Ko Kut

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Ko Kut (also Koh Kood), Thailand's 4th largest island (25 km long and 12 km wide), is in Trat Province in the Gulf of Thailand. It's the Thai island closest to Cambodia.

The island is a popular spot for package tourists and families. The island has virtually no nightlife, so if you are looking for parties, it's not the place to go.

Understand[edit]

Get in[edit]

To/From Trat[edit]

Koh Kood Princess ferry 350 baht per person one-way. 1 hr 45 min. The boat ticket includes a free taxi from Trat to the pier in Laem Sok and on Ko Kut from the pier to your resort. Taxis in Trat depart from the market near the big clock/thermometer or your lodging. Leaves the market in Trat at 11:30 sharp! Departs from Laem Sok daily at 12:30. Departs from Ko Kut daily at 10:30, both high- and low-season.

Ko Kut Express 350 baht per person one-way. 1 hr 15 min. The boat ticket includes a free taxi from Trat to the pier in Laem Sok and on Ko Kut from the pier to your resort. Taxis in Trat depart from the market near the big clock/thermometer or your accommodation. Leaves the market in Trat at 11:30 sharp! Departs from Laem Sok daily at 12:30. Departs from Ko Kut daily at 10:00, also during low season.

Siriwhite Speedboat 600 baht per person one-way. 60-90 min. Two speedboats depart daily from Laem Sok on the mainland near Trat. Stops are made on demand at most west coast piers on Ko Kut, finally terminating at Ko Kut's Bang Bao Bay. First boat departs from Laem Sok at 09:00 and the second boat departs at 13:00. Two boats depart from Ko Kut daily at 10:00 and 12:00. The speedboat tickets also include a free taxi from Trat to Laem Sok Pier. The speedboats do not operate during low season due to weather conditions.

Koh Kood Speedboat / Ao Thai Marine Express This service is only available for private charters.

Boat fares (350 baht slow boat, 600 baht speedboat) include transport to/from Trat, but only when using taxis that are associated with the boat companies. If you take the speedboat, you will usually be dropped at or very close to your destination.

Some hotels will try to rip you off by requesting hundreds of baht for the transport to the pier. Do not agree to this, and if you find the deal changes when you arrive at the pier and the boat operators (who run the taxis as well) try to force you to pay this fee, and taxi drivers/boat operators are connected in a sort of mafia-style operation. Politely mention that you may need to phone the tourist police and wait for a resolution if this happens to you.

If you take the speedboat, you will usually be dropped at or very close to your destination so this is not required.

To/From Ko Chang[edit]

Bang Bao Boat (speedboat) 900 baht per person one-way. Daily from Bang Bao pier on Ko Chang (09:00 and 12:00)

Kai Bae Hut Express (speedboat) 900 baht per person one-way. Daily from Kai Bae Pier on Ko Chang at 09:00.

The trip can take 1-2 hours depending on conditions and the number of stops at the islands between Ko Chang and Ko Kut, (Ko Mak, Ko Wai, etc.) and the number of stops around Ko Kut. The boat ticket includes a pick up or drop off at most hotels on Ko Chang/ Ko Kut.

Get around[edit]

Public taxis are available on Ko Kut. Siam Beach Resort (in Bang Bao Bay) also runs a taxi service. Another fun way to travel around is by motorbike. Expect to pay around 300-350 baht per day. Resorts often charge 400-450 baht. Road conditions vary between dirt roads and paved roads, but there is a small concrete road covering the western coastline from north to south. Maps are available though a bit confusing. Bicycles can also be hired (around 150 baht per day), but the heat and the hilly nature of the roads makes them of limited usefulness for all but diehard cyclists. For those not in a hurry, small fishing boats can be hired to tour around the island.

See[edit]

There are virtually no towns on Ko Kut, so sightseeing is pretty limited.

