Hey I'm planning a trip for August leaving from Beijing, with a final destination of Ko Maak. I can't afford planes, So far I've have:
Train from Beijing-Hanoi
Train from Hanoi-Saigon
Busses from Saigon-Phnom Penh (walking across the border)
From there, I don't know what would be the a) cheapest, and b) most direct way from Phnom Penh to Ko Maak. I suppose I could go to Bangkok, as I'm sure it's worth seeing, but I've been looking on this site and also www.seat61.com, and neither have any details between Bangkok and Ko Maak. Any suggestions would be more than welcome.
#1 kyleshike has been a member since 19/7/2007. Posts: 2
You can take a comfortable bus from Bangkok to Trat/Trad in something like 4-5 hours. The Ko Maak page here on Travelfish has detailed info on (ferry) transportation from Trat to the island. If you have extra some time I'd suggest a night or two in Trat (the town) itself too. I've been there twice and love the laidback atmosphere.
Another option, if you don't mind skipping Bangkok, would be to head south from Phnom Penh and cross to Thailand in the south (Ko Kong). From that crossing it's only 1-2 hours to Trat by minibus.
Thanks for that.
I think I will opt for the southern route, through Ko Kong. I'm sure Bangkok is worth seeing, but I need a nice beach as soon as possible.
#3 kyleshike has been a member since 19/7/2007. Posts: 2
kyle, stayed at koh mak march this year. great island to kick back on, if you decide to go to trat you can get a fast speedboat the koh mak express from laem nop or if you are on koh chang you can catch slow boat 2 hrs from bang bao, any other questions ask away.
Definitely do the Southern route through Sihanoukville and Koh Kong you would waste so much time by going to Bkk first.
#5 Guernseystu has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 108
Yep, Trat is definitely worth a night or two. Superb night market with excellent seafood. Great, inexpensive guest houses.
Take the slow boat to Koh Mak. I think it leaves Laem Ngop at around 3:00 pm, and there is only one per day. It's a lovely, slow, relaxing trip that arrives 2 1/2 hours later, just as the sun is beginning to drop into the sea. You'll be on the beach for the last part of the sunset.
People will meet you at the pier. Maybe Lazy Days will bring their wooden car to pick you up.
That wooden car is still running - I can't believe it! When I was there maybe four years ago Lazy Days was being 'run' by a bunch of English stoners with bad attitudes. It's a beautiful place with very cheap wigwam bungalows but I only slept there spending the rest of my time anywhere else. Bunch of arrogant idiots if I remember correctly.
There is a great little Ya Dong (herbal whisky) shack at the top of the road to Lazy Days that also does very tasty food
#7 Guernseystu has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 108
S and D took over the place in the late '90's. When I first went there it was run by an Israeli guy who now has a house just up the beach. He sold it to them and ever since then it's been a touch-and-go operation until just a few years ago when S got his diver's instructors licence and expanded the business a bit. After that things seemed to settle for a few years, but I knew it would never last. It was really poorly run, very cliquey, and S and D personal issues (which included a steady consumption of Cambodian weed) kept getting in the way. Once when I went it was being run by their pal Phil who didn't know a thing about operating a place like that. S had bailed on D and was bouncing around SE Asia with a Thai woman while D was left with their son and then proceeded to have a breakdown and had to return to England. Phil was given the task of dealing with everything, including the Bangkok businessmen who were coming to the resort every other night to get horribly drunk and pressure D & S to sell. After that visit I started counting the days. The next couple of visits gave me more hope as S & D seemed to be getting their act together, but I found out in December when I was on Koh Wai that the place had been sold and was scheduled for re-development in the next year.
BUT, as you say, it's a gorgeous place in a great location. The first time I went it was one of three places on the island. The teepees are relatively new (from '99 ... we helped build one), but I much prefer the rickety old bungalows on the beach. It is definitely an old hold-out compared to most other operations in the country. Difficult to find places that haven't changed much since the 80's (and that's not always a good thing).
p.s. That ya dong offers the potential of horrific hangovers!
We've just updated our Ko Maak coverage -- lazy Days is indeed closed and is moving decidedly upmarket -- supposedly reopening sometime in 2008.
There's lot of other great value backpacker hideouts though....