What You NEED to Know About KOH MOOK
Koh Mook is an unexploited island crisscrossed by narrow dirt roads leading to amazing water caves and secluded beaches where you will witness some of the most stunning sunsets in Thailand.
Despite the beauty of this island, Koh Mook remains largely untapped by tourism. It maintains an authentic local village lifestyle where you can still buy a decent meal for well under 100 THB (USD 3), and not feel like you are surrounded by only foreigners everywhere you walk.
Koh Mook is located about 15 minutes off the Thai mainland in Trang Province. It is one of the many islands in the Andaman Sea off the west coast of Thailand. I have also written about the tiny island of Koh Lipe and it’s neighbor Koh Adang. If you’re in the region I suggest visiting them both too. Why not turn it into an island-hopping adventure?
Like the other islands we’ve visited in the Andaman Sea, the water at Koh Mook is incredibly clear, perfect for snorkeling or just lazing by the beach with a fruit shake in hand.
And that stunning beach in the cover photo is the Koh Mook Sivalai Beach Resort – Agoda is running some awesome discounts on this place right now!
- Things to do on Koh Mook
- Where to Eat and Drink
- Facilities on the Island
- How to Get to Koh Mook
- Top Hotels and Resorts
Things to do on Koh Mook
There are enough things to do on Koh Mook to easily keep you busy for 2 to 3 days. Here you will learn about the amazing sea caves, and some of the best beaches on Koh Mook. You will also get some insider tips like where to find Koh Mook’s ATM (although slightly unconventional).
Emerald Cave (Tham Morakot)
The Emerald Cave is one of the most iconic destinations on Koh Mook. You enter Emerald Cave by swimming through a small opening in the side of a tall Karst Limestone mountain. The almost pitch-black tunnel runs through the mountain for about 100 meters, then exits into an incredible opening with a small beach. The secluded beach in the cave is called Ao Sabai. It feels like your own secret hideaway!
In peak season, hundreds of daytripper tourists visit Emerald Cave from Koh Lanta and Phuket. If you visit around midday, the cave can get quite crowded.
The benefit of staying on Koh Mook is that you can visit Emerald Cave early in the morning before the crowds arrive. We departed our hotel at 7.30 am and arrived around 7.45 am. There were only two other people around, plus the guides. Winner!
Big Cave is located further north along the west coast of Koh Mook. We were told that it was once filled with amazing soft corals and was a great snorkelling spot, however, the coral is now dead. The locals think It might be due to the water warming up. The sad effects of global warming.
We did not visit Big Cave on this trip to Koh Mook. If you do visit, please let me know how it was! I’ll probably visit on my next trip back.
Explore the Village
One of the amazing things about Koh Mook is the authentic village vibe which it maintains. There is a fisherman village starts along the east coast and expands inland. Here you will find small stilt houses built along the klongs, and local stores selling southern Thai dishes. There are no 7/11’s, what a nice change!
You can explore the area by the small elevated concrete roads which wind their way around the klongs. The best way to get around is by motorbike or bicycle. This area reminds me of a little island in Bangkok called Bang Krachao.
If you go from Sivalai Beach to Charlie Beach or vice versa, you will pass right through the middle of this authentic fisherman village.
Sivalai Beach (Ao Kham)
I first saw Sivalai Beach in a YouTube video (follow my channel here) and was instantly sold. This peninsula of white sand is one of the most stunning beaches I’ve visited. You’ll find an awesome white sandy beach with clear water on both the north and south facing sides.
We stayed in one of the Beachfront Villas at Sivalai Beach Resort and loved hanging out by the beach pretty much all day.
Charlie Beach (Haad Sai Yao/Farang Beach)
Charlie Beach is located on the South West coast of Koh Mook, it takes about 30 minutes to get here by motorbike from the main village. On arrival, you will find the deserted Charlie Resort which was shut down by the Thai National Parks Department in 2008. These days the resort remains is a bit of a mess, however, don’t be turned off just yet.
Continue down to the sand and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
Charlie Beach is probably the best place to watch the sunset on Koh Mook. We came down here every afternoon spent on the island. Either water the sunset from down on the sand, or head up to Charlie Bar at the end of the beach for a beer with a view.
Koh Kradan Day Trip
Many people ask if they should go to Koh Kradan or Koh Mook. Why not just see both? Koh Kradan is located just 20 minutes west of Koh Mook by longtail boat. That makes it a really easy day trip from Koh Mook, and a trip definitely worth doing.
