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Update on Ko Jum

Posted by antoniamitchell on 13/12/2018 at 01:09

Having recently (Dec 2018) having returned from my second trip to Ko Jum (first was Dec 2016), I wanted to share a few updates.

The island hasn't changed much since my last visit. There is a little bit of new development around the top end of the long beach (the Golden Pearl section) – I saw a new small bungalow development going in between Golden Pearl Beach Resort and Season Bungalow. I also noticed a new coin-operated laundrette opposite Season Bungalows, and a couple of new houses. But largely the pace of development stays pretty slow on the island.



Beach conditions:

Both times I stayed at Season Bungalows at the top end of the beach – the beach up here is largely clean, as the various hotels do a good job of picking up garbage (every morning, at first light, you'll see staff sweeping the beaches in front of their properties) however there is still a bit of glass that washes in from the sea, so keep an eye out when you're barefoot (same as any beach).

The sad development is that this end of the beach now has some sandflies. 2 years ago there were none, but this year I got a tonne of bites from the little blighters, despite covering myself with repellent. Weirdly, most people didn't have a lot of problems with them, so I guess it depends on your luck (and how much they like your particular taste).

The sea has a lot of rocks and (mostly dead) coral which can be quite sharp, so either swim where the various hotel's longtails pull into the beach (as those areas have been cleared of rocks) or wear swimshoes. Also, be very careful on low tide, as there are a tonne of sea urchins a short distance out from the beach, and those areas are about chest deep at low tide, so it's entirely possible to step on one if you're not careful.

Between Golden Pearl and Season there is a new roped off “swimming area” which has been cleared of most seaweed and the sea urchins, but still has the rocks.

For snorkling, it's not a great destination but it is possible. I noticed quite a few people swimming out to snorkle about 100 yards off the beach (I'm assuming there's a reef out there), but I'm not a strong swimmer, so I snorkled closer to land. I found the most interesting close-to-shore snorkling on that section of the beach to be right behind the big rocks in front of ** Bar. The visibility tends to not be great, and as mentioned the coral is almost all dead, but there is still a small amount to see (I spotted 10-12 different types of small fish, plus crabs and prawns). Golden Pearl will rent snorkles and kayaks.



Transport from the airport:

The easiest way (apart from paying a fortune for a taxi) is to walk out to the highway and flag down the first sorngtaew that passes, and tell them you want Laem Kruat Pier for Ko Jum. If they are not going all the way there(they only go all the way about every half an hour), they will drop you off in the next town, just after the turnoff that leads to the pier, where you can catch a connection. There's a small cafe where the drivers hang out, so you can sit and get a cold drink while you wait. The drivers are normally pretty good on making sure you know where to catch your connection – both the next bus and which boat at the pier. Expect to be asked for 100B to go all the way, or 50B for each leg of the connection.

On the return journey,tell the driver you want the airport and the sorngtaew will pull into the airport to drop you off.

Mutu pier seems to be the main pier now, and there are always taxis / sidecars waiting at the pier for passengers to disembark, so you don't need to try and pre-arrange any transport (the info in this section on TF is a bit out of date on this). The ferry schedule hasn't changed in the past 2 years (pictures are easy to find online), although I'm told the first ferry to mainland of the morning(6:30 from Mutu) doesn't always go, so if you want to catch that one,get your hotel to call and check for you. Tourist prices are now 100B per person.

Finally, Krabi Airport is not a great airport for departures – there is only a small international departure lounge with 3 gates, so they only let you through security/customs and into the lounge when it's your flight's turn, so expect to spend a fair amount of time hanging around the public area of the airport waiting (where there's very little seating). This is not an airport where you should show up 3 hours before your flight! I also noticed there are often massive queues for check in counters (despite not many flights leaving at once) so I really recommend you check in online, use hand baggage only, and just arrive at the airport an hour (or an-hour-and-a-half if you're the worrying kind, like me) before your flight.



Eating:

In the central village (Baan Ting Rai), there's a small open air restaurant (Ting Rai Restaurant) which has an extensive menu of Thai food, plus some Western food. If you're looking for less common dishes than the tourist-standard Thai food (red curry, pad thai, etc.) you get at many hotels, I really recommend this restaurant.

The bakery mentioned onTF is long-gone.

#1 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 556
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Posted by antoniamitchell on 14/12/2018 at 10:59

I see the name of the bar I mentioned has been starred out. First letter F, second letter U.

#2 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 556
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Posted by DLuek on 15/12/2018 at 02:31 TF writer

Great stuff, thank you! And this is surreptitiously timely since I'm headed over to Jum tomorrow (on Lanta now). We should have a full update posted next month. Interesting about Mutu Pier seeing more use. A few years back, Mutu village felt like a place time had forgotten.

Also good to hear Jum hasn't changed much. Lanta hasn't changed too much either. There are of course some new places to stay, but nothing like the mini building boom of 5-10 years ago. They are however widening the main road from Khlong Dao down to Khlong Nin; only one stretch through Khlong Khong has been finished and it's a gravel-and-dirt mess everywhere else -- just in time for peak season! They're widening it to four lanes plus bike lanes and adding a concrete divider curb in the centre, so all traffic will be bottlenecked to U-turns every km or so. The divider seems totally unintuitive for Lanta and may result in more accidents -- many locals are already riding on the wrong side of what is essentially a highway to avoid the U-turns. The super-wide road and divider also destroyed the cozy feel of Khlong Khong village, in my opinion. Seems to me that adding a metre of pavement on either side while doing a high-quality paving job would have been plenty.

I'm also very surprised at how quiet Lanta has been. Even now I'm seeing "green season" rates at some lodgings, and not just the crummy ones. Such is the level of competition. I've talked to small resort owners who said that while it is picking up for the holidays, reports from booking sites indicate overall vacancy stands at around 40% through the holidays. That number will drop after last-minute and walk-in bookings, but it's still surprisingly quiet. I spent last Christmas on Ko Chang and would guess vacancy was only around 5% there.

#3 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,331
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Posted by DLuek on 19/12/2018 at 14:13 TF writer

Our full Ko Jum update is on the way, but wanted to add these bits of info to what Antonia started here...

1) Koh Jum Divers is gone and there is currently no dive outfit on the island.

2) Tigerline now stops at Jum in high season. That means you can go direct by high-speed ferry south from here to Ko Ngai, Ko Muk, Ko Kradan, Ko Libong (via Hat Yao), Ko Lipe and Langkawi. Used to be you had to transfer on Ko Lanta or go back to the mainland.

#4 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,331
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Posted by tezza on 30/12/2018 at 06:15

Thanks so much for the update - haven't been to JUM since Dec 2014. although that was about my 5th visit. Thing is I thought JUM the ideal island in the CENTRAL ANDAMAN to capture that old style Thai atmosphere - good to hear it's not too changed.

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