Ko Samet, which is about 30km from the refineries, is technically part of a national park, although nearly every beach is blanketed with hotels and guesthouses, and back alleys are strewn with trash. Yet considering its proximity to industry, the waters here are remarkably clear.
To Wang, the tourist from China, where waterways are often blacked by pollution, the island appeared pristine. After emerging from a swim, she scanned the beach.
“It’s very beautiful here,” she said.
Additional reporting by Poypiti Amatatham