Koh Kradan is a tiny remote island lying approximately 12 kilometers off the coast of Thailand’s Trang Province.
When we stay tiny, we mean it. The entire island measures 4 kilometers from north to south, and an average of just 300 meters from east to west.
The turquoise blue waters off Paradise Beach on the island’s east stretch for roughly 200 meters at just waist depth. The water then drops off to one of Thailand’s best snorkel accessible coral reefs.
Beachfront bungalows are backed by dense jungle where various bird calls wake you up for sunrise, and broods of cicadas sing away as the sun sets. Looking out to the ocean, our view is only disturbed by a scattering of beautiful old fig trees stretching out over the sand.
We spent a total of 4 nights on Koh Kradan to develop this ultimate guide to the island. We hope you find the island just as enjoyable as we did.
How to Get to Koh Kradan
Depending on where you are coming from, there are two main ways to get to Koh Kradan
Bangkok – fly to Trang airport then take a minibus or taxi to Khuan Tung Ku Pier which serves as the departure point for both Koh Kradan and Koh Mook. From there, charter a long tail boat for about 1,700 THB direct to Koh Kradan.
Phuket – take the Tigerline on Bunhaya Speedboat from Phuket’s Rassada Pier direct to Koh Kradan. The trip takes about 3 hours. Speedboats will stop at many other islands along the way, so you can easily hop on if you’re at a nearby islands like Koh Lipe, Koh Bulon, or Koh Ngai.
Koh Ngai, Koh Mook, Koh Libong – if you’re staying at one of the islands nearby Koh Kradan it is most convenient to charter a longtail boat. You can usually find a boat park upon the shore and just ask for a price. Try negotiating a little. We were originally quoted 2,200 THB to travel from Koh Kradan to Koh Libong but dropped this to 1,700 THB.
Getting Around the Island
There are no cars, motorbikes, or roads on the island. The best way to get around is by foot. You can walk the entire east coast in a little over 30 minutes, or hike across the island to beaches on the west coast in about 20 minutes.
The island is otherwise fairly compact with everything in a short walking distance.
Beaches on Koh Kradan
There are 5 beaches on Koh Kradan which you can visit quite easily. You’ll probably spend most of your time on Paradise Beach or Ao Nieng Beach.
Paradise Beach – also known as Kradan Beach, this is where most of the island’s resorts are located. Shallow turquoise blue water stretches from about 20 meters at waist height before dropping off to an amazing coral reef.
Ao Pai Beach – a more remote beach on the island’s northeast. You can reach Ao Pai Beach either by walking around at low tide, or kayaking across from Paradise Beach.
Ao Nieng Beach – located on the island’s south coast, we rate this is the best beach on Koh Kradan. You can reach Ao Nieng Beach by walking from Paradise Beach at low tide. You can still walk here at high tide, but be prepared to get about waist deep in water as you walk around the rocky outcrop.
Sunset Beach – a great sunset viewpoint as the name suggests. Reach Sunset Beach walking the jungle trail across the island. Start just south of the river next to Kradan Beach Resort. Walk about 5 minutes until you reach Lost Paradise Resort, then go right for another 5 minutes over the hill. Beware that ocean trash on Sunset Beach can leave it falling short of expectations.
Ewu Beach – another smaller sunset viewpoint on the north west of the island. A walking trail starts behind Mali Resort and takes you over the island in just over 10 minutes. Note: we did not visit this beach as we were recommended that Sunset Beach was the better option.
Best Snorkeling around Koh Kradan
There are two main spots for snorkeling around Koh Kradan. Each is distinctly different and we highly recommend exploring both.
- About 200m off the coast of Paradise Beach
This reef has huge collections of hard corals including vibrant staghorn corals. You’ll find many types of fish, eels, and even octopus if you’re lucky.
Start on the northern end of the reef in front of Seven Seas Resort and let the gentle ocean current drift you south until about Koh Kradan Resort. Stay island side of the floating buoys as the reef depth drops off sharply thereafter.
- About 50m off the coast of Ao Nieng Beach
This reef has many soft corals inhabited by smaller reef fish like clownfish. The reef is shallower with an average depth of around 5 meters until you reach a sharp drop off about 100 meters off the coast.
Hotels on Koh Kradan
There are only 7 accommodation options on Koh Kradan, most with beachfront views. We’ll only cover 3 options in this article, but you can reach about all hotels on Koh Kradan here.
Mali Resort ($$) – this is where we stayed while on Koh Kradan. Mali Resort has the most well equipped bungalows on the island with beachfront views, comfortable king size beds, air conditioners. There is plenty of chill space right on the beach with sun lounges and hammocks in abundance. It comes with a bit of a price premium, but sometimes it’s worth splurging.
Kradan Beach Resort ($) – more budget friendly accommodation offering both air conditioned and fan rooms. Rooms are more basic than other resorts but still offer great beachfront views.
Camping (super cheap) – if you’re on a strict budget then it is possible to camp on Koh Kradan from about 400 THB per night through the national park office including all equipment rental. While it seems like a romantic idea, remember that mosquitos are abundant. National Park toilets were also unavailable during our visit due to ongoing construction works.
Where to Eat and Drink
Most resorts on the island have a restaurant. You are free to eat and drink at whichever you like, you do not have to be a guest. We stayed on the island long enough to try out a few of them, and our thoughts are.
Best Thai food – Kradan Beach Resort. Try the Pad Thai for an easy going lunch. Get more adventurous with southern style Gaeng Som (Orange Seafood Curry) and Pu Pad Pong Kari (Stir Fried Yellow Curry Crab).
Best western food – Mali Resort. Great burgers and pizza (try the Four Cheese pizza).
Best cocktails – Mali Resort. They’ll set you back about 250 THB each but worth splurging on.
Other Important Info
Are there mosquitoes on Koh Kradan? Yes, lots. Large parts of the island are national park and remain dense jungle which is the perfect breeding ground. It is best to pack mosquito spray and mosquito coils.
Is there an ATM on Koh Kradan? Nope. Bring as much cash as you think you’ll need for your stay, then double it. Food and drinks on the island aren’t exactly cheap, and you’ll still need to pay for your boat to and from the island.
Restaurant opening hours. Restaurants are not open all day but usually in three time periods. Breakfast from 8-10am, lunch from 12-3pm, and dinner from 6-9pm.
Nearby Islands to Visit
There are so many amazing islands in this southern Thailand area that you would be crazy not to explore a couple more. Here are three nearby islands which are accessible by a short (less than one hour) long tail boat ride.
- Koh Mook – look across the ocean to the Thai mainland and you’ll see it. Koh Mook has an authentic fisherman village, a really nice sunset beach, and the iconic Emerald Cave.
- Koh Libong – look across the ocean to the south an you’ll see it there in the distance. Koh Libong also has an authentic fisherman village, is famous for spotting wild Dugongs, and is the closest place to launch a day trip to Koh Lao Liang.
- Koh Ngai – look across the ocean to the north and you’ll see the island’s steep cliffs in the distance. Koh Ngai is another super laid back island with great snorkeling and more diving options avaiable.