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Koh Mak, an island to the south of Koh Chang, is definitely worth a visit if you plan on exploring this part of Thailand during your holiday. It is a mid-size island which is becoming increasingly popular with couples and families. It’s a haven for people who want to avoid the bright lights and over development of larger islands but still want more than just a basic beach hut.  

Over 10 years ago, The Sunday Times chose Koh Mak as one of their Top Undiscovered Islands and just a couple of years ago the New York Times ran an article on finding  ‘Old Thailand’ on Koh Mak.  That is slowly changing as more visitors and more development come to the island.

Best time to visit

While Koh Chang is more or less all-year destination, Koh Mak is best visited during November–April period. In summer, many of not so numerous accommodations close from May to October and while you can score great deals during the low season period, you can also be caught by tropical rains.

Check the below table for the general idea of Koh Mak weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 31.9 26.7 22
Feb 31.9 27.4 23.1
Mar 32.6 28.2 24.2
Apr 33.2 28.5 24.7
May 32.8 28.4 24.7
Jun 31.7 27.8 24.5
Jul 30.8 27.2 24.1
Aug 31.1 27.3 24.3
Sep 30.9 27 24.1
Oct 31.9 27.2 23.7
Nov 32.8 27.8 23.6
Dec 32.5 27.3 22.6

Koh Mak’s current weather and 7-day forecast

KOH MAK WEATHER

Koh Mak isn’t really an island for a wild and crazy activity holiday.  You won’t find jetskis, banana boats, ATVs, a water park or golf course here.   Of course, there are some activities, trips and tours available but in the main it’s an island suited to relaxing, unwinding and getting away from it all.   Here is a quick rundown of things to see and do once you finish your holiday reading or get bored of  suntanning yourself.

Art

As you travel around Koh Mak, you may well notice some weird and wonderful statues – for example a giant crab or naked female rubber tapper. These are creations of a local artist, Khun Somchai.  he is responsible for the, now sadly overgrown, sculpture garden called ‘The Kingdom of Somchai’s Affection’ ( pictured above ) which is located a few hundred metres inland from Koh Mak Resort.

One view is that his works mirror his perception about affection in art and individual freedom.   You decide, but it probably isn’t the place to take young kids – unless you want to answer some questions on female anatomy.

Beach Volleyball

You can usually find a game of beach volleyball in progress at Baan Koh Mak or Ao Kao Resort.  Just show up late afternoon and you’ll find someone who wants a game.

Cooking Class

Smile Koh Mak cooking school, run by Leng offers Thai cooking classes for small groups of up to 4 people.  You’ll learn all about the ingredients that go into your favourite dishes and then learn how to make them.  Leng will teach the class in English and pass on the tips and techniques for traditional Thai cooking that her father passed on to her.  So you’ll learn how to make the dishes the correct, original way.

Transport to/from your resort to the cooking school, located right by the sea close to Koh Mak Seafood Restaurant near Ao Nid Pier,  is included in the price and you’ll also receive a cookbook with the recipes in it for the dishes you have made.  A fun day away from the beach.

Cycling

The lack of traffic combined with the flat terrain and and multitude of shady trails through the rubber and coconut plantations make Koh Mak a great place to explore by bicycle.  The island is small enough that you can’t get lot but large enough for you to discover fishermen’s hamlets and deserted beaches.   Bicyces are available for rent and many resoirts now have free bicycles for guests to use.

Head to Coco Cafe and pick up a free bike with your coffee, they also have maps and recommended routes for you to try in order to see different parts of the island.

Hill Walking

Koh Mak is a relatively flat island.  However, the land does rise to just over 100metres above sea level near the western shore .  There is a trail that starts near Baan Ing Kao Resort but it is probably best to find someone to guide you.  During the rainy season there is a small waterfall on the hillside.

Kayaking

Sea kayaks can be hired from several resorts on the island and having a handful of small islands dotted around Koh Mak, means that you will have a ready made destination when you head out to sea in your kayak.   If you are staying at Koh Mak Resort or Cococape then you’ll have Koh Kham, with it’s small white sand beach and black volcanic rocks, about 1km away and the smaller island of Koh Pee also lies within easy reach.  

To the northeast of Koh Mak is the private island of Koh Kradad, where you’ll find a large herd of deer, is a couple of kilometres paddle from Cinnamon Resort & Greenview Resort. And if you are staying on the busier Ao Kao Beach, Koh Rayang Nok and Koh Rayang Nai are within easy paddling distance.  Expect to pay around 100 Baht/hour or 500 Baht/day for a 2 person kayak with lifejacket & paddles provided.

