Looking to discover a new thailand beach destination away from the crowds in Phuket and Krabi. Koh Mak is a 50-minute speedboat ride from Trat, a province 320 kilometres southeast of Bangkok. This small undeveloped island with an area of 16 square kilometres and only 800 inhabitants is one of the least discovered holiday destinations in Thailand.
It is the third largest island, after Koh Chang and Koh Kut. If you are a city girl or guy, this quiet and laid-back place might just not be for you. But if you’re a nature seeker like me, Koh Mak is quite like heaven!
Top Activities to do in Koh Mak
Cycle tour around the island
There are few vehicles on the island and people typically get around on scooters, cycle or walk. We embarked on a cycling tour around the island. We visited Koh Mak temple, the only place of worship for the locals. We then cycled along dirt paths through the rubber plantations.
Enjoy fresh produce from an organic farm
A rest stop was made at an organic farm where we enjoyed butterfly pea flower tea (made more refreshing with a dash of lime) as we watched demonstrations of papaya salad making using fresh produce from the farm.
The papaya salad, also known as ‘som tam’, gave a spicy kick to our already hot and sweaty bodies from cycling. We were also treated to other rejuvenating fresh organic fruits.
Chase spectacular sunsets
We hopped on our bicycles again and headed towards the beach. We arrived at Cococape pier just in time for sunset. There is a bar located at the end of the pier. I’d recommend getting a drink and sitting by the edge of the boardwalk. The feeling of enjoying a beautiful sunset with fishes swimming beneath you is simply indescribable. We were told that this pier is so ideally situated that you can enjoy both sunset and sunrise there.
The pier at The Cinnamon Art Resort and Spa is another one to check out for gorgeous views of the beach and the open sea.
Island hopping tours are my favourite. Having been on numerous snorkelling and diving trips in Asia (some great and some disappointing ones), I was initially skeptical about what the nearby islands would offer. Our first stop was Yak Yai Island.
Koh Mak Snorkelling at islands
The colours of the corals illuminating from the sun shining through the waters took my breath away! The healthy diversity of fishes in the waters surrounding these islands in Koh Mak includes the sergeant major, damsel, needlefish and more. We snorkelled round the small island, guided by the buoy boundary. I was stoked to explore the next snorkelling site!
We arrived at Rang Island, where we had our lunch break. The beach here in Koh Mak was pristine and void of hordes of tourists and rubbish.
We sat by the shallow waters at the beach and shared excitedly about what we saw earlier during snorkelling and it was evident that we were all gamed for round two at this island. All the snorkelling here at the islands of Koh Mak worked up an appetite and we were pleasantly surprised to see lunch being set up on the beach.
Enjoy lunch on a remote island
Lunch was served on San Jhao Beach, with views of the crystal-clear blue waters. The different shades of blue as the clouds moved, accompanied by the sound of waves and sand beneath your feet, was truly an experience to behold. The crew also made a conscious effort not to provide straws for our fresh coconut in efforts to reduce plastic waste. Being the avid nature lover that I am, I was absolutely delighted that they too, treasured their marine life and were committed to protect them. It turned out that it was not difficult to drink from a coconut without a straw!
The beautiful beaches and island-hopping trip left us sun-kissed and ready for a relaxing rest in the afternoon at our resort back in Koh Mak.
Where to stay in Koh Mak
We stayed at the beautiful Mira Montra beachfront resort. Each villa overlooks a private beach. During low tide, you can walk a distance out on the sandy beach. Ditch the slippers to feel one with nature. You will also see small crabs scurrying around.
Turn around to also enjoy the view of the resort nestled amongst the lush trees. Deck chairs and hammocks are nicely spaced out at the beachside for you to enjoy that personal timeout from the hectic world. The resort also offers free rentals for activities like kayaking, stand up paddling and cycling. Massages can be booked at the reception. I guarantee a refreshed soul after a stay at such a lovely resort.
Where to Eat
Tabletales Restaurant & Cafe
A cosy restaurant in a garden setting that serves delicious Thai and International dishes.
Koh Mak Food – Seafood Galore
This restaurant on stilts above the water is the ideal location for a nice breezy Thai seafood dinner.
How to get to Koh Mak
Koh Mak is a 50-minute speed boat ride from Trat district and it can be booked with Seatales. The speedboat departs from Laemngob harbour in Trat to the Koh Mak Pier.
Bonus: Must-Visit Place en route to Koh Mak
King Power Mahanakhon Skywalk in Bangkok
If you are heading to Trat and its surrounding islands like Koh Mak from Bangkok, you should definitely include King Power Mahanakhon Skywalk as one of your city sights. The King Power Mahanakhon was a recent addition to Bangkok’s skyline in the Central Business District. It is Thailand’s tallest building at 78 storeys and 314 metres high.
We were transported up to the 74th storey by the fastest elevators in Thailand in just 50 seconds! The LCD screens with colourful animation at all sides of the elevator gave almost like an IMAX experience. We could identify Bangkok’s landmarks and buildings with the interactive screens at the indoor observatory at the 74th storey. A few of us also tried downloading the Mahanakhon app via the QR code to discover more about the surrounding buildings through the Augmented Reality. Do you know that you can also post a letter out from the highest letterbox in Thailand?
The best part however, was the King Power Mahanakhon Skywalk at the 78th storey. It is a cantilevered glass floor that gives you the feeling of walking on air, high above the buildings in Bangkok. It was exciting for me but terrifying for some who needed much coaxing to set feet on the glass floors. But once you’re out there, pose away for all the Instagram-worthy photos!
It was indeed the best place to enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of Bangkok city. Go get a drink, enjoy the views and live the high life (literally) at the highest rooftop bar in Bangkok!
Thailand Travel Mart Plus
This article was written in conjunction with the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2019 event which was organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The theme this year was ‘New Shades of Emerging Destinations’. This B2B event was held at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Pattaya, Chonburi, Thailand which brought together 350 international buyers and 350 sellers throughout Thailand.
Will you visit Koh Mak island and explore this hidden gem tucked away in Eastern Thailand?