The Samet Nangshe viewpoint in Thailand is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my travels. It’s also fairly easy to get there by driving from the tourist island of Phuket.
This viewpoint overlooks the spectacular Phang Nga Bay, a Thai national park with dozens of small islands. The sunrise at Samet Nangshe is especially nice because the sun rises directly over the bay!
You can visit Samet Nangshe viewpoint on a day trip from Phuket and go back in the same day, or you can stay a night or two at the Samet Nangshe Boutique hotel, which has a pool and rooms that overlook the same wonderful scenery.
This travel guide will explain how to get to Samet Nangshe viewpoint with or without a tour, where to stay, and everything else you need to know before you go!
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint: What To Expect
There are two different places in Phang Nga province where you can enjoy the stunning view of the bay: you can go to Samet Nangshe viewpoint, or you can see a nearly identical view from the Samet Nangshe Boutique hotel, which has multiple vantage points at different levels on the hill.
Most of the pictures in this blog post were taken at the boutique hotel, but the view is essentially the same in either place. It’s a marvelous view, with lots of small islands in the bay, and one big karst island that towers above the rest. It looks like a fairytale landscape.
Drones are allowed at the viewpoint, and you can take some pretty amazing photos of the bay from above. They also allow drones at the hotel, but they asked us to do it at the parking lot so we wouldn’t disturb anyone at the hotel, which is fair and to be expected.
When you first arrive at Samet Nangshe and park your vehicle, there’s a bit of climbing to do.
The viewpoint is on top of a steep 800 meter hill, and they have a 4×4 truck shuttle to take you up there, or you can hike up there yourself in about 15-20 minutes if you’re fit and you want to save a little bit of money.
It’s not possible to take your own vehicle to the top, so these are your two choices. Personally, I’d recommend the shuttle, especially if you’re coming in the dark for sunrise.
The hilltop has a cafe and some touristy swings and bird nests for taking Instagram photos, which will be fun for kids and families.
There are little primitive bungalows you can rent for 700 Baht (~$20 USD) per night, or you can even camp up there in a tent for 200 Baht. I’m sure the prices will go up as this place becomes more and more popular!
If you go to the Samet Nangshe Boutique hotel, there’s a similar setup for reaching the viewpoint: a shuttle can take you up there, or you can hike it yourself.
There are multiple vantage points at the hotel, but the very best one in our experience was the Bay View Cafe, which is the highest point at the hotel.
After the sunrise, you can buy food or drinks at the cafe while enjoying the scenery. It’s an amazing view, and we felt like we could’ve stayed there a week just relaxing and taking pictures.
Somewhere out there in the bay is Thailand’s famous James Bond Island, although you can’t quite see it from the viewpoint. It’s easy to go there on a day trip from Samet Nangshe, and if you stay at the boutique hotel they can arrange that for you.
The Samet Nangshe viewpoint has an entrance fee of 30 Baht (~$1 USD) per person, plus a shuttle fee of 90 Baht roundtrip.
There’s no entrance fee at the hotel. It has a shuttle fee of 50 Baht, and you’re welcome to visit and eat at the restaurant and cafe even if you aren’t staying in one of the hotel rooms.
Best Time To Visit Samet Nangshe Viewpoint: Sunrise!
The best time to visit Samet Nangshe viewpoint and take photos is at sunrise. It’s amazing!
Depending on the day and month, the sunrise time in Phang Nga province can be anywhere from 6:00 to 6:45 AM. You can check it on your weather app. Remember to get there at least 30-45 minutes before sunrise so you can see the first show of colors.
The sun actually rises directly over the islands of Phang Nga Bay, making a scene that is just stunning. It’s probably the best sunrise spot I’ve seen anywhere in the world.
Aside from sunrise, another great time to take photos at the viewpoint is in the late afternoon or evening, when the rocks are well lit and the sun is at your back.
The worst time for photos is in the late morning or around noon, when the bay is backlit and the sun is usually too harsh behind the islands.
Surprisingly, the viewpoint was never very busy with tourists at any time we were there, and most people left right after sunrise.
I’m sure the popularity will change over time since it’s such a magnificent place, but thankfully the hilltop is pretty big, so it should be able to accommodate plenty of visitors without getting too crowded.
How To Get To Samet Nangshe From Phuket
The Samet Nangshe viewpoint is located in the Phang Nga province of Thailand, about 45 kilometers northeast of the Phuket International Airport (HKT).
You can get there from Phuket by driving a car or motorbike, hiring a taxi, or taking a tour. Unfortunately there’s no bus option yet.
