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Ko Ngai

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Plain and simple, Ko Ngai is a small, beautiful upmarket resort island. The only locals you'll see here are those working in the tourism industry, so Ko Ngai lacks the charm found on islands with local villages like Ko Muk and Ko Bulon Lae. As impersonal as Ko Ngai may be, however, the island boasts one of Trang's best beaches -- a long sliver of white sand with stunning views of distant limestone karsts, Ko Muk and the mainland. So if a comfortable (and expensive) resort holiday in an idyllic tropical island setting is what you have in mind, then Ko Ngai is for you.

Ko Ngai is home to 11 resorts, all but one of which are perched along the main beach running the length of the island's east coast, with a single high-season-only spot occupying isolated Paradise Beach to the south. With comfort-minded resorts, Ko Ngai is a good option for families, as well as couples looking for a romantic island getaway.The trend here is for full service upmarket spa resorts, and the budget options that were once the mainstay of Ko Ngai have been slowly squeezed out.

For some, this is reminiscent of the over-development seen on Ko Phi Phi and Ko Samet. For others, it will be a welcome relief from the basic accommodation of the other islands. Whatever your take, it's hard to deny the island's beauty, and you can take solace in the fact that most of the island is still protected as a national park, evident in the pairs of noisy hornbills that occasionally swoop out over the beach.

Ko Ngai's most popular pastime, by far, is simply lounging on the sand, swimming and breathing in the fresh tropical air. Many also visit for the renowned snorkelling and diving, and several reefs are just a short kayak ride away. As with the other islands in the area, most resorts will be happy to organise snorkelling trips to sites further afield.

For those who prefer to explore on foot, there are some lovely hiking trails winding through the island's lush and hilly southern end. To reach these, walk along the wall that divides Fantasy and Tanya resorts near the the southern end of the beach, towards the jungled hill to the west. The trails go up and down some fairly steep grades at points so wear shoes rather than flip-flops if possible. Once down the western slope though, Paradise Beach and a tranquil viewpoint that forms the island's peninsular southwest tip are easily within reach.

Ko Ngai is a tiny island with nothing that even resembles a road. There are no ATMs, although the higher end resorts do accept major credit cards. There are also no health clinics or shops of any kind -- the only businesses are the resorts themselves -- so be prepared to rely on them exclusively for all your needs.

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Text and/or map last updated on 21st December, 2011.

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By tezza, 07 June 2012
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