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Ko Pha Ngan

Ko Pha Ngan (เกาะพะง้น, pronounced KOH pa-nGan with G as in mango) is an island off the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand and forms part of the Chumphon Archipelago. Halfway between the islands of Ko Samui and Ko Tao, it is known as a land of coconut trees and the world-famous Full Moon Party that have placed the island firmly on the Banana Pancake Trail.

Orientation

Haad Rin Beach

Places below are listed clockwise starting at Thong Sala:

  • Thong Sala — The island’s “capital” and main ferry port.
  • Ao Nai Wok — A quiet bay with a long white sandbar in front of it. It is the first bay to the north of Thong Sala (just 7 min walk) and one of the best areas for sailing, windsurfing or kayaking. This is due to its orientation to the wind all year long and the proximity of the two wild little islands, Ko Tae Nai and Ko Tae Nok (approximately 10 min paddling in a kayak to Tae Nai)
  • Sri Thanu — A volcanic peninsula to the south of Haad Son and Haad Yao with bays and beaches.
  • Haad Son — A beautiful bay with a beach.
  • Haad Chao Phao — A small quiet beach on the western shore of Ko Pha Ngan. It has some resorts and bungalows offering budget rooms with full facilities. Has several beach bars and restaurants where you can have dinner and drink while the sun is setting. To go there from the main pier by taxi takes around 15 min and 20 min by motorbike. If you need a real escape, here it is. Also has a Moon Set Party at the Pirate Bar. The party is arranged regularly a few days before the Full Moon Party.
  • Haad Yao — A long white sandy beach just north of Haad Chao Phao, slightly more developed with more beach bars, a 7-Eleven, ATMs, and restaurants, but clean nice sea and snorkelling further from the beach with accommodations from 150 Thai Baht. Maybe the best beach on the west coast.
  • Haad Salad — An idyllic cove with several high-end resorts on the northwest corner of the island.
  • Haad Mae Haad — Wide sandy beach joined to Ko Maa, a national marine park, by a sand spit. Has some of the best diving and snorkelling on Pha Ngan. There is a small village and a variety of resorts, restaurants, and bars. Nice snorkelling: you’ll need to go over the first, dead reef to see the coral. Make sure you get in and out during high tide as crossing the dead reef when the tide is receding can be difficult and painful. Not much else to do but snorkel here.
  • Thonglang Bay — Between Chalok Lam and Haad Mae Haad, this almost undiscovered bay offers a delightful and peaceful escape from the crowds.
  • Chalok Lam — Fishing village with a picturesque beach in a long beautiful sandy bay at the northern tip of the island. Not touristy because of few boats making the trip, and the western part of the bay has some of the most beautiful waters off the island with a nice narrow beach under palm trees.
  • Haad Khom — 20-min walk east of Chalok Lam on a steep concrete road or a few minutes ride from Chalok Lam you will find a nice quiet beach with clean seas and soft white sand where you can relax and do some of the best snorkelling on the island. There are only around 5 accommodations with good prices (from 150-300 Thai Baht for a bungalow), so the beach is not crowded. Only the one closest to Chalok Lam, CBB, has 24-hr electricity, the others use diesel generators. Together with Bottle Beach and Chalok Lam Bay these are the best beaches on the northern coast and the entire island.
  • Bottle Beach — Also called “Haad Khuat“, one of the most isolated beaches on the island, on the north coast accessible by longtail boat from Chalok Lam (150 Thai Baht/person) or by a 2-3 hr long, tough hike from Haad Khom beach (this hike named the beach due to the use of plastic bottles to mark the trail). There is also the road option, on one of the worst roads on the island, but the taxi ride is so expensive that is always better go to Chalok Lam and take a longtail boat from there. Very relaxed quiet beach with few accommodations but very reasonable prices (from 250-300 Thai Baht/bungalow). Nice long and wide soft white sand beach and good clean water for swimming even during dry season. There is only one disadvantage. Due to its isolation, there are no ATMs or 7-Elevens or local restaurants so you have to buy everything for inflated prices at your accommodations (e.g., 90 Thai Baht for fried noodles). But what you pay for meals you will save on accommodation and enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches on island.
  • Thong Nai Pan — Scenic area on the northeast part of the island that includes the neighbouring beach resorts of Ao Thong Nai Pan Yai and Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi, twin bays with two fantastic beaches. Thong Nai Pan Yai is the bigger one. The area caters to families with children, and singles and couples who are looking for unspoiled beaches, tranquillity and peace. Here you get safe swimming all year except during the November monsoon which normally ends around the middle of December. Both beaches have a variety of restaurants ranging from inexpensive Thai to top international cuisine.
  • Haad Thien — Home of the Sanctuary Resort, a hip, up-scale resort with a nice vibe.
  • Haad Yuan — A nice sandy beach on the southeast corner. A hop away from Haad Rin if you would like to get away from the party crowd.
  • Haad Rin — (Hat Rin) — The most touristy/crowded village, with all the services any traveller needs and the home of the famous Full Moon Party. The biggest party scene on the island (along with Baan Tai). One of the few beaches during dry season where is possible to swim.
  • Ban Kai — Between Ban Tai and Haad Rin this beach offers an idyllic setting, just minutes from the Full Moon Party. Sea also quite dirty and very mountainous terrain.
  • Ban Tai — Facing Ko Samui, the longest stretch of uninterrupted beach on the entire island.

Introduction to Ko Pha-ngan

Climate & Weather

The best time to visit the island and also high season is Dec-Mar when the water is clean, and good for swimming. It’s also not rainy and temperatures are pleasant. Another high season time is Jul-Aug after the dry season when the water is rising.

Get in

Map of Ko Pha Ngan

If travelling to Ko Phangan during or near the time of the Full Moon Party, booking ferry transport to and from the island ahead of time is highly advised as the limited amount of ferries fill up quickly with the massive crowd coming in for the party.

Upon arrival at the pier, pick up a free guide book phangan.info, with a lot of useful information for travelers (ferry timetables, prices of taxi boats, taxi trucks, where to eat, what to do/see, party dates, maps, accommodations, and more) and even some discount vouchers.

By plane

Via Ko Samui Airport The closest airport is Ko Samui which has frequent flights from Bangkok and Phuket, daily flights from U-Tapao and Singapore, and several direct flights each week from Chiang Mai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Transportation to the ferry dock is easy to find at the airport. Ferries depart several times a day with the last one around dusk.

Via Surat Thani Airport The next nearest airport is Surat Thani () on the mainland. Flights from Bangkok there are significantly cheaper (1,000-1,500 Thai Baht in advance, or 2,000-2,500 Thai Baht if booked same day, instead of 3,000-5,000 Thai Baht if flying to Samui), as there are low-cost carriers (Air Asia) flying there, and even Thai Airways charge 30-50% less than to Samui. However, you’ll then need combined bus + boat travel to get to Ko Pha Ngan, which will surely take several hours. Air Asia uses Don Mueang airport in Bangkok, while Thai Airways uses Suvarnabhumi airport.

