In this super hot weather, it's time to find some activities to chill out. Many people may have different ways of doing so. For me, I choose to go sit and listen to the sound of the waves, simply put my feet into the water, enjoy some Vitamin Sea, and take photos in different angles. But where to? I don't want to go so far and it must be somewhere I've never been yet. Finally, Koh Mak, Trat province is my answer.
Koh Mak looks like a 4-pointed star. The island is not very large, with an area of approximately 9,000 Rai locating between Koh Chang and Koh Kood. It is about 38 kilometers from the coast. The island has coconut groves, rubber plantations and beautiful sea. There are no entertainment places, no 7-11 too. The life of the Koh Mak people remains almost 100% original. The atmosphere is quiet. It is very suitable for rest and to live a slow life. Koh Mak is a Sub-District level administration in Ko Kut District, Trat Province.
Now, let's find out what Koh Mak has to offer. I would recommend 11 destinations that we should not miss when visiting Koh Mak.
1. Long beach stretching at Ao Suan Yai Bay
Ao Suan Yai is in the west (upper area) of Koh Mak. The beach is quite long, stretching to Ao Phra Bay. The beach is clean, the sand is brown. The surrounding resorts located at Ao Suan Yai include Koh Mak Resort and Seavana Resort.
This beach scene is taken from Seavana Resort. Looking ahead, we will see Koh Kham. On the day I visited, the sky is closed so the water is not as clear and beautiful. We can swim in this area. But there're quite a lot of biting midges. My friend got bitten by it and felt itchy for several days afterwards.
When turning back to the resort and keep walking on the right, it is the area of Koh Mak Resort. Coconut trees are lowering to the sea with a small swing for us to enjoy, this gives us such a good angle for photography.
When looking to the left, we will see Ao Phra Bay which located Koh Mak Coco Cape Resort. The long wooden bridge is a highlight here and a water bar. I think it is one of great locations to take a beautiful scene of sunset on Koh Mak. The sun is set behind koh Phee, with a wooden bridge stretching into the sea as the front view. Too bad that the sky was closed on the day I visited. Luckily that I still can see some golden light.
Shooting location: Seavana Resort
2. Water Bar at Ao Phra Bay
A wooden bridge stretching into the clear sea in Ao Phra is a must check in location that tourists must come when visiting Koh Mak. We can enjoy the sunset from the water bar too. The atmosphere at night is so incredible, it is very romantic. Also, Koh Kham can be closely seen from here.
Shooting Location: Koh Mak Coco Cape Resort
3. Adventure at Cape Doll
Cr. น้ำ ฟ้า ป่า เขา
There're natural sculpture at Cape Doll. These stones look just like doll. But it's quite adventurous to reach here. We must start by climbing small hills. After getting some sweat, we need to robe down to stones bay with lots of small and big stones (including garbage brought by water tide). After that, we still need to climb along the cliff. So if you are not sure, do not take that risk. I also didn't go because it
looks quite dangerous. I think just by listening the waves touching the stones is already good enough.
Shooting Location : Cape Doll
4. Coconut trees leaning at Ao Krathing Bay
The beach in Ao Krathing is as long as Ao Suan Yai but the cleanliness of the beach is much less. Looking afar into the sea, you will see Koh Rayang Nai, Koh Rayang Nok and the end of Cape Doll. When turning back to Holiday Beach Resort and keep walking on the right, you will see a line of coconut trees leaning down. Some tree is almost making a parallel line to the earth. It is so uniquely beautiful.
When looking to the left, you will see Makathanee Pier. The beach here is much cleanlier than the beach at the coconut trees. It is indeed another check in destination that you should not miss.
Shooting Location: Holiday Beach Resort
5. Ao Khao Bay
Although the beach at this Ao Khao is small, what make it unique is porous large stones which looking quite like Laterite. This beach is rather quiet, it is an ideal place to just sit and enjoy the sound of waves hitting the shore.
Shooting Location: Ao Kao White Sand Beach Resort
6. Laying down to enjoy the wind breeze at Ao Thong Lang Bay
Even though beach is not a selling point here, Ao Thong Lang is another great location for just relaxing and enjoying the smell of the sea. The viewpoint of Ao Thong Lang is located inside Talay Time Resort. There's a small restaurant inside the resort at everyone's service.
Shooting Location: Talay Time Resort
7. A story telling from antique things at Koh Mak Museum
Koh Mak Museum tells the unique story of the life of the Koh Mak people, including archaeological history, arts and crafts which are the cultural heritage that shows the wisdom of the people who live on Koh Mak. The museum building has 2 floors. It is open for free from 10.30 - 17.00 hrs. But if tourists wish to continue the breathe of the museum, you can donate money to help repair the museum building so that it could stay for a long time at Koh Mak. Koh Mak Museum is in the same area as Koh Mak Seafood.
Shooting Location: Koh Mak Museum
8. The first and only temple on Koh Mak
Koh Mak Temple is an old temple built in 1947, used for Buddhist rituals. It is a center of the minds of Koh Mak people for a long time. Inside the temple there is a large Bodhi tree spreading its branches to offer cool shadow and tranquility to the temple.
