Has the Instagram crowd created too high expectations of Koh Kood? An honest review!
The island of Koh Kood a.k.a Ko Ket appears to have most successfully attracted the Instagram crowd with beautiful pictures and stunning drone footage flooding the internet, enticing visitors to visit. An opportunity presented itself recently and I decided that it was time to visit and form my own impressions.
As mentioned in an earlier article the ferry crossing from Lam Sok Pier near Trat is excellent, arriving at Ao Salad on the North-East of the island. I had made considerable research to prepare for this trip and was quite excited to see many of these beautiful places first- hand.
On arrival at the Ao Salad terminal you are bundled into awaiting Songthaew pickup trucks for the, roller-coaster, journey to your hotel. This transfer is included in the price of the ticket.
The first impressions from the speeding pick-up truck were of very lush vegetation, narrow roads and a lot of steep hills. Private cars are not allowed on the island, just Songtheaws and motor bikes, so I guess the chance of meeting a vehicle coming in the opposite direction were minimal. However, I would suggest to these drivers that as they are the first impression when one arrives on the island, this was maybe not the best of introductions.
I had booked the first night in what looked like a dream location on Bang Bao beach. The beach was lovely, everything that you expect from a travel brochure with a horseshoe of soft white sands and with a rickety jetty to walk out onto to wonder at the clear water and shoals of fish. Naturally there were swings and hammocks over the water for the inevitable selfies and holiday snaps.
I will not mention the resort by name. It was awful, dilapidated, unloved, yet relatively expensive. I had booked a beachfront bungalow with a fan, expecting that the sea breezes would control the temperature. One look at the accommodation, old fan and filthy mosquito net had me marching back to reception. Ok I could up-grade to a bungalow with A/C for an additional THB.700 per night. This bungalow had some (limited) charm, it was directly on the beach, it did have a safe, a kettle, an efficient A/C and a nice terrace, but that was about it. An appalling bathroom, no furniture on the lovely terrace and zero charm. Don’t worry, be happy and enjoy the lovely beach!
Food was about the most unimaginative Thai food that I have had the pleasure to consume, but we were sitting right on the beach! Fortunately, there is quite a nice bar which has different management, and it shows. I did not make any complaints, why bother, but at THB.1,800 per night, even with a 20% discount, it was ridiculously over-priced!
We rented a motorbike for THB.200 and proceeded to explore the island. There are just a few roads, and generally these are in quite good condition, however be prepared for some steep climbs up and then the inevitable descent with all the brakes on full. Fortunately, there is little traffic! As all the resorts are located on the coast, you have to turn down some very rough roads until you come to the nice concrete road of the hotel.
Our explorations did lead to discovering some amazing looking resorts on the southern end of the island, but prices generally seemed to be starting from THB.5,000! This was mid-week and without any tourists being allowed into Thailand. Not value for money in my estimation.
In Thailand one generally receives a warm welcome when entering any establishment, however our feeling was that staff just really did care, no smile, no welcome and this is in the Land of Smiles!
Klong Chao beach is impressive. It is a beautiful beach with fine white sand and coconut palms providing some shade. This beach is very popular with a range of up-market resorts located along it’s length. When we were there, we did not see any loungers or umbrellas on the beach and whilst the beach is open to everyone, some of the resorts do not see to welcome visitors. The resorts here include Tinkerbell Resort, High Season, Peter Pan Resort, Wendy the Pool and more. Each appears to have its own character, with a variety of themed rooms but generally in the upper price brackets.
Just inland from Klong Chao beach is almost the ‘commercial’ centre of the island. A few restaurants, 2 dive shops and the only ATM’s that I saw on the island. It is also on the road to the Klong Chao waterfall which must be quite impressive when the water is flowing down. When we visited it was reduced to just a trickle but well worth the walk and scramble over the rocks.
We also explored Ao Tapao beach which is another wonderful white sand beach with resorts. Unfortunately, some construction was going on at the time and the beach was not as pristine as it could have been.
Back to Klong Chai beach there is an estuary with several rather charming resorts located on its banks. We spent 3 enjoyable nights at the Klong Jao Homestay. This is a charming resort located on the estuary. Extremely friendly, lovely, small bungalows and the entire resort very much loved with care and attention shown in the rooms, in the public areas and also on the gardens.
I do apologise if parts of this article are not as positive as they could be, but I do feel that honest reports are necessary. I would personally, only recommend 2 nights on the island as you can see everything in this time. Don’t expect wonderful service as the island atmosphere is very laid back and even the sight of a few tourists returning does not seem to produce any smiles. It is probably recommended to take a diving snorkel trip as the waters are beautifully clear.
I may have been a bit harsh on my comments and whilst not over-impressed, this was possibly due to the overly high expectations created by the utopian Instragram pictures and videos. In hindsight, like everywhere it has it’s ups and its downs and there are a few really wonderful, super-friendly people on the island! Please do support them:-
Klong Jao Homestay. Really lovely bungalows, wonderful setting on the creek, very friendly staff.
BB Divers extremely friendly and helpful. If I came back I would definitely try one of their trips
Jong Café – Puma is such a helpful and friendly lady! Delicious cakes and good coffee too!
Kim Waddoup enjoyed a lifetime in the tourism business and is an active ‘Silver-Ager” living in Thailand. He writes for his age group with high varied articles covering subjects relevant to retirees living in, or visiting Thailand.
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