Nok Air sells a combined package ticket including airfare to Surat Thani, Chumphon, or Nakhon Si Thammarat, a bus ride to the pier, and a ticket on the Lomprayah high-speed catamaran. This should be simpler for travellers than arranging the individual segments separately. Nok Air uses Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok.

Air Asia has a special “Island Transfer” offering that includes a flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani or Nakhon Si Thammarat, surface transport to the port, and a ferry to Ko Pha Ngan.

One of the best options for travel to the island is via Chumphon Airport, 30 km north of Chumphon city in Pathio District (alternative spelling Pathiu). It has direct daily flights connections with Bangkok two airports, Don Meueng (DMK) and Suvarnabhumi (BKK). There are also onward flights to Ranong Airport (UNN). Flights from Bangkok are around 60 minutes. High-speed Lomprayah catamarans depart from Chumphon to Ko Pha Ngan. Nok Air operates two daily flights between Don Mueang (DMK) and Chumphon Airport (CJM). Nok Air offer a combined flight and ferry ticket on their website. Happy Air operates a flight between Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) to Chumphon 6 days a week. The Chumphon Airport has transit agents for onward connecting travel to the islands of the Chumphon Archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand and Ko Tao, Ko Pha Ngan. The TAT Tourism Authority of Thailand has an information counter at the airport.

By boat

Sunset with fishing boats on Ko Pha Ngan

Several types of ferries are available, of varying speed and quality. The Lomprayah catamaran is easily the best option for comfort and speed, although generally 100-150 Thai Baht more expensive than the other ferries, most travellers and locals, will happily pay the extra for the service.

From Ko Samui: There are at least 3 ferries a day from Ko Samui “Big Buddha” pier directly to Haad Rin. Ferries also leave from Nathon and Mae Nam piers to Thong Sala several times a day.

Raja Ferry sails from Ko Samui to Thong Sala pier 3 times a day (09:00, 14:00, 18:00) for 150 Thai Baht. Tickets can be bought online.

Watch out for scammers at Ko Samui airport who try to sell you a bus/boat combo for an exorbitant price. Make sure to walk towards the exit of the airport where there is an Information counter and taxi stands.

From Ko Tao: there is fast Lomprayah catamaran operating twice daily to Ko Tao for 400 Thai Baht at 08:30 and 13:00 or leaving Ko Tao for Ko Pha Ngan at 09:30. The ride between these islands takes 1¼ hours. A cheaper, but slower ferry operates from Ko Pha Ngan to Ko Tao by Songserm express and costs 300 Thai Baht, leaving Ko Pha Ngan at 12:30, and takes 2 hours. This ferry comes from Chumphon with flight, bus and train connections from Bangkok.

From Surat Thani: There are ferries throughout the day from Donsak pier, 65 km out of town. Lomprayah are fast ferries and they sell tickets including transport from the city centre for 550 Thai Baht.

Raja are slow ferries and combined bus and ferry tickets from the city or Surat Thani train station are available for 375 Thai Baht. There are six ferries a day, the timetable is available online. The tickets can be bought online as well.

Night ferry leaving at 23:00 from Surat Thani city (walking distance from bus stations Talat Kaset 1 and 2), arriving in Thong Sala-Ko Pha Ngan at 06:00. It costs 400 Thai Baht for a space on a mattress on the boat. The night ferry leaves from Thong Sala-Ko Pha Ngan for Surat Thani at 22:00 (400 Thai Baht) arriving around 05:00-06:00.

By bus and boat

The best way in by bus is by government bus (บขส) to the Na Dan ferry piers: these are the most direct, quickest, reliable, safest, and hassle-free services. Tickets for these services can be bought at Sai Tai Taling Chan (southern) government bus terminal in Bangkok.

Buses also arrive in Surat Thani, capital of Surat Thani Province. From here you can buy a ticket for a bus + boat ride for the slow ferry (320 Thai Baht for the 3-hour ferry and bus ticket to Don Sak) or the fast ferry (400 Thai Baht for the 2-hour ferry + transportation to Don Sak pier). Both ferries stop at Ko Samui first, and will drop you off at the pier of Thong Sala. Please note that both options will require you to change buses. This should be a quick and easy change over.

If there are no available options listed above (usually only if you’ve arrived to the bus terminal quite late in the evening before a weekend or holiday), you can also try a bus to Chumphon and board a ferry there, see “By train” below. You can buy a combo ticket on the bus station, it will cost same as if purchased separately (and the bus arrives 2–3 hours before ferry departure, so you shouldn’t be late).

Buses originating from Khao San Road (or other buses operated by travel agencies) are famous for thefts from passenger luggage. Under no circumstances should passengers on Khao San Road buses leave valuables in bags that will go in the luggage storage areas, even if the bags can be locked. Consider it inevitable that every bag will be opened while the bus is in motion. Bus + boat joint ticket costs at the cheapest Israeli travel agencies at the west end of Khao San Road (better said Chakrapong Road) cost only 500-550 Thai Baht depending on whether it’s before/after Full Moon Party and your bargaining skills, so if you are aware of risks using these buses and careful you can really save money instead of taking pricier government bus which does not leave from KSR but requires you to go to a bus terminal.

A very good option, a little pricier, is using the morning bus (06:00) and ferry combination from Lomprayah. A reputable company with an office near Khao San Road and the option to book online through their website. The air-con bus is very new and the connection to the ferry gives the opportunity for a toilet break and to eat something. Leave early in the morning and arrive mid/late afternoon on the island. One way is 1,300 Thai Baht. They also have a night bus.

By train, boat, and bus

An overnight train from Bangkok is an interesting option. Trains arrive in Surat Thani or Chumphon, and from there you can transfer by bus and then boat. Chumphon is the option if you’re planning to stop at Ko Tao, but if you’re heading straight to Ko Pha Ngan, consider Surat Thani. Both stations are on the southbound Hat Yai line, but arrival times in Chumphon (when using night trains) are annoyingly early in the morning. For example, the (recommended) express train number #85 arrives around 04:00 after which you’ll have to wait about 3 hours for the ferry. On the other hand, if you continue down to Surat Thani you can sleep an extra 3–4 hours plus you will arrive in daylight. Considering the waiting time in Chumphon and the longer ferry trip you will eventually get to Ko Pha Ngan at about the same time.

Combined train-bus-boat tickets can be bought direct from the official Advance Booking Counter at Hualamphong station in Bangkok, although if your train is late, and your boat is already gone then you will have to pay extra for the next boat. Thus the joint ticket may not be the best choice.

If e-booking is not available or not suitable to you for some reason, train tickets may be reserved up to 60 days in advance and paid for by email. In reality, the Thai authorities are lax in returning emails and/or will give the runaround, or flat-out refuse to reserve seats for non-Thais during peak travel periods (Dec-Jan and the Songkran holiday in Apr). If your heart is set on going by train, start early, be persistent, and have a backup plan to go by bus or plane.