Shooting Location: Wat Koh Mak
9. The Dream Bridge at Tan Bay
This wooden dream bridge extends itself into the crystal clear water for over 460 meters. On the sunny day, words are hard to describe its beauty. We can clearly see different shades of water and the water is incredibly clear.
The abundance seagrass in the middle of the bridge is swaying along the wave.
The water is indeed so crystal clear.
It won't be wrong to call this place "Maldives in Thailand". The dream bridge is located in the area of the Cinnamon Art Resort & Spa.
Ao Than Bay is another must not miss destination for watching the sunset.
Shooting Location: The Cinnamon Art Resort & Spa
10. Experience the volcanic rocks at Koh Kham
Koh Kham is a small island situated in the northwest of Koh Mak. It is about 1 kilometer away from Ao Suan Yai. From Koh Mak, we can buy a tour to cross to Koh Kham by a small motorboat at a cost of 300 THB (a round trip ticket and the entrance fee to the island). The ride takes less than half an hour. We can buy the tour in front of Koh Mark Resort. Or if anyone has good energy, you can also kayak across to Koh Kham.
I have to say that Koh Kham has such a soft and fine white sand and the water is so clear too. Upon arriving, we can exchange our ticket for a can of cold soft drink.
In addition to the fine white sand and crystal clear water, there are also black volcanic rocks on Koh Kham which towering scattering around the area. It is quite exotic and beautiful. Geologists assumed that hundreds of millions of years ago, this area used to be a crater. But it has now stopped and only black volcanic stones are left for visitors to see.
If we visit here at the right time and moment, we will see white sand dunes stretching into the sea. When the tide is really low, the sand dunes will go as far as almost reaching Koh Mak.
Near the boat drop off area, there's a long wooden bridge stretching into the sea where we can walk to enjoy the view.
A sailboat is sailing nearby Koh Kham.
On Koh Kham, there'are buildings assuming to be built as a resort. But due to unknown reasons, the construction stopped. This unfinished project becomes a place for tourists to walk and take photos.
There are 3 boats crossing to Koh Kham daily, at 10.30, 13.30 and 15.00 p.m. Tourists taking the 15.00 p.m. boat will have time to enjoy at Koh Kham until 17.00 p.m. and then the boat will come take you back to Koh Mak. I recommend you should not miss crossing to Koh Kham when visiting Koh Mak, otherwise, it'd be a great miss.
Shooting Location: Koh Kham
11. Enjoying a Sea Safari at Koh Kradad Island
Koh Kradad is in the north east of Koh Mak. It is one one of the most convenient islands to cross from Koh Mak because it is not far. It takes only less than half an hour ride by a small motorboat.
King Rama V wrote "Koh Kradad" as its title deed. It is assumed that this name come from Kradad tree (Elephant ear) which found widely on the island. This tree is similar to taro which grows widely on a wet beach. The head of the tree can be used for medicine too. It is also assumed that the name could be derived from the flat terrain with no mountains. Koh Kradad got a legitimate title deed since the King Rama V. It is because the French was trying to colonize Southeast Asia and tried to occupy Siam, Koh Kradad was one of their main targets. Therefore, the King Rama V was pleased to issue the title deed of this island to show that Koh Kradad is the land of Siam.
Once you are here, I recommend you to take this truck to sightseeing the island, to see hundreds of natural deer living together. The boatman told me that it was originally only two deer but these two later born many more deer. And now, there're hundreds of them on the island. As a result, this island is also named "A safari in the sea". The Tourism Authority of Thailand has chosen Koh Kradad to be one of the Unseen Thailand too.
Upon stepping up to the island, you will see these small and big deer eating grass. It makes me so happy as I didn't think I would get to see deer so easily. Some of them are very familiar with people that we can go rub their head while some are still afraid of human.
If there're a lot of tourists on the island, they will show us around the island by the truck, otherwise, a motorbike with additional cart will be used as a vehicle.
My boatman also rides a motorbike service for us. He's taking us through coconut farm. Soon he stops us at the back of the island and here we find another highlight where coconut tree leaning down towards the sea. It is the only coconut tree in Koh Kradad that bends.
On the way back, he took us to different route, going through blossoming rose periwinkle field with a backdrop of coconut trees. If we come at the right moment, we would see deer eating grass in the field too. It's a pity that they were frightened by the noise of the motorbike, so they jumped away before I could press my shutter.
A historical picture of when the King Rama V visited Koh Kradad.
Koh Kradad is a private island. There's only 1 resort on the island. There are both rooms as in the building and houses. I think if anyone wants to come to rest, cut off from the outside world, Kradad Island is the best answer.
For anyone interested in crossing to Kradad Island, you can call for more information with The Cinnamon Art Resort & Spa at 099-2869714 (the nearest pier to Koh Kradad). The service charge is 400 THB (including a round-trip boat fee, the entrance fee to the island, and the truck fee for island sightseeing).
