang Nga Province with the closest nearby airport being Phuket International Airport. For the purpose of my trip, I travelled from Chiang Mai to Phuket by plane. Since Phuket was a destination that was already on my Thailand bucket list, it was a no brainer that I combined the two (Phuket and Phang Nga) together on my itinerary. This is generally how most tourists plan their trips because Phang Nga is literally connected to Phuket by a bridge: the Thepkasattri Bridge. From this bridge, Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is another 25 to 30km away depending on which route you take.
How to Get Here
If you decide to stay in Phuket in the south near Kata Beach, the drive up to Samet Nangshe Viewpoint can take up to two hours whereas if you stay further north around Mai Khao Beach, the ride only lasts an hour or so.
As mentioned above, Phuket is connected to Phang Nga by a bridge. If you are like me and plan on visiting Phuket first then moving hotels to Phang Nga, you will have already crossed the bridge thus cutting down on trip time. (When crossing Thepkasattri Bridge, be sure to look out the car window because the views are just as breathtaking!)
Regardless of where your accommodation is, I highly recommend booking a taxi via your hotel concierge at least one day in advance. Hotels usually have connections with trusted drivers and that’s crucial because you want your ride to show up on time if you’re gonna to catch that sunrise.
I stayed at Aleenta Phuket (more info below) with a friend and our taxi was booked for 5am in the morning. In total, it cost THB 2,000 roundtrip for two passengers or THB 1,000 per person in our case. The driver not only waited for us, he hiked with us to the viewpoint since he had never seen it himself despite having driven so many tourists here. We actually even ended up getting a discount deal where he only charged us THB 1,800. (That’s ~$80 CAD or ~$55 USD.)
Keep in mind that taxis aren’t the only method of transportation to reach Samet Nangshe Viewpoint. You can rent a scooter or join a bus tour, but again, we are only focusing on the luxury options today.
Hotel Day Trip Packages
Some resorts offer private tours. Aleenta Phuket, for example, has a “Samet Nangshe Viewpoint Experience” tour that costs THB 1,950 per person and lasts all day from 8am to 6pm. The problem with this is you won’t be able to get a glimpse of the morning glory (ahem, the view of course. Not the vegetable in Thai stir fry.) For THB 2,500 per person, you can take the 5am to 7am tour instead. I don’t remember their brochure mentioning details like what type of car it will be or what else is included. That said, it is up to you to decide whether or not this is worth it or if you are better off booking a cab.
Where to Stay
I made the decision of staying in Phang Nga because I needed every ounce of beauty sleep I could get. And since time is a luxury, I am sharing properties that are closer to Samet Nangshe Viewpoint i.e. not on the Phuket island.
Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa
Grand Deluxe Pool Villa. Photo from Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa.
This is the resort my friend and I stayed at and this is where it gets confusing. On their website, Aleenta Phuket identifies themselves as a “luxury five star beach resort in Phang Nga, Phuket.” After a billion Google searches on where Phang Nga Province is in relation to Phuket and whether or not it is in Phuket, I have concluded that those are two. Separate. Places. Period. TripAdvisor and Booking.com both classify Aleenta Phuket as a Phang Nga hotel so unless we are all wrong, well… I should quit as a travel blogger because I’m obviously spewing nonsense.
Public pool area.
Private pool within the Grand Deluxe Pool Villa.
Technicalities aside, there’s no doubt that this beachfront resort is the perfect vacation destination. We stayed in the Grand Deluxe Pool Villa and I absolutely adored our private pool as well as outdoor jacuzzi bathtub. Breakfast was included in the style of a buffet bar, but guests can order from the à la carte menu too (at no additional charge). Check for availability here.
akyra Beach Resort Phuket
Villa with private pool. Photo from akyra Beach Resort Phuket.
akyra is another 5-star resort near Natai Beach and is part of the Small Luxury Hotels collection. While you might only associate all-inclusive resorts with Mexico, akyra offers daily all-inclusive packages too. Not to mention, they have awesome weekend add-on deals such as admittance to White Party’s fire show and BBQ by the beach. For all you solo lady travellers out there, they also have a special 4-day-3-night package. For more information, check their availabilities here.
Iniala Beach House
Villa Bianca. Photo from Iniala Beach House.
Known as Thailand’s most prestigious luxury villa, Iniala Beach House boasts jaw-dropping views of the Andaman Sea. Its beachfront villas are fantastic for travelling with a group of friends or with family. Furthermore, each villa is managed by a personal Villa Manager to ensure that guests can relax comfortably without worries. Check for availability here.