Get around

By motorbike

There are many rental locations all over the island. They have formed an association recently and all have the same prices, saying this should prevent the problems with the scams that many people complained about before. The advertised price is now 250 Thai Baht/day, can be bargained to 200 Thai Baht/day if renting for more days, but basically impossible to get anything cheaper. Do not rent from the rental shop across from Phangan Cottage (tel 084-8510541) which charges only 200 Thai Baht for normal bike but takes passport and will scam for damages. They gave a worn down key and the bike was stuck in Mae Haad overnight as they refused to come up with a working key and in the morning the bike mysteriously had scratches as if it had been tipped over. 3 scratches charged 5900 Thai Baht would not negotiate.

Some rental shops overcharge for every scratch or dent. They don’t fix, but rather replace the whole part – so note damages to the bike on the rental contract. Be aware that your passport will be held until you pay the extortionate repair cost. You can negotiate the costs down from exorbitant to high, but keep your cool, don’t yell and stay polite. This practice is very common all over the region. It’s not unheard-of that you are asked to pay for damage you haven’t done. In most cases, it’s the combination of very bad & dangerous roads and inexperienced or intoxicated driving that causes accidents. Some good advice is to take pictures of your bike as you rent it, but if the guy has your passport, this won’t do any good. If you don’t know what you’re doing, stay on the safe side and stick with songthaews.

Avoid riding at sundown, when the bugs are out en masse, and result in brief periods of riding blind, while you desperately try to clear your corneas. Try not to go home with a “Thai tattoo”, this can either result from your tender body sliding along a bitumen road at high speed with few clothes on, or from the inside of your leg touching a hot exhaust pipe. Also keep in mind that many, if not most, travel insurance policies will not cover motorcycle accidents, especially if you do not have a Thai drivers license.

Care is needed if attempting to go over the notorious Haad Rin hills, the roads on the east side of the island, and north of Haad Yao. Especially the “Hill of Tears” (first steep ascent from Thong Sala towards Haad Rin) needs caution. Use low gear only and have your passenger walk. This is still quite good concrete road where you need only use brakes compared to mud roads on the northeast part of the island to Bottle Beach, which are the worst on the island with many potholes.

Drunk driving in the West is illegal (not on Ko Pha Ngan, where police don’t check). On Ko Pha Ngan it’s suicidal. Better to sit in the back of a taxi than having a smash-up at night and ending up dead or in the hospital.

Wear a helmet. Police will fine you 200 Thai Baht for non-compliance and set up roadblocks occasionally (before noon in Thong Sala, for example). When driving, stay within your limits. The slower you drive, the less it’s gonna hurt.

It is also possible to rent small Suzuki 4WDs, however, you will find that you can circle the island in a day.

Petrol is quite overpriced at many places. One of the places selling it for reasonable price is the petrol station in Thong Sala, round the corner from Tesco on the road to Chalok Lam.

By songthaew

Songthaews criss-cross the island asking from 100 Thai Baht a ride, if you share the taxi with other people. You can and should bargain for a lower price, especially if your destination isn’t that far. The taxi driver cartel tries to fix prices at 200 Thai Baht a ride. Do not accept the price at the pier and walk rather 300 m to the roundabout in Thong Sala where there is a taxi station with normal prices. From Thong Sala to Baan Tai/Khai or Chalok Lam should be priced around 100 Thai Baht/person, Haad Rin 150 Thai Baht/person, Haad Yao/Salad 150 Thai Baht/person, Thong Nai Pan or Had Sadet 250 Thai Baht.

All taxi service on Ko Pha Ngan is provided by songthaew (pick-up truck). Should you choose to go with a freelancer on a motorbike or in a pickup, make arrangements quickly, quietly and pay surreptitiously.

Usually is the best option to save money and be flexible and avoid using songthaews at all is to rent a motorbike after arriving in Thong Sala as you will be probably leaving from this pier. You can later return the motorbike here and it can save you a lot of money. If there are two of you and you pay 150 Thai Baht/person for one taxi ride, your total expenses to/from beach will be 600 Thai Baht. For that you can have a semi-auto motorbike rental for 6–7 days or a fully automatic for 4–5 days and you are free to ride anywhere between arrival and departure and it’s also the best way when looking for accommodation instead of taking taxi and walking around with a lot of baggage.

By boat

Cruise the bays with your snorkelling gear until someplace takes your fancy. The round-the-island, all-day boat trip is a great way to see some of the best beaches in the island.

What to see and do

Salad Beach on Ko Pha Ngan
  • Than Sadet-Ko Pha Ngan National Park The park (free of charge) is named after the river Than Sadet (literally, “Royal River”). The river forms the largest waterfall on the island, which was visited by several Thai kings. Very difficult to reach on motorbike, one of the worst roads on island. Down at the sea at Than Sadet Beach, there are a few places to stay.
  • Visit the beautiful waterfalls and lookouts in the interior of the island. The best lookouts are Domesila viewpoint, a 15-min hike from Phaeng waterfall in Phaeng National Park (free of charge). There is another waterfall viewpoint a 20-min walk from Phaeng waterfall. From Bottle Beach you can hike to the rocky viewpoint above valley with great views over northeast part of island, hiking to the top should take 30-45 min depending on your condition. You can visit Wat Khao Tam viewpoint on the road between Thong Sala and Haad Rin which you can reach on motorbike and then it’s easy walk for few minutes to the temple with viewpoint at Ko Samui and southern coast of Ko Pha Ngan. Another viewpoint is in Chalok Lam on the road to Haad Khom, it’s well signposted from the main road.
  • Visit Ko Maa off the northwest coast of Ko Pha Ngan. It offers one of the best snorkelling places on the island. Other places to do snorkelling are Haad Khom beach (very shallow water on the coast during low tide, be careful) and Haad Yao.
  • On the road between Thong Sala and Chalok Lam is a beautiful Chinese Temple (free) overlooking Chalok Lam Bay.
  • There is an elephant camp on the way from Baan Tai to Thong Nai Pan (300 Thai Baht for a 30-min ride. Also one close to The Chinese temple on the road from Thong Sala to Chalok Lam (300 Thai Baht for 30-min ride. On the price list it’s officially 500 Thai Baht). Very close is also an archery range.

