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 on the cover is the Koh Mook Sivalai Beach Resort – check out the latest discounts on Agoda right now!
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 probably the most iconic attraction on Koh Mook. You enter the 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 snorkeling 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 that 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.
You might also consider visiting Koh Ngai which is located a little further north of Koh Kradan. The two islands can be combined into a great full day trip.
Where to Eat and Drink
Here are a few of our favorite 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 following prices are for a combined ticket direct to the airport:
- Depart at 8am, arrive at 9.30am – 350 THB per person
- Depart at 9am, arrive at 10.30am – 500 THB per person
- Depart at 1pm, arrive at 2.30pm (high season only)
- Private transfers operate at any time 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:
Koh Mook Sivalai Beach Resort (Luxury)
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
Mookies Bungalows (Budget)
There are several budget to mid-range bungalows scattered around Koh Mook. Most of these are not right by the beach, but only a short trip by motorbike or bicycle. While I have not personally stayed at Mookies Bungalows, I have heard plenty of good things from other travelers.
Bungalows start at 500 THB (USD 20) per night. Rooms ae basic, fitted with fans and mosquito nets. It is the perfect spot if you want to spend up to a week in a more secluded part of the island without breaking your travel budget.
Book it Now: Mookies Bungalows
Any questions about Koh Mook? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
39 thoughts on “DON’T VISIT KOH MOOK without this guide!”
Thanks for your blog.
Will it be possible to rent snorkeling gear just for the day for hanging out at the beach?
We are not bringing our own gear (we are guessing it is included on the day trips :-)?)
Best regards and thanks
Hi Josh love my fishing but good size fish any thought on a fishing day trip while in Koh Mook cheers Murray
Hi Murray, I don’t have a particular fishing trip to recommend but you can definitely ask around in the village on the eastern side of the island near the pier. Best option is to find a local fisherman with a longtail boat and fishing tackle. There would be some amazing fishing spots around the island. You could probably do an all day trip from about 2,000 THB. Please do let me know what you find! Cheers, Josh.
I will be driving from Phuket to Koh Muk, so how do i get there by boat on my own, without the van and boat combination ? what pier does the boat go from etc
Boats depart from Hat Yao Pier to Koh Mook. Takes about 15-20min to cross by longtail boats which depart at any time of the day for a ‘private’ transfer.’ I’d negotiate the price at the pier.
Thank you for the great blog.
Where would you stay on the island for good snorkeling right off the beach.
Hi Christy, unfortunately I don’t really know of any coral reef right off the beach at Koh Mook. Let me know what you might find though!
How about Koh Mook Pawapi Beach Resort?
Hi Peter, I have not stayed there personally, but it seems to be right next to Koh mook Sivalai Beach Resort. If you want to use the beach there still you can easily walk across.
Hi Josh, do you know if Sivalai Beach is a private beach? If you’re not staying at the resort can you still use the beach? Thanks
Hi Kara, yeah Sivalai Beach should be for public access. The best way to get there is through the resort entrance.
There is no such thing as ” private beaches ” in Thailand….Its for everyone
Hi Josh, Thank you for the info, very useful, just want I was looking for, a one stop shop 🙂
A quick question, we will be traveling from Bangkok, I see the Air Asia flight arrive at 9:35 at Trang, so I guess we will miss the Minivan & Ferry Transfer you suggest at 9:30, ..or not?
We are a party of 3, can you tell me where do I arrange the private transfer, what type of transport do you refer to, Long Tailboat?
Regards from South Africa,
Hi Marilese, if you arrive at Trang Airport at 9.35am, then it would be too late for that transfer. You can see private car + boat transfers here, scroll down a bit for private transfers to Koh Muk. You can get the entire vehicle (up to 3 people) for about USD 55. That would actually work out cheaper than purchasing single tickets. I hope that helps.
Me again. Just read some other comments. And Charlie beach is fairly clean now. Yes the old resort was closed down (politics) and ransacked by locals for windows doors etc. but a crew(I think trash hero ) came and cleaned beach. It is unfortunate the resort used to keep beach clean and keep the springs feeds channeled properly. But it was clean when we were there. Resorts looks like the tsunami destroyed it and it was abandoned. But not the case.
Thanks so much for your article. It was super useful!!! I am sad to report that reef at Koh Kranden is suffering. While parts of it seemed to really be struggling. I did finally happen upon a section that seemed healthier and more diverse fish on the I think southern most end of reef. :(. Good news is the cove between emerald cave and Charlie beach had amazing snorkeling. So many different fish species and some rather larger parrot fish. While schools of gar (and other types too) where plentiful. Also puffer fish. Way better than Koh kranden. Warming oceans are taking its toll. Also new bar, cross between a treehouse and Jamaica. High Bar, signage is How High Cafe. On route to Charlie beach. We stopped every night for a cocktail after sunset. Excellent cocktails and if you like reggae music think Bob Marley, doors, 70s. Thanks again!!!
Hi Mary, sad to hear that other parts of the reef there are suffering like many around the world. I was at the southern end of Koh Kradan near Ao Nieng Beach Resort. The reef there was still amazing!
Hi 🙂 Great info on Koh Mook. What do you suggest are my options if arriving in Trang airport at night as I work in Bangkok. Stay on the mainland and then minivan boat transfer early morning the next day to Koh Mook for the weekend?
I did visit earlier in the year and I loved it! But that time I actually had ti
me on my side.