• By Car / Motorbike
If you’re driving from Phuket, you can get to Samet Nangshe by following Route 4031, crossing the Sarasin Bridge, turning onto Highway 1004, and then continuing until you see a clear road sign for Samet Nangshe viewpoint.
You can use this Google Maps location to navigate directly to the viewpoint, which has plenty of parking available, or this map location to navigate to the Samet Nangshe Boutique hotel.
The drive takes about 1 hour from the Phuket airport, 1.5 hours from Patong Beach or Old Phuket Town, or a full 2 hours from Karon or Kata Beach in south Phuket.
• By Taxi / Private Driver
If you don’t have a lot of driving experience in Thailand, it’s safer and easier to hire a taxi or private driver to bring you to the viewpoint. You can ask your hotel in Phuket to arrange a driver for you.
We stayed at Samet Nangshe Boutique, so we booked a driver with them. He picked us up in a big, comfortable air-conditioned van, and when we left the hotel after our stay, they also helped arrange another driver to take us back to Phuket. In both cases, we paid by credit card, which was very convenient!
The transport price was 1,800 Baht ($50 USD) from Old Phuket Town, which is reasonable for two people going outside of Phuket island. From the airport, it’s 1,200 Baht ($33 USD).
If you aren’t staying at Samet Nangshe overnight, then you can negotiate with your driver to wait for you while you take pictures, and then bring you back to Phuket.
• By Tour
Another quick and easy way to get to Samet Nangshe is with a tour. Viator has a Thai cooking class that goes to the Samet Nangshe viewpoint from Phuket, and also includes the Benyaran Museum and Khok Kloi Fresh Market.
We’ve always had a good experience with this company, but in this case the tours are unusually pricey. Hopefully shared tours for the viewpoint will be offered soon, that way you can join a group and the prices will be lower per person.
Where To Stay: Samet Nangshe Boutique Hotel
If you want to stay longer and get the best views and photos of the sunrise and sunset, you should stay at the Samet Nangshe Boutique hotel. We stayed there 2 nights during the rainy season and absolutely loved it.
It’s definitely on the pricey side, but the whole hotel has views of Phang Nga Bay and the sunrise right outside your door. There’s a public infinity pool, and some of the luxury rooms even have a private pool or bathtub with views of Phang Nga Bay.
We stayed in one of the basic rooms (the Deluxe King room), which didn’t have direct views of the bay and sunrise, but you could walk right outside your door and see it in the morning. We also did the short walk up to the Bay View Cafe to get even higher, and that’s where most of the pictures in this blog post were taken.
The rooms are clean and comfortable, and there’s decent WiFi. But the main reason to come here is to soak up the view for as long as possible. It’s really exceptional.
What To Bring
- Sun Protection. During the daytime, you’ll probably want a hat or sunscreen, because the sun can be scorching at the viewpoint.
- Bug Spray. This is a good idea in case you run into mosquitoes while hiking up to the viewpoint, although we didn’t see many ourselves.
- Flashlight. A small light or head lamp may be handy for hiking to the viewpoint in the dark.
- Waterproof Bag. If you plan to stay longer and visit James Bond Island, then a waterproof bag or phone pouch is a good idea as well, to protect your electronics in the boat.
- Power Bank. If you plan to camp in a tent at the viewpoint, a power bank is a good idea because there’s no other way to charge your phones up there.
Frequently Asked Questions (Samet Nangshe)
- How can you get to Samet Nangshe?
You can get to Samet Nangshe by driving a car or motorbike, taking a taxi, or going with a tour. It’s relatively easy to get there from either Phuket or Krabi.
- Is there a bus to Samet Nangshe?
Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to get to Samet Nangshe by bus or public transport. There are buses from Phuket to Phang Nga, but that’s a big area. They’ll drop you off far from the viewpoint, so you would still need to hire a taxi. It wouldn’t be a great idea logistically.
- Can you get there with the Grab app?
Yes, it’s possible to get to the Samet Nangshe viewpoint with the Grab ride-hailing app, which is like Southeast Asia’s version of Uber. However, some drivers may cancel the ride since it’s a long distance from Phuket and might not be economical for them to return without a passenger. Also, even if you get there, you’d probably need to figure out an alternate way to get back to town since you won’t be able to find a new Grab driver near the viewpoint area.
- Is Samet Nangshe viewpoint worth it?
Yes, it’s absolutely worth it. This is one of the most beautiful places in Thailand, especially if you go at sunrise. It’s my favorite sunrise spot anywhere in the world.