A Vacation Where No Building is Higher than a Coconut Tree

I stepped off the speed boat that had whisked me from the mainland of Thailand to Koh Mak, a tiny island in the far eastern Gulf of Thailand near the Cambodian border and realized I’d found paradise. Over the years I’d grown progressively disenchanted with Thailand’s beautiful beaches, many of which have been ruined by crowds of drunken tourists, rows of high rises, and obnoxiously loud jet boats. But Koh Mak was different.

Beach at Koh Mak

It had the same gorgeous, clear turquoise water and white sand beaches found on Koh Samui or Koh Phi Phi, with none of the downsides. Crowds were non-existent; the only time I saw more than a handful of people was during the speed boat arrival each day, and they quickly dispersed to their respective hotels and guest houses, leaving the beaches once again all but deserted. This idyllic situation will likely continue, as 95% of the island is still owned by a single family that is committed to keep Koh Mak from becoming another Pattaya, with its beer bars and sex trade.

The local governing body has banned quads, banana boats and jet skis, beer bars and brothels are not allowed, and no structure on the island is allowed to be higher than a coconut tree. There are currently only 30 accommodations on Koh Mak, ranging from beachfront resorts to sinple guest houses to vacation rental homes that offer more privacy and space than the typical hotel or guest house.

Koh Mak island

It goes without saying that Koh Mak is not a destination for the party set, as it offers no nightlife to speak of. What it does offer is miles-long walks on ribbons of sand, hammock that swing between palm trees, fresh seafood served at oceanfront restaurants, virtually empty sand roads perfect for biking around the mostly flat terrain, and world class diving. If the rest and relaxation get to be too much, day trips to nearby Koh Chang and Koh Kut are always an option, but the rest and relaxation can be addictive. If you’re like me, you’ll never want to leave.

Good Time Resort, Koh Mak

How to get to Koh Mak from mainland Thailand

Take a bus from either Mo Chit bus station or Suvanabhumi International Airport to Trat city. Travel time is approximately 5 hours. From Trat you will need to take a local taxi to the pier.

Boats sail to Koh Mak from Laem Ngop Pier in Trat. If you are taking a taxi or have rented a private van, make sure the driver understands that you need to go to Laem Ngop Pier rather than the pier that will take you to Koh Chang. Please note that only some resorts accept Master Card and/or Visa, and there are NO ATM’s on the island, so plan to bring enough cash in Thai Baht to pay for food, incidentals, and accommodations that cannot be charged.

A guest post by Barbara Weibel of Hole In The Donut World Travel.

5 Responses

  • Hi Mahi,
    The best time to visit Koh Mak is between November and March when it’s sunny but not too hot – this is also the most expensive time to visit. The monsoon (rainy) season is between June and September/October. This doesn’t mean that it rains all the time. If you’re ok to take the chance, you’ll find some really good deals during this time.


  • Hey kaith,
    it was such a nice post.I also want to visit Koh Mak, Thailand.

    I just want to ask you that is it okay to visit in the month of August? or what is the best time to visit?

  • I visited Koh Mak a few months ago and completely agree that the relaxation can be addictive. After spending ten days there in April, I made a detour on my way into Cambodia in June, just so I could return for a few more days of true peace and quiet!

    I was very interested to read about the local governing body’s official bans, and that 95% of the island is owned by one family. I wish I had found that out before writing my own article about the island!

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