Koh Mak Information – Sandflies and Jellyfish
Unfortunately, Koh Mak does have an ongoing problem with sandflies on most of the beaches. There is no reason for it to ruin your trip but be aware of it, with the best advice to avoid lying directly on the sand, even on a towel. You should also wear mosquito repellent if walking on the beach early in the day or at dusk, as the flies, preferring cooler temperatures, are more prevalent at those times. Locals advocate the use of coconut oil, but do not assume that this will make you immune after application.
The fly injects histamine, so the bite becomes very itchy and for some people, the reactions can be pretty severe. If at all possible, do not scratch the bite as this causes the spread of the redness. Tiger balm is another local recommendation to help stop the itching, but a tube of anti-histamine cream is a very useful thing to take with you.
Box jellyfish, whose sting can be very dangerous and sometimes fatal, occasionally get blown into shore and vinegar stations are installed on all of the beaches, the curious red poles with a white cross. Bites are extremely rare but by immediately pouring vinegar on the sting, you buy yourself valuable time to seek medical help.
The island has a small clinic on the road leading down to Ao Nid Pier and this can deal adequately with the usual day to day problems. More serious cases will involve transfer to Trat on the mainland, where there are two options, the public hospital or the private one, Bangkok Trat. Health insurance is strongly advised. Although the area has not 100% eradicated malaria, cases are extremely rare and anti-malarials should not be required.
Koh Mak Clinic (Public) – 089 093 4629, Emergency 1669
Bangkok Trat Hospital (Private) – 039 532 735
Trat Hospital (Public) – 039 511 040/1
The police station, should you need it, is located by the electricity generator on the road leading away from Ao Kao beach towards the crossroads and junction down to Ao Suan Yai, a few hundred metres after the Ao Nid turning.
Koh Mak Police – 087 133 8895, Emergency 1155
There are no banks or ATM’s on the island but some of the resorts will accept credit cards, exchange money (dollars/euros/pounds) or indeed allow cash withdrawal against a credit card, at a surcharge of 2% to 5%.
Phones and Internet
Most resorts have internet access with wifi in the common areas and rooms. This comes from the telephone companies’ towers, which dot the landscape, so do not expect especially high speed access. Mobile coverage is 3G. Electricity is 24 hours across the island, with just the odd exception.
There are small minimarts in Ao Kao, Ao Nid and at Ao Suan Yai, which stock foodstuffs, toiletries and such like, but if you know you need something and are unsure if the island will have it, bring it with you to be safe. Even with shopping possibilities a little limited, there is, nonetheless, a good clothes store, The Island Shop, at the southern end of Ao Kao, near Koh Mak Divers.
A post office can be found by the pier at Koh Mak Resort on Ao Suan Yai. the north east coast.