Koh Kood Day Trip

A full day trip to Koh Kood by private speedboat can easily be arranged.  You’d leave Koh Mak at around 9am and return back at 4pm.  During the day you’d see the sights on Koh Kood including the waterfall, beaches and fisherman’s village.  A stop at Koh Maisee pearl farm can also be included.  Prices are around 2,000 Baht/person – minimum 4 people. Includes lunch.

Massage & Spa

More resorts now have their own massage staff and some also offer spa treatments.  Expect to pay around 250-300 baht for a beach massage. All resorts now have spas with a range of treatments, try Seavana Resort and follow it with a swim in their beachfront pool.

Motorbike Hire

There are a few paved roads on Koh Mak but the only vehicles belong to resorts and so it’s rare to see any traffic other than motorbikes on the roads.  Scooters are available for rent for 300 – 400 Baht/day.  Most of the roads are pretty good, even the dirt tracks are relatively smooth but care is needed as a remote plantation trail isn’t the place to get a puncture.  Gasoline is available either from a couple of  small filling stations with a single drum and hand pump or from shops and restaurants who sell old whiskey bottles full of fuel by the roadside.

Night Fishing

As on any island, fishing has long been the mainstay of the local economy, but whilst most locals don’t fish for a living nowadays they still enjoy spending time out on the sea. The best time to fish in the waters around Koh Mak is from dusk till dawn.  The fishermen will leave Koh Mak early evening and first catch some squid to use as bait.  They will then head to the deeper water and the fishing grounds.  Private trips can be arranged for 1,000 – 4,000 Baht for a few hours night fishing or join one of the scheduled trips that run 3-4 times a week in High Season.  These cost around 500 Baht/person.

Private Islands

Close to Koh Mak lie three private islands – Koh Kham, Koh Rayang and Koh Kradat.  Koh Rayang is the easiest to get to with a regular longtail boat service running from Makathanee Resort pier.   It is home to one small resort – Rayang Island Resort and as such non-residents must pay an 80 Baht fee to land on the island.  This gives you the use of a sunlounger on the beach and a free soft drink in the restaurant.  

Koh Kham was sold to a property developer who is in the process of destroying the natural beauty of the island by building a luxury resort. There is a small  bar on the island and a boat service is available from Koh Mak Resort.  Alternatively, it is easy to kayak there.  As with Koh Rayang a small fee is charged to visitors to the island.

Koh Kradat is definitely worth a day trip.  Cinnamon Resort can arrange a boat for you.  There is also a 100 Baht entry fee to the island but this includes a tour by tractor to see the island and its herds of deer.  Plus a stop at a beautiful untouched beach.  There’s a small restaurant near the pier that doesn’t have a menu, the staff just make you what you want – but don’t expect much choice other than basic Thai dishes.

Rubber Tree Plantations

Koh Mak was the first island in Thailand to be planted with rubber trees.   You’ll see some very old rubber plantations in the centre of the island which have now fallen into disuse and are overgrown.  But look around and you’ll find neatly manicured plantations where the rubber is collected daily, usually daybreak or very early morning before the sun gets too high in the sky.  The white latex is collected and mixed with chemicals to set it and then hand rolled into mats which are hung to dry.  These are then sold.

Scuba Diving

There are three dive companies on Koh Mak.  BB Divers, a large company with their main offices on Koh Chang and Koh Kood plus Paradise Divers and Koh Mak Divers both of which have been running dive centres on the island for several years.  The latter having been on the island for over a decade.  All offer the full range of PADI certified dive courses plus dive trips for qualified divers . Most dive trips will take in the sites around Koh Rang, to the west of Koh Mak.  This is the same area as dive trips from Koh Chang head to – so if you plan on diving on both Koh Chang and Koh Mak check to make sure you wont be visiting the same sites.

Snorkelling

Daily snorkelling trips and boat trips that take in the islands around Koh Rang, the best snorkelling sites in the area, and also some of the other islands close to Koh Mak can easily be booked once you are on the island.  Expect to pay from 600 to 1,200 Baht for a full day trip – depending on where you go and what type of boat you go in.

Temple

The Buddhist temple on Koh Mak overlooks Ao Nid Bay.  It is a small temple which has several resident monks and is the focal point for the community with the covered hall also used as a meeting room or polling station.  Look closely at the golden statue of Buddha and you’ll notice that it is more curvaceous than you might expect.  The more feminine form is a reminder that the construction of the temple was paid for by the wife of the founder of the island.

Koh Mak Hotels

Koh Mak has around 40 accommodation options, varying from basic bungalows to luxurious resorts. It’s possible to find accommodation when you arrive on the island, though during high season it’s recommended to book in advance. Especially if you want to stay in one of the popular places. If you are looking for more bustle, then it’s best to stay in the Ao Kao area. Below we will tell you all about the best places to stay on Koh Mak, for every budget!

