Samet Nangshe Viewpoint: word has spread over the past year about this recently unknown viewpoint. The view from the top, overlooking Phang Nga Bay and its dozens of limestone karsts and islets, is unparalleled. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and as if it couldn’t get any better, the viewpoint itself is oriented towards the east, making it a picturesque location to catch the sunrise.
If you’re visiting Phuket, don’t miss the chance to visit and camp here. While there are fantastic views in Phuket, Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is without question the best view in the Phuket/Phang Nga region.
Camping at Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
Below is a brief guide to help you plan a camping trip at Samet Nangshe Viewpoint.
Entrance fee: 30 baht per person
Upon arrival, you can either hike to the top or catch a ride in the back of a pickup truck.
Truck ride to the top: 90 baht per person ($2.70)
When we arrived in the late afternoon, a pickup truck full of people pulled up in front of us and said that the road was much too steep to walk up. But at 90 baht for a 5 minute ride to the top, I decided to walk anyway. If a car can climb it, so can I.
It took 20 minutes to reach the top, but that included a break at two different viewpoints on the way. The dirt road leading up is steep at parts, but the average person could reach the top in 10-15 minutes without stopping.
Before you hike up, there’s a small bamboo hut in the carpark which is where you pay the 30 baht entrance fee and reserve accommodation if you choose to do so (in our case, it was a tent since the bungalows were full).
Tent: 350 baht per night
The tents can fit two adults fairly comfortably (although I’m 6’/183cm and had to lie diagonally in order to not be touching the sides).
Tent rental includes:
- a mat for the floor of the tent
- two blankets and two pillows
I recommend bringing your own blanket and pillow/pillowcase though. It’s hard to say how often the staff actually wash the bedding provided.
Bungalow: 500 baht per night
Bungalow rental includes:
- A full-size sleeping pad
- Pillows and blankets
- A mosquito net
- A fan (so I’m told—I didn’t actually see one of these)
These are extremely basic bungalows though—think thatched roof on a wooden frame with a couple inch gap between the top edge of the walls and the roof. There are six bungalows available for sleeping, along with a few other huts for sitting.
There’s a small building located behind all the tents and bungalows at the top of Samet Nangshe with two toilet rooms and two shower rooms. By shower I mean a giant barrel full of cold water. A plastic scoop floats inside the barrel, which is used to pour the chilly water over yourself as you let out shivering gasps of horror/pleasure. The first few pours on your head and torso are shocking, but after that it feels quite nice.
The actual view from Samet Nangshe Viewpiont is better than even the best picture. Sunrise was spectacular—one of the most memorable of my life.
The not so good
If you’re looking to find a peaceful, serene campsite, you may want to rethink your visit here.
As stunning as the surrounding scenery is, it’s somewhat jaded by the campsite area and the free-for-all that goes on there.
Unfortunately, there seems to be no regulation by the staff at Samet Nangshe on how many people can camp, nor any rules regarding noise levels. Along with the six bungalows, I counted 17 tents total including ours. Given the limited flat ground available for tent camping, this means close quarters for all campers. With tents all around you and people arriving and setting up their tents as late as 10 p.m., it’s difficult to get early rest, yet alone sit back and enjoy the hum of nature.
Also, situated at the top of the camping area are three overhead spotlights that flood their fluorescent light down upon the walls of the tents, illuminating the inside somewhat and taking away from the ambiance of sleeping on top of a mountain under the stars. I understand that these overhead lights provide an element of safety, but by 10 p.m. or so, I thought the staff would turn them off or dim them at least. No luck—they were on all night.
Lastly, the pickup trucks used by the staff to transport people up and down seem to have no cut-off time for the evening. They were still roaring past our tent as late as 11:30 p.m.—a bit irritating considering everyone camping there is planning to wake up at dawn for sunrise.
In a huff of frustration due to a large group of campers blasting god-awful dance-pop music behind us, a baby crying incessantly, and those damn floodlights, we hoisted our tent up and carried it down the side of the hill to a small grassy clearing with a bench. The view was literally the same as it was higher up where we were before, except now we had utter silence interrupted only by the welcome chatter of nearby crickets.
It completely transformed the night and eliminated the irritation we felt earlier. I definitely recommend doing the same if you find yourself in a similar situation there. Just move your tent.
Call beforehand. If you really want a bungalow, either arrive early enough in the day or call before you go to find out about availability. I don’t know if they take reservations, but here are the phone numbers from my entrance ticket for you to try calling: 081-8941159, 084-7263575, 084-8469427, 087-9187895.
Choose wisely where you decide to sleep. The main clearing at the top is not the best place to tent camp. If you can choose a bungalow, pick one slightly downhill from the top area.
Bring earplugs. Never before have I been so desperate for the sweet silence that earplugs offer. While I was packing my bag before my trip, I picked up my earplugs and then put them back in my drawer thinking, ‘Why would I need earplugs for camping?‘ I was so mistaken.
Bring sleep gear. I’d recommend a blanket and a pillow, or at least a pillowcase if you can’t fit a pillow. The bedding provided isn’t gross, but it’s clearly used.
Bring food. Food isn’t available at the top. You have to bring it all yourself, and anything extra you may need such as a grill, ice, etc. costs extra.
Bring your own booze. Samet Nangshe viewpoint is a solid 30 minute drive off the main highway (the 402). The winding road that leads to the viewpoint goes through Muslim villages, which means you can’t buy alcohol anywhere. Not required, but a small cooler full of a few beers is a nice addition to any camping trip.
Bring a power bank. I did see outlets for charging electronics, but not many. If you have a power bank, it wouldn’t hurt to have it as a backup.
Consider the weather and season. I went during rainy season, but we had unnaturally nice weather that weekend. While there were still 60-80 people there for sunrise, I imagine there are 2-3 times that during high season.
Breathe deeply. The air is pristine out there in those rural parts of Phang Nga. Fill your lungs with it—often.
Directions to Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
Samet Nangshe is about a 30-40 minute drive after you cross the Sarasin Bridge going out of Phuket. So depending on where you’re staying in Phuket, your drive time will average around 90 minutes to get there.