Ko Muk boasts a bunch of beaches, ranging from the classic resort style to village beaches with stilted houses and remote stretches of sand accessible only by sea or hiking trails. The best of them don’t quite match those found on islands like Kradan, Ngai or Lipe, but Muk’s beaches do tend to have more character.
Also known as Haad Sai Yao or Charlie Beach, Haad Farang is the best beach on Ko Muk. Though only a few hundred metres long, its exceptionally wide stretch of fine off-white sand is sheltered by an outcrop of rocks to the south and a limestone massif to the north. You can swim comfortably in the clear emerald water any time except at lowest tide. Some longtails and speedboats park here but a roped off section fronting Charlie Resort makes it safe to swim, and the beach is ideal for families. You also get incredible sunsets, best enjoyed from Mong’s or one of the other little beach bars. With a name meaning “Foreigner Beach”, Haad Farang has a resort / traveller vibe, and you don’t have to worry about offending the locals by wearing bikinis or speedos here.
Located just south of Haad Farang and accessible by kayak or a 20-minute walk over sharp rocks at low tide, this rocky beach takes its name from an image of a mermaid spirit that’s believed to watch over the local fishers. There’s no development and really not much of a beach at all, but the rock formations are striking and strips of sand collect a lot of sea glass. You might place the prettiest pieces on the mermaid’s lap as an offering.
This muddy mangrove-lined beach on the southeast coast has only one place to stay, a midranger called The Sun Great Resort, and we couldn’t see staying here unless other options are sold out. While not good for swimming, you could pop over here at low tide to watch hundreds of tiny crabs speed around before ducking into holes to avoid the human intruders.
Ao Wua Nawn
Located further north up the east coast, “Sleeping Cow Bay” runs for about a kilometre in front of a village and some lacklustre midrange resorts before culminating at a wing-like sand bar in front of Sivalai Resort. The kilometre length and squeaky white sand makes it the best beach on Muk for long walks, and it’s also the place to watch the sunrise over the mainland. Swimming is limited to high tide due to expansive silt flats. At high tide the beach is wider here than around the Sivalai corner on Ao Kham, but not as wide as Haad Farang.
Also known as Ao Kham East, this kilometre-long beach starts at the pier and ends at the white-sand wing in front of Sivalai Resort, where you can turn the corner and continue walking south along Haad Wua Nawn. The section fronting Sivalai’s western villas, closest to the pier, narrows to a slender strip at high tide and expands to reveal a huge swathe of silt flats at low tide. The wing in front of Sivalai’s restaurant is the only swimmable section at low tide. It gets quite dirty closer to the pier and erosion has become a problem.
Ao Kham West
Running west from the pier along the northeast coast, this portion of Ao Kham hosts Coco Lodge and Nurse House along with clusters of stilted houses and longtail boats. Walking here feels like a village stroll rather than a proper beach walk, and the concrete lanes and homes join a canal to make it seem like less of a cohesive beach than Sivalai Beach. You also get the low-tide silt flats here, but the slip of sand fronting Coco Lodge is very pretty at high tide.
The “Jungle Beach” hides beyond a picturesque stilted village just west of Ao Kham’s western end, with a section of mangroves and rocks creating the border. Again, low tide reveals hundreds of metres of muddy flats, which are constant throughout the north coast. We like the secluded feel and the small crescent of grainy tan sand looks lovely at high tide. The only places to stay here are Garden Beach Resort and Koh Mook Resort. It’s a good base if you plan on hitting the hiking trails, which begin just behind Ao Kuan.
Coco 2 Beach
We couldn’t find a local name for this northeast-coast beach so we took to calling it Coco 2 after the only structure found here, marked as Coco Lodge 2 Coffee. It’s no longer open but someone appears to camp in the old wood-and-bamboo pavilion. There’s also a two-person hammock, with mosquito net, tied to an umbrella tree above the surf—we doubt the camper would mind if you tried it out. The coast here is a mix of rocks, mangroves, mud and sand, and the trail to Haad Lo Dung and Haad Sabai starts behind the beach.
Haad Lo Dung
Take the trail north from Coco 2 Beach and after a kilometre or so you’ll reach Haad Lo Dung, a striking crescent of khaki sand on the north coast rimmed only by dense jungle and a dramatic karst cliff. If you can look past the tidal garbage that collects beneath the umbrella and banyan trees, this is a prime spot to just sit and watch the hermit crabs while soaking up the solitude. The water was crystal clear when we were here and swimming is possible at high tide, but do bring waterproof footwear to avoid stubbing toes on the offshore rocks.
The most remote of Muk’s beaches is Haad Sabai, located on the west coast and accessible only by boat or a two-hour hike from Coco 2 Beach. The tan-sand beach is small and collects large piles of tidal garbage, making it rather disappointing after the long hike. Still, you’re likely to be the only people here and the emerald water sheltered by cliffs on either side is great for swimming.
Oh yes, the Emerald Cave has a beach of its own.
By David Luekens.
Last updated on 16th March, 2017.
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