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Koh Mak Island is a place of outstanding natural beauty that visitors find very easy to fall in love with. It is the kind of peaceful tropical paradise that tourists and sailors dream of finding; deserted white sand, palm fringed beaches and crystal clear seas. Koh Mak is part of the Mu Koh Chang Archipelago. but is not within the boundaries of the national park.

Koh Mak (sometimes spelled Koh Maak or Ko Mak) is largely owned by five families who have refrained from the temptation of selling off large chunks of the island to developers. Instead they have generally favoured small boutique style operators which have maintained the island’s natural integrity.

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The island is not a place for frenzied holiday activity and there is virtually no nightlife scene. It is for serene relaxation and resting away from the cares of the world. Many visitors come on a day trip from Koh Chang via a twice-daily speedboat from Kai Bae beach.

Most beaches can be reached via jungle paths which run off the one main track that trails across the fairly flat island.

The Beaches of Koh Mak Island

Koh Mak Island itself is 16km² and has a total of 27 miles of coastline. Long swathes of the coastline are made up of stunning beaches, especially on the north-west and southern coasts. It has gained a bit of a reputation for international filmmakers needing to shoot idyllic tropical island scenes and in 2006, the Sunday Times listed Koh Mak Island as one of the ‘top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world’.

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Ao Suan Yai Beach – Koh Mak

Ao Suan Yai is, for many people, the most beautiful beach on Koh Mak Island and can be found on the northwest coast. The beach is a perfect 3 kilometre stretch of white sand, lined with palms and conifers. There are a small handful of resorts, handy for a meal and drinks but spaced out so there are large areas of where you will be able to find perfect solitude if that is your wish.

Ao Kao Beach – Koh Mak

This is the longest beach on the island stretching over 5 kilometres. Along its length are well spaced small boutique resorts and guest house style accommodation. The beach looks out onto the neighbouring islands
of Koh Rayang Nai and Koh Rayang Nok.

Ao Tan Beach – Ko Mak

Ao Tan is a very quiet beach in the northeast. It does have a small resort, but other than that the beach is rarely visited. It is perfect for people seeking peace and solitude.

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Away from the Beach

Away from the beaches, Koh Mak has a surprising amount of attractions for such a small island. There are three thriving local fishing communities where the catch is brought in daily. Fishermen are quite happy to sell their wares to anyone wishing to buy and for a small fee, most of the local restaurants will be happy to cook it – fresh seafood rarely tastes so good.

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Koh Mak museum is located in an 80+ year old wooden house. In most circumstances, a museum might seem a rather grand description of the one room exhibition dedicated to Koh Mak’s history. However in such exotic surroundings, it is quite apt. Even better is that the house’s owner is only too happy to talk to visitors about the island’s past and present.

One oddity on Koh Mak is a rubber plantation. One would have thought it would be an uneconomic enterprise on such a small island, but it has been thriving for years. Perhaps it is able to survive because it supplements its income from welcoming tourists who can learn all about the art of rubber tapping and the collection and processing of the latex.

Another oddity located in the jungle near Suan Yai beach is Khun Somchai’s erotic art emporium. The visitor is greeted by life sized statues of naked women in a variety of poses, some of which form interesting water features.

Sailing Guide to Koh Mak Island

KohMak is a wonderful destination for sailors exploring the waters and islands around Koh Chang. There are few restrictions on where recreational sailors can go, but care should be taken anchoring close to the beach. Low tide can go out a long way and the water becomes very shallow. It is always best to ask local advice.

All the beaches mentioned have piers and in most instances, locals have little objection to boat owners tying up for a short stint ashore. This is not always the case at the main pier at Ao Nid where there is regular boat traffic carrying visitors and supplies – best not to get in the way.

Koh Mak (Koh Maak)

Links to discovering the islands of the Mu Koh Chang Archipelago

Mu Koh Chang Archipelago Island Guide

State of the art Thailand marina on Koh Chang

Sailing Koh Chang – A Boat Owners Paradise

The Koh Mak Islands Group


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