Bicycle Paths, Walking Trails – Koh Mak Activities

UPDATED MAY 2017

koh-mak-trails-bicycle-paths-koh-mak-activitiesBeing so flat, Koh Mak is ideally suited for exploring by bicycle, on foot or if need by, by motorbike.

To this end, the island authorities created a network of signed trails, paths and roads, with an accompanying simple coding system of A, B or C, alongside a number. When you are out and about you will see the small concrete posts with their dual language information snippet. There was a booklet which accompanied this network but sadly, most copies seemed to have disappeared.

Stiil, even without the booklet, it is easy enough to set off along a trail and see where you end up. You are unlikely to get lost but bear in mind that is gets dark at 18.30, so leave yourself plenty of time to get back to your starting point.

Paths on the north and north west coast

Kingdom of Somchai

Within a few hundred metres of leaving Ao Suan Yai from the back of Koh Mak Resort pier, a clearly marked new street on the left hand side, leads off from the main road into the forest.

Almost immediately, it passes the path to The Kingdom of Somchai, a surreal and very graphic collection of sculptures, in a papiermâché-like style, of naked women. These figures are posed as tables, as water spouts, as chairs or just standing, bending and kneeling, with nothing left to the imagination.

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A brief explanation of the artist and his inspiration is found on an accompanying board by the entrance. The sculptures are also dotted by the roadside elsewhere on the island and in particular, two or three stand or bend around the main Koh Mak sign near Ao Nid pier.

The Old House and Turtle Beach

After continuing on for another few hundred metres, the road curves back onto the beach and arrives at Luang Prompakdee House. There’s not much to see now as the house has been renovated and modernised so losing its charm, but historically it remains the oldest building on the island, dated around 1910-1911.

On foot, if you cut down onto the sand, past Happy Days and continue towards the end of the beach, a sign on a broken tree bough indicates where you should turn in for Turtle Beach. Unfortunately, this sign frequently gets washed away, so if you cannot see it, just head in about 300 metres before the end and pick up the clear path to the left through the coconut trees.

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Follow this and keep heading north. As a marker, you’ll pass a gnarled heavily rooted tree at one point and you will find the water’s edge and mangroves will switch to being on your right. After a good 10 minute walk, you arrive at Ao Tao Kai (Turtle Beach), a perfect place to take a dip, cool off and more than likely, be totally alone.

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The Original Community

The original communtiy on Koh Mak is still based on the northern coast at Ao Ta Long. To reach it, head out the back of Koh Mak Resort pier, up the straight road to the crossroads and take a left.

After a couple of kilometres of good road, you reach the wooden ramshackle houses dotted about under the trees or down by the water. There are rubber drying sheds, a unique boat being converted slowy into a house, lots of chickens and dogs but above all. it’s a fabulous and unique glimpse of a truly authentic Thai island village.

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If you go straight through the village to the end, you can pick up the start of a track into the forest. This follows the Ao Ta Long coastline to the northern end and ultimately links up with the trails network at the top of Ao Suan Yai Beach and Turtle Beach, as described above.

Still further east along the northern coast, another trail begins at Green View Resort at Ao Taan, which, after a 30 minute walk, joins the road above to Ao Ta Long about half way along. When you emerge onto it, you want to take a right and you will end up at the old village.

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To get to Green View Resort, follow the Ao Suan Yai road from Koh Mak Resort pier to the crossroads and proceed straight ahead, with the turning for the resort found after 4 to 5 kilometres. This is the same crossroads where a left would take you to the pioneer village, again as described above.

Out to Laem Son for Koh Kradat

Just by the turning to Green View Resort, the main road curves to the right towards Ao Pai in the north east corner. If you continue till the end by following the signs for Little Moon Villas, you eventually come to more of track than road.

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Take this until you reach the sea and you have arrived at another wonderful deserted beach, Laem Son, with its views across to Koh Kradat. As is the excellent Thai way, food is on hand with the Laem Som Somtam serving up exactly that from its coconut wood shack, along with grilled chicken and pork, sticky rice and cold beer.

When you leave Laem Son, behind the main somtam shack, you can head out on the 2nd trail which heads to the right. Follow this until you reach a couple of houses in a clearing in the forest and here bear to the left on the 200 metres of crazy paving until you hit the dual rubber tree tracks separated by the barbed wire.

Follow this to the end and you can either turn left back to the main road coming out just before Little Moon Villa or turn right and follow the trail right to the end through the forest. You emerge on the access road to Cinnamon Art Resort.

Trails out on The South West East Coast

The south western peninsula at Laem Tookata is another good spot for exploring, with more trails, a great beach and a viewpoint at Map Mountain (Khao Phaen Thi, with khao being mountain and phaen thi, map), the highest point on the island.

To get there, head out from the back of Cococape Resort on the newly paved road Laem Tookata route. The road, great for cycling, passes above Ao Pra Beach, where a huge new resort is currently under construction and then past the back of a few villas, before its wends its way over a couple of kilometres down towards the end. Just before the drop down to the beach, a track leads off which takes you up to the viewpoint on foot.

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If you continue on to the sand itself, as well as three small backpacker style bungalow resorts, you also get superb views across to Koh Rayang Nok and Koh Rayang Nai.

Trails out on The South East Coast

Over on the south east coast, another inter-connected set of small roads makes a good diversion, with a chance to get to the island’s most southern point, where an abandoned restaurant battles the elements above Talay Time. Here, too, the views are fabulous with Koh Kood in the distance.

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Nearby, Pano Resort sits below a curious folly of an old crumbling resort, optimistically built for hundreds of guests, none of who turned up. From here, you can trace your way back along disused roads and tracks all the way to Ao Nid Pier.

Futher Information

Located just in front of Riverside in the middle of the strip behid Ao Kao Beach, Ball Cafe has lots of useful tips for exploring the island. The tourist offices at Makathanee Resort or by the pier at Koh Mak Resort are also possible outlets to get your hands on one of those trail booklets.

Bikes and mountaian bikes are now available from 150bt to 250bt a day from many resorts. Try Island Huts and Ao Kao Resort on Ao Kao and Koh Mak Resort on Ao Suan Yai.

As well as decent mountain bikes, Coco Cafe at the top of the road down to Ao Kao Resort offers ordinary pushbikes free for a couple of hours with a coffee, but you won’t want to go too far on them.

Motorbikes are from 250bt to 300bt a day, excellent to explore almost all of Koh Mak, but they will not be able to drive them down some of the tracks on the north coast.


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