Around and about Ao Nid
Located in the south, Ao Nid is perhaps the least touristy area on this side of the island. It is primarily one newly paved road which leads down to the public pier, with a school, a clinic, a temple, a couple of noodle shops and local restaurants and a general store.
From behind the pier at Koh Mak Resort on Ao Suan Yai, the main road goes directly across the island to a crossroads. Turning left here takes you to an original Koh Mak fishing community on the Koh Mak northern coast and straight on heads out to the north east and east coasts.
With a right turn, however, you pass the old electricity generator and the police station before arriving at another small junction, where a left turn takes you onto the Ao Nid road. Continuing straight leads to the southern end of Ao Kao.
Along the road in Ao Nid, heading down towards the sea, you pass the clinic and school on your left, with the back way to Ao Kao Resort and the track which leads to Lazy Days Resort, all on your right.
The temple can be found at the bottom end, just before the little side road which drops down to Koh Mak Seafood Restaurant and the Koh Mak Museum. At the very end is the pier itself.
The Boonsiri Catamaran, Suansuk Speedboat, Seatales Speedboat and the thrice weekly wooden goods boat all dock here. KohMak Steakhouse sits next door to the pier, with Ao Pong Bungalows further along on a nice small beach and Coffee and Sweetcake, a cute coffee shop, located up above, overlooking the bay.
Opposite the temple gate, another road snakes off to the right through the coconut plantations. Following this, takes you to the very south of the island, with smaller tracks leading off it to Banana Sunset and Pano Resort.
There are no beaches in this area but the coastline is superb, with one abandoned restaurant high up on the hill at the most southerly point near Talay Time, giving a wonderful panoramic view.
Though these back roads have now largely fallen out of use, it is possible to make a full circle from nearby Pano Resort, so that you emerge above the pier.
Along the Koh Mak Eastern Coast
Heading once more along the Ao Nid road away from the pier back towards the junction, a small turning on the right by the minimart, marks the start of the route up the east coast.
After passing a few houses, the road heads into the rubber trees and inland forest, skirting above pineapple fields and gradually becoming more of a red dirt track. Three resorts, Sea Breeze, Burihuts, with Bamboo Hideaway perched above it, are tucked away in this area, all overlooking the bay known as Ao Baan Lang. There is a beach with coarse sand and rocks and great views out over the sea, all adding to the sense of being well away from the crowds.
Beyond Bamboo Hideaway, the track ends but rather than turn back, you can head straight across the fields to join up with another much better road, which is in fact the eastwards route that can be taken at the crossroads mentioned at the beginning.
It is perfectly flat terrain, with rubber trees and fields on either side and hardly anyone else to be seen, a world away from the beaches.
After a couple of kilometres, a road to the left leads to Green View Resort and another going straight on, to Cinnamon Art Resort. The third option, signed for Little Moon Villa, follows the bend around to the right and passes through a very picturesque forested avenue before passing above Plubpla Koh Mak Retreat in Ao Pai bay, with another small fishing community nearby.
Arriving at Laem Son and across to Koh Kradat
Continuing on, the road falls away into more of a track and soon reaches the access point for the resort of Little Moon Villa. Beyond it, the ever narrowing path, still just about passable despite the coconut fronds lying all around, heads off into the distance and finally emerges on the completely deserted and utterly beautiful beach at Laem Son.
There is a half finished pier, an excellent somtam shack with tables and chairs fashioned out of coconut trees, a boat or two and maybe the odd local who might suggest, for somewhere between 350bt to 500bt, a jaunt across to Koh Kradat which shimmers on the horizon just across the water.
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