The Ultimate Guide to Koh Kood Island
Koh Kood is one of the most amazing Thai islands I’ve visited yet. It is a place where you can have an entire beach to yourself. The water is perfectly clear, small crabs scurry about the sand, and the beaches are backed by beautiful coconut forests.
Koh Kood is not a party island, rather a laid-back tropical oasis. It is much quieter than Koh Chang next door. Expect to find a slow-paced village lifestyle, rustic wooden bungalows by the sea, and almost deserted beaches.
The island is located in the Gulf of Thailand, about 320 kilometers east of Bangkok right by the Cambodian border. It is just over 50km off the coast of Trat on the Thai mainland.
Here I will give you my guide on things to do on Koh Kood, enough to keep you busy for 3 to 4 day. While you’re there, I highly recommend staying at To The Sea Resort where you can enjoy their stunning sea view bungalows, it couldn’t get any closer to paradise.
Things to do on Koh Kood Island
From beaches to waterfalls and small fishing villages, there are plenty of amazing things to do on Koh Kood. While there isn’t that much information online about Koh Kood, I guarantee you can stay busy exploring this discreet island for at least a week.
So before you go too far, find a nice place to relax on the beach and get through this guide.
First up, some seriously awesome beaches on Koh Kood…
Beaches on Koh Kood
In a striking similarity to the beaches in Koh Chang, you will typically find Koh Kood’s best beaches on the west coast. The east coast is covered by dense forest, rocky shorelines, and is fairly hard to access by land, however, there is an exception which I’ll detail below.
Khlong Chao Beach is located midway down the west coast of Koh Kod. This is the busiest beach on Koh Kood with a mixture of luxury, boutique, and budget hotels. You will find hotels on both the beachfront and along the backwater canal which connects to Khlong Chao Waterfall. Despite the island’s tourist hub, Khlong Chao is also one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Kood with a long stretch of white powdery sand and shallow blue waters in the bay. You will find a handful of laid back restaurants and cafes on the northern end of Khlong Chao Beach.
Ao Takhian Beach is located in the southwest of Koh Kood. You will need to take the road heading towards the south of the island where you will eventually reach a fork in the road, left towards Khlong Hin Beach, and right towards Ao Takhian Beach. The small route on the right leads you past the two resorts; Charm’s House, and Pa Hin Sai before taking you onto the beach. Ao Takhain has some rocks scattered around the sand, however still perfect for swimming.
Ao Tapao Beach is what I consider the best beach in Koh Kood. It is located about a third of the way down the west coast of the island. The beach faces directly west and therefore has fantastic sunsets over the Gulf of Thailand. Oh, and did I mention there are loads of awesome rope swings to hang from? There are a couple of nice rustic bungalows along the beach such as Koh Kood Cabana Resort, Medee Resort and See Far Resort. The only restaurants and bars you will find here are owned by the resorts, though prices are quite reasonable.
Khlong Hin Beach is a fairly small beach located midway between Ao Takhian Beach and Ao Phrao Beach on the southwest of Koh Kood. This small bay has just a couple of rustic bungalow type accommodations. Apart from this accommodation, you will not find any other restaurants around here. It is worth noting that during low tide the water tends to recede a fair way out, so consider what time of the day you visit.
Ao Phrao Beach is the southernmost beach on Koh Kood’s west coast, beyond this the island is a largely inaccessible jungle and rocky shores. Ao Phrao Beach has a wide white sandy beach, and with only four small guesthouses here it feels totally secluded from the tourist hub. The northern end of the beach, along the canal, has a small fishing village where you can find some restaurants. To get to Ao Phrao Beach you will need to take the main road to the far south, then continue around to the east towards Ao Yai Beach on the east coast.
Waterfalls on Koh Kood
If you’re too sunburnt to swim at the beach, or after a freshwater dip, then you have to visit one of the three waterfalls on Koh Kood. Khlong Chao waterfall, Khlong Yai Kee waterfall, and Huang Nam Kaew waterfall are all worth visiting.
Khlong Chao Waterfall is the most popular waterfall on Koh Kood. This waterfall has a deep freshwater pool with running water all year round, so is always great for a swim. Even in the middle of the day, the Khlong Chao Waterfall doesn’t get too crowded. You can easily get Khlong Chao Waterfall by motorbike or songtaew, followed by a fairly easy 15-minute walk through the jungle to the waterfall itself.
