Thailand is a bucket list destination, especially well known for its pristine beaches, stunning island getaways, and beautiful scenery. Most of its top island destinations have thus become quite commercialized, making it challenging to find the far-flung, near-empty beaches that make Thailand so special.
However, there is still a little paradise that has remained pristine, still not over-touristed: Koh Kood, also known as Ko Kut.
Located in the Koh Chang archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand, in-the-know visitors that make their way to Koh Kood can still walk down beautiful beaches almost alone and ride a motorbike on empty roads.
In this ultimate guide to Koh Kood, we share everything you need to plan your own getaway to this island paradise. From where to stay to the best things to do in Koh Kood, we’ll help get you here.
Koh Kood is one of the largest islands in Thailand and one of the best places to visit in Thailand for an island escape. It belongs to the Koh Chang archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand, just over 30 miles (50km) away from the border of Cambodia.
If you have been dreaming of an epic Angkor Wat sunrise, Koh Kood is only 150 miles (242km) away from Siem Reap. This makes it an easy place to unwind after exploring one of Southeast Asia’s most popular historical sites.
Koh Kood boasts a scenery of pristine beaches, lush mountainous jungles and majestic waterfalls. You’ll enjoy how the island feels like a hidden gem, with beaches wide open, cheap and delicious local food, and many of the island’s best attractions easily accessible but practically empty when compared to neighboring islands.
Koh Kood Travel
While Koh Kood isn’t a popular or particularly famous destination for travelers, you’ll find a number of resorts on the island. Most of the resort-goers keep to their private beaches, leaving the rest of the island for the few adventurous travelers willing to explore.
Travelers can also take advantage of the amenities of beach resorts by purchasing either a resort day pass or buying food or a drink, which can be an affordable way to enjoy some of the lovely central beaches on the island.
One of the best resorts on Koh Kood to just have a meal or a cup of coffee and hang around at the beach for as long as you want is the Beach Natural Resort. Coffee is around $3 and comes with some chocolate and pastries.
Beach Natural Resort boasts a splendid white sand beach and pristine turquoise waters where you can snorkel and dive from a wood bridge that starts at the shore and goes 50 meters into the sea.
Getting to Koh Kood
Bangkok to Koh Kood
While you may want to start your visit to Thailand at more famous destinations, like with a 4-day Bangkok itinerary and a day trip to the Ayutthaya historical park, head to Koh Kood next. Traveling from Bangkok is relatively easy, making it the next logical stop on a Thailand itinerary.
The bus from Bangkok to the nearby spot on the mainland is about 3.5 or 4 hours. Boats to Koh Kood depart from Lake Som pier. The whole trip can be arranged with one of the many tour agencies in Bangkok if you don’t want to navigate public transport yourself.
Koh Kood is located just over 25 miles (around 45km) from the mainland and it is only accessible by ferry or speed boat. Soneva Kiri Resort has a private airstrip on a nearby island, but it is only for use by the resort’s guests.
You can also make the trip by plane to Trat. From there take a taxi or a bus to Lake Som pier. The plane trip from Bangkok to Trat takes around one hour.
When to Visit Koh Kood
The best time to visit Koh Kood is between November and January. This is the dry season, but it is also the high travel season, so expect slightly higher prices for accommodations and travel.
Don’t rule out a visit during the monsoon season as the rain is moderate. As in most islands in Thailand, although you can risk having entire days of heavy rainfall, just a stray storm is most likely. The highlight of getting to the island during the monsoon season will be seeing all the waterfalls in their splendor. Plus, you’ll save money visiting during the off-season.
If you decide to visit during the rainy season, be careful when planning your trip, as the boats departing to the island will be less frequent due to lower demand.
Things To Do in Koh Kood
Koh Kood is the perfect location to just chill out sunbathing at the beach reading books or just doing nothing. This is the place for it! However, there are plenty of other activities the island has to offer, so if you’re looking for a more varied and active vacation, here are some of the best things to do in Koh Kood.
Rent a Motorbike
If the streets and traffic of Bangkok – or even the more popular Thai islands – have scared you out of renting a motorbiking, Koh Kood is the place for you.
There is hardly any traffic on the island, and renting a scooter will allow you to discover the island at your own pace. Renting a scooter will only cost you 300-350 bahts (around 8 USD) per day.
Be aware of the dogs on the road. The island has so little traffic that dogs usually sleep in the middle of the roads.
Kayaking up the Klong Chao River is one of the most popular activities in Koh Kood. It makes for an incredible journey through mangrove forests to the Klong Chao waterfall. The river takes you through winding mangrove waterways and you will be greeted by colorful tropical birds.
