Koh Kood certainly deserves a place of honor in the list of the best islands in Thailand, with white sand beaches bordered by coconut palms and a sea of crystal clear water. Koh Kood, at 25 km long and 12 km wide, is the fourth largest island in Thailand, and the median of the 3 sister islands -the other two islands are Koh Chang and Koh Maak- that lie at the easternmost maritime part of the country, next to the Cambodian border. Most of the island is covered by low mountains – its highest peak reaches 315 meters – upholstered by dense jungle vegetation. Unlike so many other Thai islands, Koh Kood is a very underbuilt island… let’s hope it stays that way for a long time! The laid-back atmosphere of Koh Kood almost stops the passage of time.
Koh Kood is a very quiet island, in which there is practically no nightlife, and its accommodation is mainly focused on mid-range and high-end beach resorts, while hostels and guest houses are rather scarce, or located inland. These ingredients make Koh Kood more popular with couples and families than backpackers or groups of friends, who often prefer to stay on nearby Koh Chang.
ℹ️ Top Things to Do in Koh Kood
In Koh Kood there are three main waterfalls, and its visit is a perfect activity for those who want to explore the inland area of the island. Khlong Chao is the most popular of them all, since in addition to being really beautiful, it has very easy access and is very close to the beach of the same name. Huang Nam Keaw is located in the center-east of the island, and its main charm is its location in the middle of the jungle. Finally, Khlong Yai Ki is located in the north, and is quite similar to Khlong Chao waterfall, only slightly smaller and much less visited.
Nature lovers shouldn’t miss a stroll in the jungle area located in the very heart of the island, where there are several huge centennial trees. Getting there by motorcycle is simple, you just have to follow the road that starts near Haad Taphao beach and heads towards the east of the island, following the signs to “Giant Makka Tree”. Among all the trees in the area there is one that stands out, a huge macca tree that is estimated to be 500 years old, next to which the locals usually leave offerings, since popular belief says old trees are inhabited by spirits. Another especially impressive tree is a gigantic banyan with huge twisted roots. A very special place to take a pleasant walk and enjoy nature.
If you want to do a private boat trip, the price of chartering a traditional motorized long-tail boat for a whole day is usually 5,000 THB, although price must be negotiated and will always depend on duration of the excursion, distance traveled, wether food and other extras are included or not, etc. For more sophisticated boats, such as speedboats or catamarans, the price of chartering starts around 20,000 THB. The easiest way to arrange it is asking for assistance at the reception of your resort.
Koh Kood has plenty of mangrove estuaries, which make it an ideal place for kayaking, and actually many of the resorts in the island offer free kayaks to their guests. Paddling on a kayak to visit nearby beaches, explore the mangroves or go see the sunset from the sea is an experience nobody should miss while staying in Koh Kood. If rather than a short stroll you want to spend half a day or even a whole day kayaking, the southern area is the best place to do so, since there are beaches such as Ao Ta Khian Bay, Haad Khlong Hin or Haad Khlong Chak which are next to each other and have lots of estuaries. Besides this, a very popular and recommended kayak excursion starts at Klong Chao beach, gets inside its estuary and goes upriver until reaching the vicinity of the Klong Chao waterfall, paddling through mangroves and watching all kinds of birds. Do not miss it!
Nearly all of the island’s resorts and hostels offer snorkeling boat tours, which usually stop at 3-4 spots in the Koh Kood surrounding area, for a price of around THB 700-1,000/person, including lunch and snorkeling equipment (goggles, snorkel and fins). The experience can be very different depending on the snorkeling spots included. The most common trip on offer goes to Koh Rad islet -attached to the west coast of Koh Kood-, as well as some spots off the west coast, but none of these places is really mind blowing. One of the best snorkeling and diving areas is the island of Koh Rang, one hour away from Koh Kood and close to Koh Mak island, a somewhat more expensive option, about 1,200 THB/person + 200 THB as entrance fee to the National Marine Park.
All of the few diving agencies operating in Koh Kood offer diving daytrips that include a couple of dives for about 3,000 THB/person. Although there are some interesting diving areas off Koh Kood’s east coast, the best options are located around Koh Rang island, an hour north from Koh Kood. You’ll find on offer the usual range of PADI and open-water courses, but truth be told, Koh Kood can be quite good for a few sporadic dives, but for longer courses there are other better Thai diving destinations.
🏨 Where to stay in Koh Kood
Best Areas & Beaches in Koh Kood:
All accommodation options in Koh Kood are located along its western and southern coasts, which are actually the only coastal areas that can be reached by road. Most of the beach front accommodation in the island is mid-range and high-end resorts, but there’s also more than enough cheaper bungalows, hostels and guest houses, usually a bit inland.
Haad Khlong Chao
Best for: All kind of travelers.
Accommodation available: All kinds of accommodation, from cheap guest houses up to 5 star Hotels.
✔️ Perfect location in the central area of all road reachable points in the island.
✔️ Area of the island with the most tourist services of all kind.
✔️ Next to the Khlong Chao estuary, with a small river that can be kayaked up to reach two of the island’s waterfalls.
✔️ Very beautiful beach.
Haad Ngam Kho
Best for: Travelers looking for a unexpensive beach front resort with a central location.
Accommodation available: Cheap Bungalows and up to 3 star Resorts.
✔️ Central location immediately south of Haad Khlong Chao.
✔️ Convenient to use Haad Khlong Chao’s tourist services.
✔️ Beautiful narrow beach.
Ao Bang Bao
Best for: Travelers looking for quietness and midscale accommodation.
Accommodation available: 3 and 4 star Resorts, and a few cheap bungalows as well.
✔️ One of the island’s prettiest beaches.
