The north coast of Koh Mak, which stretches from Ao Taan to Ao Ta Long and onto Turtle Beach (Ao Tao Kai) is little touched by tourism, but it does now have four resorts, two in the middle, The Mak and Little Moon Villa and two at the eastern end, Koh Mak Green View Resort and Cinnamon Art Resort.
One of the original island communities is found up in the north west and several other tiny collections of wooden houses are dotted along the sea-line, hidden down tracks which run through the forest.
Its beaches are a mixture of coarse sand, volcanic rock and mangroves trees, with low tide seeing the sea retreat way out into the bays.
Out to Ao Taan – North Coast
From the back of the pier at Ao Suan Yai Beach, the road cuts across the island over 2 to 3 km to a crossroads, where you’ll find Baan Sabai’s couple of bungalows and Kaklai Pool Bar (if open) at the rear of Baan Naifahn – the big white buildings. Continue straight over and you are now on the road to the north and north east coasts respectively.
For the next few kilometres, it makes its way through the rubber trees and cultivated fields, passing the bar, Utopia, with its uniquely shaped bungalow, near the start. There’s also the first of the right turnings to Ao Baan Lang on the east coast, home to the resorts, Sea Breeze, Buri Huts, Corsita, Swiss Oasis, Bamboo Hideaway and Sea View Resort.
You’ll spot too the access road to The Mak and Little Moon Villa on the left. Opened over the last few years, these resorts have a prime spot in the centre of Ao Talong beach and it’s well worth nipping down to have a look – not just at The Mak, the island’s premier IG spot, but for the great views towards Ao Taan (see below) and Koh Kradat.
After The Mak turning, you then pass a few cheap restaurants such as Maruey and Little Blue House as well as some minimarts, all of which have sprung up to meet demand from those customers and workers drifting out from the nearby resorts. There’s also another right turning which takes you to the other end of those Ao Baan Lang resorts.
Eventually, you reach the road-side restaurant of Koh Mak Green View Resort, with the turning down to the actual resort on the left.
Follow this road and it emerges out from the forest onto the coast of Ao Taan, with the bungalows spaced out on the gritty sand by the sea.
In the past, you could set off on foot down the track behind the old restaurant and explore further, but this route is currently roped off.
Cinnamon Resort Area
By going back to the turning up at the main road, in fact the only option unless you set off on the walk above, you can then continue straight to Cinnamon Art Resort, again on the Ao Taan coast.
Cinnamon itself lies at the very end of a good paved track, with a sweep of rocky beach and nothing else around, except the rooms themselves, a huge restaurant and a dramatically long pier stretching out into the bay.
From the very end of said pier, the views across to Koh Kradat, the islands in the archipelago and back at the coast of Ao Taan and Ao Ta Long make the trip out here more than worthwhile.
The management do charge 200bt for you to walk down the pier – plead your non-existent case as to why it is vital to them to let you go for free and they normally relent.
The wilds of Ao Ta Long – North Coast
Returning once more all the way back to the main crossroads coming up from Ao Suan Yai Beach, the road also offers an option to the left and this leads to one of the original Koh Mak communities.
The village has become much smaller over the last few years, but there are still some typical wooden houses, some in the forest, some by the water as well as a unique collection of stilted houseboats on a small pier. Worth adding that those houseboats are not some ancient method of sea living handed down generation by the generation, just an eccentric idea which has grown over time.
Beyond the pier, there is nothing more than a well worn trail (again roped off as private) which hugs the shore before joining up with the warren of walking paths and tracks in the forest at the north of the island.
Indeed, if the truly adventurous did take the trail, it is effectively possible to join up with the route through the coconut plantations at the northern end of Ao Suan Yai, so in turn arriving at the wonderful, Turtle Beach (Ao Tao Kai). For full instructions on how to reach the beach more conventionally, see our walks guide here.
UPDATED July 23 for 23/24 Season
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