What to do

Full Moon Party
  • Archery (First Bow and Arrow Archery) (Close to Chalok Lam on the road to Thong Sala). Four archers can have a go at the same time. People are very friendly (German spoken during high-season) and helpful. 15 min for 150 Thai Baht.
  • DivingKo Pha Ngan has lovely sites around the island which are perfect for both beginners and trained divers. From easy dives off the beach to longer trips by boat you can experience the world of tropical diving. The waters around Ko Pha Ngan are much nicer than most people know: fine hard corals with a good range of reefs and tropical/pelagic fish. Sailrock, undoubtedly the most famous dive site in the Gulf of Thailand. Between Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao, all the wonders of this exciting site can be explored by all levels of divers. This spectacular rock rises out of the water creating the best wall dive with a maximum depth of 40 m. Providing a great range of marine life, spectacular underwater scenery, rock formations. There are several PADI dive-schools on the island, including: Haad Yao Divers a PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Resort on Haad Yao and Haad Chao Phao; Reefers Dive Resort on Haad Yao Beach; Sail Rock Divers ; Lotus Dive Resort, both in Chalok Lam; and Phangang Divers, in Haad Rin. You will, however, find many more dive schools throughout the island. Under Thai law, dive operators must be registered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to improve quality of service, safety and help protect the customer from fraud. Check to make sure you are booking with a TAT registered dive centre.
  • Full Moon PartyIf you’re after party heaven you can’t do better than Haad Rin, an expanded village of beach bars, cheap chicken burgers, and low cut figure-hugging outfits. It is most popular one night a month, the night of the Full Moon Party. Every bar is hopping, the beaches packed with trance, dance, buckets, and various other suspicious substances. However, if the sight of thousands of bottles and other trash repulses you, make sure you leave the beach area before the sun comes up, or grab a garbage bag and help tidy up a little. Haad Rin offers a variety of entertainment venues just steps away from the famous Full Moon Party beach, where travellers and locals come to get away from the repetitiveness of the beach party scene. In Nov 2014 and again in Apr 2015, all parties except the Full Moon Party have been banned by local authorities.
  • Herbal Sauna (Near the 7-Eleven in Baan Thai, on the southwest side of the island.). Daily, 13:00-19:00The herbal sauna at Wat Pho with separated men’s/women’s rooms is a great relief after long party nights. Always wear a sarong (over your bikini, for men it’s OK to use shorts). Remember that you are on temple grounds and locals find nudity offensive. This is not a European sauna, sitting naked will get you into trouble. You can stay as long as you want. 50 Thai Baht, towel 10 Thai Baht.
  • HikingCan be done all around the island. There is a trail that leads between Haad Rin and Haad Tien, which many enjoy. The route can become difficult to discern, and bringing enough water is necessary. If you are feeling adventurous, ride a motorbike to the end of the concrete road at Haad Khom from where you can hike through steep terrain and jungle on the coast to isolated Bottle Beach. The overgrown and difficult trail is occasionally marked with bottles and the hike takes 2–3 hours. Ride back to Chalok Lam with a taxi boat (150 Thai Baht/person) from where it’s a 30-min walk uphill to the Haad Khom main road where you parked your motorbike (or you can hike all the way from Chalok Lam). Another good trail is to the best viewpoint on the island (in good weather), Khao Ra Viewpoint, on the highest hill on the island.
  • Muay ThaiGyms such as Chinnarach offer training and workout facilities, as well as camps such as “Horizon” located in Haad Tien (east) which is an intensive training camp. There are also frequent bouts in Thong Sala and Haad Rin for spectators.
  • WatersportsRent or take courses in sailing, windsurfing, kite-surfing or paddle boarding. All are available in only few locations such as, Sl2k Adventure at Baan Manali Resort in Ao Nai Wok or “Cookie Salad” at “Haad Salad”.
  • YogaOffered at multiple places including Agama Yoga, which is in the northwest of the island and has month-long intensive courses.

Buy

Under Thai law, travel agents that offer ticket, tours, tourism services, hotel reservations in Thailand must be registered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to improve quality of service and help protect customers from fraud. Please check to make sure you are booking through a TAT registered travel agent.

In Thong Sala and Haad Rin vendors sell pretty much anything you can think of, and probably some things you don’t need at all. You can try to bargain, but realistically, the prices are set. You may get a deal every now and again, but it’s the exception to the rule. Remember that you’re in a tourist area and that prices usually are above the level of Bangkok. The further you go from the ferry piers, the better your chance of haggling gets.

Main purchases you will find on Ko Pha Ngan include hammocks (check out “Hammock Home Gallery” in Thong Sala) and some of the local artists’ works. Most of the clothing is of the variety that you will find in Bangkok, but generally it is a bit more expensive, as it has been imported to the island for sale.

Art galleries are considered to be a rising business on Ko Pha Ngan. Most of the places will offer variety works and services including custom orders and art reproductions. These galleries have reputations for affordable prices and fine quality artistic skills.

  • Tesco-Lotus (Thong Sala). 10:00-22:00The biggest supermarket on the island. Sells cheap microwaveable dishes. The bakery makes a change from Thai food.

Eat

Delicious Thai Food

For the most part, this is not the place to come to experience Thai food or culture. For a slightly more authentic experience (and cheaper than the well-decorated cafe/restaurants by Haad Rin beach), patronise the more modest street carts where you might see some Thais eating.

The best area for cheap eats is definitely the food carts in Thong Sala, the main town on the island. In the evening you can eat at the night market (from 40 Thai Baht/meal (usually curried meat with rice or fried rice or pad Thai), soups from 30 Thai Baht, pancakes from 20-30 Thai Baht, meat on sticks 10-30 Thai Baht/stick.) Free Wi-Fi in a roofed hall. Across the road from 7-Eleven in Chalok Lam are also some Thai street stalls where you will find locals eating. In front of Tesco you can buy sticks with fried meatballs for 5 Thai Baht/stick and at the junction next to entrance to Tesco parking lot you can buy in the morning (07:00-09:00) sticky rice with pork/chicken/livers packed in banana leaves for 10 Thai Baht for a small portion. There are also a few street stalls. There is also a small market next to 7-Eleven in Thong Sala in the direction of Haad Rin (after Walking St traffic lights) with Thai meals for 30-50 Thai Baht.

  • A’s Famous146 Soi Krung Thai, Thong Sala (Opposite Krung Thai Bank in Thong Sala), . American restaurant and deli. Run by Michael Hershman, Cambridge, Massachusetts-born and Los Angeles raised, who moved to the island in the 1980s. He gets his smoked salmon from Norway; his roast beef from Australia; his salamis from Italy. He roasts his own coffee from Chiang Mai.

Where to stay in Ko Pha-ngan

As a general guide: As further you walk along the beach to the last resort, the better and quieter the accommodation.

You can usually find accommodation at the pier when you arrive, many of resorts offers taxi service from pier for free. However, during the full moon period it is worth booking ahead unless you want to sleep on the beach or spend the night in one of the more expensive lodgings. If you are thinking of booking accommodation on-line before you arrive, make sure you book direct with the resort or a trustworthy booking site as there are numerous fake sites for several well-known Ko Pha Ngan resorts appearing on the Internet.

There is more to Ko Pha Ngan than the Full Moon Party and Haad Rin, so don’t be afraid to venture out to other beaches. You can still get to the party from just about everywhere.

The decent rooms tend to run out a few days before the Full Moon Party, and throughout the peak season (Dec-Feb). If you have a short vacation or like to have a soft landing, you might want to book a room in advance. This can be quite hard on the less accessible beaches, such as Haad Tien or Haad Yuan.

If you decide to test your luck, try to arrive as early in the day as possible (09:00 seems to be a good time) to have the most time and options for accommodations.

If you come in relatively low-season in Jul and Aug, it is a good idea to book a room in advance just for the first night and rent a motorbike to look around. Beaches differ a lot (some of them are good for diving/snorkelling, some are good for swimming), so do villages (some are really quiet, some are packed with bars). Motorbike trip by the seaside to Chalok Lam and all the places on the way, and to Haad Rin on the other end of the island. Should not be a problem even for less experienced riders and will help you to choose the perfect place which suits your preferences. More remote places are harder to get by motorbike, so if you are thinking about staying in Thong Nai Pan or Bottle Beach, you have to rely on reviews.

