Koh Mak Island is a great destination for tourists seeking a quiet holiday escape from the stress and problems of the world. The island which is part of the Koh Chang National Marine Park is blessed with around 27 kilometres of stunning coastline.
Located approximately 38 kilometres off the eastern Thailand coast, or the Trat province, this small island measures only about 10 kilometres by 5 kilometres in size. The beauty of this island lies not only in its pristine beaches and tropical landscape but in the fact that it has been able to maintain its original Thai character. That means the island is devoid of busy streets crammed with girly bars, disco's and rowdy crowds which can be the norm on some other Thai Islands.
About 800 Thai's who live within three villages call Mak Island their home, which is an area with few paved roads and
virtually no traffic. Over a hundred years ago this privately owned island consisted of a large coconut plantation that
was owned by a Chinese official, but the island changed to Thai ownership and rubber trees and fishing were also incorporated on the island. Today 95% of the island is still owned by the descendants of the original Thai owners.
However, in 1974 a number of bungalows were constructed as tourism began to be developed. Despite the introduction of tourism, Koh Mak Island would still have to
be one of the most isolated beach havens that exist within eastern Thailand, and this is evident by the fact that there are apparently only 600 tourist beds available at any one time.
This island includes four main beaches, each with exquisite white sand and crystal clear waters and they are located along Mak Island's southwestern and northwestern shores. Koh Mak is also located close to Koh Chang Island, Koh Kood Island, Koh Kam Island and Koh Sai Island so you can also visit these other islands if you wish.
While this is a destination where it is easy to do nothing, swimming/snorkeling and elephant riding are the more popular activities although the island also contains a number of new dirt tracks for those wishing to explore the island by bicycle.
There are no jet-ski's to be found here as the inhabitants of Mak Island wish to keep their home free of the commercialism and adult orientated girly bars that are associated with Pattaya and Phuket. Hence, the bars and massage parlors on the island are very low key establishments.
Although, the island is quiet it does have around 24 resorts/bungalows and there are several cozy (rather than raunchy) bars and restaurants for a relaxed night out.
The island also has a health center, a school, a small Buddhist temple and a museum that provides an exhibition recounting the history of Koh Mak Island.
The best way to travel to Mak Island is by taking a public ferry, or private speedboat from Laem Ngop Pier in Trat in eastern Thailand. You can get a minibus from Trat airport to the pier (approximately 18 kilometres and costs about 450 baht per person) and then transfer to a ferry service (which operate every 30 minutes during peak times) and costs 120 baht for the round trip.
From Bangkok, the best way to Trat is by plane, bus or
taxi. The one runway Trat airport with its open-air terminal was built
back in 2002 by Bangkok Airways. This company usually has around 4
flights a day to Trat with the flight time being around 45 minutes.
The first flight is at 9 AM and the last is at 5.30 PM.
If travelling by bus bus, air-conditioned buses depart from the Bangkok eastern Ekkamai Bus Terminal. Buses almost every hour between the hours of 7 AM and 5.30 PM. The journey to Trat takes approximately six hours.
Return buses travel during similar times except there are night time buses which depart Trat at 11 PM and 11.30 PM. These buses arrive at Bangkok around 5 AM and 6 AM the following morning.