Ko Phra Thong
Ko Phrathong is the middle link in a chain of three islands. To the north is Ko Ra. It is long, mountainous and covered in ancient rainforest. It is uninhabited and home to many rare animal species. To the south is Ko Kho Khao which has physical features similar to Ko Phratong. The islands are part of the Mu Ko Ra - Ko Phrathong National Park, established in 2001.
Ko Phrathong is virtually flat and has over 9 km of deserted beach on the Andaman Sea and over 7 km of beach on the bay facing Khuraburi. It is also only 60 km from the Surin Islands, Richelieu Rock, and only slightly further to the Similan Islands, all renowned diving locations.
The island's natural landscape is chiefly savannah—flat grassland—similar to the savannahs of Africa, and a rich and impenetrable mangrove forest along the east side extending around 60% of the island, with extensive sea grass vegetation hosting rare animal species like the dugong, or sea-cow.
Many other animals inhabit the island ecosystem, including the leopard cat, the sambar deer, snakes such as king cobras and pythons, and birds like sea eagles, bhramini kites, and wild chickens.
On the east side there is a small fisherman’s village, Thapayoi, and on the southeast end is another small village, Thung Dap. These villages total fewer than 300 Moken inhabitants, a rare tribe of sea gypsies, and Thais. The larger village, Thapayoi, has a school and a staffed community health centre. At the northern tip there is the third and most modern village of the island, Baan Lion. Funded by Lions Club to help the local people recover from the 2004 tsunami, it features some 20 concrete elevated houses and a school, and it was built further ashore than the former village that had been razed by the waves. Nowadays the village is almost deserted, with only 6 families permanently living in it, yet there two institutions that keep it alive: the primary school which is open and also serves as a rescue point for the locals from future tsunamis, and the office of the Naucrates Project, an international NGO whose objective is to monitor and help protect the local environment and fauna.
Tourism on the island is at it's very early start, due to the lack of regular transport facilities and of 24-hour electricity, thus making it a great destination for those looking for a rich natural and almost unspoiled environment. As of 2014, all the 7 resorts on the island are grouped nearby on the sandy west coast near Phrathong Bay.
Longtail boat from Khuraburi pier, 1 hr, 1,400 baht one-way to the northern tip of the island. Other island destinations can be negotiated. Boats can accommodate up to 8 passengers. Last departure from Khuraburi is 16:30.
Longtail boat, Ko Phrathong to Khuraburi: last boat 15:00.
Transit by speedboat (~20 min) at a time of your choosing can be arranged for about 6,000 baht one-way.
- Golden Buddha Beach Resort. 26 accommodations near the beach. Meals are served in the Ban Buri Clubhouse, the on-site restaurant. 3,000-33,000 baht.
- Mr. Chuoi Bar & Hut, 140 Moo 2, ☎ . Completely rebuilt by local legend and owner Mr. Chuoi who survived the tsunami by climbing up a tree, it features more than 20 charming bungalows made of natural materials, with different sizes to accommodate from couples to larger groups. The lively bar and restaurant serves some very nice Thai dishes and local fish cooked by his skillful, friendly wife, Nui. Rents bicycles and motorbikes.
- Phrathong Nature Resort (On the west coast between Mr. Chuoi and Phrathong Place Resorts), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Recently reopened small and friendly resort run by a Western and English speaking staff, some 250 metres from the beautiful long beach. It features basic and cheap accommodation with 6 beautiful and comfortable traditional natural straw elevated huts, a yoga platform along a small river, and a nice restaurant. 600-1,000 baht.