For a cheap bungalow, literally moments from white beaches (but no surf whatsoever), turn left from Thong Sala and you will pass strings of quiet bays, each with one or more resorts, featuring a bar, a restaurant, rooms and bungalows, and a few dozen laid back tourists for company. Try Haad Yao, Haad Son, Haad Salad or any of the others along the same strip.

For the north of the island, Chalok Lam, Ko Pha-ngan/Haad Mae Haad, Haad Khom & Bottle Beach are popular.

For long-term stay, you can rent whole house (1 bedroom, small kitchen, bath, Wi-Fi, electricity/water included) for 5-6,000 Thai Baht/month, not on the beach. Bigger houses with 2 bedrooms from 10-12,000 Thai Baht/month. For a 2 week booking, don’t expect half of the monthly price. Two weeks in a 2 bedroom house costs a minimum of 7-9,000 Thai Baht, 1 bedroom 3-4,000 Thai Baht.

Stay safe and avoid Scams on Ko Pha-ngan

Emergency contacts

  • Fire: dial 199
  • Police: dial 191 (077 377 114)
  • Tourist Police: dial 1155 (this supersedes the old “1699” number)
  • Phangan Rescue Centre: dial 077 377 118

Yes, the Full Moon Party (as well as others) is full of drugs, but these days it’s also full of plain clothed policemen out to bust you. Be very careful if you intend to consume illicit drugs. Roadblocks are common, particularly in the week before the FMP between Thong Sala and Haad Rin. Thai police have also been known to force urine tests. Remember that the Thais have harsh penalties for drug offences and the police are working to meet their “quota”. Be aware that you may not be able to bail yourself out of trouble, especially if you get transferred to Surat Thani – and that bribing Thai police will at least cut a deep hole into your travel budget, if it is possible at all. Do not keep drugs on you, in your room, or in your vehicle.

If you plan to drink at a party, make sure you have reliable transportation set up beforehand. The roads here are nothing to mess with, and too many people try to drive home because they don’t have a taxi waiting. If nothing else, find a safe corner and sleep it off before you head home.

It’s not a good idea to accept drinks or food from strangers; there are reported incidents of spiked drinks (from both locals and “fellow” travellers). There have been reports of LSD buckets foisted upon unsuspecting partyers in Haad Rin. Drugged drinks are often and unfortunately followed up by robbery, sexual harassment, or even (gang) rapes. The best idea is to take your own drinks and stay with your friends.

On closer inspection of the buckets sold, most liquor bottles are unsealed, so there is uncertainty about the true contents of every bottle. This may be why so many people get sick.

However a local club owner states “we use the small bottles for the buckets and it is cheaper and easier for us to re-use the small bottles. The local stockists always run out of small bottles so we often replace the contents with that from a larger bottle of the same liquor (some clubs use cheaper liquor. Ask politely at the bar for original liquor and be prepared to pay more for original liquor).

Hangovers come from dehydration. Most kids drink buckets all night, then party in the morning sun on alcohol. Best advice is to drink water regularly, even at night as its hot and sweaty.

Before buying a bucket, check the seal of the bottle and politely ask what’s in it if you are worried. Apart from that, remember the fact that buckets can be very strong and unpredictable. If you intend to drink a lot, try to have solid food beforehand, or you might “lose it” very fast.

It’s advisable to leave all valuables in a safety deposit box or in your guest house owner’s hands instead of taking them to the party.

Wear shoes or sandals to avoid injury from broken bottles or burning cigarettes.

If you’re averse to getting knocked on the head with flaming batons, then don’t venture too close to the fire poi swingers on the beach, as skillful as they may be, the fire sometimes gets out of hand and hits nearby tourists. “Fire Skipping Rope/Jump through Fire Hoop” are dangerous games provided by a few of the beach bars. Take care when participating in these games, especially if you are drunk.

If you plan to leave the island the day after the Full Moon Party, be aware that the boats are usually packed with other tourists who have the same idea. Make sure you’re not getting on an overloaded boat. The same applies to taxi-boats before and after the FMP. Thais frequently overload their longtail boats and lost luggage is at your own expense. Better to get off, reclaim your money and wait for the next one.

There are many good places to stay in Ko Pha Ngan. If you want to stay close to the action, but not too close, you may choose the resorts on the “sunset side” of Haad Rin. You can stay just about anywhere on the island and still get to the Full Moon Party, so don’t be afraid to venture away from Haad Rin, which is the most developed and least Thai beach of them all. There are over 30 coves and beaches on the island, each with its own distinct qualities. Check out local information to find which beach suits you.

Walk away from every potential conflict with locals. You will stand no chance and it’s a surefire way to get hospitalized. Do not get inappropriately rowdy or swear at the beach bar staff. In April an Israeli tourist got stabbed to death right on the dance floor in one of the bars on Haad Rin beach. Violence is frequent. Locals will not help you in a fight and will in fact gang up on you whether you are right or wrong, and “fellow” travellers will do their best to stay out of it. If you find yourself targeted, leave the place immediately and don’t come back the same night.

Compared to most of Thailand (and especially the North and Northeast), citizens of Ko Pha Ngan are generally aggressive, rude, and unfriendly. Don’t expect to be treated as much more than a human ATM. Beware also of other travellers who can also be pretty aggressive when drunk, male or female.

If you walk on some of the smaller backroads of the island, dogs can be a real danger. Many of the dogs you encounter will be highly territorial and unfriendly (barking, baring their teeth, getting very close), especially if it is a group of dogs. Getting bitten means an urgent flight to Bangkok to get rabies treatment, so this is important to avoid. Do not stare directly at the dogs (but do look at them every once in a while as it seems to deter them somewhat), and do not run. Try talking to them continuously in a calm and friendly voice (“what a good dog”, etc.) and move slowly but surely, either away from the dog, or, if it’s critical for you to pass, then as far away as possible from the dog’s “home territory” (e.g., if it ran out of a house on the left side of the road, move along the right side). In an emergency, remember that they’re probably as scared of you as you are of them, so any violent motion (like throwing something) will likely send them running back, but only temporarily. Do this only as a last resort.

Telecommunications in Ko Pha-ngan

Internet cafes are plentiful and typically also offer international calls, fax services, and flight confirmation. The connection and speed is generally good. Expect to pay 1 Thai Baht/min for Internet in central locations. One Thai Baht per minute is typical for predominantly tourist-oriented shops, many of which also offer lower rates for pre-paid blocks of time. In travel agency Tan Tour (50 m to west of 7-Eleven next to the pier) the friendly owner Tomas is famous for not taking charging customers very seriously, so if you stay only a short time you can usually use the Internet for free, or for a longer time you will usually end up paying only 20 Thai Baht/hr instead of 40-60 Thai Baht.

