At Diethelm Travel we go beyond the well-trodden path to take travellers they wouldn’t find on their own. Here Sam Vincent, Diethelm Travel Thailand’s Key Account Director, lets us in on a secret island getaway…
Roughly 115 kilometres north of Phuket International Airport is the small, quiet island of Koh Kho Khao. Pronounced ‘gaw ko cow’, this little slice of paradise offers enough seclusion for those seeking a real escape but has just enough to do for those looking for a short trip to a family-friendly destination.
Koh Kho Khao has long stretches of deserted areas and quaint roads that run the island’s length. Its beautiful golden beaches are perfect for swimming and watching sunsets but there are also several other outdoor attractions that you should add to your list of things to do.
For those who love snorkelling, there are day tours to the nearby Surin Islands or the Similan Islands. Apart from their differing destinations, the day tours are rather similar and take visitors to two beautiful snorkelling locations by speedboat. This is among the best snorkelling in Thailand in terms of variety of the fish and clarity of the water. Sadly, the coral was badly destroyed, but this was a result of the tsunami. Our group enjoyed a Thai buffet lunch at the national park and there was plenty of time for relaxing and swimming. Otherwise, the differences are that the Surin Island Tour departs at 8:30 and takes visitors to the Moken Sea Village while the Similan Island Tour departs at 8:00 and stops for a hike up a to viewpoint overlooking a white sand beach.
I also recommend taking a stroll through Takuapa Old Town and going on a canoe ride through Little Amazon.
The Takuapa Old Town is interesting for certain nationalities and ages. I think this would be a particularly enjoyable place for older British visitors who would appreciate the tin mining era and original Chinese shop houses. It was a very authentic experience walking around the old part of the town.
The Little Amazon is an excursion through a tropical mangrove forest. We paddled through the trees on a canoe and walked through a section of the forest along a wooden path raised above the water. It’s a fun experience for families in conjunction with Takuapa Old Town.
Of the few resorts and bungalows dotted along Koh Kho Khao’s beaches, one that guests continue returning to year after year is the C&N Resort. This wooden chalet-style accommodation is simple yet extremely well managed. It’s suitable for older couples or families with young children looking to either relax or take a nearby excursion. There’s a pool area with a large expanse of lawn decorated with towering palm trees and an open-air restaurant right on the beach. The breakfast and dinner were of high quality and well prepared and it even served ‘proper’ coffee. There is also a bar area and I watched a fire show one of the nights I was there.
Another option is the 3.5-star Sunset Beach Resort. Secluded and set among attractive grounds on a wide sandy beach, this hotel offers clean spacious rooms and is ideal for families. There are two large swimming pools as well as a children’s pool and a game room. Its local travel desk can help to arrange well-priced excursions, too.
There’s a nearby minimart that is both convenient and very practical. The hotel’s restaurant served up adequate breakfast but their Thai dinner was excellent and very reasonably priced. Don’t miss the massage in open-air salas on the beach for only THB 400 for an hour!
Most visitors can expect to take a longtail boat or car ferry, which is a 10-minute boat ride from the mainland. The route begins at the Nam Khem Pier in Phang Nga, goes across the narrow straight, and ends at the Koh Kho Khao’s pier on the southern end of the island. Although it’s a quiet island, the infrastructure is good and there are taxis available as well as shops offering motorbike rentals to get around.