I’m just at Koh Mook and unfortunately I have to say that I do not like it here. I will leave earlier than planned. The island is a big garbage dump and so it smells in many places. The garbage is dumped right next to the streets and the people in the village basically live on the garbage. Especially Charlie Beach was scary. He was just garbage. Nearly all restaurants have just closed … A shame about the island. I think that was some years ago a really nice place.
Hi Jessi, unfortunate to hear that you did not enjoy Koh Mook. Where did you stay on the island? Did you visit Emerald Cave, Ao Kham Beach, or take a trip across to Koh Kradan? As mentioned in my article, Charlie Beach Resort was closed down and that area is a bit messy, but down on the sand, the beach was still nice and clean when we visited.
I think you came to Koh Mook in low season.
October to April is high season but really it doesn’t get busy until December.
In low season the island and beaches suffer a lot with the weather but recover for the high season.
On these islands there are no government garbage pickups and nobody to take care of the rubbish the villagers and tourists produce.
In high season more of an effort is made to keep the place tidy.
As far as your comment about villagers living in garbage!!! The villages are build on tidal rivers and beach Front, tons and tons of plastic and rubbish is washed up with the tide and left behind when the tide goes out.
It’s a big reminder of what is in our oceans and all of us must make an effort.
20 years ago the garbage around these villages didn’t exist, tourism and our love of plastic has given these people these surroundings to live in they didn’t choose it and it would be almost impossible to keep these areas clean as the tide brings it twice a day.
It would be lovely but it’s not going to happen.
High season it’s a much cleaner beautiful place.
On the edge of any national park, eco resort, mu bahn (village), (talad) market, rahn (shop) or layby is crap swept up, piled high and forgotten about. Have seen it for years and nothing has changed. Thailand was once 6th on the world list of plastic waste and is now just outside the top ten. Mai thung khrap is a good phrase to use in any shop, 7-11, Tops, Tesco, Makro, anywhere that sells anything…means I don’t want a plastic bag. Lipe, Mook and Kradan all suffer from waste and a walk down the resorts on Kradan shows the age old crap chucked behind the eco bungalows and no bins of any kind provided along the beach front. Mook was pretty touristy last week when we visited and if that dilapidated half demolished resort has been that way since 2008 the national parks inspectors are pretty inept. We were told the developer didn’t grease the right people’s hands well enough in the first place. I was one of a group of 6 friends who visited Mook and Kradan, 5 of whom are Thai, my views were shared by the people I was with.
Hi John, one thing that always gets me in a Thailand is the waste. Unfortunately the more remote undeveloped destinations tend to suffer worse. I try to see past this when I see the destination’s natural beauty. When a beach is messy, I spend a hour collecting rubbish. We can all be part of the change. Naturally, Koh Mook is one of the most beautiful Thai islands in my opinion, and to many others.
Have you ever stayed on Koh Kraden? and if so, do you have any advice regarding accommodation close to Ao Nieng Beach?
Hi Holly, I haven’t stayed on Koh Kradan yet, though I’d love to! The bungalows by Ao Nieng Beach look great, I’d say it’s worth a shot and let me know how you go!
HI Josh, we are flying into Krabi airport and want to get to Koh Mook. What’s the fastest way to get there?
Hi Penelope, fastest way from Krabi Airport to Koh Mook would be a private car to the pier followed then the speedboat to the island (I personally take a private car to/from Trang Airport too). You can check options here: https://12go.asia/en/travel/krabi/koh-muk/?z=1850625
Would you say it is easier to get to Koh Mook from Trang opposed to Phuket? We will be coming from Chiang Mai and want to do three days on the island but would love to spend one night in Old Phuket beforehand. We will be flying to Bangkok afterwards so no problem leaving from Trang but am interested in your opinion on how best to get there. It will be two adults and two child (2 and 6, well traveled but still kids nonetheless)!
Hi Meredith, you can also get directly from Phuket to Koh Mook by speedboat. You can
check the ferry here
which runs from Rassada Pier (right by Phuket Old Town) to Koh Mook. A one-way trip is about 3 hours. Ao Por Pier in Phuket is quite a bit further away, so I don’t recommend that boat.
Hi Josh, thanks for great inside knowledge. We are planning a couple of relaxing weeks at The Sivalai Beach Resort and wish to stay in a beachfront villa, but we are confused wether to choose the north or the south side of the beach (because the pier is located on the north side and the noise from the longtail boats can be pretty heavy). Which would you choose? Best regards from Claus and Tine, Denmark
Hi Tine, I stayed on the south side of the beach. The view over the ocean and the beach are nicer on the south side.
Easier from Trang but more fun from Phuket. Fly to Trang, 40 minute mini van and 20 minute long tail.
From Phuket 3 hour speedboat stopping at phi phi and Lanta and Koh kradan.
See you on Koh Mook! From mountain view resort
Thanks for sharing the other option Steve! I’ll have to take that speedboat from Phuket myself some time. I’ve done the speedboat from Koh Lipe to Koh Mook which was great.
Which company did you use for the speedboat koh Lipe / Mook?
Some reviews are not really positive about these companies… 🙁
Hi, great article, found it really useful.
Just to update on the ATM situation, the Koh Mook Supermarket have had a proper ATM installed outside recently. (We’re here now)
Hi Ardy, thanks for the info! love that little supermarket there on Koh Mook.
awesome info, stoked to check this place out in the fall
There is an atm now but still better get some $ before getting here.
Thanks for the update, where is the ATM, near the pier?