UPDATED for 2018/19 Season
North West Beaches at a Glance
From here, passing Klong Mad, a local fishing hamlet, along the way, it’s just a few kilometres to Klong Yai Kee Waterfall, hidden deep in the mangroves.
You can then continue on even further up the coast till the dead end at the private and exclusive Soneva Kiri Resort.
There are resorts in Ao Tapao, Klong Mad and Klong Yai Kee and quietly, this north west stretch of Koh Kood has become an understated popular area of the island, offering something just a bit different to the lazy beaches down in the south west.
Ao Noi – North West Beaches
Soon after leaving Klong Chao Beach heading north west, the road reaches the sign for Ao Noi Resort, where the paved track leads through the forest to a very picturesque bay, dotted with the resort’s huts and bungalows, wooden piers and gazebos.
Continuing on up the coast, the route cuts inland, passing restaurants such The Fisherman Hut, Pizza and Pasta and Pa Yoi BBQ, as well as other houses, minimarts and a couple of tiny bungalow operations for Thai package tourists, Sangtong Resort and Oh Ho.
The old island electricty generator is just around the next corner, followed by the police station, one of Koh Kood’s rare ATMs, the hospital, with Dara Homestay opposite, the school and at the end, a small petrol station. Another Thai spot, Baan Aow Thai Homestay sits next door. By the school sports field, you’ll also find a signed track down to Meedee Resort and Seafar Resort on Ao Tapao Beach.
Ao Tapao – North West Beaches
At the crossroads just past the petrol station, a left turn takes you onto the main route for Ao Tapao.
A few hundred metres past Koh Kood Temple, you arrive at the long concrete Nam Luek Pier, confusingly sometimes also referred to as Hin Dam Pier. This was formerly the principal arrival and departure pier for the mainland boats, but they have now all moved over to Ao Salad in the north east of the island.
Lined with coconut trees and a long stretch of white sand, Ao Tapao Beach itself is very pretty and slowly, as more resorts make it their home, it is becoming much better known.
The boutique resort of Shantaa straddles the hill above the pier, with wonderful views out over the bay. You can access it via a sandy track running off through the long grass just near their western style minimart.
Down on the sand, the large Paradise Beach Resort, sister establishment to Koh Chang Paradise Resort and Spa, opened at the end of 2016 while next door the old Thai resort of Koh Kood Cabana hangs on after all these years. Further along, Meedee Resort and Seafar Resort sit side by side, a with a lovely long sweep of undeveloped beach beyond them.
Klong Mad – North West Beaches
Returning to the crossroads, a right turn instead of the left one to Ao Tapao continues the route up the island. Almost immediately, a long narrow local store marks the point to either go right again towards the east coast or to carry on to Klong Mad, a small fishing village, further up the north west coast.
In carrying on straight, the road passes the bungalows of Waf-F and a homestay and the newly renovated Baan Bua Cottage either side of the bridge, before reaching the village itself and stopping dead at the sea.
There is a certain local charm to this area, with its location on the water, the narrow concrete jetties, long pier, fisherman houses and homestays – it has the feeling it might become more popular as Koh Kood continues to develop and is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
The only tiny beach is in front of a large imposing resort, Suanya Resort and if you walk along the concrete walkways, two other homestays sit on the other side of the inlet. All three spots are targeted at Thai rather than western tourists. You can stop and take a breather at the little a/c coffee shop run by Suanya.
Klong Yai Kee and Beyond – North West Beaches
Immediately before Suanya Resort, another route, branching off to the right, leads north up the island and to Klong Yai Kee waterfall. As a marker, look out for the large boutique bungalows of Koh Kood Beach Resort which dominate the hill at the start.
Passing houses to rent at Elephant House (Ban Chom View) and Kood Life as well as the bungalows of Koh Kood Garden House, the road winds its way deep through the forest, until it reaches another left turn or straight-on option.
The straight-on option brings you all the way back round to the main road leading to Ao Salad, but the left turn leads to the visitor centre for Klong Yai Kee waterfall.
Beyond the falls, the road arrives at the very secluded boutique guesthouse, Bann Makok the Getaway which nestles amongst the mangroves on the canal or klong, as it is called in Thai.
At the end of this same canal, on the seafront itself, is the upscale resort of Captain Hook, with the tiny so called Palm Beach on the opposite side. These are very isolated places to stay, though transport is available to explore the island.
If you continue still further north, a lovely drive on narrow roads through the the trees, you eventually stumble upon a tiny wooden pier hidden away in the mangroves. This is the land pick-up point for Captain Hook Resort and next to it, the small path brings you out at Benz Restaurant used by guests from Soneva Kiri.
Crossing over the impressive new bridge spanning the canal to the right, the route snakes up a hill and ultimately arrives at the back gate of Soneva Kiri itself, though access is strictly prohibited. There are a few simple places to eat along the way and you can also cut down to the sea using the umarked trails to emerge out on a beautiful untouched beach. At one end, you’ll find a lagoon and house, and at the other, just around the corner, you stumble upon Soneva’s former private beach area, now abandoned. The tiny island of Koh Raet is offshore, great for snorkeling.
Further up the coast, Koh Kood’s other island, Koh Maisi Lek, is home to Soneva Kiri’s airstrip, carved out across its middle – this allows the resort to fly in guests on Cessnas, before ferrying them across to the resort on its private speedboats.
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