  • Ao Salat (Island's northeast). The fishing village of Ao Salat is home to around 300 people, making it the largest settlement on the island. The village is built on stilts in the water, and is quite interesting and well worth the rather long road trip to get there. This is also the departure and arrival terminal for the Koh Kood Princess ferry. It has a few very good seafood restaurants (including a homestay and souvenir shop) where you can choose your own seafood straight from the fishing nets. Expect to pay around 500 baht for the trip, as cars are quite scarce. Or rent a scooter.
  •    Ao Yai (Far southeast island). A typical fishing village. The concrete road takes you all the way to it. Good place to enjoy fresh seafood. Cheap snorkelling and fishing trips can be arranged here with local fishermen. Crowds of nice people will be happy to receive you there.
  •    Khao Rearub. Hiking path connecting Klong Chao and Ngamkho Bay. There is an impressive, old rock formation. What it resembles is the subject of some dispute. It's a religious site for Thais.
  •    Macca Tree (Just north of island centre. Follow signs). A grove of massive 300-500 year old trees in the middle of the rain forest. Worth a visit.

Do[edit]

Swimming in the crystal clear waters, sunbathing, scuba-diving, snorkelling, kayaking, hiking to the waterfall, checking out the view of Klong Chao Beach from the viewpoint which can be accessed by motorbike or by foot along a path that originates at the southern end of the beach and winds through some trees and has a short climb along a paved path to the viewpoint. Good coffee can be enjoyed here. Or just relax and read a book.

  • Beaches. Most beaches are on the west coast. From north to south they are: Ao ("bay") Tapao; Ao Noi; Klong Chao; Ao Ngamkho; Sai Daeng; Ao Bang Bao; Takean; Khlong Hin; Ao Jark; and Ao Prao. Most resorts are along this coast.
  •    Huang Num Keaw Waterfall (The Secret Waterfall) (Island centre, on the road to the Macca Tree). Year-round. At the end of a strenuous, steep 100 m path. Free.
  •    Klong Chao Waterfall (Follow the signs). Year-round. The largest waterfall on the island, with a huge pool that you can swim in. About 20-30 min walk from the turn-off, sometimes you can hitch. Organised tours usually visit the waterfall in the afternoon. Free.
  •    Klong Yai Ki Waterfall (In NW Ko Kut. Follow the signs to Baan Makok, turn off to right). Year-round. This waterfall is smaller, more quiet and also with a pool where you can swim. Free.
  • River Estuary (Near the turnoff to the Klong Chao Waterfall). A mangrove-lined estuary. Many places (hotels, restaurants, guesthouses) rent kayaks cheaply here. The top of the estuary is a rocky area. If you want to be alone, you can pass by it carrying the kayak, then swim in a natural pool surrounded by forest. Very few people can be bothered to go here, so it is very clean. There is also a tributary flowing from a mangrove forest partway up, on the west side. This is quite spooky and has more pollution as the top is a road and there are some houses at points the way, but you can still appreciate the natural environment, which is pretty spectacular at points and maybe see some rare bird life. You can also kayak out to the ocean, which is often very still and without waves, and being shallow the water is warm a long way out.

Scuba diving is a great way to discover the underwater world around Ko Kut. Diving off Ko Kut is easy, fun, and you can see turtles, stingrays, barracudas, lots of small fish and sometimes sea horses.

Nearly any time of the year except from July till the end of September is good diving weather in Ko Kut and visibility can exceed 30 m. Average visibility is around 15-20 m. From July-September visibility is reduced to 5 m and the seas are choppy. It is possible and perfectly comfortable to swim and dive without a wet suit year round. However, as with most diving, a wet suit is recommended to help reduce risk of cuts or injury. Avoid contact with coral reefs.

