The beach at Ao Suan Yai
There are just four resorts, the Koh Mak Resort and Seavana Resort, which stretch along the southern half of the beach, the much smaller Suchanaree, which lies just to the north of the pier and Happy Days, constructed entirely from coconut wood, further up the sand. The oldest house on the island sits next door to this, a wooden (recently renovated with slightly incongruous glass windows) two storey clapboard affair, built around 1911 by the family of Luang Prompakdee, whose descendants still own much of the island today.
At the far end, it is possible to pick up a signed track that takes you inland through the coconut trees, where after some hunting around, you can stumble out at Turtle Beach (Ao Tao Kai), a small deserted beach at the very northern tip of the island, well worth the effort.
Off shore from Ao Suan Yai is the island of Koh Kham. Bought several years ago, it is now private and home to a partially built exclusive resort. For the time being, the island can be visited for a fee of 100bt and there is a small shack selling drinks.
On the hill above Ao Suan Yai and Ao Pra
A narrow road which follows behind the bungalows of Koh Mak Resort and Seavana Resort leaves Ao Suan Yai from the southern end and after turning up a small slope, brings you out in the central section between it and Ao Kao, the main beach on the south west coast. Good Time Resort and its various large villas and houses are on on the south side of the road, whilst on the northern side, Islanda Resort Hotel and Thaidaho Vista sit on the brow of the hill, overlooking the bay of Ao Suan Yai. The views from these two resorts are simply spectacular, a wonderful sweeping panorama which takes in the north, Koh Kham offshore and the headland in the south.
Just by Good Time Resort, the road drops down another steep hill to its end at the back of Makathanee Resort at the northern end of Ao Kao. Ignoring this turn, the road leads on to the entrance to Cococape Resort, a sharp incline down to the sea and beyond that to Laem Tookata in the very south west of the island.
Cococape Resort is located on the cape separating Ao Suan Yai from the next bay along, Ao Pra. Ao Pra is a long shallow sandy bay, with a new resort currently under development at its far end. The best way to visit is by kayaking around the headland but there is access off the same back road leading to Laem Tookata. At the southern end of the bay lies the tiny uninhabited island of Koh Pii, a great spot for snorkeling, as indeed is the whole of this area.
The main route away from Ao Suan Yai, as opposed to the back route from the southern end, is found behind the pier. It heads straight across the island towards the south east and with a right turn at the crossroads, joins up with the section leading to Ao Nid or continues onto the southern end of Ao Kao.
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