Samet Nangshe Viewpoint has very quickly gone from being practically unheard of to one of the most popular panoramas in Phang Nga. Located on a hilltop just a 30-minute drive from Phuket, it provides stunning views over the limestone islets of Phang Nga Bay and, being far enough away from civilisation to avoid light pollution, the Milky Way is even visible at certain times.
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What to see at Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
The view is a breathtaking 180-degree panorama facing due east, making it particularly striking at sunrise. You look out at a chain of islands stretching out of sight to both the left and right in the waters of Phang Nga Bay, across about 1.6 km of mangroves. The sun rises between the limestone karsts at about 5.30am to 6am, depending on the time of year. This is often preceded by the awe-inspiring sight of the centre of our own galaxy, clearly visible overhead, though this also depends on the season.
The viewpoint and its amazing photographic potential were discovered by Thai professional photographer Theerasak Saksritawee, whose images from the hilltop outlook spread quickly among first locals and then expatriates. It's still relatively undiscovered by overseas tourists due to its location, a 25-km drive from Phuket’s Sarasin Bridge along twisting country roads. However, it's easily popular enough that you can expect to share the small summit with at least 50 other people, particularly if you go for the sunrise.
Good to know about Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
Your photos from Samet Nangshe Viewpoint really need to be earned as getting there is a bit of a challenge. Aside from the drive, you then need to pay 50 baht per person (30 baht for Thais) at the little shack where the simple car park meets the start of the hill. The ascent is quite a long and steep one, with benches at intervals along the way for you to stop for a break. It could take as much as 15 or 20 very tiring minutes to make it to the top, but it is very much worth the effort.
While the hill itself is covered in rainforest, the top is home to a small campsite, with tents costing about 130 baht each (or 400 baht, if you want to include a simple Thai breakfast). This is a particularly convenient option if you want to get Milky Way photos, but don’t expect to get much sleep as the hilltop will already be getting busy by about 4am. Slightly down the hill from the viewpoint is the Sametnangshe Boutique – a small, fairly luxurious hotel with a nice restaurant and bar/café.
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
- Location: Khlong Khian, Takua Thung, Phang-nga 82130, Thailand