Away Phuket Le Coral Resort
Swimming pool area. Photo from Away Phuket Le Coral Resort.
Situated 100m from Natai Beach, Away Phuket Le Coral is a 58-suite resort with 24-hour room service. Guests can indulge in unspoilt nature of its private beach and embark on fun outdoor adventures such as cycling to nearby markets (free bike rental) or kayaking in the Andaman Sea. Check for availability here.
Santhiya Phuket Natai Resort & Spa
Aerial view of the resort. Photo from Santhiya Phuket Natai Resort & Spa.
Every single one of the 102 rooms at Santhiya Phuket Natai Resort & Spa includes a private pool. Yup, you read that right! On top of that, the resort itself houses two additional infinity pools overlooking the western coast. Check for availability here.
Samet Nangshe Boutique
King Suite with Sea View. Photo from Samet Nangshe Boutique.
Remember how I said most guides about Samet Nangshe Viewpoint advise visitors to camp? Well, Samet Nangshe Boutique is one of the places where you can rent a tent for the night. BUT, they also have other better, more luxurious options like their King Suite with Sea View or Villa with extra-large double bed.
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This specialty lodging is pretty much located right by the viewpoint. From here, you can enjoy panoramic views of Phang Nga Bay from the comfort of your very own room. You technically don’t even need to leave the property grounds!
Keep in mind that Samet Nangshe Boutique is extremely popular and they get booked up FAST. I was quite bummed out that we couldn’t stay here, but I’ll most certainly be back. Check for availability here.
When to Catch the Sunrise
Look at those stars!
Anywhere between 5:30am to 6am is when you can typically expect to see the sun rise between the limestone karst.
My visit was during late February and we left our hotel at 5am. The ride supposedly takes 40 minutes, but since it was so early in the morning, there was no traffic whatsoever. We reached the viewpoint within half an hour and were still early for the spectacle. I suggest double checking sunrise times for your specific date of visit and always leave extra time for buffer. With Samet Nangshe Viewpoint being somewhat of a journey to get to, it’s definitely better to be early than rushing to get there then possibly missing it.
What Else to Expect?
Admission to Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is 30 baht per person. (That’s approximately a dollar.)
You Need to Hike!
The viewpoint itself is perched atop of a hill. From the parkade, you need to hike a little and earn your way up to the stunning sights.
Now if I am completely honest, of all the information I could find on the web, a lot of the sources made it sound like this hike was awfully strenuous and had a deep incline. As someone who hasn’t hit the gym in over a year, it took me around 15 minutes, 20 max. (I’m not saying it was a piece of cake. However, it wasn’t as challenging as most described it to be.)
If you struggle with health conditions or you are feeling lazy (not that I’m judging), you can pay 90 baht for a ride up in a truck instead. Because we arrived so early though, none of the truck drivers were on duty yet. By all means, come prepared and ready to hike – just in case. Our taxi driver hiked up with us and he either knew one of the truck drivers or he became friends with them while waiting. Either way he scored us a free ride back down.
Another thing to note is that there are two vantage points. Feel free to snap a few pics at the first one, but don’t simply stop there and completely ignore the second.
Things to Bring
- Headlamp or flashlight (you’ll be hiking in the dark)
- Lightweight jacket as it can get a bit chilly
- Bug repellent
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Besides gorgeous sunrise views, Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is a phenomenal spot to stargaze. As a result of its location away from the city, there is practically no light pollution. In other words, you can expect to find a starry night sky painted with stars and the Milky Way. Come here a tad earlier during the night/early morning when it’s still dark out and you might be able to capture some twinkle.
Don’t Leave Right After Sunrise!
If you can, bargain with your taxi driver a little. Ask for him/her to wait at least an hour and a half to two hours. Our driver was incredibly kind and didn’t rush us at all despite us lingering way longer than the agreed upon one hour wait time. We felt rather guilty hence left in a frenzy without hanging around for the sun to fully rise. (Keep in mind that we arrived early so the majority of our time was spent in the dark waiting for the sun to come out.)
Guests staying at Samet Nangshe Boutique won’t have this issue at all. I definitely encourage you to consider booking a stay with them.
And there you have it! Everything you need to know about the beautiful Samet Nangshe Viewpoint.
Don’t forget to pin this guide for later or share it with friends who are visiting Thailand. For more on my Phang Nga journey, take a look at my vlog from 7:52 to 8:02.
See you in the next guide!