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Ko Maak

Orientation

Ko Maak is shaped vaguely like a four-pointed star, with the longest beaches and majority of resorts located to the west. The island's three piers are found at Ao Nid, Koh Mak Resort on Ao Suan Yai and Makathanee Resort at the centre of Ao Kao, with nearly all visitors arriving at one of the latter two. If your chosen resort is not on the beach where you land, pick-up truck taxis can take you across the island for 50 baht per person.

Narrow sealed roads connect Ao Suan Yai, Ao Kao and Ao Nid, all of which are home to small villages, restaurants and resorts. Ao Kao is the most developed area, with the largest number of places to stay and eat, but it's still decidedly quiet. Another sealed road cuts some way into the sparsely developed east side, where a somewhat confusing network of dirt roads and sandy tracks diverge to remote resorts and beaches. Ko Maak's gradual inclines and few large vehicles make it a good place to learn how to motorbike.

Dotted around Ko Maak are a handful of tiny satellite islands, close enough to be reached by kayak or even swimming/wading if you're in good shape. The most popular of these is Ko Rayang Nok, a blip of green with some breathtaking beaches and snorkelling to the south of Ao Kao. It hosts one midrange place to stay, Rayang Phurin Resort, if you feel like sticking around.

A longtail boat from Ao Kao pier can take you to Ko Rayang Nok for 100 baht one-way -- just make sure to arrange a time for the driver to pick you up if not spending the night. Upon reaching the island, all visitors must also pay a 100 baht entry fee. Between Ko Rayang Nok and Ko Maak lies Ko Rayang Nai, a rugged and completely undeveloped island with no beaches.

Just north of Ao Suan Yai, tiny Ko Kham once hosted a cheap bungalow joint, but a developer purchased the entire island in 2008 and sent the hippies packing. Some construction has begun on what will reportedly be an exclusive luxury resort, but nothing had been opened by early 2014. Day visitors are charged 100 baht for entry to Ko Kham, which can be reached by longtail boat from Koh Mak Resort pier for 100 baht one-way.

It's a similar situation with Ko Kradad, a slightly larger island off Ko Maak's northeast coast that has only a few private villas on an idyllic beach. Despite the private status of these islands, travellers seem to have few problems kayaking and snorkelling around them. Just don't be surprised if some wealthy-looking Thais appear to shew you away.

At time of writing, there were still no ATMs on Ko Maak. Major foreign currencies can be exchanged at an office near the info centre, just inland from the pier at Ao Suan Yai. This is also where you'll find the post office. The local health centre is located next to the school in Ao Nid, but anything marginally serious would require a trip to Trat.

The police station is located smack in the centre of the island on the road heading northeast from Ao Nid and Ao Kao. Most resorts and restaurants offer free WiFi, and Koh Mak Cottage has a small internet cafe that charges by the minute or hour. Cell service from Thai providers works fine.

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