Photo: Slow down and appreciate the details.


Our rating:

Just south of Ko Chang but a world away from its mainstream tourism lies Ko Mak, a community-oriented island with agricultural landscapes backing long beaches and several satellite isles for day trips. We wish more Thai islands would be like Mak.

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Tracing their roots to a Siam government official of Chinese descent who purchased the whole island in the late 19th century, native islanders resisted the urge to sell off land to outside developers back when Ko Chang really caught on as a tourist destination in the 1990s and 2000s. Their patience resulted in a balance between low-level tourism and more traditional ways of life.

Fly like an eagle. Photo taken in or around Ko Mak, Thailand by David Luekens.

Fly like an eagle. Photo: David Luekens

Contrasting the mountainous jungle of Ko Chang and Ko Kut, Mak’s 15-square-kilometre interior mostly consists of rubber and coconut groves between pockets of tourism-related development. With clear water (when calm) lapping up to soft sand that strikes shades of ocher, pink and amber, the beaches are good, although not as attractive as those found on Ko Kut. Nearly invisible sandflies can be a real nuisance at certain times and places on Mak—check with locals before you sprawl out for a nap.

We do think Mak beats Kut when it comes to activities and ease of getting around, and the overall vibe seems friendlier to us. Visitors in need of a break from the water could try out Thai recipes at Smile Koh Mak Cooking School; learn to gracefully pummel people at Hong Thong Muay Thai Camp; ease into the flow at Island Yoga; or join a rousing round at Koh Mak Disc Golf by Pom. Sealed roads with few hills make Mak a great place for ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,000 words.)

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ko Mak.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ko Mak.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ko Mak.
 Read up on how to get to Ko Mak, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ko Mak? Please read this.
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