While thousands flock to Phuket and Ko Samui, the tropical island of Ko Mak remains under the radar, serving as a peaceful getaway for travelers in the know. The third largest island in the Trat province, Ko Mak plays host to a series of resorts well-prepared to receive guests all-year-round, providing all you need for your stay there.
Ko Mak aims to develop an eco-friendly, carbonless tourism. Forego thoughts of late-night parties and adrenaline-packed jet ski rides as you race across the ocean. Instead, you can expect serenity and simple yet fulfilling activities as you head over. Many parts of the island remain undeveloped so do bring along cash, as you will not find ATMs littered around the island and family-run shops do not accept credit card payment methods.
Here, we’ll be covering the essentials: transport, food options, climate, accommodations, and things to do. Read on to find out all you need to know about Ko Mak, Thailand.
Getting to Ko Mak
Ko Mak is located 350 km (217 miles) from Bangkok, and 60 km (37 miles) from Trat, the nearest mainland port. That does not make it any less accessible, as there is a myriad of options available for you. The journey can be divided into two stages.
Getting from Bangkok to Trat
The smoothest way to get to Trat is to take a Bangkok Airways flight from Bangkok (BKK) to Trat (TDX). The flight takes around an hour. The Bangkok Airways boutique lounge is available to all of their passengers. Grab a bite and a drink, and wait in comfort for boarding time.
If you are a little more budget-conscious or prefer a more sedate route, you can choose to drive from Pattaya to the pier. You can choose to hire a private car or taxi or board a bus heading from Pattaya AIrport to Trat before heading to the pier. The trip takes approximately three to five hours depending on traffic conditions.
From Trat to Ko Mak
After reaching Trat, find your way to the Laem Ngop pier either via bus or private car. Hop onto a speed boat and you will find yourself on Ko Mak at the end of the trip. Sea Tales Speedboat offers a quick and smooth ride from Trat to Ko Mak. Do note that different speedboat services alight at different piers. Keep this in mind when you are arranging transport from the pier at Ko Mak and your place of residence.
Do note that you can reach Ko Mak from the surrounding islands as well. All you need to do is to find a speedboat that heads there and you are good to go.
Things to note when planning a trip to Ko Mak
As Ko Mak is a tropical island, expect high levels of humidity and warm weather all-year-round. Take note of the seasons before you plan a trip as the constant downpour will prevent you from heading out and enjoying the activities found on the island.
Try to aim for a visit between November and March, you can expect cloudless days and temperatures hovering around 25°C (77°F). If you do not mind a higher temperature, you can visit the island from March to May. Come June till October, the island will be blanketed by rain as the rainy season sweeps in. Sudden, heavy downpours and possible flooding can be expected during this period.
What to pack
Light, comfortable clothing is the way to go for your holiday getaway. Eschew the formal wear, leave the suits, and pack in your swimwear. A comfortable pair of slippers and your jogging shoes will make up the rest of your ensemble. Most resorts provide toiletries but do pack anything you might need for a more comfortable stay.
Do not overpack on this particular trip. The speedboat ride, while safe, does have limited space and cannot accommodate a large volume of suitcases. You will not want to lug around a suitcase on the island as well. If you are aiming for a quick 2D1N trip, a daypack will be perfect.
Things to do in Ko Mak
1. Lounge by the beach
From private beaches by the resort to boardwalks capped by a bar, you can expect clean beaches almost untouched by human hands. Fishes and even sea urchins can be seen all around. For the perfect sunset by the beach, head over to the Blue Pearl Bar, a cozy spot outfitted with chairs right at the end of a boardwalk that extends out into the ocean.
Do note that the area is preserved; do not take anything from the beaches as a souvenir or leave any trash behind.
2. Go on a bike tour
Accompanied by a seasoned guide, explore Ko Mak on two wheels with a bike tour. From sailing the straight roads past the only school on Ko Mak, to a rocky ride through a rubber plantation, this scenic route will take you past prominent landmarks around Ko Mak. The whole journey takes around an hour or so and includes a short break where you get to try freshly prepared Papaya Salad and a refreshing drink made from Blue Butterfly Pea Flowers.