Next door to the 7-Eleven in Thong Sala at the pier there is free (open) Wi-Fi for everyone in Sweet Cafe, so if you don’t mind sitting in the sun you can use it for free. Also in the food court in the Thong Sala night market (actually open all day) there is free Wi-Fi for everyone. It’s not difficult to find well-equipped, quiet, air-con Internet cafés that charge 60 Thai Baht/hr. Shops that can accommodate users who want to hook up their own laptops can easily be found. Printing (black/white) is usually 10 Thai Baht/page (30 Thai Baht/page for colour).

When you venture away from the more developed beaches, expect to pay up to 3 Thai Baht a minute. It can be cheaper just for staying in touch (Skype/Facebook) to buy a SIM card with a 1GB data package for 1 month for 214 Thai Baht (AIS/DTAC), which is enough for mobile Internet, but be aware some beaches do not have a 3G signal (Haad Yuan/Haad Tien, for example).

Mobile phone/SIM cards can be bought and topped-up all around island in many 7-Elevens. Mobile signal strength for DTAC (Happy) or AIS (1-2-Call) is good all around the island. Avoid using the TrueMove network which has very bad coverage.

Some places try to sell overpriced “internet” SIM cards for prices like 100 Thai Baht for the SIM card + 230 Thai Baht for the data. It’s a rip off and there’s no need to waste money for those; normal SIM card costs 50 Thai Baht, and e.g. 600 MB/7 days data package (dtac) is 79 Thai Baht. Refer to Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki – Thailand for the details about the packages available and current pricing.

Overseas calls can be made from many agencies and Internet shops, as well as guesthouses/hotels and the like. Most advertise a rate of 15 Thai Baht/minute (or 25 Thai Baht/minute to mobile phones). Pretty much every Internet place will have headsets for Skype use, which will be free if you don’t have to call to a telephone.

  • Thailand Post (SE of Thong Sala), . Monday to Friday 08:30-16:30; Saturday to Sunday 09:00-12:00Ko Pha Ngan’s main post office. As well as the usual postal services, it handles Western Union transactions and hosts a large number of post/security boxes. There is also a smaller but still official post office in Haad Rin, very close to the ferry pier on the west side. Open similar hours to the main post office but possibly slightly more restricted, as it is really only a quarter the size of Thong Sala’s.

Where to go next after Ko Pha-ngan

* Ang Thong National Marine Park — 2 hours away by boat and a great place for a day-trip only (snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, viewpoint over 42 islands) through travel agencies, not on your own. There are huts and tents available. The main highlight when staying on Ko Pha Ngan.

  • Bangkok — easily reachable by boat + bus (from 750 Thai Baht) or boat + train (1,000-1,250 Thai Baht from the island to BKK via air conditioned sleeper train).
  • Ko Samui — the biggest and most touristy island (on the east coast) of Thailand, many boats departing for there from 250 Thai Baht.
  • Ko Tao — “the biggest dive school on the planet” (Songserm express ferry leaving Thong Sala at 12:30 for 250 Thai Baht).
  • Surat Thani — closest city on the mainland.

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Central Thailand

Hua Hin Cha-am | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak

Wolfgang Holzem

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Hua Hin Travel Guide

Hua Hin is a district in the Prachuap Khiri Khan Province of Thailand, 295 kilometers from Bangkok and 90 km from the provincial capital. It is the oldest and most traditional of Thailand’s beach resorts combining the attractions of a modern holiday destination with the charm and fascination of a still active fishing port. Beaches are located in the east of the province, including a 5km stretch of white sand and clear water. Although it has developed to cater for tourists from all over the world, the resort which began its development over 70 years ago, remains popular with Thais too, a good sign for those looking for an authentic experience.

The resort was originally founded in 1830s, when farmers, moving south to escape the results of a severe drought in the agricultural area of Phetchaburi, found a small village beside white sands and rows of rock, and settled in. The tranquil fishing village was turned into a ‘Royal resort’ becoming popular among Siam’s nobility and smart-set.

Accessibility was greatly enhanced by the construction of the railway from Bangkok, which brought visitors from wider social groups, and kick-started the industry which would bring tourists from other countries. The first hotel – The Railway Hotel – was built in 1921 and it still stands today continuing to serve tourists as the Sofitel Central.

Hua Hin was made famous in the early 1920s by King Rama VII, who decided it was an ideal getaway from the steamy metropolis of Bangkok. He built a summer palace and this was echoed when King Rama VII ordered the construction of the Palace of Klaikangwon (“far from worries”). The latter is still much used by the Thai Royal Family today.

The resort continued to develop slowly, protected to some extent by its Royal reputation. Its fishing port grew alongside golf courses and all the big hotel chains are now represented. Many of Bangkok’s rich and famous and a growing number of expats have built their own summer homes along the bay, making the resort more cosmopolitan every year.

Development has taken over much of the prime government land, so the coast road suffers from obstructed views of the sea these days, but Hua Hin is trying hard to retain its beach-side atmosphere. Compared to Pattaya, the resort remains relatively serene and attracts families and older travelers. The beach has a gradual slope, into clear warm water which so far has escaped pollution of any kind.

Further afield, the Prachuap Khiri Khan Province is a charming region, where limestone cliffs and islands, bays and beaches, are home to a national park, and several temples, and travelling through this area will be a welcome experience for those hoping to avoid the tourist traps found further South. Driving from Bangkok through Prachuap Khiri Khan takes around three hours, a journey punctuated by summer palaces, huge temples, beautifully kept gardens and salt flats.

Visitors head to Hua Hin all year round. The area has one of the lowest rainfalls in the country, and there’s usually a gentle sea breeze to punctuate the heat, particularly welcome in the summer season between March and September.

Stay with our Hotel Partners in Hua Hin

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Flights to Hua Hin

Things to see and do in Hua Hin

Dive In
As you would expect with a resort boasting a 5km clean white beach, sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling are popular pastimes. Swimming is safe, and with one of the driest climates across Thailand, there’s plenty of opportunity to dry off in the sun afterwards.

Tee Off
Possibly due to its noble history and elegant clientele, Hua Hin has the highest density of world class golf courses anywhere in Thailand, although it has yet to be discovered by the international golf tournament circuit. Green-fees and other costs are surprisingly low, given that course maintenance and services are superb. The Royal Hua Hin course is one of many, but considered to be the best.

Shop till you drop

Chatchai Market is colourful and inexpensive and is one of Hua Hin’s major attractions. Vendors gather nightly in the centre of town, where they cook fresh gulf seafood for hordes of hungry Thais and provide a spectacle for visitors. As well as plentiful food shops, it offers much that will appeal to souvenir hunters too.

Royal Palace

Klai Kangwon (which means ‘Far From Worries’ ) is the Royal Palace built by King Rama VII in 1928. It was designed by Prince Iddhidehsarn Kridakara, an architect and the Director of the Fine Arts Department at the time, and officially opened in 1929. Further structures have been added over time, including a mansion ordered by King Bhumibol (Rama IX) for Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and accommodation for the royal entourage, built in the style of the original buildings so as to preserve the harmony of the palace. Although Klai Kangwon is still in regular use by the Royal family, it is also open to the public.

