Photo: The art of boatmaking has been handed down for countless generations.

Visiting Ko Muk's fishing villages

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Ko Muk doesn't have the best beaches or reefs in Thailand. Nor is it a centre for scuba diving, water sports, nightlife, spa treatments or jungle treks. The Emerald Cave is stunning, but it's only reachable by boat and can easily be accessed from other islands. So what makes Muk special? A pair of fascinating fishing villages survived the 2004 Asian Tsunami to perpetuate a lifestyle in rhythm with the sea.

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Muk has supported Muslim fishing communities since long before the sun-bathers arrived. Today, some would say the locals are a bane on tourism due to the garbage sometimes strewn under their stilted houses. There's no doubt that the island is unkempt in places, but the gentle villagers and their boat graveyards are what give Muk its character.

Haad Farang is lovely, but there's more to Muk than this. Photo taken in or around Visiting Ko Muk's fishing villages, Ko Muk, Thailand by David Luekens.

Haad Farang is lovely, but there's more to Muk than this. Photo: David Luekens

Set on visiting them, we started out from Haad Farang and strolled the sporadically sealed lane that connects one side of the island to the other. Coastal coconut trees tapered into rubber groves that interspersed with patches of jungle over much of the interior. Flowers and butterflies abound.

Passing Coco Lodge and its bamboo huts, we scaled a hill before emerging at Muk's northern fishing village. Smaller, cleaner and prettier than the main village, a small collection of houses are perched on stilts over sand that submerges at high tide. Built from different types of wood, metal, cement, plastic, bamboo and seemingly anything else you can imagine, the interiors blend into porches coloured by potted plants, clothes hung out to dry, bird cages and kitchens with piles of fresh produce.

You don't see many locked doors around here. Photo taken in or around Visiting Ko Muk's fishing villages, Ko Muk, Thailand by David Luekens.

You don't see many locked doors around here. Photo: David Luekens

Most of the women stay in or around the village and keep busy sun-drying fish and chillies, preparing food, hand-washing clothes and collecting coconuts. The wiry men who aren't out fishing or leading boat tours can usually be found building longtail boats out of native hardwoods — or fixing up the old ones.

Heading east towards the pier on Ao Kham, Muk's longest beach, the waterside houses begin to share space with a few tiny islander-owned bungalow joints, like Nurse House, that have popped up in recent years. Traps, nets, buoys and engine parts lie tangled with bits of old boats that might still have some value ... Travelfish members only (Around 600 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Popular hotels in Ko Muk on Agoda

How to get there
It takes 20 to 30 minutes to walk from Haad Farang to Ao Kham without stopping and another 15 to reach the northern village. From here, you can follow a sandy path along the coast that eventually links to the secluded Ao Kuan Beach, just past Koh Muk Resort. If you prefer to pedal, bicycles can be rented in the north-coast village or at Charlie Resort. Motorbike taxis are also readily available on either side of the island.

Location map for Visiting Ko Muk's fishing villages

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Popular attractions in Ko Muk

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Ko Muk.

Best places to stay in Ko Muk

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Ko Muk.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ko Muk.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ko Muk.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ko Muk.
 Read up on how to get to Ko Muk, 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 Muk? Please read this.
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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Ko Muk? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

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