Welcome to Koh Mak – Thailand’s Family Island
Koh Mak ( or Koh Maak in some guides ) is located in the Marine National Park in Eastern Thailand, around 40Km from the Trat coast and 20Km south of Koh Chang. It is around 16km², too big to walk around but easy to see by bicycle. The roads are very quiet as there isn’t a vehicle ferry to the island. Koh Mak is also relatively unknown. This means that it isn’t over run by package tours and and is still a well kept secret for most travelers.
Koh Chang is growing every year with more and more shophouses, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Whereas development on Koh Mak is limited to small restaurants, minimarts and a few resorts. It’s growing but at a much slower pace.
Koh Mak is a quiet location for people who are looking for a relaxing holiday. If you are looking for long deserted beaches then you’ll find them on Koh Mak. There aren’t any jetskis or beer bars. So it isn’t for someone looking for an alternative to Phuket or Pattaya. The island has beautiful nature which is perfect for hiking trips. There is also a diving school where you can book diving and snorkeling trips. The nearby Marine Park has the best selection of marine life Thailand has to offer.
Activities on offer include diving – there are a couple of PADI certified dive centres, snorkelling, kayaking, Muay Thai and cycling on the many tracks and trails that lead to remote beaches. Or you could just laze by the beach or get a traditional Thai massage.
Koh Mak resorts and bungalows are located mainly on the beaches of Ao Kao and Ao Suan Yai. Popular resorts include Seavana, Koh Mak Resort, Lazy Day and Big Easy. All offering a different type of ambience and catering to different types of visitor. There isn’t a large choice of budget accommodation but you’ll find a friendly welcome and good value rooms at small resorts and guesthouses such as Thaidaho Vista or Koh Mak Holiday bungalows.
And if you are backpacking on a tight budget then the easy going, Island Huts, with little wooden cabins on the beach at 400 Baht.
How to Get to Koh Mak
Getting between the island and the mainland is now relatively simple with speedboat services running year round to and from the mainland pier in Laem Ngop, Trat.
If you are flying on Bangkok Airways you can still get to Koh Mak the same day on either the morning or lunchtime flight to Trat Airport. Although boats between Koh Mak, Koh Chang and Koh Kood do stop between June and September.
The beaches on Koh Mak
You’re almost certainly coming here for the beaches. Take a look at the ‘Koh Mak Beach Guide‘ for photos of what to expect. There are two main beaches which are home to the majority of resorts. But you will find smaller beached dotted around the island. Take time to explore by scooter or mountain bike and follow the dirt tracks to the shore. You’ll often come to deserted beaches with no resorts or signs of life.
Koh Mak is not a destination for anyone interested in filling their days with noisy activities. Sure there are some trips and tours you can do but on the whole it is a place to go to do very little except laze and enjoy the local hospitality, clear sea and kilometres of empty beaches.
But if you want some gentle exercise come and join us at Coco Cafe for a 8Km bicycle tour of some of Koh Mak’s lesser seen sights or a game of beach volleyball. Cycling tours are at 09:00 & 16:00 in high Season. 150 Baht per person. Beach volleyball matches are held every afternoon / evening at Coco Cafe’s ‘sandfly -free’ volleyball court.
Now you have a taste of what Koh Mak offers and what makes it a special destination, feel free to explore the rest of this site. We have tried to include as many of Koh Mak’s resorts, restaurants and activities as possible in order to give you a full picture of Thailand’s Family Island.
How Busy is it?
Not matter when you visit, it rarely seems busy and you can always find a deserted stretch of beach to swim. The beach below is the second busiest. I took this photo on beautiful day in the 2015-16 High Season.
So far the members of the five local families who still own the vast majority of the land on Koh Mak have managed to keep developers at bay and have encouraged smaller bungalow resorts and upmarket boutique resorts. You’ll also find Koh Mak to be a quiet place – there are no beer bars or loud karaoke places and very little traffic as there are only passenger boats to the island.
The five families are all descendants of Lung Prompakdee, a Chinese Affairs Officer during the reign of King Rama V in Koh Kong, now part of Cambodia. He bought the island, for the sum of 24,000 Baht, from Chao Sua Seng who had previously established the first coconut plantations on the island. Another think that makes Koh Mak’s history unique is that it has been well documented by generations of family members. There is also a small museum, at Koh Mak Seafood restaurant, with old photographs dating back to the early 20th century.
Until the early 2000’s there were only a handful of resorts and these mainly catered to Thai visitors booking packages that included transport from the mainland and all meals. So development outside these resorts was limited.
Some websites that you might find useful if you are also visiting Koh Chang . . .