The Satellite Island

koh mak
Koh Mak, or Koh Maak, is only one of the 52 islands and islets of the Koh Chang Marine National Park. It may seem underdeveloped to some, but perfectly secluded to others. All in all, it is a quiet island, where finding deserted beaches even in high and peak season is easy. There is not much activity on the island and is ideal for those who just would like to laze around, take nature in, but who will also need more than just the basic thatch-roof hut and a Wi-Fi internet to keep in touch.

Koh Mak is 35 kms away from the mainland, and easily accessible by speedboat or wooden boat from either Bang Bao or Kai Bae pier in Koh Chang. Just recently made available is the Koh Mak Catamaran from Laem Sok pier in the mainland and brings visitors to Ao Nid Pier in Koh Mak. With a registered capacity of 72 passengers and equipped with a boarding bridge, it is a convenient and comfortable mode of transport to the island suitable for small children, disabled persons, and senior citizens who would like to do away with the bumpy speedboat ride. It leaves Laem Sok pier daily at 2:30 p.m. and Ao Nid pier at 12:00 noon. Fare is at THB 350/person and onboard facilities include a coffee shop, toilet and Wi-Fi.

Koh Mak measures 16 square kms in total, with a width of 10 kms and length of 5 kms from north to south. It is suitable for families as the island is devoid of loud bars and late night partying. Most of the areas are either walking or cycling distance away, making the island suitable for mountain bike explorers. There is a concretely paved road system that covers most of the central and western side of the island. There are songthaews that stop on specified areas on the island that charge THB 50/person regardless to which point you will get off. Other than that, one can rent motorbikes to explore the island.

Basically, there are two main beaches on Koh Mak: Suanyai beach on the northwest, or Ao Khao Beach on the northern part of the island.
- Ao Khao Beach is the most developed part of the island and the busiest of all the beaches, relatively, as Koh Mak’s beaches never seem to get filled up. Running parallel to the beach are a number of resorts, and small restaurants.
- Ao Suanyai Beach is made up of 2 kms stretch of white sandy beach. Here you will find Koh Mak Resort
- Ao Katueng Beach is a long stretch of sand on the southwest part of the island. Here you will find Makathanee Resort
- Ao Phra Beach is a shallow beach with dark, volcanic rocks that separate it from Suanyai Beach.
- Ao Taan Beach is more mangroves than sandy beach. The sand is not very white and not very suitable for swimming. In close proximity is Ao Pai where you will find Plubpla Koh Mak Retreat

koh mak
Much of the accommodation on Koh Mak still relies on walk-in visitors or staff being sent to the pier to tout for guests upon arrival. Most of the resorts are opening up to online booking systems, though, and is very much recommended when coming during high and peak season. There is no ATM on the island so guests are advised to bring cash or pay in advance, although there are some resorts who accept credit card payment but a small fee is applied. The island does not have a hospital but it does have a clinic with a doctor that comes once a week. Infrastructure is limited but electricity runs 24 hours.

Koh Mak is a sub-district to Koh Kood and is actually comprised of 9 islands: Koh Mak, Koh Rayang Nai, Koh Rayang Nok, Koh Phi, Koh Kham, Koh Kradad, Koh Nook, Koh Nok and Koh Nai.
- Koh Rayang Nai and Koh Rayang Nok are off the western end of Ao Khao and can be reached by a longtail boat that leaves from Makathanee Resort. Koh Rayang Nai is a privately owned island which serves as a family heirloom handed from one generation to the next. During low tide, tourists can wade from Koh Mak to Koh Rayang Nai for snorkeling, fishing and squid fishing. Koh Rayang Nok features small, white, sandy beaches and beautiful crystal clear seawater. There is one resort on Koh Rayang Nok with a small beach offering peace and quiet and good snorkeling spot.
- Koh Phi is off the northwest coast of Koh Mak and can be reached by kayak from Koh Mak Cococape Resort. It is a good spot to snorkel.
- Koh Kham is a small white sandy beach with black volcanic rocks. It is 1 km away and, same with Koh Phi, can be reached by kayak from Koh Mak Cococape Resort. One can also wait for low tide when a sand dune appears that enable walking from Koh Mak to Koh Kham. It is a small island with aged lava, proving the existence of a volcano in pre-historic times.
- Koh Kradad is off the northeast of Koh Mak. It can be reached by paddling a canoe from The Cinnamon Art Resort & Spa. The island is flat where there is only one resort and a few kilometers of white sand beach along the east coast.

koh kood
Other islands of the Koh Chang Marine National Park:
- Southeast of Koh Mak is Moo Koh Kood which is a group of 24 islands south of Koh Chang. These include the main island of Koh Kood, 9 islands of Koh Mak and 12 islands of Koh Rang. Koh Kood subdistrict has a very small population of less than 2,200. Fishing and agriculture still remain the main occupations. It is the easternmost island of Thailand bordering Cambodia, and the farthest island of the marine national park from the mainland. The oldest village on Koh Kood is the Ban Klong Mad where the people are of Thai and Cambodian origins. These migrant dwellers are from the neighboring Koh Kong, who have found their place in the village since the French colonization of Indochina since the turn of the 20th century. The northern part of the village is where you will find the splendid Klong Yaiki Waterfall, where the stones of the waterfall are in different levels, reminding one of a very wide staircase. The west coast is lined with a series of pristine beaches, sparkling clear seawater and captivating views. The famed Klong Chao waterfall is situated further inland. Ban Ao Salad is a fishing village of more than 80 years old,and in history was once a hiding place for Vietnamese and Chinese crooks, but now is the seafood heaven of the island. Squid fishing enthusiasts should go to Saphan Nam Luek where people usually gather in the evening for fishing right on the pier. Khao Rearub is another interesting place to drop a visit. Its natural feature is similar to 3 boats laid side by side forming a small hill. Try to find the Tonsai Yak -- a tree that is more than a hundred years old, so big that it will take a number of people to go around its trunk.

