Quiet & Serene of Koh Mak in Thailand
This heaven of an island has been Thailand’s best-kept secret for many decades and is still very raw and undiscovered with modern-development impaired ecotourism prevalent on the island. A manifestation of calm and serenity, the island has two main beaches, Suan Yai and Ao Kao and a red sand beach, the Ao Pai.
Tracing their roots to a Siam government official of Chinese descent who purchased the whole island in the late 19th century, native islanders resisted the urge to sell off land to outside developers back when Ko Chang really caught on as a tourist destination in the 1990s and 2000s. Their patience resulted in a balance between low-level tourism and more traditional ways of life.
Contrasting the mountainous jungle of Ko Chang and Ko Kut, Mak’s 15-square-kilometre interior mostly consists of rubber and coconut groves between pockets of tourism-related development. With clear water (when calm) lapping up to soft sand that strikes shades of ocher, pink and amber, the beaches are good, although not as attractive as those found on Ko Kut. Nearly invisible sand flies can be a real nuisance at certain times and places on Mak—check with locals before you sprawl out for a nap.
We do think Mak beats Kut when it comes to activities and ease of getting around, and the overall vibe seems friendlier to us. Visitors in need of a break from the water could try out Thai recipes at Smile Koh Mak Cooking School; learn to gracefully pummel people at Hong Thong Muay Thai Camp; ease into the flow at Island Yoga; or join a rousing round at Koh Mak Disc Golf by Pom. Sealed roads with few hills make Mak a great place for cycling as well.
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