After seeing many beautiful beaches, let's go see the hotel that I choose to stay for my 2 nights here. I chose to stay at his hotel because I want to feel the most with the dream bridge. And that hotel is the Cinnamon Art Resort & Spa.
The Cinnamon Art Resort & Spa is located at Ao Tan. It probably is the only resort in the area, making this place very quiet and peaceful. The beach is not suitable for swimming.
The lobby is designed to be high and open. It is quite spacious. The open air atmosphere provides seating area for guests to sit and wait while checking in and checking out.
Opposite to the lobby, it is like a multi-purpose yard where guests can come to sit and enjoy the sea-view scenery.
There're 6 room types at the Cinnamon Art Resort & Spa: Eco Room, Garden view, Autumn Leaf, Pool Side Villa, Beach Front, and Pool Hut Villa. I choose to stay at garden view room. It is a 2-storey building which is located at the furthest in of the resort.
Rooms are decorated with wooden furniture to blend in with nature which makes it look a bit old. There're 2 of 5-foot beds with 2 pillows each (but the pillows are not comfortable because they are quite flat and when stacked together, it's too high). The interior space is quite spacious. It also has a large cobweb.
There's a terrace for us to enjoy the view outside.
The bathroom separates the wet and dry parts with plastic curtains. The toilet seat is equipped with a spray hose.
The facilities provided by the resort include 2 bottles of drinking water per day, air conditioning, refrigerator, TV, kettle, and warm water for showering. There are many power outlets. There's also a working corner and a sofa set. The room I stayed is rather special because all 3 door knobs (entrance door, bathroom door, balcony door) are quite damaged (I don't know if it's only my room or every room.) The worst of it is the the entrance door knob. After returning from dinner, I closed the door and prepared to go to bed. Since I didn't plan to go out, after pressing the bolt lock, I also chain it to prevent the outside person from opening the door. When I woke up the next morning, I was uptight because my door was kind of open. Luckily that I already tied the chain last night, otherwise, it would be wide open all night. The door was opened because the bolt has a problem. The door knob does not have any proper lock. Just by pushing the door from the outside, it can be easily opened. I tried to lock many times to have the bolt properly lock in.
Let's go explore the surrounding atmosphere. The resort uses wood as the main element in the decoration, such as signs and the pathway which has deteriorated over time. Some of the walls of the room have seen a lot of dilapidation.
The restaurant is close to the dream bridge.
There is also a beach-side drink bar.
A la carte food is quite expensive as per food in any resort. A dish of stir-fried herbal seafood is 140 THB. A bottle of small drinking water is 20 THB and the big one is 50 THB.
Since the resort is quite far from community area and that I didn't rent a motorbike yet in my first day, I have my dinner here. The price is expensive like I mentioned earlier. But due to convenience, we decided to eat here anyway. We order a dish of deep-fried garlic squid (180 THB), seafood salad (180 THB), 2 dished of rice (each one is 30 THB), a glass of orange juice (100 THB), a glass of lemon tea ( 80 THB) a bucket of ice (30 THB) and a bottle of small drinking water. Overall, this dinner costs us 650 THB.
Now, let's take a look at breakfast. It is served in buffet style. Mainly, there are fried rice, fried egg, sausage, ham, shrimp porridge, vegetable salad, bread, fruits (pineapple and watermelon) coffee, Ovaltine, orange juice (it is so diluted that you can hardly have the smell of orange juice). For the next morning, the fried rice is changed into fried egg and shrimp porridge is changed into mushroom porridge. Overall, I give it a 6/10 for breakfast here.
Breakfast is included in all room rates, except for the Eco Room, if you want to enjoy breakfast, you will have to pay an additional of 200 THB.
The resort offers a motorbike rental service for 300 THB per day and a boat trip to Koh Kradad (400 THB/ person). There is also a free shuttle service to the pier.
Overall for the Cinnamon Art Resort & Spa Overall, the rooms are quite old which disappointed me a bit as I expected a better condition. However, the atmosphere is superb. I say that this place is suitable for those who want quiet relaxation, to fully feel the beautiful atmosphere, and do not mind much about facilities.
Now, let's take a look at food. If you don't mind that you must eat seafood when coming to the sea, I really would like to recommend Isaan kitchen restaurant which is located not far from Ao Nid Pier.
Well, like the name suggested, this is a northeast food restaurant like different type of papaya salad, laab, the taste is really good and the price is not expensive. Papaya salad is 60 THB, pork laab is 80 THB, deep-fried shrimp is 50 THB, sticky rice is 20 THB each, and more importantly, there's no charge for water and ice. This meal only costs us 230 THB.
How do you guys like my 11 recommended destinations for shooting photos? Koh Mak is an island model of Low Carbon tourism. It is very suitable for living in a slow life.
"The second Maldives is here, the charming Koh Mak,
Pleasant sea, calm, and crystal clear,
Equip with sufficiency, nature, and happiness,
Slow life in this island is like living a heavenly paradise."