Hop on a train
Or more importantly, visit the railway station. Built in the reign of Rama IV, the brightly painted wooden buildings somehow combine traditional Thai ideas with a Victorian feel, and in 2009 Hua Hin made it onto NewsWeek’s Best Stations list, in great company such as New York’s Grand Central, and London’s St Pancras.

Take off
Although one of the joys of Hua Hin is its serenity and calm, if you’re keen to take in more, its fairly easy to find trips which will take you to many of the other southern beach destinations such as Koh Nangyaun, Koh Toa, Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi  and Koa Sok. You may find however that some of these legendary destinations have suffered more at the hands of the global tourist industry than Hua Hin has.

Monkey about
Khao Takiab is referred as Monkey Mountain, but as well as the mischievous residents, it also boasts a hilltop temple with sensational views of Hua Hin, a pagoda-style shrine and a giant golden Buddha which faces the sunrise.

Walk in the Park
The region boasts several parks, and natural attractions, such as the Kangajan National Park, and the Koa Sam Roi Yod Marine Park. You’ll find miles of good walking, amongst lakes, caves and waterfalls, and you’ll be in the company of as elephants, tigers, wild dogs and leopards.

Eat, drink and sleep in Hua Hin

As more affluent ex-pats from all over the world gather to weather the winter, or snap up beachfront properties in Hua Hin, the restaurant scene becomes more cosmopolitan. French, Italian, German and Scandinavian restaurants are all here, in case anyone feels homesick. However, there are also rustic seafood restaurants, especially on the pier, and at several of these you can choose your own fish from the fish market right outside and waiters will bring you the finished result.
There are plenty of simpler local restaurants both inside and out on the streets where you can sample authentic Thai food too.

If you want to try to cook your own Thai food in Hua Hin, the very best place to buy your ingredients, not because it’s the cheapest, but because it is a fabulous experience, is the night market. Right in the centre of town, it opens at 18:00. It’s also a terrific place to buy handicrafts, souvenirs and clothing.

The Chatchai market is a great day market and the place to go for the best street food, as vendors grill, fry, boil and dress the fabulous local fish and shellfish, but don’t forget to leave room for a real local speciality. Roti Hua Hin is a delicious dough-based snack filled with strawberries, custard or raisins.

In a side street just off the market is the Hua Hin Thai Show, a pagoda-style restaurant which combines great food with a nightly musical performance, where you can sample folk with your fish or classical over your clams.

Unlike many Thai resorts, here you will also find more elegant dining, including Thai and Vietnamese food with a more upmarket touch for a real treat. Monsoon is the most romantic and expensive, but it’s worth it for the wine list and the elegant atmosphere. If your budget doesn’t run to dinner, you can enjoy afternoon tea on its teak-decked terrace.

Hua Hin isn’t as lively as many of its neighbours, but that doesn’t mean it’s no go for night life. There are quite a few live music venues, including El Murphy’s the Irish bar, which has its own local band rocking the town with rock and blues classics. There are a couple of country music pubs, and several nightclubs, but for a really classy experience, head to Satchmo’s where a vibrant Filipino band will serenade you as you drink the best Mojito outside Mexico.

Hua Hin has more than its share of upmarket and luxury accommodation. All the main hotel chains are here, and most have lovely grounds, top facilities and restaurants. There are elegant luxury boutique-style hotels too, many with villas and private pools. Sadly, there aren’t as many budget options as there used to be, but if you’re prepared to do some research you can find clean an friendly guesthouses and bed-and-breakfasts at reasonable rates. If you’re planning to stay a while, a rental apartment can be a good option; many of the holiday homes owned by people who live abroad can be rented for at least part of the year. Wherever you stay, Hua Hin is an oasis of calm in a country of exciting contrasts.

Hotels/Resorts in Hua Hin

Hotels Hua Hin: Popularity

Hotel Stars Discount Price before and discount Select dates
Hua Hin Marriott Resort and Spa ★★★★★ -26% 180 133 View Isaan Hotel Deals
G Hua Hin Resort & Mall ★★★★ -13% 66 57 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa - SHA Certified ★★★★★ -19% 118 96 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hop Inn Hua Hin ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Anantara Hua Hin Resort ★★★★★ -22% 115 90 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin ★★★★★ -38% 125 78 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Asira Boutique HuaHin ★★★★ -9% 372 339 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Blu Marine Hua Hin Resort and Villas ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Amari Hua Hin - SHA Certified ★★★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Bann Lom Le Guest House ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
The Herbs Hotel Hua Hin ★★★★ -20% 191 153 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Corner Cafe Bed & Breakfast ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Whale Hua Hin - SHA Certified ★★★★ -60% 653 262 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Putahracsa Hua Hin Resort ★★★★★ -8% 128 118 View Isaan Hotel Deals
The Restro ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
InterContinental Hua Hin Resort, an IHG Hotel ★★★★★ -20% 167 133 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Dadddy's home Huahin ★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals
Ruenkanok Thaihouse Resort ★★★ -37% 323 204 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Hyatt Regency Hua Hin ★★★★★ -12% 302 266 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Villa Baan Malinee ★★★ View Isaan Hotel Deals

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Ko Mak Covid-19 Safe Travel Trat Thailand

Wolfgang Holzem

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Ko Mak is an island in Trat Province, Eastern Thailand. It is fairly undeveloped and natural.

Understand

There are very few islands in Thailand which are still in the same hands as they were over a century ago. There are even fewer which have a written history covering this period. The extended family, descended from a royal tax collector, Luang Prompakdee still own 80% of the island and run many of the resorts. The islanders, in conjunction with the Thai government and a German NGO have been piloting many schemes aimed at making the island Thailand’s first environmentally friendly, low carbon destination by showcasing how sustainable development can improve livelihoods and been done in an affordable manner. There are several projects up and running, including hydroponic farms, a biogas plant, solar powered tour boat and hop on, hop off electric bus service.

Stay with our Hotel Partners on Ko Mak

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Get in

From the Ko Mak pier in Laem Ngop (Trat): Leelawadee Speedboats and Panan Speedboats provide daily speedboat service to Ko Mak, with the last boat leaving for Ko Mak at 16:00. Leelawadee provides service to the Makathanee Pier on Ko Mak’s south shore, while Panan provides service to the Ko Mak Resort Pier on Ko Mak’s north shore.

From Bangkok / Pattaya: Boonsiri Ferry daily service with (mini)bus transfers from Bangkok and Pattaya to connect with their Catamaran ferry service to Ko Mak and Ko Kood.

From the Laem Sok pier (Trat): Siriwhite Speedboats/CP Laem Sok Group provides daily service to Ko Mak’s largest pier at Ao Nid, before continuing on to Ko Kut. There is also a new once-daily catamaran service between Laem Sok and Ao Nid .

From Ko Chang: during the high season there is a twice daily speedboat transfer from Kai Bae Beach at 09:00 and 11:00 to the Makathanee Pier on Ko Mak. First boat is a sure bet, the 2nd only if there are enough passengers. In the low season this service won’t run. On the south end of Ko Chang you can catch either a speedboat or slower wooden boat from Bang Bao.

