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.
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 1.6km of mangroves. The sun rises between the limestone karsts at about 05:30 to 06:00, 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 is still relatively undiscovered by overseas tourists due to its location, a 25km drive from Phuket’s Sarasin Bridge along twisting country roads. However, it is 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.
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 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 04:00. Aside from a vendors selling drinks and snacks in the car park (only during the day), there are not many additional facilities at the viewpoint.
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint
- Opening Hours: All day
- Tel: +66 (0)90 493 6267