Various dive locations around Ko Kut are:

  • Ao Tum
  • Bang Bao
  • Clong Hin
  • Hin Jedi
  • Hin Loi
  • Ko Reat
  • Ko Rang National Marine Park

There are three dive shops on the island:

  • BB Divers (The main office is in Khlong Chao at Away Resort and within walking distance from Away Resort speedboat pier and Mark House Speedboat pier. The shop at Siam Beach Resort in Bang Bao is their latest addition.),  +66 82 2206002, e-mail: . This dive school is a branch of 5 Star PADI IDC Center BB Divers on Ko Chang where it has been active since 2003. This Belgian-run shop has very nice staff and can provide all PADI courses from Open Water up to divemaster and even beyond. Courses can be done in many European languages as well as in Thai. They also cater to the snorkelling crowd. With the privately-owned speedboat all local dive sites as well as Ko Rang National Park, Ko Mak and Ko Chang are within easy reach. They also offer the new wreck dive on the HMS Chang at Ko Chang, one of the best wreck dives in Thailand
  • Koh Kood Divers (On the left side of Bang Bao Bay in SW Ko Kut),  +66 85 6984122, e-mail: . Small family-run dive shop with new equipment, flexible boat schedules, and friendly multilingual staff including German, Dutch, French, Spanish and English. They teach all PADI diving courses from beginner to professional level in small groups in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Also they offer snorkelling trips as well.

Buy[edit]

There is a souvenir shop in Ao Salat. Other than that, you'll be hard pressed to find anything in particular to buy outside your resort.

Eat[edit]

Many of the resorts, but not all, have good restaurants. Outsiders are always welcomed. Prices are slightly above mainland. The cheapest feed is roughly 60 baht for a bowl of noodles. Expect to pay 80-200 baht for a main course at non high-end places (usually 100-150 baht).

If you want to cook for yourself then a small selection of fruit/vegetables is available at a stand/shop operating some distance across the bridge from Ban Klong Chao, before the Sunset Bar. Basic staples and ice cream are available at a number of shops around the Klong Chao.

Drink[edit]

  • Sunset Bar (Across the bridge (1 km) down the road from Klong Chao, just before you reach Away Resort). Admire the sunset there around 18:00 or just go later to enjoy the drinks in a cool atmosphere. Parties going on every Saturday and on special occasions.
  • View Point Cafe (Near Away Resort on the main road near the bridge). Built directly above the water with magnificent views, sunsets, and ambiance. Real fresh-ground Vietnamese-style coffee, fruit shakes, and interesting non-alcoholic cocktails. The Australian/Thai proprietors are a great source of local and SE Asia information. Closes for low season in mid-May.

Sleep[edit]

For high season (Nov-Feb) it is recommended you book ahead, especially weekends. Although there are many different places to stay, most of them can easily be fully booked during Thai holidays that Western tourists are unaware of. Also, apart from the Klong Chao area, Ko Kut is not an island where you can easily stroll from resort to resort. About 40% of the resorts remain open during the rainy season (May-Sep). Expect services to be limited during that period. Some restaurants, bars, and shops close, and diving is not always possible. Accommodation is widely spread out over the island with Klong Chao in the middle where most activity is. Low budget/backpacker accommodation can be found there. Most beach resorts are connected to the main road by dirt tracks.

