14 Aug 2014

Koh Mak: the tranquil island

We had a long weekend ahead and we needed a break from busy Bangkok; the plan was to find a quiet, relaxing place where we could chill out for a couple of days, far from the noise and pollution of the big city, but we didn't want to travel very far either, so flying was out of the question. After discarding a few options, we settled on Koh Mak, since we had been in the neighbor Koh Kood previously and we had only good memories from it, so this seemed like a safe bet. We booked a nice resort for a reasonable price, took an early van in Victory Monument and, 4 hours and a ferry ride later, we were in the island. The resort's owner was waiting for us at the pier with his pickup, and 10 minutes later we finally reached the hotel. After leaving the bag on the bed, we sat at a deckchair in the balcony and just let the time pass by while contemplating the scene around us.

View from the toilet, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
A peaceful retreat, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Tickling, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
The rainy season was almost there, so some resorts were already closed while others, such as ours, were about to do so after this weekend. We were, therefore, the last guests of the season and, wheter for this reason or not, the resort had a specially peaceful and lonely feel to it. The whole island, actually, felt numb and half asleep. I ignore if it is always like this or if during the high season the flow of tourists is more intense, but my experience during those three days there was that of a tranquil, silent and cozy island. After a while, we stood up from our deckchairs, left the shoes behind and walked slowly through the beach that extended just meters from our bungalow.

Previous stroll, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Textures and reflections, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Unfinished bridge, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Progression I, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Progression II, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Koh Mak is a small island, but not small enough to walk all around it (as is Koh Lipe), so renting a motorbike is the best way to explore every corner of it. So that's what we did, and a short 15 minutes ride later we were at the North side of the island. We parked the bike by the beach, behind the trees, since we had left the small, paved road to venture into a narrow, muddy path following our intuition, and then we walked towards a jetty that could be seen in the distance. But an ominous storm was drawing closer so we had to leave earlier than we would have liked to, promising to come back later when the weather was more generous.

The return, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Sea calligraphy I, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Sea calligraphy II, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Vagrant boats, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
The fading jetty, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Unfortunately that took quite a bit of time, since the monsoon rain lasted for the most part of that morning and afternoon, so we had to postpone our new visit for the following morning. We rose with the sun and, after a conspicuous breakfast, we returned to the jetty to explore the area around it at ease, which included a stranded ship that nobody seemed to care about, since it laid abandoned and unattended, just meters from the empty beach.

Balance required, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
The end of the walk, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Stranded chimney I, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Stranded chimney II, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
In our last afternoon we rode our motorcycle to the Western side of the island and indulged ourselves in another leisure walk along the empty beach, and as soon as I spotted from the distance a small, floating jetty where some kids seemed to be playing and swimming, we headed our steps quickly in that direction, before they would leave the place. It turned out they were a few young immigrant workers enjoying their free time, probably after their work at the resort was done. I exchanged a few words with them and discovered they were all from Myanmar (particularly from the Mon ethnicity, the most abundant in Thailand). Once the sun started to dip, they left the pier, going back to their chores, and we slowly made our way back to our shelter under the beautiful sunset light.

Sea leisure, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Floating dreams, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Floating solitude, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Sunset arrives so we sit down, order a drink, and chill out.

Warm breeze, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
The way back, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Growing darkness, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
It was a relaxing weekend indeed, full of fresh air and clear water, both from the sea and from the sky. Koh Mak is an island I will surely come back to whenever I feel I need a break from duties and city life. It remains quiet and modest, though the scenery is not as it originally used to be, as the forests have been mostly replaced by palm tree plantations due to the flat profile of the island, and that introduces the associated problems known. After all, I left the island refreshed, but also with a bittersweet taste in my mouth, a taste of red puddles and monochrome, devastated trunks.

Dead and alive, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Memories, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
The crawling trunk, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Desolation, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm


  1. Amazing palaces! Indeed, everybody would like to visit this Island once for its awesome scenic beauty. These places are on my go-to list. Travel Company India

    1. Thank you! I'm sure you will enjoy if you have the chance to go there!

  2. this is looking really amazing place. i really want to visit once in my life/


    1. Thank you Shahid! This little island is in not many people's radars because it's small and quiet, but that is precisely it's charm!

  3. Hello Gonzalo, excellent info and lovely photos.
    Do you think is there any resort who can take 200 pax stay for 03 nights there?
    Your comments would be appreciated.

    1. Hello! First, sorry for the delay, but blogger stopped sending e-mails to inform about comments for some reason and I just realized I had missed yours, really sorry about that!
      Coming back to your question, unfortunately I have no idea about that, since I was there just for a weekend at the start of the rainy season and half of the resorts of the island were closed and only some were still open (but almost empty, which was a great feeling for us, since we were looking for peace primarily). I'm sure there are bigger resorts, ours was very small, but maybe not for that number of people, because the island is not as touristy and developed as neighbor islands Koh Kood or especially Koh Chang, maybe you would be luckier trying in one of those. Hope it's not too late and this helps, good luck and thanks for your warm comments!