UPDATED MAY 2016
Unlike its neighbours at Koh Chang and Koh Kood, Koh Mak has a mostly very flat terrain of natural forest sitting alongside extensively planted rubber and coconut trees, with a coastline of long white beaches looks out onto azure blue seas.
95% of Koh Mak is privately owned by 5 families and as a result of this, its development has been carefully managed and restrained, with smaller scale bungalow operations and boutique resorts rather than larger corporate hotels.
Koh Mak resorts and bungalows are centred on the two principal beaches at Ao Kao and Ao Suan Yai. Other resorts are found on the more remote south, east and north coasts.
Top end resorts include Seavana Resort and Plubpla Resort. Rooms here start from 2,500bt depending on the time of year. Koh Mak does have a small hotel at Makathanee Resort, the cheapest rooms at 1,500bt.
Backpackers can find budget accommodation at Island Huts, with little wooden cabins on the beach at 400bt.
Koh Mak is served by Laem Ngop Pier, a few kilometres down the road from the main Koh Chang Piers. Private transfers are the easiest way to make the speedboat connections, with flights to Trat Airport, followed by a quick 30 minute transfer, also making the island in one day. Public buses and minibuses to the Koh Chang piers or Trat complete the options.
Koh Mak is a also a great place to start if you want to explore the other islands of Koh Kood, Koh Chang or Koh Wai, with daily boat connections back and forth.
Private transfers from Bangkok Hotels, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang Airport, Trat Airport, Cambodian Borders, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh are all possible to Laem Ngop Pier.
From Laem Ngop Pier, speedboats run throughout the day till 16.00, 450bt per person, duration of just under an hour. There is also a daily boat from Laem Sok Pier, Koh Kood’s pier, at 14.20, cost 400bt.
Bangkok Airways flies from Suvarnabhumi Airport into Trat Airport, with only the PG301 and PG305 making the boat connections. To reach the pier from Trat Airport, you will need private transport by car or minibus.
The main beaches on Koh Mak are Ao Kao and Ao Suan Yai on the south west and north west coasts. Both have lovely long stretches of sand and clean blue waters. Ao Kao has resorts and bungalows spread out along its length, with a narrow little road running behind offering a few restaurants and shops, everything very laid-back. Ao Suan Yai is home to just a couple of resorts at the southern end, its northern end wild and undeveloped.
Ao Nid is the island’s administrative area, with a clinic, school, temple and the main pier.
The other coasts are more remote, but they do still have the occasional resort here and there as well as some fabulous untouched beaches.
Koh Mak is a very laid back spot so most visitors to the island just kick back and relax, but it does have 2 dive companies. These offer days out on the terrific coral reefs at Koh Rang, just 20 minutes away, with snorkeling trips also very popular.
For the more energetic, you can try your hand at some sailing, windsurfing or hop in a kayak.
You can also hire mountain bikes to take advantage of the island’s flat, quiet roads or take a hike in the forests, with trail routes well marked out.
There is also a cooking school and a disc golf course.
Just offshore from Koh Mak are 5 small islands, with it possible to stay on two of them, Koh Rayang Nok and Koh Kradat. Koh Kham lies off Ao Suan Yai beach, with an unfinished luxury resort. You can kayak to them all, though bear in they do have small entrance fees.
Alternatively, you can take a day trip, with a speedboat tour a great way to see them all in one day.