Looking for an eco-tourism experience for the family? Consider the beautiful and quiet island of Koh Mak, which has emerged as a wonder of conservation and sustainable practices.
The island is privately-owned and situated south of Koh Chang in Trat province on the Gulf of Thailand, around a 45-minute journey by speedboat from the mainland. The island’s local community has embraced solar power as their key to a sustainable future. They are proud to show visitors what they have been able to accomplish incorporating the technology into their lifestyle.
Showing the Way Forward
Koh Mak’s 20-some resorts make good use of solar technology on a day-to-day basis, with both passive and active solar technology playing a part. Many have swimming pools and water systems that are solar heated. On the pathways around the island, solar-powered lamps light the way after dark. They even have a solar-powered catamaran that can take visitors around.
The island has also integrated a solar-powered electrical system that supplies all of their electricity so they are not dependent on the mainland to supply their power needs. A number of organic farms around the island also provide fresh produce.
Quiet and Idyllic Paradise
Eco-tourists have put Koh Mak on their itineraries of must-see places. The island’s reliance on solar power means that they have been able to keep their land and the surrounding waters free of pollutants. It is a magnet for those looking for quiet, pristine beaches and natural surroundings. No high-rise condos, resorts and other runaway developments, nightlife or even jet skis here either!
Activities including biking, swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, taking a cooking class, exploring the rubber tree plantations, learning to dive and dining in small Western and Thai restaurants and cafes.
The popularity of the island is definitely growing. So if this sounds like your idea of paradise, you should make your reservations. It’s a good opportunity to show your children what their future could be like if resources are handled properly while enjoying simple pleasures.
Getting There from Bangkok
The easiest way to get to Koh Mak is to fly from Suvarnabhumi airport (BKK) to Trat airport (TDX). Then take a taxi to Laem Ngop Pier, which has daily speedboat services to the island up until around 4pm. If your resort doesn’t have a pick up service, there are various operators at the pier. Different operators will service different piers around the island (check whether your resort is most easily accessible from Makathanee, Ko Mak Resort or Ao Nid piers). Frequencies might be reduced in the off season. There is also a slow boat service to and from Koh Chang.
For those who elect to drive from Bangkok, Laem Ngop Pier has a parking lot where you can leave your vehicle.
Tips for Families
There are no chain stores like 7-Eleven so be sure to bring the essentials including baby foods, formula, swim and regular diapers, mosquito repellant, sunblock, etc. You can buy things like snacks, ice cream, fruits, drinks and some clothing items from little mom and pop shops but the selections are limited.
There is no ATM machine on the island so prepare enough cash for your stay. Most resorts accept credit cards but check in advance when making your reservations. Internet and phone service may not always be available.
In terms of healthcare facilities, there is a small clinic in the centre of the island that’s staffed by a team of nurses. For more specialised care, you would have to go to Koh Chang or back to the mainland, where there is Bangkok Hospital Trat, part of the Bangkok Hospitals private hospital group.