Unfortunately, the chronicled history of Koh Kood is rather sketchy but here is what we can piece together from a few sources.
Towards the end of the 19th Century, Siam, as Thailand was then known, found itself under intense pressure from the surrounding colonial powers of Britain and France (French Indochina), as many of its territories extended far further than its borders today. It was no surprise, therefore, when, in 1893, France occupied the western part of Chantaburi Province.
With Britain acting as a broker, Siam gained it back some ten years later but only at the expense of Trat Province, which it gave up in exchange. At this time, both Thais and Cambodians fled the area fearing for their safety and it seems that they formed the main contingent of the early settlers on Koh Kood. Beyond this little is known.
Original Villages – Koh Kood History
Koh Kood’s population has steadily increased during the 2nd half of the last century, with Klong Mad thought to be the oldest village. Ao Salud (or Salat) in the north east translates as pirate bay and it’s suggested that Koh Kood, over time, became a safe haven both from the weather, the authorities and from the neighbouring conflicts – the island sits right on the maritime border with Cambodia.
Existing locals and new arrivals originally made a living from coconuts, fishing and ultimately rubber before Koh Kood’s entrepeneurs turned their attention to tourism in the early 1990’s.
Resorts then and for much of the next 20 years catered solely to Thai package tours but over time and especially since 2010, the domestic market has exploded – young, hip Bangkokians in particular have taken to the island with unbridled enthusiam (a quick swipe on Instagram proves the point). Western visitors too are now a key part of the tourist market, either holidaying there and there alone or combining it with stays on Koh Chang and Koh Mak.
So Koh Kood’s history continues to evolve but it’s still at a sedate pace with development managed in a very controlled way. Long may that continue…
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