Your vacation to Thailand isn’t complete with a trip to one of the islands. There are plenty to choose from and depending on when you arrive there should be a nice bounty beach island to chill out and relax. Some islands are famous for their full moon parties, some are famous for their water bungalows.
But if you are looking for a small quiet island, Koh Mak should definitely be on your radar. It’s our favorite Thai Island so far since we haven’t explored them all. But if we had to choose between the islands we did visit, this is the one!
There aren’t a lot of buildings and there are building restrictions in place making sure to keep the charm and feeling of Koh Mak authentic. With this Koh Mak Travel Guide, you will know exactly where to go, where to stay, and what to do.
Where is Koh Mak
Koh Mak is a small island located in Trat Province, in the eastern part of Thailand, around 40 km from the Trat coast and 20 km south of Koh Chang. Koh Mak is a relatively small and lesser-known island compared to other popular tourist destinations in Thailand. But it’s becoming more popular among travelers who are looking for a more authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience
The climate in the Gulf of Thailand is tropical, with warm temperatures and high humidity throughout the year. The best time to visit Koh Mak is typically from November to April, during the dry season in Thailand, when the weather is sunny and dry with less rainfall. The monsoon season is from May to October, during which the island can experience heavy rain and strong winds.
How to get there
To get to Koh Mak, the best thing you can do first is get to Trat. You can either take a bus or an airplane, depending on how much time and money you want to spend. From there, you can take a taxi or minivan to the Laem Ngop pier. Here you can take a ferry to Koh Mak. It takes about 45+- minutes to get to the island.
You can also reach Koh Mak from other islands in the Gulf of Thailand, such as Koh Chang or Koh Kood, by taking a ferry or speedboat. The trip from Koh Chang to Koh Mak takes about an hour and the trip from Koh Kood to Koh Mak takes about 1.5 hours.
How to get around on the island
Although Koh Mak isn’t that big, walking everywhere might not be the smartest move. We rented a scooter to help us get from A to B because our accommodation was quite far from the restaurants. But you could rent a bike as well if you don’t have a motorcycle license.
A lot of accommodations are able to arrange transport just like the tourist information. The tourist information is situated by the pier so it’s easy to get off the boat and get a ride to your hotel or guest house. Mostly these will be the famous Thai songtaews.
No other vehicles are allowed on the island, so you’ll only see bicycles, scooters, and the occasional songtaew. The roads reminded us of the roads in Germany, built with big concrete plates.
Things to do
Koh Mak is the best island to go snorkeling because the water is crystal clear and there are a ton of beaches and piers to dive straight into the water. Either bring your own snorkeling equipment or rent it from one of the shops in town. In the shallow parts you might be bothered by sea urchins and some beaches are rocky, so some sort of footwear might be comfortable as well.
If you want to learn how to scuba dive or if you have your PADI and want to go diving, Koh Mak is perfect as well. There are a couple of dive schools that have all the equipment. We went snorkeling with BB Divers and they offer dive courses as well.
Let’s check out what Koh Mak has to offer. Our Koh Mak Travel Guide will help you make the most of your holiday. If you’re missing something, please let us know!
Ao Pra Pier
One of our favorite places to go snorkeling at Koh Mak is the Ao Pra Pier. If you head toward the Cococape Resort the pier is the first thing you’ll notice. The good part of this snorkeling spot is that you enter the water where it’s quite deep already, so you don’t have to worry about walking on rocks or hitting sea urchins while snorkeling.
There is a lot to see underwater, from beautiful coral to fish to sea urchins at the bottom of the ocean. The pier has a ladder to get in and out of the water. Make sure to leave all valuables at home because there isn’t really a spot to leave your belongings.
Ao Kao Bay
If you’re looking for a more popular beach or just want to head into the ocean from the beach you could go to Ao Kao Bay. This beach is about 5 km long and there are about 12 resorts that have access to this beach.
Although the water is just as clear as at the pier we found that there were a lot of sea urchins in the shallow parts of the ocean. This made us a bit apprehensive to go on and discover more. But the beach itself is a nice spot to sit down, relax, and just enjoy the beautiful views!
Laem Son Beach
This is one of the more remote beaches because it’s a little harder to reach. To get to Laem Son Beach you will need to follow a partly paved, partly dirt track. There is a small shop offering an assortment of Thai dishes, cold drinks, and fresh seafood. We found a swing on the beach as well for one of those Instagram pictures.
This snorkeling experience is quite different from the other two because there are more water plants in this area, which makes it somewhat spooky from time to time. But we also spotted sea shells and some of them were opening and closing under water which was fun to watch.
We spotted a poster with the phrase “no troubles, only bubbles”, and we were intrigued! BB Divers offers snorkeling trips and diving trips around all of the islands in the Southern Gulf. We booked a snorkeling trip and had the best day. We saw so much more than we could see at Koh Mak itself.
The tour takes you to the Koh Chang National Marine Park and lunch is included. We stopped at three different sites and were free to snorkel within the area. Someone is always watching to make sure everyone is okay, which made us feel safe.
These areas are quite popular but somehow BB Divers made sure we were there first so we could leave when other groups showed up. We only had a small boat with about 10 people, which is perfect because you’re not in each other’s way.
Kayaking or Stand-Up Paddleboarding
If you would like to explore some of the small islands around Koh Mak you could rent a kayak or paddle board and head over to Koh Kham and Koh Rayang Nok. Or just go from one side of the island to the other side.
Explore the island
Hop on your bike or scooter and discover the island. It’s not that big but it’s fun to see all the different sides of the island. We found a forest that’s part of a rubber plantation. All trees had a little bucket to collect the rubber.
There are two traditional villages on Koh Mak that you can visit. Baan Ao Nid is a fairly large village with a temple, school, and medical center. The other village is Baan Laem Son.
Things you need to know
Although there is an ATM on the island it’s often without cash. Don’t rely on this possibility and make sure you bring enough cash with you. Credit cards are not accepted in small stores or restaurants and some resorts don’t accept them.
The beaches are beautiful, but look out for sandflies! We left one of the beaches early because we were getting itchy just walking there. It depends on the season. Our bug spray didn’t help one bit and these bites are itchier than mosquito bites.
Look out for jellyfish if you go swimming or snorkeling and try to avoid getting stung. If this does happen vinegar might ease your pain.
Koh Mak doesn’t have big supermarkets or a 7-Eleven. They do have small shops where you can buy water or snacks.
Where to stay
Koh Mak has limited accommodations so check what’s available before heading to the island. Although the island isn’t that big, make sure to pay attention to the location if you’re not renting a bike or scooter. Accommodations without air-conditioning or hot water are cheaper but it does get hot!
Ta-Lay Time offers bungalows with access to a small private beach, breakfast included.
Koh Mak Resort offers bungalows and has a swimming pool, with breakfast included.
Villa Allure Koh Mak offers bungalows with a jungle vibe, with breakfast included.
Koh Mak is perfect for a quiet and authentic holiday
If you are looking for a quiet and authentic island, Koh Mak is where you need to go! Beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, and not a lot of people make it the perfect getaway to relax and recharge. We loved every minute of our stay!
Use this Koh Mak Travel guide to help you discover the beauty and serenity of Koh Mak. If you’re looking to go island hopping in Thailand you could start by chasing sunsets at Koh Chang or visiting the old trees at Koh Kood.
Please share your favorite places in Koh Mak below this article so we can add them to the map! This way our Koh Mak Travel Guide will grow and reflect the best of what Koh Mak has to offer!
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