Koh Adang in the Thai Andaman Sea
The grass is always greener on the other side, unless you’re on Koh Adang. This is about as green as it gets.
Lying back on the sand I gaze out across the crystal clear waters of the Andaman Sea at Koh Lipe. The pine forest creaks behind me, the wind blows a cool fresh breeze and the waves gently crash at my feet. There’s really nowhere else I’d rather be.
[Tweet “Koh Adang is the Koh Lipe of 10 years ago”]
Welcome to Koh Adang. This is Koh Lipe 10 years ago. It is an unspoiled undeveloped slice of heaven in the Andaman Sea. It is a place where even on a busy day you’ll share a massive 1.3km stretch of white sand with no more than 30 people.
Are you hooked? Read on.
Where is Koh Adang?
Koh Adang is situated in Thailand’s Andaman Sea just across the stretch of water from Koh Lipe. It is so far south that the next island after Koh Lipe is actually in Malaysia. Langkawi.
Most tourists heading to Satun Province opt for the ever growing island of Koh Lipe for some Andaman Sea vibes. Koh Adang remains the unspoiled bigger brother next door.
As the speedboat from Satun nears Koh Lipe you’ll notice a huge mountainous islands on the right hand side. That is Koh Adang. Below the mountain is a gleaming stretch of pure white sand. That is the campground where you are heading.
What to do on Koh Adang
Pulling up to the shore in a wooden longtail boat you immediately understand what Koh Adang is all about, relaxing immersed in nature. There are no parties or crowds of tourists here.
[Tweet “An island without parties, crowds or expensive hotels? Koh Adang”]
Explore the Beach
The beach at the southern end of Koh Adang (by the ranger station and campground) is a huge 1.3km in length. The pristine white sand is backed immediately by a pine forest then jungle clad to a steep cliff face. The diversity in nature makes this one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful beaches right alongside Ta Pao Beach on Koh Kood.
The west end of the beach has the entrance to the hidden jungle trail for the Pirate’s Waterfall. The east end of the beach has a rocky shoreline which makes for a fantastic sunrise viewing point.
Snorkel Koh Adang’s Coral Reefs
The snorkeling along the coast of Koh Adang is some of the best and most accessible you’ll find in Thailand. Swim just 20 meters off the shore and you’ll be floating right over the top of colorful coral beds filled with a variety of tropical fish. Expect to see clown fish darting in and out of anemones, puffer fish, groupers and barracuda to name a few.
Pick up a set of snorkeling gear from the ranger station for just 50 thb per day per person. The gear isn’t the highest quality you’ll come across but it gets the job done.
This 3km jungle hike is some of the most adventurous terrain you’ll come across in Thailand. An experience similar to my jungle trekking experience at Kratengjeng waterfall.
Read More: Jungle Trekking in Thailand
To start the trail head to the far west of the main beach and follow the black pipes. Eventually the pipes direct into the jungle where you’ll come across a small “Waterfall This Way” sign nailed to some driftwood. It points straight into the jungle.
From here on it is thick jungle overgrowth, steep slippery inclines and mosquito infestations. After roughly 45 minutes you’ll find a small but refreshing cool stream running through the jungle.
While achievable in flip flops you’re best off wearing some decent shoes. Be sure to bring plenty of water as there is none available away from the ranger station (park HQ).
Koh Adang Viewpoint (Chao Dao)
The Koh Adang Viewpoint is a steep but brief climb to a lookout point above the campground. The hike has 3 viewpoints; the first is worth skipping, the second is nice but the third lookout point is the main attraction. Lookout point three provides a spectacular view of Koh Lipe and the campsite far down below.
The Koh Adang Viewpoint trail takes about 45 minutes each way. Allow 2 hours for the full round trip with a 30min break at the top. The hike is steep and slippery on the rocky trail. It is best to wear some sturdy shoes as flip flops are almost guaranteed to break. The start of the hike is located just behind the restaurant.
While the viewpoint may be great for sunrise and sunset, I did it departing at 10.30am and arriving at just after 11am. Around midday the water will appear the clearest due the sun reflecting directly off the sand below.