From Ko Kut: there is twice-daily speedboat service running from most resorts that own private piers at 09:30 and 12:00, arriving at Ko Mak about 45 minutes later. These boats typically continue to Ko Chang or the mainland after docking at the Makathanee Pier, Ao Nid, or Ko Mak pier.

Get around

Ko Mak has a 27 km long coastline, many long sandy beaches, a few hills. It is about 16 km2 in area.

Ko Phi, also northwest of Ko Mak but southwest of Ko Kham, is unoccupied.

At low tide, it is possible to walk to Ko Kham (privately owned), which is a smaller island less than 1 km northwest of Ko Mak. It can be reached with a sea kayak from Ko Mak or by walking during low tide. Ko Kham has nice places to snorkel, depending on the direction of wind. Especially the south beach has calm sea, a nice sand dune, black lava rocks with shells, and crabs (or crayfish or shellfish). Near rocks, you may see (or swim over) black sea urchins that have 15–30 cm (6–12 in) radius and many thin black spines about 30–50 cm (12–20 in) long. Locals say that the spines contain small needles and poison: if one touches the spines and is stuck by a needle, the needle should be crushed with a rock. The poison is only irritating and not lethal. In Thai, the name is hoi men (หอยเม่น).

For exploring the island, motorbikes and bicycles are available for rent at numerous locations, and most beaches and restaurants are within easy walking distance.

What to see and do

Ko Mak is a working island with the majority of the island being covered in rubber plantations and pineapple farms.So the main attractions are the beaches. The two main beaches are Ao Suan Yai on the northwest shore of the island.  And Ao Kra Tueng and Ao Kao which run along the southwest facing beach. Other smaller, less developed beaches include Ao Pra, Ao Tao Khai, Ao Tan, and Ao Talong.

What to do

  • Smile Koh Mak (Learn Thai Cooking) (In Baan Ao Nid, next to Ko Mak Seafood Restaurant and Museum).  Leng has been teaching Thai cooking for 5 years now, so relax and enjoy.
  • Kayak to nearby islands
  • Explore Ko Mak’s quiet bicycle trails and roads on a rented bike or scooter
  • Visit nearby Ko Kradad’s wild deer population
  • Enjoy Ko Mak’s many small Thai and Western restaurants

Dive

  • Koh Mak Divers.

Buy

The Island does not have an ATM. There is reportedly one resort which can charge your plastic card and take an additional 5% for the pleasure. There are a few small shops on the island but no 7-Eleven.

Where to stay in Ko Mak

Hotels Island Mak: Popularity

HotelStarsDiscountPrice before and discountSelect dates
Seavana Koh Mak Beach Resort★★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Koh Mak Ao Kao White Sand Beach★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Koh Mak Resort★★★-27%523 384 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Baan Koh Mak★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Ao Pong ResortView Isaan Hotel Deals
Islanda Resort Hotel★★★-22%484 379 View Isaan Hotel Deals
Plub Pla Koh Mak Retreat★★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
The Cinnamon Art Resort and Spa★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Villa Sugarcane Koh MakView Isaan Hotel Deals
The Mak TratView Isaan Hotel Deals
Good Time Sports Resort Koh Mak★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Villa Allure Koh MakView Isaan Hotel Deals
By The Sea Koh MakView Isaan Hotel Deals
Little Moon VillaView Isaan Hotel Deals
Baan Chai Lay Krua TonhomView Isaan Hotel Deals
Makathanee Resort★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Sweet Home 2View Isaan Hotel Deals
Coconut Villa★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
Villa Ginger Koh MakView Isaan Hotel Deals
Banana Sunset - Bar & Bungalows★★★View Isaan Hotel Deals
  • Good Time Resort.  Thai-style resort with pool, spa and tropical gardens. 1,880-5,100 Thai Baht.
  • Koh Mak RetreatPrivate sea view villas in a secluded location. 1,700-5,500 Thai Baht.
  • Makathanee Resort.  Has beachfront bungalows, pool and sea view hotel rooms at one of the best beaches on the island. 1,000-8,000 Thai Baht.
  • Thaidaho Vista Resort ,   Non-smoking boutique guesthouse (only 5 rooms) with spectacular ocean views and tropical garden.

Go next

There are daily speedboats from Ko Mak to the mainland, Ko Chang, and Ko Kut; slow wooden boats to Ko Chang and the mainland; and daily catamaran service to the mainland.

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Sing Buri | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak

Sing Buri (สิงห์บุรี) is the provincial capital of Sing Buri Province, in the central region of Thailand. Understand Sing Buri was a great city in Thai history for the heroic act of the villagers of Bang Rachan in battle. On the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, about 142 km from Bangkok, it has […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Sing Buri (สิงห์บุรี) is the provincial capital of Sing Buri Province, in the central region of Thailand.

Understand

Sing Buri was a great city in Thai history for the heroic act of the villagers of Bang Rachan in battle. On the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, about 142 km from Bangkok, it has an area of around 841 sq km. Geographically, it is a basin where three rivers, the Chao Phraya, Noi, and Lop Buri, flow through. Somdet Khrom Phraya Damrong Rajanuphab described the city thus, “€œSing Buri is an ancient and large city with a fortress, a royal palace, and Wat Maha That”. The reclining Chakkrasi Buddha image is larger than others in Thailand. It is an imitation of the Indian Buddha image, like the one at a cave in Yala province. Sing Buri was called by different names: the city of Singha Rachathirat or the city of Singha Racha. The city sits by the Chakkrasi, a large river 200 sen (Thai measurement equivalent to 40 m) away from the Chao Phraya River. Since the Chakkrasi River has been shallow, the city of Sing Buri has become a mysterious city. The city of Sing Buri was established as Sing Buri Province in 1895 during the reign of King Rama V.

Among the charms of Sing Buri, many roads in the town of Sing Buri are named after the heroes of the Bang Rachan village, such as Nai Thaen, Nai Dok, Nai In, Nai Mueang, Khun San, etc. Besides, there are a great number of Buddhist temples, both of the old and new ages.

Stay with our Hotel Partners in Sing Buri

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Get in

By car

From Bangkok, there are two routes:

  • Take Hwy 1 (Phahonyothin Road) and, at km52, switch to Hwy 32 (Asian Hwy), past Bang Pa-in in Ayutthaya. Then, change to Hwy 309, past Ang Thong to the town of Sing Buri, a total distance of 135 km.
  • Take Hwy 1 (Phahonyothin Road), past Wang Noi in Ayutthaya, Nong Khae in Saraburi, and Lopburi. From Lopburi, take Hwy 311, past Tha Wung and drive towards Sing Buri, a total distance of 179 km.

By bus

The Transport Company Ltd. on Kamphaengphet 2 Road operates an air conditioned bus service from Bangkok to Sing Buri every day. For more information, call Tel. +66 2 9362852-66. A private operator, Wiriya Tour Company Limited, offers a daily bus service. For more details, call Tel. +66 2 5122565, or contact the Sing Buri office at Tel. +66 36 511259.

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