Khlong Yai Kee Waterfall is the less popular option. The stream is quite dry for most of the year and is only worth visiting closer to the wet season. I suggest asking the locals if Khlong Yai Kee waterfall actually has any water before you go, because in the dry season you may find little more than a collection of stones.
Huang Nam Kaew Waterfall was formerly known as the secret waterfall. The access track has recently been upgraded and is now much more accessible. There is also a small guesthouse run by locals right by the waterfall.
Explore the Forest Trails
Exploring the forest trails is perhaps one of the most relaxing things to do on Koh Kood island.
Head off Ao Tapao Beach just a little and you will find some small sandy trails winding through the jungle. The forest grows dense with palm trees and coconut regularly drop landing with a thud. The forest trails behind Ao Tapao Beach make for a great morning running spot, or just a great way to relax in the share by the beach during the day.
Visit the Ao Salat Sea Gypsy Village
On Koh Kod’s east coast there is a small sea gypsy village called Ao Salat. The village is home to a mixture of both Thai and Cambodian residents. A trip to the Ao Salat village gives you an authentic look at Thailand’s traditional Sea Gypsy lifestyle.
Ao Salat is built as a series of elevated boardwalks and stilt houses over the ocean. It is an easy walk through the village where you will meet friendly locals. You will notice the fishing nets strung up between houses where the locals farm their seafood.
The village hasn’t been developed as a tourist attraction, so you won’t find any accommodation around here. I suggest Ao Salat is best visited as a day trip across the island by either motorbike or songtaew.
The only other main village on the island is called Ao Yai which is also located on the east of the island but a bit further south.
If you want to mix the trip up with a cultural experience, then definitely add a village on your list of things to do on Koh Kood.
Motorbike Around the Island
The interior of Koh Kood island is largely undeveloped apart from a few scattered guesthouses. Explore the small back roads by motorbike which pass through dense jungle and lead out onto small deserted beaches. Motorbikes can be hired from your resort at about 300 THB (USD 10) per day plus fuel costs.
There is a network of small roads which connects the beaches along the northwest and southwest. The roads also connect the beaches on the west to the Ao Salat village in the northeast, and the Ao Yai village in the southeast. Much of the east coast between the two villages is undeveloped and without roads.
How to Get to Koh Kood
To get from Bangkok to Koh Kood you will need to take a minivan to Laem Sook Pier in Trat Province. Minivans from Bangkok to Trat cost about 300 THB (USD 10) per person each way. They depart Bangkok early in the morning from Ekamai Bus Station on Sukhumvit Road.
Laem Sook Pier to Koh Kood requires a two-hour boat transfer – book tickets here. Boats depart Laem Sook around 10am, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. A one-way ticket costs 600 THB (USD 30) per person one way.
Overall, Koh Kood is a few hours closer to Bangkok than the islands in the South of Thailand. If you have limited time in Thailand or are traveling east towards Cambodia, then Koh Kood is the perfect option.
Koh Kood Resorts
There is a wide range of resorts and hotels on Koh Kood from rustic fan bungalows to fully equipped luxury resorts. I’ve actually written an article here on the top 7 resorts on Koh Kood, some of which are heavily discounted online.
Most of the beachfront accommodation falls in the Mid to the Luxury range of hotels. For proper budget bungalows, you will need to head back off the coast and slightly into the island’s interior.
Mid-Range – we highly recommend To The Sea Resort which offers amazing sea view bungalows. Check out Agoda for the latest deals, you can quite commonly get up to 50% off the official rates.
Budget – Koh Kood Cabana is one of the earliest resorts on the island with about 40 basic wooden bungalows ranging from 1,800 THB (USD 50) per night up. We stayed here in our earlier trips to Koh Kood, but they don’t seem to be taking bookings anymore. Another alternative is Horizon Resort on the south west of the island.
When to Travel to Koh Kood Island?
It is strongly advised not to travel to Koh Kood in the middle of the wet season unless being trapped in a typhoon is your idea of an adrenaline rush. From June to September most of Koh Kood island shuts down with the rain pouring down and rough waves making the island almost inaccessible.
Traveling to Koh Kood anytime outside of the rainy season is perfect!