✔️ Quiet area, but not isolated, in the southernmost stretch of west coast.
✔️ Shallow water good for kids.
Best for: travelers looking for quietness and beautiful beaches in a rather remote area.
Accommodation available: 3 star Resorts, and a few cheaper options mainly inland.
✔️ Beaches you can find here: Ao Ta Khian, Haad Khlong Hin, Haad Khlong Chak, Ao Phrao.
✔️ Beautiful beaches next to each other.
✔️ Many estuaries perfect for kayaking.
✔️ Beautiful landscape of beaches and rocky capes against a jungle and coconut setting.
🏖️ Best beaches in Koh Kood
We’ve been to all of them, these are the best:
1️⃣ Haad Khlong Chao
The main beach of the island is really gorgeous, a long white sand beach between transparent waters and coconut palms. Khlong Chao’s location, in the south-central west coast, is an ideal base camp from where to explore the rest of the island. Next to Khlong Chao’s estuary, that can be kayaked up until reaching two of the three waterfalls on the island.
2️⃣ Ao Bang Bao
Located at the southern end of the west coast, Ao Bang Bao is a well-sheltered bay between two prominent headlands, which keep the waters calm and transparent. Quiet but not isolated, its beach is one of the most beautiful in Koh Kood, with elongated photogenic wooden docks that go into the sea. Water is shallow next to the shore, so it is a good option if traveling with kids.
3️⃣ Ao Ta Khian
Connected to the road by an unpaved track, Ao Ta Khian Bay is located on the western end of the south coast, and has a really beautiful soft white sand beach, one of the best on the island. There are only two beachside resorts, but quite a bit further inland there are several cheap bungalow resorts.
4️⃣ Haad Khlong Hin
Khlong Hin is a postcard beach, beautiful and quiet, almost all of it bordered by the Khlong Hin Beach Resort, very popular with Russian tourists. The beach is framed between two rocky headlands, and at its eastern end has a beautiful estuary. Haad Khlong Hin is connected by several paths and simple bridges to the beautiful sister beach located immediately east, Haad Khlong Chak.
5️⃣ Haad Khlong Chak
Haad Khlong Chak beach and Haad Khlong Hin beach receive different names only because they are separated by a cape surrounded by an estuary on each of its sides, but they are equally beautiful and really similar: the arrangement of their surrounding capes and estuaries make them look like a mirror reflection of each other. The beach is almost entirely lined behind by coconut palm trees.
6️⃣ Haad Khlong Mat
Haad Khlong Mat beach is small and pretty, with Khlong Mat estuary at its southern end and a wooden walkway pier that goes into the sea, which together with the boats and some houses raised on stilts by the river bank give the place a very special charm.
7️⃣ Haad Yai Ki
The quiet bay of Yai Ki, in the west coast, has a beautiful white sand beach that offers magnificent views over the islet of Koh Rad. Small river Khlong Yai Ki reaches the sea here, forming a beautiful mangrove estuary ideal to explore aboard a kayak. This little-visited beach is quite remote and land access is not easy, so most visitors arrive by boat or kayak.
8️⃣ Haad Taphao
It is one of the longest beaches in Koh Kood, conveniently located just north of Khlong Chao, the island’s busiest beach where most tourist services are found. Haad Taphao’s accommodation options range between mid-range and luxury, but along the main road, inland and quite far from the beach, there are several restaurants and a dozen cheap accommodations.
9️⃣ Haad Ngam Kho
Situated immediately south of Haad Khlong Chao, this pretty little beach with a narrow stretch of sand is the best option for anyone who wants the same central location as Khlong Chao but wants to stay in a mid-range resort next to the beach, much cheaper than the luxurious resorts of Haad Khlong Chao.
🔟 Ao Phrao
In Ao Phrao Bay you will find the last beach with infrastructure on the south coast. The name of both the bay and the river that flows here means “coconut”, due to the many coconut palm trees that are right behind the beach and flanking the river. Combining this palm-fringed frame, a wooden pier and a mangrove estuary at the west end, the long beach of Khlong Prao is truly idyllic.
✈️ Getting to Koh Kood
To reach Koh Kood, you must first get to Trat, and once there go to the Laem Sok pier and take a ferry to the island.
From Bangkok, you can get there by combining plane or bus with boat:
Plane + boat
➡️ Easiest, fastest but most expensive option: fly from Bangkok to Trat with Bangkok Airways. There are usually 2 daily departures.
➡️ From the same airport you can hire the combined transport by road to the pier + the boat to the island of Koh Kood, as long as the flight schedule allows you to connect with the ferry and does not force you to wait one night in Trat.
Bus + boat
➡️ From Bangkok’s Ekkamai bus terminal, you can take a bus, minibus or van to Trat. The journey takes about 5 hours, the ticket costs between 200 and 250 THB, and there are frequent departures between 05:00 and 23:30.
➡️ From the Trat bus station you’ll have to take a songthaew (60 THB) to Laem Sok jetty, and finally take a ferry to Koh Kood.
➡️ To make things easier, you better buy a combined bus ticket including the transfer to the pier and the ferry to Koh Kood.
➡️ In high season there are 5 daily boat departures between 10:00 and 14:00, with a price of 350-600 THB.
➡️ During high season -November-April-, there are four daily boats connecting Koh Kood with its main neighboring islands: Koh Wai, Koh Mak and Koh Chang.
➡️ In Koh Kood these boats use a small pier on Khlong Chao beach.
➡️ Departures between 09:00 and 14:00, and to reach the last stop (Koh Chang) it takes between 2 hours (speedboat) or 3 hours (slowboat). 900 THB. ➡️ In low season these boats stop operating.