Koh Kood: The Most Beautiful Island in Thailand?
Don’t you hate it when travel bloggers make wild claims about something being the “best” or “most beautiful” place in wherever? Surely they haven’t been to every vegan restaurant in Paris or every island in Thailand. You’ll see that I subtly phrased my own wild claim as a question, but in all honesty I can’t imagine visiting a more beautiful island in Thailand than Koh Kood (Koh Kut seems to be another way to spell it). This large island close to the Cambodian border is home to several spectacular beaches, plenty of reasonably priced accommodation and food, and an exotic green interior.
Ever since visiting the Maldives two years ago I’ve had a mild case of beach snobbery. Beaches have to be pretty amazing to draw praise from me these days — and I’m about to praise the hell out of Koh Kood’s beaches. Three of the best beaches (Khlong Chao, Ao Noi and Bang Bao) are all within a few kilometres of each other and are almost perfect. Maldives-like clear blue water and soft white sand are backed by towering palm trees and tastefully developed beach resorts. From Khlong Chao Beach (where we stayed for most of our time on the island) it is around a half hour walk in either direction to Ao Noi and Bang Bao beaches — it gets pretty hot in the mid-March heat of Thailand but you really shouldn’t miss those two beaches. You can also hire a motorbike to explore Koh Kood’s beaches, but to be honest the outer ones (at least the ones that we visited) aren’t quite as nice as the “big 3”. We also saw some great sunsets at both Khlong Chao Beach and Bang Bao Bay.
Khlong Chao Beach
Bang Bao Bay
Ao Noi Beach
Koh Kood is a large island and chances are you’ll only see a tiny fraction of it. The beaches are definitely the main draw, but a trip into the wild green interior is something you should do at least once. We walked to Khlong Chao Waterfall which took around 30 minutes. It was a nice walk and there were a few restaurants along the way which allowed us to escape the heat for a while. The waterfall was surprisingly good but I’m sure it’s a lot more impressive in rainy season.
Rivers lined with mangroves also add to the charm of Koh Kood. You can hire a kayak in Khlong Chao and head upriver or just admire the views from a riverside restaurant or bar.
Where should you stay?
Planning a trip to Koh Kood isn’t quite as easy as some other islands in Thailand. A lot of the beaches only have one or two resorts near them and most of them don’t cater to budget travellers. Khlong Chao Beach and Bang Bao Bay are the two beaches I’d recommend staying at. Bang Bao Bay probably has the best water of any beach that we visited on Koh Kood and there is a good mix of accommodation. We spent a few nights at Koh Kood Resort and it’s an excellent mid-range option. The resort’s restaurant (try the pizza!) looks out over the bay and there is plenty of room to lounge around by the water. One of the best places to snorkel on Koh Kood is right in front of Koh Kood Resort — I saw heaps of fish and some nice coral. There are also some cheaper places to stay at Bang Bao Bay — we saw one (tiny) bungalow with a sea view for 500 Baht!
READ MORE: Check out Gia’s review of Koh Kood Resort over at Mismatchedpassports.com
Khlong Chao is another great option. There are some really upmarket resorts right on the beach but there are also quite a few budget options just off the beach. We spent some time at both Khlong Chao Garden View and Mark House and they are both excellent value (500 / 600 Baht for a fan room with private bathroom).
The other good thing about both those beaches is the fact that there are some good, cheap restaurants nearby. You can get a decent meal for 50 – 70 Baht, which is good value considering you’re on a seemingly upmarket island.
Getting to Koh Kood
Most people will come from either Bangkok or one of the nearby islands (Koh Chang, Koh Mak or Koh Wai). From the other islands you can easily take a boat and from Bangkok you’ll most likely travel by bus and then a ferry. We came from Laos, via Ubon Ratchathani and Nakhon Ratchashima, which ended up taking around 30 hours! Wherever you come from (on the mainland) you’ll need to get to Trat. From the bus station in Trat you can book a ferry ticket (350 Baht for the slow ferry and 500 Baht for the fast one) which includes transfer to the pier outside of Trat and also from the Pier on Koh Kood to your beach of choice. We took the fast ferry because it left a couple of hours earlier (10.45 am) than the slow one. We actually visited Koh Kood twice and the second time we arrived in the afternoon. We tried to book a ticket on the ferry but we found out that the transfer isn’t included in the afternoon. It would have cost 200-300 baht to get to the pier so we decided to spent the night in Trat and leave in the morning — it saved us quite a bit of money in the end as we took the slow ferry which isn’t available in the afternoon.
Have you been to any beautiful islands in Thailand? What is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!
Disclaimer: We were hosted by Koh Kood Resort for part of our stay on Koh Kood — all thoughts and opinions are my own.