It is entirely possible to find gorgeous beaches without the crowds in Thailand — but a bit more effort is required to get to them. Koh Kood, located in Trat province of southeast Thailand, near the maritime border with Cambodia, is one such spot. Fringed by a number of beaches, especially on its western coast, Ko Kood serves as the quieter alternative to neighbouring Ko Chang; it can be reached via a 5.5 to 6 hour drive from Bangkok to Laem Sok pier, and a 1 to 2 hour speed boat ride from the mainland, depending on where you choose to stay.
Most of the beaches on Koh Kood are idyllic, boasting fine white sands, clear turquoise waters and lush tropical surroundings. There’s not much going on in terms of scuba diving, water sports and night life so it is perfect for couples and families that want to spend tranquil days on the beach, playing, swimming and lounging around. The island’s interior features largely untouched jungles and waterfalls, some of which can be explored. Visitors are welcome year round; however, do note that the monsoon season runs from May to October, which may put a damper on your travel plans.
Besides the wonderful beaches, Koh Kood offers a chance to step away from the frenetic pace of city living. Internet access may be unavailable or slow; there are no chain stores (including 7-Elevens!); and you’ll easily spend all your time surrounded by nature. As for accommodations on Koh Kood, visitors have a choice from good value to super luxury accommodations, including:
Dusita Resort is a peaceful family-run resort with good-sized bungalows (some with air con, some without) in a well-manicured garden setting. The staff is friendly and the restaurant serves a range of delicious dishes. There are several resident cats and dogs so it’s ideal for those who love animals. There is direct beach access from the resort.
Koh Kood Beach Resort offers lovely bungalows with decks, air conditioning, TVs and DVD players, as well as picturesque views of the coconut groves, swimming pool and the sea. The beach is small but private, and the pool is suitable for both adults and small children. The large on-site restaurant provides good food, and the staff are generally friendly and helpful. From the resort, you can walk to a small fishing village for a dash of local colour.
The Beach, Natural Resort provides a number of bungalows and cottages in a boutique hotel setting with an emphasis on green living. Located on the beachfront of Bang Bao Bay, the stylish rooms boast garden or sea views. The hotel arranges a number of excursions including fishing and squid trapping, snorkelling, and visiting a waterfall and fishing village. There is also an on-site restaurant and bar, serving organic produce grown on the premises.
Away features everything you need for a quiet, luxurious stay; its bungalow villas offer all the amenities you’d expect along with private terraces and sea views. While there is no direct beach access (you’ll have to swim, kayak or walk quite a ways to the beach), the resort provides a number of activities including a ‘beach hopping’ private tour experience, kayaking excursions in the sea or mangrove forest, snorkelling, and motorbike rental. Other pluses include a saltwater swimming pool, a spa, and all-around excellent service.
Soneva Kiri by far occupies the top spot when it comes to luxury and uniqueness (and price). On the northern end of Koh Kood, this sprawling all-villa, eco-friendly resort overlooks semi-private, pristine beaches. All villas sport private saltwater pools, separate dining, bathing and sleeping quarters, and the meticulous and anticipatory services of a “Mr or Ms Friday” butler. Each accommodation boasts plenty of natural materials such as bamboo flooring and thatched roofs. Given the huge grounds, guests get around on personal golf carts. Other amenities include an amazing kid’s club, a dedicated chocolate room, unlimited homemade ice cream, an observatory, and an on-water outdoor movie theatre that screens kid-friendly films in the early evening. Oh, and we shouldn’t forget to mention that the resort flies guests directly to the resort by private plane from Suvarnabhumi Airport!