Bamboo Hideaway

Bamboo Hideaway has great authentic bamboo bungalows, perfect for backpackers. Its location is not at the beach and not in the busy area of the island. So it’s best to rent a motorbike or bicycle to get around. Bamboo Hideaway is the perfect spot to see stars at night and there’s a swimming pool to relax. The staff is very friendly and can help you with everything you need.

Ao Pong

Ao Pong Resort is a very quiet place to stay at. The resort has a private beach and is located in the South East, far away from the busy area of the island. There are multiple bungalows, from basic to more luxurious.

Islanda Resort Hotel

Islanda offers stunning views over the beaches Ao Suan Yai and Ao Kai, and the island Koh Kham. Its location is on top of a hill, so it’s a bit secluded. A motorbike or bicycle is handy to get around and to go to the beach. The infinity pool of Islanda Resort Hotel is the best!

Banana Sunset

You remember this great spot to go to and watch the sunset? That’s Banana Sunset Bar. They not only have a restaurant and bar, but they also have bungalows. The bungalows are quite basic, though some have great views on the ocean. It’s a fantastic spot to meet people and to enjoy the laidback vibes of the island. There’s often live music in the restaurant. To go to other spots on the island, like beaches and restaurants, you need to organize transportation.

Monkey Island Resort Koh Mak

Monkey Island Resort is a resort with basic bungalows perfect for backpackers. Its location is perfect, right at the beach and close to restaurants and a mini-market. The resort has a relaxed atmosphere and a nice garden. Every bungalow has a little balcony with a sea view.

Lazy Day The Resort

The Lazy Day resort is a peaceful resort with great bungalows, some located right at the beach. It’s located at the end of the Ao Khao Beach, and therefore very quiet. The resort offers a free shuttle from and to the pier and the staff is super friendly and helpful. This resort is perfect for families and couples.

Koh Mak Resorts

Koh Mak has the most beautiful luxurious resorts for the ultimate relaxing holiday.

Seavana Koh Mak Beach resort

One of the most luxurious places on the island to stay is at Seavana Koh Mak Beach resort. It’s the best beachfront resort you can find on Koh Mak. This resort has everything you need, a beach, a beautiful swimming pool, great food at its restaurant, massages, kayaks and so much more. As it’s a peaceful resort, it’s the perfect place to relax.

Koh Mak Ao Kao White Sand Beach

Ao Koa White Sand Beach Resort is a beautiful resort on the quieter side of Ao Kao beach. The resort is right on the beach and has beautiful luxurious bungalows with great views of the ocean. Also great, they are very environment-friendly and do clean-ups on the island! The resort is great for couples and families.

Mira Montra Resort Koh Mak

Private beach, beautiful villas with views on the sea, fantastic pool, green nature: Mira Montra Resort Koh Mak has it all. The resort is a bit secluded, so we recommend staying here if you want to relax and enjoy the peace. Mira Montra isn’t far from the bustle of the island, but you need to get transportation to go there.

Koh Mak Cococape Resort

Koh Mak Cococape Resort is a great resort to stay at if you are looking for activities. Snorkeling near their pier is great and they have bicycle and kayak rental. The Ao Soun Yai Beach is a 200-meter walk away, but the resort itself is overlooking the ocean.

Koh Mak resort

Koh Mak is a big resort right next to the pier on Ao Soun Yai Beach. The resort has a swimming pool, there are some swings and hammocks and the beach bar has great cocktails. It’s located right on the beach, and it’s a great resort if you are looking to relax but also for some bustle.

There is a wide range of food options available for the the size of the island.

Koh Mak Pizza: Crispy Italian style pizza. Prices are around 250 Baht with 2 toppings of choice. 

Swiss Sawasdee: Swiss and Thai cuisine. 

Paew: One of the cheapest places on the island offering excellent freshly cooked Thai cuisine. 

Koh Mak Seafood: Offers a wide choice of fresh seafood. 

Koh Mak Restaurant, Steak house & German bakery: Excellent freshly bakes baguette and authentic German food. 

Art house: Enjoy European food and cocktails while enjoying the nice ambience. 

Table tales: Excellent Thai food.

Chic & Chill: Thai and European food:

Coco Café: Coffee shop offering coffee and cake, with a roof terrace for cocktails. Bicycles for hire or free for a few hours if you take a coffee. 

Food Art Hut: Cafe and bakery with fresh baguettes and other breads, sandwiches and juices. 

Zaab Koh Mak: Diner with Issan bbq at the front and full standard menu. Cheap, well cooked food, comfortable setting, used by the locals.