There are plenty of beaches around Koh Adang, most of which at totally deserted. The best way to access these beaches is by chartering a longtail boat for the day either from Koh Adang or Koh Lipe.
Expect to pay around 1,000thb for a full day with a private boat captain. Split it with a few people on the island and the trip is far more economical than an island hopping day tour booked on Koh Lipe.
Watch Amazing Sunrises & Sunsets
Koh Adang boats some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets I have ever seen from an island. The main beach must have been made for sunsets as the viewing angle is perfect. Head down to the beach on Koh Adang for a late afternoon swim and watch as the ocean glitters with the sun’s refection. If you doubt it just take a look at this photo, I was stuck here watching this for at least an hour.
Admire the Phosphorescent Algae
Ever seen the Life of Pai where the ocean glows at night? That’s not just in movies but also on Koh Adang.
Head down to the beach at night after 9pm or so. Try find a location as far away from the campground lights as possible. Watch the ocean sparkle to life as waves crash on the shore. If you’re game enough you can actually go out for a swim in amongst the phosphorescent algae, however be careful as the current can get rather strong at night with no one to help in case you’re dragged out to sea.
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Koh Adang Accommodation Options
Koh Adang accommodation options are limited, however that it a major factor in keeping the place so authentic. If you are looking to stay for a few nights try the following options based on your expected comfort levels:
Camping is the available in the National Park for just 345 thb per night per tent. This fee includes full equipment rental including tent and sleeping accessories. The area available for pitching your tent is huge. Choose to stay right up next to the beach or set up a little further back in the pine tree forest. Both options are just as amazing.
Tarutao National Park Bungalows
The Tarutao Marine National Park offers 16 basic concrete bungalows on Koh Adang for just 600 thb per night. Tarutao National Park Bungalows include rock hard beds, cold showers and ceiling fans. There is no air conditioner or refrigerator and only limited electricity from 6pm to 6am daily.
[Tweet “Sea View Bunaglaows for 600THB in the Andaman?! Koh Adang”]
Booking bungalows can be tough via the national parks outdated website. The best option is to call the Tarutao Marine National Park service center 074783485. From here the staff will provide a booking slip which you will have 24hrs to pay over the counter at a local bank.
The Tarutao National Park bungalows are a basic and economical Koh Adang accommodation option.
Tip: Bungalows 1 to 6 offer the nicest sea views with Koh Lipe visible across the water, see if they are available for your dates.
Koh Adang Resort
This is the only resort on the island and is located on another beach 1.4km to the west of the national park campground and bungalows. Koh Adang Resort is a beachfront resort offering all the comforts you expect including air conditioning, restaurant and pool.
Beachfront resorts on Koh Lipe typically cost USD 100 and up per night. Prices on Koh Adang can be a fraction of the cost at around USD 50 per night if booked early. Bookings can be made the easy way here on Agoda .
Facilities on Koh Adang
The national park provides basic facilities on Koh Adang including public toilets and a restaurant.
The restaurant is open daily from 7am to 2.30pm and again from 5.30pm to 9pm. Typical Thai meals such as fried rice, Tom Yum soup and Pad Thai are well priced at around 80-200 thb per dish. Surprisingly for a Thai National Park you can buy very cold beer at the restaurant at 60 thb per can, no need to carry around your own cans or ice.
Electricity is only available on Koh Adang from 6pm to 6am. During the day there is minimal electricity available for the restaurant so that you can still buy some cold drinks.
The rooms are equipped with only fans. There are no working air conditioners or refrigerators available. If you need to keep anything refrigerated it is best to ask the national park kitchen, or bring your own icebox.
How to get to Koh Adang
Getting to Koh Adang from Koh Lipe is simple. Take a long tail boat from either:
- Pattaya beach for 200 thb per person. One way.
- Sunrise beach for 100 thb per person. One way.
- Sunset beach for 100 thb per person. One way.
If you are coming directly to Koh Adang after arriving on Koh Lipe both options are essentially the same price. Speedboats arrive on Pattaya Beach however a motorbike taxi across to Sunrise Beach will cost an additional 150thb already. Take your pick.
What is your favorite Thai island? Drop me a comment down below!
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