Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is one of the most popular panoramas in Phang Nga. Located on a hilltop just a 30-minute drive from Phuket, it offers stunning views over the limestone islets of Phang Nga Bay.
Because of its orientation, visitors start showing up as early as 4:00AM to catch the breathtaking sunrise - or just stay overnight for views of the Milky Way.
The east-facing view is 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 galaxy, clearly visible overhead, though this also depends on the season.
Samet Nangshe 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 most tourists due to its location, which requires a 25-km drive from Phuket’s Sarasin Bridge along twisting country roads. However, it's popular enough that you can expect to share the small summit with at least 50 other people, especially if you go for the sunrise.