Besides relaxing in idyllic surroundings with an icy cold Thai beer, there’s plenty more to see and do. Here are our top seven things to do on Koh Kood Island.
1. Rent a Motorcycle (or Bicycle)
This has to be top of the list because you’ll need some form of transport to explore Koh Kood Island and to access some of the below activities. Whilst you could arrange a tuk tuk or taxi through your accommodation motorcycle rental is by far the best option.
2. Koh Kood Beaches
Koh Kood Island has some of the most beautiful beaches of all the Thai Islands. Nearly all the unspoilt beaches on Koh Kood are on the west coast of the island and the best way to explore them is to beach hop by rented motorcycle. Koh Kood has many beaches, but here are some of the best that you can reach by road, from north to south:
Ao Tapao – is the longest beach on Koh Kood. It has over 1 km of soft, powdery white sand, leading down to the sparkling, crystal clear sea and backed with coconut palms. Despite being home to four resorts this is a beautiful beach.
Ao Noi Beach – is the place to head if you want a peaceful day doing nothing but relaxing on a secluded beach. The tall palm trees edging the sand give lots of shade to escape from the scorching sun. The highlight of Ao Noi has to be the wooden jetty leading out to a gazebo built over the sea.
Khlong Chao Beach – is the main tourist beach of Koh Kood and is a natural centre to the west coast of the island. This more developed beach consists of a lovely stretch of sand with some high-end beachfront resorts. Nearby along the river estuary are a small selection of budget-friendly bungalow accommodation, plus a few local shops, bars and restaurants.
Bang Bao Beach – is a gorgeous horseshoe-shaped bay. Accessible via paved tracks that wind through rubber trees, this is my personal favourite beach of Koh Kood. The powdery white sand is lined with a few resorts, each of which has its own jetty down to the sea. The water is again, crystal clear and being in a bay it’s very sheltered and calm, making it ideal for snorkelling. Sunset here is fantastic, especially whilst enjoying a cocktail or beer.
Ao Jak Beach – is quite an adventure to reach. It’s a bumpy, sandy (sometimes muddy) 15-minute scooter ride or 30-minute cycle ride in my case, from the main road. Another beautiful beach, this is nice for a walk or a swim but can be quite windswept due to its location.
Ao Phrao Beach – is the most southern beach on Koh Kood and is one of the best on the island. Its kilometre of bright white sand make it perfect for sun-worshippers, but it does have the downside that the sea can get very rough.
The river estuaries and mangroves make Koh Kood the perfect place for some kayaking. If the sea is calm you can even kayak around the edge of the island to explore some completely deserted beaches, inaccessible by road. Most resorts have kayaks you can use for free or for a small fee, along with a life jacket.
One of the things to do when coming to Koh Kood is hiking. You can walk north along the road to Khlong Hin Dam Village which was interesting to visit as it has a very local feel. There are local restaurants, cafes, school, hospital, and government offices. It has a very local feel, hardly any English is spoken there.
From Khlong Hin Dam Village you can go further and into the virgin rainforest to seek out the ancient trees, or makka trees as they’re known. To find these turn right at the fork after the hospital in Khlong Hin Dam, then take another right at the next fork onto a gravel road. The trees are several kilometres further. The first tree ‘Sai Yai’ is on the right and the second tree ‘Mayayuk’ is about ten minutes walk further on the left.
Another option is an inland nature trekking trail between Khlong Chao and Ngamkho Bay. There you can find Battleship Mountain (Khao Rearub), so called because it apparently resembles a battleship.
Finally, there are the waterfalls of Koh Kood, all of which involve some hiking to reach.
5. Koh Kood Waterfalls
Koh Kood’s interior with its untouched rainforest is home to three waterfalls. These can be reached by hiking or a combination of kayaking and hiking. The waterfalls you can visit are:
Klong Chao Waterfall – is the main waterfall on Koh Kood, and is located a few kilometres inland from the middle of the northwest coast. It’s accessible via a small road from behind Khlong Chao beach. The road crosses a bridge, then heads inland, before arriving at a carpark at the trailhead. This is only a few kilometres and is walkable or cyclable if you prefer. Once at the trailhead it’s just a short a fairly easy hike to the waterfall.
A more adventurous way to reach this waterfall is to kayak up Khlong Chao River then hike the short stretch through mangroves. Turn left at the road and follow it up to the trailhead. The wet season is the best time to visit as the refreshing pool is deep enough to swim in. Just be careful clambering over the rocks to reach it as they get very slippery.
Khlong Yai Kee Waterfall – is in the northwest of the island and can again be reached by road. It’s smaller than Khlong Chao but is a more secluded a hidden gem. To get there, go through Hin Dam Village and straight past a vegetable store on a corner on your right until you get to Khlong Mad. Turn right just before Suanya Resort and you’ll find yourself in the waterfall carpark, from there it’s only a short hike to the waterfall. In wet season you’re able to swim and jump from rocks into the water at the bottom of the cascade.
Huang Nam Waterfall – was once known as the secret waterfall. It’s located deep in the island’s interior beyond the ancient makka trees. It’s no longer quite so secret as the muddy track leading to it has been developed into a highway and gravel track. There’s also now a car park and visitor centre. The waterfall is about a 5 km walk from the visitor centre and off to the right. The bottom of the falls can be accessed by steps down the hillside. Sometimes it’s also possible to climb on the big rocks at the top of the fall where there’s a small plunge pool. the visitor centre to the waterfall it’s about a 5 km walk.
6. Fishing Villages
On the east coast of Koh Kood are two working fishing villages. Ao Salad is in the northeast and Ao Yai is in the southeast of the island. Located either end of the main road, these fishing villages are the only developments on the east coast.
Virtually all the families that live in the fishing villages are involved in the fishing industry in some way. Visiting either or both of these villages will give you a fantastic insight into the local way of life.
Ao Yai – is again set in a picturesque bay and is reached by passing through forest and over undulating hills until you reach a viewpoint on your right. From the viewpoint and pagoda you’re treated to a marvellous view of the bay and fishing village with its wooden stilted house. A wooden boardwalk built over the water creates a pathway through the village with access to the houses and a small selection of simple seafood restaurants.
Ao Salad – is set in a fantastic bay and is overlooked by a 30 metre tall golden Buddha. A wooden jetty serves as a pavement and road for the villagers and their motorcycles. On one side are the traditional wooden houses and on the other sides are boats moored up. The jetty gets quite busy during the day as this where the boats from the mainland arrive into and depart from.
7. Dive, Snorkel or Fish
The sea around Koh Kood offers plenty of activities for visitors. The reefs create perfect spots for some fantastic diving and snorkelling, whilst further out to see there’s some great fishing.
There are three main diving companies on Koh Kood: BB Divers, Koh Kood Divers and Paradise Divers, all who usually offer snorkelling on the same trips. Besides the reefs closer to the island, they also offer trips to the Marine Park at Koh Rang and the wreck near Koh Chang.
There are also a couple of other companies that offer snorkelling and fishing trips. These include TJ Boats at Mark House and at Doy Homestay, both found near Khlong Chao Bridge. The main company offering tailored full day and overnight fishing tours is Dutchman Fishing Tours, based on the jetty in Ao Salad fishing village.