The small island of Koh Ngai (or Koh Hai) is barely 4 km long by 2 km wide, and has 4 beaches and 2 or 3 paths that can only be covered on foot.
So there are no roads, and therefore no cars or motorcycles. Not even mountain bikes are of any use in this small patch of land lost in the middle of the Andaman Sea.
Everything is done on foot, by kayak or by boat. There is no more, and it is not necessary either.
In Koh Ngai, for now, you won’t find any ATM or 7 Eleven, the minimarket chain so omnipresent in all of the country that has become a symbol of Thai ‘development’. A ‘Seven’ —as the Thais call it— wouldn’t make any sense on an island that has only 9 or 10 accommodation options, and where there are no more local people than the Burmese who work in the resorts.
I was there during the peak tourism season in Thailand (December-January), and although almost all the resorts were full, I didn’t have the feeling that there were many people on the island. Around New Year it may get quite busy, but for the rest of the year the island must be very quiet.
Who is Koh Ngai a good beach destination for?
Mainly for couples or families. In Koh Ngai there is no nightlife at all, so if you are looking for some party this is definitely not your island. Koh Ngai is suitable for those who want tranquility, relaxation and little else to do apart from exploring the island on foot or by kayak, or taking a day tour to nearby islands.
By the way, Koh Ngai is, of course, on the list of the best 30 islands of Thailand.
The main beaches of Koh Ngai
1) Long Beach, the main one
I’m not sure of the name of this beach, so I just call it Long Beach. The name comes in handy as this is by far the longest beach on the island, as well as the best to stay at. It has 9 of the 10 or 11 resorts on the island. A beautiful beach with a narrow sandy strip that in some sections disappears completely at high tide. When the sea is calm, the shallow waters next to the shore acquire very beautiful turquoise blue colors, creating an idyllic seascape.
At the end of the beach you will find the Koh Ngai Cliff Beach Resort, which has a pool with incredible views over the nearby islands Koh Mook and Koh Kradan. The pool at the Cliff Beach Resort is a must if you are on the island. You can use it simply by having a drink at the resort’s bar.
On the other side of the beach, where the Thanya Beach Resort is, you will find two paths. The one that starts past Thanya Beach Resort will take you to the cove of Koh Ngai Resort. Another, which starts between the Thanya Beach Resort and the Koh Ngai Fantasy Resort, will take you to the best beach on the island: Paradise Beach.
2) Paradise Beach, the best on the island
The path that leads from Long Beach to Paradise Beach (or Ao Kuan Tong) is a pleasant half-hour walk surrounded by thick vegetation. Once you approach Paradise Beach, the vegetation gives way to a small plantation of coconut trees. This is probably the best beach on the island and even though there is a resort, it is still 100% unspoilt for now. We reached it by kayak from Koh Ngai Resort’s beach, although it is preferable to walk since it is somewhat remote if you go by sea.
3) Koh Ngai Resort’s beach
Koh Ngai Resort is probably one of the worst on the island, but it has a practically private beach, where the only jetty on Koh Ngai is located. The beach itself is not bad, but I found the other two better. The best thing about this beach is the coral that can be seen about 40 or 50 meters from the sand, which although far from being the best in Thailand is not bad at all. Remember corals are very fragile living beings, and you must never touch them or step on them!
Koh Ngai Map
Day tours from Koh Ngai
You can easily spend at least 2-3 full days on the island. If you want to do something other than sunbathe and relax, you can take day tours to other nearby islands. From Koh Ngai you can visit islands such as:
🏝️ – Koh Rok: A set of three totally virgin islands that you won’t easily forget.
🏝️ – Koh Kradan: Another of the main islands of Trang, also a very small island that has some paradisiacal beaches.
🏝️ – Koh Mook: The tour to Koh Kradan is usually completed with the visit of Koh Mook island, somewhat larger, and which stands out for its incredible emerald lake, an inner beach in the center of the island that can only be accessed through a sea cave. One of the most incredible places in the country. I talked about this place in our article about Koh Lanta island.
Accommodation in Koh Ngai
Coco Cottage Koh Ngai is probably the best resort in Koh Ngai, closely followed by Thapwarin Resort (they are next to each other) and Thanya Beach Resort. The latter has an amazing swimming pool in front of the sea, although with these great waters the pool is not very necessary. Due to a lack of anticipation and the limited availability at the end of the year, I stayed in what is probably the worst resort of them all: Koh Ngai Resort. I didn’t even dare dipping one single toe in their swimming pool.
If you go backpacking you can stay at Koh Ngai Camping, a small campsite on the beachfront with several tents —already planted— that look very nice. Some of the tents offer sea views. In high season tents cost about 600 THB.
How and when to go to Koh Ngai?
Being in the middle of the Andaman Sea, the best months to visit Koh Ngai are from November to April. Rainy season is from May to October, so it is not the best time to visit. In addition, the frequency of boats connecting the island to the mainland is much lower, and some resorts remain closed.
✈️ Going from Bangkok: If you want to go to Koh Ngai from afar, for example Bangkok or Chiang Mai, it is best to fly with Air Asia or Nok Air to Trang airport. From there you can hire a van to Pak Meng jetty, and there take a boat or speedboat to Koh Ngai or any other of the Trang islands (Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, etc.). Air Asia and Nok Air sell all-inclusive packs which combine flight + van + boat. Getting from Trang airport to Pak Meng pier takes about 45 minutes, and from there to the island it takes about 1 hour if you go by boat, or about 30 minutes by speedboat.
🚤 Going to Koh Ngai from other islands: During high season (November to April) there are direct speedboats connecting Koh Ngai with its main nearby islands: Koh Muuk, Koh Kradan and Koh Lanta. If you want to reach Koh Ngai from Koh Phi Phi or from Koh Lipe, in high season you can do it in one day, making an intermediate short stop —and perhaps boat change— either in Koh Lanta (if you come from Koh Phi Phi) or in Koh Muuk (if you come from Koh Lipe).