Glorious beaches, thin crowds
Extraordinary beaches ring deep wilderness and mangrove-draped rivers on Ko Kut, one of the most beautiful islands we’ve seen in more than two decades of travel in Thailand. When calm, the crystal-clear sea meets soft coral sand in settings that could be mistaken for the Maldives.
At 105 square kilometres, Ko Kut is a large, mountainous island set to the south of Ko Chang and Ko Mak in the eastern Gulf of Thailand, some 50 kilometres due west of both Thai and Cambodian mainland. Its size and relatively pristine condition make it unique among Thai islands considering that no national park oversees its protection.
Home to perhaps 1,000 Khmer-Thais whose descendants ventured here a century ago to fish out of the sheltered bays, most of Kut was never settled or developed. Vast swathes of the north, east and south coasts are accessible only by boat. Old-growth trees tower above waterfalls and wildlife in hills reaching above 300 metres. Even on the west coast with its patches of tourism-related development, some beaches back into nothing but coconut groves.
As nearby Ko Chang’s popularity soared in the 1990s and 2000s, Kut’s lack of infrastructure and far-flung location helped to keep it a secret guarded by package tour organisers, who have carted Thai and Russian tourists here for decades and continue to do so today. Sealed roads and ATMs are relatively new additions to an island that now welcomes independent travellers, including those on a budget, with ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 800 words.)
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