You will be given a choice between a mountain bike and a commuting bike equipped with a basket in front. A mountain bike allows you to switch between gears, giving you more control, while the heavier and more stable commuting bike is perfect for a leisure ride.
3. Go snorkeling near the neighboring islands
The Koh Rang Marine Park is a short boat ride away. Check in with your resort staff to book a snorkeling trip out to enjoy the beautiful clear oceans and see the marine fauna and flora. Don the mask and life jacket, hop off the speedboat and wonder at the reefs which are preserved and protected. Schools of fishes can be found swimming across, following an invisible highway as they streak across the ocean.
If you are confident in your swimming ability, you can choose to borrow a pair of slippers, remove your life jacket, and dive down for a closer look at the coral. Do watch out for the sea urchins.
4. Enjoy some watersports
Canoes and standup paddleboards are available at most resorts, letting you enjoy the calm waters. Grab an oar and head out into the clear waters. Race against your friends or just lie down and enjoy the rocking waves. Due to the presence of sandflies by the beaches and the harsh sun, slap on a liberal coat of sunscreen and coconut oil before heading out to enjoy the waves.
For more activities, check out our piece on things to do in Ko Mak.
With more than a dozen resorts located around the island, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to where to stay in Ko Mak.
When choosing your accommodations, take note of where they are on the island. If you are looking for the perfect sunset shot, aim for one on the west coast. If you prefer an easy sunrise photograph, staying over on the east coast will let you snap one without heading to the opposite end of the island.
Most of the resorts can be found by a beach, allowing for easy access to water activities. Some, like the Mira Montra Resort, even let you take out their canoes and stand-up paddle-boards.
If you are looking for a hassle-free stay, the Mira Montra Resort certainly delivers. From providing coconut oil to fend off the sandflies to providing Thai Massage services (at an additional cost) in-house, the resort caters to your every need and want. Every room features warm wooden furnishing, with impeccable service.
Do note that you may be visited by some of the local residences (lizards and small spiders), if you do chance upon these critters, do let the staff know and they will help you vacate the unwanted squatters.
What to eat
As befitting an island getaway, the food of choice is definitely the fresh, sumptuous seafood. Prepared in a range of styles, you can find cheap tasty fish and crustaceans among the local eateries here. For those craving something different, enterprising locals have also set up shop selling pizzas by the street.
Here are two top places to eat in Ko Mak:
Table Tales Restaurant & Bar
Table Tales Restaurant & Bar offers up both authentic Thai dishes as well as Western fare in their open-air sitting area. Grab a bottle of Chang beer or a fresh coconut and enjoy the decadent meal.
This place also serves up their homemade ice cream in vanilla, chocolate, and coconut flavors. While the coconut-flavored ice cream is certainly striking and possesses a local flair, the vanilla ice cream was a joy as well.
Table Tales Restaurant & Bar
Address: Ko Mak, Ko Kut District, Trat 23000, Thailand
Website: Table Tales Restaurant & Bar
Opening hours: 8am - 9pm (daily)
Koh Mak Seafood Restaurant
Found right beside the pier, the Koh Mak Seafood Restaurant is an alternative if you are looking for fresh seafood. Built on stilts, be treated to a magnificent view of the ocean even as you partake in a seafood feast. While you are there, do order their Crab Omelette, stuffed full of sweet, luscious crab meat–the delightful dish is a must-have.
The restaurant has a small path leading out into the ocean. Head out there in the day for a glorious view of the surrounding waters.
Koh Mak Seafood Restaurant
Address: Ao Nid Bay, Ko Mak, Thailand
Website: Koh Mak Seafood Restaurant
Opening hours: 10am - 9pm (daily)
Make your way to Ko Mak
While less popular and more low-key than other island destinations in the area, Ko Mak promises a paradise vacation to all who are willing to seek out this hidden gem. With pristine beaches, comfortable resort options, a range of activities to try–including an up-close look at marine life–and delicious seafood to savor, Ko Mak definitely deserves a spot in your list of dream destinations.
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