Get in

Koh Mak is located around 350km from Bangkok and 60km from the nearest regional centre Trat.

From Bangkok

You can take a flight from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport (BKK) to Trat airport (TDX) with Bangkok Airways which offers three daily flights. From Trat it is best to take a taxi to the pier Laem Ngop. Alternatively you can take a bus from Bangkok to Trat or directly to the pier Laem Ngop. Bus rides take about 5 hours. Mini busses are generally a bit faster. Services from Bangkok run from Ekkamai station, Mo Chit station and from Suvarnabhumi airport and cost about 200 to 300 Bath.

From Pattaya

There are buses, private cars and taxis running daily from Pattaya airport to Trat or directly to the Laem Ngop pier. Driving can take anywhere between around 3.5 and 5 hours. Buses generally cost around 300 Baht and a private car will cost between 2400 and 4500 Baht depending on the season and company you choose.

From the Ko Mak pier in Laem Ngop (Trat)

Seatales Speeboats, Panan Speedboats, Leelawadee Speedboats, and Suansuk Speedboat provide daily speedboat service to Koh Mak, with the last boat leaving for Koh Mak at 16:00. Seatales and Suansuk provide service to Ao Nid Main Pier, Panan provides service to the Ko Mak Resort pier on Ko Mak's north shore, and Leelawadee provides service to the Makathanee pier. Frequencies might be reduced in the off season. The price is 450 Baht per person one way.
10:30am Leelawadee; 11:30am Seatales; 12:30pm Suansuk; 1pm Panan; 2pm Leelawadee; 2:30pm Seatales; 3pm Suansuk; 4pm Panan.

From the Laem Sok pier (Trat)

CP Laem Sok group provides daily service to Ko Mak's largest pier at Ao Nid, before continuing on to Ko Kut. There was also a once-daily catamaran service between Laem Sok and Ao Nid, which has now been postponed. Boonsiri High Speed Catamaran or Koh Kood FantaseaCatamaran. These two are the same, just different calling. (starting on 15 November 2013) 600 Baht per person one way or 1200 Baht per person incl. bus transfer from Bangkok. Pick up point in Bangkok is Khao Sarn Road and Shell Gas Station in Bang Na, at 7-8am. Sailing time between 50-60 Minutes. Departures at 2pm. daily from Laem Sok to Koh Mak(Ao Nid Pier) and Koh Kood(Bang Bao Beach), also during low season. free taxi from Trat to the pier in Laem Sok. Frequencies might be reduced in the off season.

From Ko Chang

During the high season there are a twice daily speedboat transfers from Kai Bae Hut Speedboat 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 the slower wooden boat from Bang Bao Boat. Bang Bao boats arrive at the Koh Mak Resort Pier on Koh Mak. The slower wooden boat stops at Koh Wai on the way to Koh Mak.

From Ko Kut

There is 3 boat services. One is the once-daily catamaran boat service (Boonsiri High Speed Catamaran) running from Bang Bao Beach at 11:30, arriving at Koh Mak(Ao Nid Pier) about 30 minutes later. The other two are Kai Bae Hut Speedboat and Bang Bao Boat, providing twice-daily speedboat service (KB huts speed boats) from most resorts that own private piers. The Kai Bae boats leave at 09:30 and 12:00, arriving at Ko Mak Makathanee Pier about 45 minutes later. The Bang Bao boats arrive at Koh Mak Resort Pier. All of these boats typically continue to Ko Chang or the mainland after docking at Koh Mak.

Get around

Ko Mak has 27 km of coastline, many long sand beaches, a few hills and it is about 16 km² in area. For exploring the mostly flat island, bicycles are the best option and most beaches and restaurants are within easy walking distance. Along with the “Low Carbon Initiative Koh Mak” lovely bike paths through the laid back nature were created. Bicycles (for ladies and proper mountain bikes) can be rented at several locations on Koh Mak for about 100-250 Bath per day, e.g. at the Coco Bar, Island Huts and Ao Kao Resort near Ao Kao beach and at Koh Mak Resort near Ao Suan Yai beach. Scooters are available for 300-400 Baht per day at many resorts if you don’t want to bike but are not necessary when taking the size of it island into account. Taxi service is offered for transportation to any point of the island at a standard rate of 50THB per person one way. Exploring the surrounding of Koh Mak can be done in a Kayak, which can be rented at the resorts of the two main beaches Ao Kao Resort on Ao Kao and Koh Mak Resort on Ao Suan Yai. On 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. Ko Phi, also north west from Ko Mak but southwest from Ko Kham, is not occupied and can be reached by kayak.

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