- 400 meters west of Koh Kood is Koh Raet -- a small island with a short sandy beach and blessed with a rich coral reef.
- To the west of Koh Mak is Moo Koh Rang which is comprised of 12 islands. Koh Rang Yai is the largest, covered with tropical rainforests and has the longest and most beautiful beach in the area. It has a hilly terrain and it’s quite flat at the shores. Divers can enjoy the scenic underwater beauty up to 25 meters deep. The San Chao Beach features powdery white sand and crystal clear water. Northwards from the beach is a Marine National Park Ranger Unit where camping is allowed at a small fee and with the approval of the officer in charge. Here, you can avail of water supply and use of the toilets, but remember to bring your own food. In front of the Ranger Unit is a man-made bridge made by dropping rocks and stones into the sea. This bridge was built to help transport supplies from the International Red Cross Organization to Vietnamese refugees in the past. Further south is Koh Rang Lek, the main freshwater source with beautiful oval-shaped stones which have very smooth textures. Birds and bats are abundant in Koh Rang Lek, where there is a bird’s nest concession and also a major source of bat’s dung known to be great fertilizers. For the lucky few who come on the right season, they may see sea turtles laying eggs on the island as it has become a chosen nesting ground for the turtles. On the northeast of Koh Rang are Koh Kra, Koh Thong Lang and Koh Thain, popular sites for skin diving with abundant fishes and a vast array of varied corals. Of the three, Koh Kra has the longest beach at 20 meters. Swimming is discouraged, though, as the seabed is carpeted with corals. All these three islands are walking distance apart and the seawater is so shallow. Visitors are recommended to float with a life jacket or buoy in order to avoid stepping on some of the healthy corals. Koh Yak is a coral rock island with no beach and perfect for snorkeling.

koh yuak
- To the north of Koh Mak is Koh Wai -- a peaceful island with huge bays and some of the best corals for diving and snorkeling. The beaches of Koh Wai, especially up north, are beautiful with reddish, clean sand, some of which has corals right from the beach. Lump corals are especially noticeable with their large sizes and excellent conditions. Some coral reefs are up to 2 kms long. Add to that relatively shallow seawater making the island one of the best places to snorkel or fish.

- To the east of Koh Wai is Koh Mai Dang which is a peaceful and tranquil small island with white sandy beaches and unspoiled corals.
   
- Northwest of Koh Mak is Koh Khlum, an excellent dive site especially at Larn Hin area with coral reefs about 10-20 meters deep and abundance of big fishes. The dive sites of Hin Look Bard and Hin Larp are especially favorable. The island has a historical significance as it once was a battleground between the French and Thai navies during the French colonization of Indochina. 
   
- Northeast of Koh Khlum can be found Koh Laoya Nai, Koh Laoya Klang and Koh Laoya Nok which are famous for their long white sandy beaches, sparkling clear seawater, green forest and amazingly beautiful coral settlements. A wooden bridge links Koh Laoya Klang to Koh Laoya Nai with the water beneath the bridge very clear.
   
- Moo Koh Maisi is a group of islands southeast of Koh Chang. The islands are made up of mostly mountains and forest with some coconut groves around the fishing villages. Koh Maisi Yai is home to the pearl oyster farm and has a splendid sandy beach along the bay on the east side.
   
- To the west of Koh Maisi Yai is Koh Ngam. It is an enchanting small island with a very narrow sand dune that forms a gorgeous contour holding the northeast and southwest section of the island together. The almost kidney-shaped island would look like 2 separate islands from afar. Besides holding the island in one piece, the sand dune created 2 crescent-shaped lagoons which are only 50 meters apart. Corals and fishes are aplenty and occasionally, you may see dolphins frolicking in the area. For the more adventurous, a hike up the rocks to a 100 meter-tall hill on the southwest side of the island is both challenging and rewarding, with ropes provided to serve as guides. Over the hill is a white sand beach where you will also see plenty of decayed corals and serves as an excellent viewpoint for Koh Wai, Koh Laoya, Koh Kradad and Koh Chang. Freshwater ponds are found in the island and a waterfall flows across the island during the rainy season. 
   
- In close proximity to Koh Ngam and Koh Laoya is Koh Phrao or Koh Sai Khao. A small island situated within Salak Petch Bay in Koh Chang and has long lines of coconut trees on the shores. Today, it is more commonly known as Koh Sai Khao to reflect the abundance of fine white sand on the island.During low tide, a sand dune extends to the sea. Koh Sai Khao has a scenic view, clean clear seawater and is very serene. A concrete pavement by the seaside allows for a pleasant stroll, while one side of the island has a concrete bridge, which stretches out into the sea and serves as a pier and a great view point.
   
- To the west of Koh Chang is a group of islands delightfully visible and, at times, reachable by kayak from Klong Prao or Kai Bae beach. Koh Yuak proves to be the best snorkeling spot among the six due to the shallow water and a small beach of sand pebbles formed from decayed corals. Both Koh Plee and Koh Suwan have a rocky shore. Around Koh Suwan is Koh Rom with colorful corals about 6 meters deep. Koh Man Nai is easily reachable from Sea View Resort during low tide when the island exposes its sandy beach and waters are just chest-deep. Koh Man Nok is the twin island to Koh Man Nai and is linked together by shallow waters with plenty of gold-colored seaweed. 
   
- On the northern tip of Koh Chang can be found Koh Chang Noi. The northern side of the island is a pretty good snorkeling spot, where the unspoilt coral reef lies in the sea bed between the island and Chang Noi Cape.
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