The coral reef along Koh Kradan’s southern Ao Nieng Beach is the best snorkeling I’ve ever experience. And, I’ve been snorkeling in quite a few places!
If you take a day trip, the boat driver will usually offer a second snorkeling spot up along the east coast. We chose not to snorkel again, but just to chill out on Sunrise Beach as it was stunning. This must be some of the clearest water, and whitest sand in all of Thailand! You also get a great view of the karst mountains in the background over towards Trang.
Where to Eat and Drink
Here are a few of our favourite restaurants we found on the island:
- Hilltop – a local restaurant over by Charlie Beach. The owner will talk your ears off and probably not have half the food on the menu, but what she does have will be monster-sized portions. You will not leave hungry.
- Koh Mook City Center – the best seafood we found on the island. You can get a whole super fresh squid or fish barbequed for just a few dollars. Tip: ask for the local style squid stir-fried in squid ink.
- Charlie Bar – we didn’t eat here but enjoyed a few beers for the amazing sunset view at Charlie Beach. Charlie Bar is located up on the mountain and is an amazing spot to end the afternoon.
- Ma Kin Ni – a small restaurant located in the main village down the road from the pier. We loved the southern style curry with shrimp. I loved the fruit shakes, though they don’t add any sugar syrup which might be bland for some.
Facilities on the Island
Keep in mind that Koh Mook is not a huge tourist destination… yet. So, there aren’t quite as many facilities on the island as you may find in other destinations. Here are a few tips we learned on Koh Mook:
Motorbike Rental – we rented motorbikes for 250 THB per day + fuel from the first shop on the right near to the pier. You have to sign a waiver stating that you will cover any damages to the motorbike, but not hand over your passport.
Money – there is one unconventional ATM on Koh Mook at the PK minimart. Here you will effectively buy nothing for as much as you want, pay a 5% commission, and receive the cash you spent. They completely waive the 5% commission if you book a tour, transfer, or hire a motorbike with them. There are otherwise no ATMs on the island.
7/11 – none, you will have to visit the local store as life should be.
Hospital – there is a medical clinic in the main village which is OK for minor injuries such as grazes from motorbike crashes. Any broken bones or life-threatening injuries will need to be treated at Trang town center over 2 hours away.
How to Get to Koh Mook
From Bangkok – AirAsia has three daily flights from Bangkok to Trang, travel time is about 1.5 hours. There are also buses and trains, though these can take up to one full day of travel.
From Trang Airport – The easiest way to get to Koh Mook from Trang airport is by booking a combined van and boat transfer (see tickets and timetables here). The van departure aligns nicely with the arrival of AirAsia’s morning flight from Bangkok. It takes about 3-4 hours to get to Koh Mook from Bangkok in total.
From Koh Lipe – there is a convenient speedboat from Koh Lipe to Koh Mook which takes about 2 hours one way, (see tickets and timetables here) for this trip and vice versa.
Getting from Koh Mook to Trang airport requires a boat and van transfer. The prices stated are for the combined boat and van package, direct from the island to the airport. The boat schedule departing from Koh Mook to Trang Airport in 2019 is:
- Depart 8am, arrive 9.30am – 350 THB per person
- Depart 9am, arrive 10.30am – 500 THB per person
- Depart 1pm, arrive 2.30pm (high season only)
- Private transfers operate at any time requested for 1,450 THB per boat and car package. This works well if there are three or more in your group.
Top Hotels and Resorts
There are not quite as many resorts on Koh Mook as you may find on Koh Lanta or Phuket, however, here is a small selection to get you started:
Luxury (Koh Mook Sivalai Beach Resort)
We opted for a bit of luxury to end our week island hopping in the Andaman Sea. The main reason we chose Koh Mook Sivalai Beach Resort was that stunning white beach peninsula which faces both north and south. I’ve never had the luxury of swimming at two stunning beaches from the one resort, so this ticks a box I didn’t know I had until now.
The amazing Beachfront Villas at Koh Mook Sivalai far exceeded my expectations. I’d seriously say that this is one of the beach resorts I’ve ever stayed in. If you want to add a bit of luxury to your Thailand trip somewhere, this is the place to do it. If you’re considering staying here, you should also check out my full review on Koh Mook Sivalai Beach Resort.
Book it Now: Koh Mook Sivalai Beach Resort
Budget to Mid-Range
There are several budget to mid-range bungalows located in the forest over near to Charlie Beach. Try Mookies Bungalows from just 500 THB per night.
Any questions about Koh Mook? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!