Some of the resorts on Koh Kood offer kayaks for free, or you can book a tour with a guide near Klong Chao beach.
Some of the island’s hidden beaches are only accessible by kayak. Ask at the kayak rental offices near Klong Chao beach for information and recommendations before you head out.
Take a Hike
There are several forest trails in Koh Kood departing from the beaches and heading towards the lush center of the island.
One of the most interesting hikes in Koh Kood is the one that will bring you through a lush ancient forest to the Huang Nam Kaew waterfall. On the way to the waterfall, you will pass by two incredible Makka trees aged 200 and 500 years, respectively.
The trees are named “Mayayuk” and “Sai Yai.” They are sacred for the Thai people, so please respect the trees and surroundings. You’ll see clothes offerings around the trees, a way for Thai people to ask for wishes and protection.
Swim in Koh Kood’s Waterfalls
One of the highlights of a visit to Koh Kood is swimming below the waterfalls you’ll find scattered around the island. Two of its waterfalls are swimmable almost throughout the whole year.
Klong Chao Waterfall
Klong Chao waterfall is perhaps the most popular waterfall in Koh Kood, as all the kayaking tours on the Kong Chao river will bring you here.
The waterfall is also accessible by motorbike. Park your motorbike at the nearby PD guesthouse, and after a 10-minute walk, you will get to the waterfall.
The waterfall is surrounded by a lush forest where colorful butterflies swirl around. There is a pool deep enough for diving from the waterfall cliffs.
While it’s safe to swim, you need to be cautious as there are some rocks, so focus on which place you will enter the water if you plan on jumping in.
Kong Yai Kee Waterfall
Kong Yai Kee is a very popular swimming spot on the island, and it is equipped with rope swings to jump into the water. There is some fish also in the water that will nibble your feet while you are inside, but they are harmless.
Huang Nam Kaew – Koh Kood’s “Secret” Waterfall
This waterfall is the last stop on the trees hike, and it is the first one to dry out during the dry season, so it isn’t accessible year-round for swimming. The location in the middle of an ancient jungle make it worth visiting even when there is no water.
You can clamber over the big rocks to the top and just imagine what the place will be like during monsoon season.
There is a local Thai restaurant and homestay just 50 meters before the waterfall, where they also sell some handmade bags and clothes.
Eat at Ao Yai Fishing Village
Ao Yai is a fishing village is located on the East Coast of Koh Kood. This local spot is just a small, village – no hotels, resorts, or touristic infrastructure here, which may be just what you’re looking for.
Here you’ll find a couple of local businesses where you can enjoy authentic and fresh Thai sea food with a Thai beer.
Ao Yai was, in my opinion, the best place to eat on the whole island. You’ll also enjoy exploring the town, people-watching, and taking in the lovely scenery here. It’s a perfect trip!
Stroll on the Beaches
Koh Kood boasts some of the best beaches in Thailand, and spending some time at the beach is a must when visiting the island.
One of the best beaches is Klong Chao beach, a semi-circular bay with palm trees and some quiet resorts where you can have dinner and a beer at night. There is no nightlife in Koh Kood, so you can still enjoy a romantic walk at the beach at night in silence under swarms of stars.
Ao Jak is another very quiet beach on the island, also called “Neverland” as you can access it through the “Neverland” resort.
Ao Takian is the less-developed beach on the island and my favorite so far.
Enjoy (Inexpensive!) Diving and Snorkeling
Koh Kood is an ideal place to do your open water dive course as it is home to several shallow but impressive dive sites, friendly for beginners.
The depth is from 5 to 12 meters, and they are home to some very well-preserved coral gardens. Most of the dive sites are also suitable for snorkeling.
Most of the dive schools will also bring you to Koh Rang National Park. B B Divers is a favorite and highly-recommended diving school!
Is Koh Kood Worth Visiting?
Yes, Koh Kood is worth a visit! If you’re planning a trip to Thailand’s best-kept secret island paradise, come soon, as more tourists visit the island every year.
Of course, if you are looking for a party island, Koh Kood is not your place. But if you want to explore a place that retains its laidback, local character – what some of Thailand’s now-popular islands might have looked like 30 years ago – Koh Kood is an excellent choice.
Koh Kood’s natural beauty and serenity will for sure not disappoint you.
Pilar is a solo traveler who has been living abroad and traveling longer than half her life. Pilar created her blog, TravelTheWorldPages, to share her travels and help others get the courage to travel alone and immerse themselves in local culture while respecting and encouraging its uniqueness.