The satellite isles
Published/Last edited or updated: 20th April, 2018
Ko Kham, Ko Rayang and Ko Phi are all tiny isles that sit off Ko Mak’s shores like moons to a planet. Each is worth considering for a day trip, especially if you’re a kayaking enthusiast.
We’re actually talking about four islets here (Ko Rayang consists of two) and from Ko Mak they all appear as blips of rock and jungle adding some pizzazz to sunset photos. You’ll find no roads or trails on any of them, just a couple of small beaches that each may or may not host a resort when you visit. While Kham, Rayang and Phi are all fun for kayakers, we think that Ko Kradat offers more of a better-rounded day trip.
The motorboat info mentioned below is only valid in high season, and even then it may depend on demand and weather conditions. In a single day you could hit all three of the isles by private boat—we were quoted 2,500 baht for a three-hour cruise for two people (for the whole boat not per person), with the price going up for additional heads.
This isle sits less than a kilometre off Ko Mak’s northwest coast and boasts one beautiful white-sand beach on the south coast. It’s entirely owned by a wealthy Thai businessman who began building a luxury resort in the late 2000s, adding some concrete walls and villas that now sit unfinished near the beach. Construction has stalled for years and we doubt the resort will ever open.
Most visitors heading to Ko Kham shove off from Ao Suan Yai, where kayak rental is readily available. You can also catch a small motorboat departing from the beach, near Koh Mak Resort Pier, at 10:30, 15:30 and 15:00. It returns to Ko Mak at 13:45, 15:15 and 16:30. The boat costs only 100 baht per person, but the owner of Ko Kham was charging an additional 200 baht at research time.
Situated off the southwest coast of Ko Mak, this pair of isles looks like identical twins from afar. Both are about the same size, defined by forest-clad hills rising to about the same height. Ko Rayang Nai is less than a half-kilometre from Mak but has only rocky shores, while Ko Rayang Nok has a small beach on the south shore set a little further from Mak.
The beach on Rayang Nok hosted one small resort for years; it was closed at time of writing and we heard that something new would reopen eventually. To reach the Rayang twins you could rent a kayak at Baan Ing Kao on Laem Tukkata, or Big Easy on western Ao Kao. A motorboat was also advertised as departing from Makathanee Resort pier off central Ao Kao at 10:00, 13:30 and 15:00, costing 200 baht per person for a round trip.
More of a pile of rocks than a proper island, Ko Phi sits off Ko Mak’s far northwest coast within a 1.5-kilometre paddle of Ao Phra. We’ve never made it here but the snorkeling is reputed to be decent. The closest place for kayak rental that we know to be reliable is Cococape Resort—paddle west from there and you’ll find Phi hiding beyond Ao Phra’s western headland.
Address: Dotted around Ko Mak
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.