Ao Kao, in the south west of Koh Mak, is a beautiful long beach, with resorts sitting just back from the powder sand and restaurants and bars grouped together on the main road which runs behind it.
The clear turquoise sea is perfect for swimming and the islands of Koh Rayang Nai and Koh Rayang Nok, which lie just a little way offshore, are within a gentle kayak distance.
Eastern End – Ao Kao Beach
Reached by a small track running off Ao Nid road, the most easterly resort is Lazy Days Resort and continuing along the sand, you’ll find one of the island’s largest resorts, Ao Kao Resort.
The family friendly Palm Beach Resort and the traveller’s favourite, Island Huts sit next door, and between them all, they share one of the best stretches of beach on Koh Mak.Far
Access to Ao Kao Resort and Palm Beach Resort is off the main road by Phoenix Muay Thai, Food Art Hut and Little Red Oven. You can get to Island Huts, by turning in just after the European restaurant and accommodation at Swiss Sawasdee. You can also connect from one access road to the other.
Island Shop, great for those last minute gifts, the long established Koh Mak Divers, Q Bar and a couple of minimarts are also in this vicinity. Koh Mak Garden is the impressive villa about 100 metres back from the road.
Central Section – Ao Kao Beach
A longish stretch of undeveloped beach follows, which the road reflects, as it cuts through flat land planted with rubber trees before doglegging right back behind the sand after the minimart and mini food court.
Monkey Island Resort begins this next section, with the larger bungalows of Rayang Nature next door. Opposite their entrances, there is a row of popular restaurants and cafes including Table Tales, Kon Gin Sen and Food Garden. Seatales Speedboats also have an office next door to Table Tales. Monkey Bar down by the sea within Monkey Island, has now closed by may rise frpm the ruins gain in the future .
If you are staying at the Ao Kao Resort end, it’s a good 15 minutes walk along the road to here, less time if ambling on the sand, but you will get wet if the tide is high. Either route, do bring a torch in the evening as Koh Mak does not go in for too much street lighting.
In the central area of Ao Kao, Ball Cafe and Joe’s Corner Hostel sit opposite By The Sea, Baan Koh Mak and the bigger, more hotel-like, Makathanee Resort which line the beach side. Currently closed, Bangkok Trat Hospital also operates a private clinic here.
Next to this section and just a few hundred metres further down, you’ll find the final set of restaurants including Aimmy, Rabbit Bar, Clay Pot and Koh Mak Cosiest Bistro, as well as the Sawasdee Guesthouse, an offshoot of the restaurant. Totti Boat Trips, which provides snorkeling trips to Koh Rang, also has a small outlet here.
All in all, the atmosphere throughout these parts is extremely laid back, with traffic at a minimum. It’s perfect for an evening stroll to choose where to eat and where to kick back with a drink.
The Back Road to Ao Suan Yai
At the back of Makathanee Resort you can pick up the road that leads to the other coast at Ao Suan Yai, home to Koh Mak Resort and Seavana Resort.
Along this connecting road, at the start, the long stay houses of Koh Mak Living sit behind its seafood and BBQ restaurant, while three cheap diners, Pim Jai, Friendly Food and C’est Bien face each other just a little further along.
The two guesthouses, AP Guesthouse and Hanoi House sit side by side opposite Koh Mak Disc Golf, which has its large playing area under the trees. Further up you reach another cheap restaurant, Mam’s and the live music bar, Artists’ Bar.
The back entrance to Good Time Resort completes the lay-out running up to the steep hill which brings you out the yellow buildings, once Thaidaho Vista but now housing a bar/coffee shop. The small and very private boutique hotel, Islanda Resort sits next door. From anywhere on this hill, the views out over the bay beneath to Koh Kham are simply magnificent.
At this crossroads, with the yellow buildings straight in front, you can bear right to ultimately pick up the sandy track that winds its way behind Seavana Resort and Koh Mak Resort to the pier on Ao Suan Yai or go left, with Cococape Resort and the route to Laem Tookata at the end. Allow about 20 minutes to walk between the Ao Kao Beach and Ao Suan Yai Beach.
Western End – Ao Kao Beach
After Makathanee Resort, the beach becomes know locally as Ao Kra Tueng. Miss You Resort, TK Huts, Baan Chailay, Sabai Beach Resort (formely SkyBeach), Holiday Beach Resort and Big Easy are the final resorts on this stretch of sand, a stretch which, like that near Ao Kao Resort at the other end, is one of the best on the island.
Just after Nuchzabmaks restaurant and Chill Cafe, the road behind Makathanee offers up a handful of bungalows at 2 Cans before snaking inland past a few holiday homes such as Corner House. Follow it and ultimately you end up at the track down to Holiday Beach Resort or one that goes straight on, giving access to Big Easy, but no further. The track to the right leads to some private villas including Koh Mak Residence.
Continuing along the beach, it is possible if the tide is in your favour to walk from Big Easy to the next bay where you will come across Hidden Beach Resort, a collection of stylish bungalows up on stilts. Beyond that and the house by the ocean, you arrive at Laem Tookata.
Laem Tookata is a charming little cove which is home to three old style backpacker bungalow operations, Baan Ing Kao, Baan Laem Tookata Beach and Ma Ruay. The views across to Koh Rayang Nai and Koh Rayang Nok are superb.
To reach Hidden Beach Resort and Laem Tookata by motorbike, far easier than going by the beach route, follow the road to Cococape Resort as described above, veer to the left at its entrance and then gently cruise over a few kilometres to the very end.
You will pass above Ao Pra beach, home to the excellent boutique resort, Mira Montra, as well as the back of the rental villa, Koh Mak Residence. Laem Tookata, incidentally, makes a terrific stop for some lunch.
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