  • Away ResortKlong Chao +66 81 835 4517. The resort recently added a man-made beach behind a rock seawall which makes access to the water difficult. Their advertisement in Bangkok Airways in-flight magazine showing a gently sloping beach has been heavily Photoshopped. The resort features luxury bungalows, with private terraces and sea views from almost every room. Free Wi-Fi. Free kayaking. 3,800-10,500 baht.
  • Beach Natural Resort +66 86 999 9420. Neither a naturist resort nor particularly natural, but the deluxe bungalow is really nice, and the chairs at the end of their long pier is a perfect place to watch the sunset. 2,400-6,900 baht.
  • Cozy HouseBan Khlong Chao (About 200 m down the road to the waterfall),  +66 85 1014838. Aimed at backpackers. Shared shower/toilet facilities. Washing machine 50 baht/use. Easy walking distance to a white sandy beach, as well as the waterfall. Backs onto the river estuary for kayaking, visiting waterfall. Sand volleyball court. Weekend BBQs (every other day in high season) with fresh seafood (typical are three kinds of fish, squid, giant prawns, chicken, potatoes and salad for vegetarians). Relaxing atmosphere and a congenial local proprietor. Free, but slow Internet for residents. Free coffee/tea before midday. Kayaks (150 baht/day), bicycles (150 baht/day) and motorbikes (250 baht/day) for hire. Visa and MasterCard accepted. 250+ baht.
  •    Dusita Resort +66 81 8257076. Cosy air-conditioned bungalows. Really good food and a beach you will never want to leave. 1,290+ baht.
  • For Rest Boutique HouseBan Ao Prao, Ao Prao Beach +66 87 0265515. Boutique-style guest house built on stilts in an beautiful estuary, next to mangroves, tiny fisher village, and an endless empty beach. 1,200-2,800 baht.
  • Horizon Resort (Formerly Hindard Resort) (Northern headland, Ngamkho Bay),  +66 81 781 0308. A lovely small resort right on the water. Sit on the veranda of your bungalow and enjoy the ocean views. Or enjoy a lovely meal in the restaurant with fantastic views. Snorkelling on your doorstep, or rent a kayak or motorbike and go exploring. 1,500+ baht.
  • Koh Kood Ngamkho Resort +66 81 8257076. One of the cheaper resorts on Ko Kut, if not the cheapest. Laid-back resort on the west coast run by a guy called Uncle Joe and his family. Has basic bungalows only 20 m from the beach for 500 baht during low season and 650 baht during peak season (sometimes includes breakfast), bungalows with toilets are 750 baht. Also offers tents for 200 baht. The resort is on a beautiful strip of a white sand beach lined with coconut trees. Motorbikes and kayaks are available for rent on a daily/half-day basis. 15 minute walk or boat ride to one of Ko Kut's main attractions, Klong Jao Waterfall. 850+ baht.
  • Koh Kood Resort ((Formerly Holiday Cottage Koh Kood)), Bang Bao Bay +66 87 026 5415. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. Japanese-style bungalows in a botanical garden starting from 700 baht in low season. Free use of kayaks. Free Wi-Fi for guests. 700-2,700 baht.
  • Klong Chao Garden View (Formerly Klong Chao Seaview), Klong Chao +66 87 9883593. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. Close to Klong Chao Beach (200 m) and waterfall (3 km). Family restaurant and motorbike rentals. 400+ baht.
  • Neverland Beach ResortAo Jark Beach +66 81 4565486, +66 81 7626254. Popular among Russian tour groups. Features sweeping coconut groves with well-manicured lawns with a boules and football facilities. Hammocks and sun chairs are positioned on the threshold of the shoreline, as does a beachside bar (apparently high season only). Many a pleasant hour can be had sleeping to the sound of the waves. The downside is that it's miles from anywhere, so your "stuff to do" list is going to run short without access to transport. Paid access to taxis advertised at the resort seems expensive at 800 baht per trip. Snorkelling equipment available and a series of rocks on the south end of the beach allow the observation of some sea creatures. The owner speaks Russian and a Russian language menu and sign are visible in the restaurant, which offers a fair selection, though island-inflated prices top some cheaper venues. Single kayak available with single-ended paddle. 1,300-2,600 baht; tent 500-600 baht.

Connect[edit]

Compared to neighbouring Ko Chang, infrastructure is generally thin. Some resorts, such as Siam Beach Resort and Koh Kood Resort, offer Internet access while others do not. Internet appears to be offered via 3.5G UMTS (i.e., mobile, quite slow) and is prone to dropping out.

Local tourist information is hard to come by, but Internet searches will reveal maps of the island.

There are no ATMs or banks so take cash. Only higher end resorts take credit cards. If you run out of money, second hand sources report that credit card cash advances are possible at the larger resorts for a 5% fee.

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