A few days to a tropical island at the border of Thailand and Cambodia
Although I love the mountains of Northern Thailand I also love the coast and the sea. So when a friend of us told us about his holidays at a small island on the border of Thailand and Cambodia our destination for a beach holiday was set. My friend voted against us going there as we might like it so much that we would move there. As we are living in Nan province in Northern Thailand going to beach is not so easy anymore as when we were living along the Eastern Seaboard. Our destination is ...... Koh Kuud, part of Trat province. Koh Kuud is also written as Koh Kood or Koh Kut. About 30 years ago when reading about this little island the name only was a reason for me to go there. Following is my Just Back Trip Report of 3 nights on the tropical beach of Koh Kut. In short : I loved it! Koh Kut is still like Koh Samui was 30 years ago. So I am actually hesitating to write a travel blog about this lovely "hidden" island. But well here it goes with text and photos!
Traveling to Trat and Koh KutWe could fly from Nan to Bangkok and then from Bangkok to Trat. Not cheap and it would as well take all day of travelling. We could take the night bus to Bangkok and then the bus to Trat, but then we would still be missing the ferry to Koh Kut. So we took the car, left very very early and did ride in one day to Trat town. We arrived there about 18:00 and did stay overnight at Trat City Hotel, a wonderful brand new hotel right along Sukhumvit road (route 3). They even have a small swimming pool. For dinner we went into town and Trat is actually a nice little typically Thai town. I liked it but we had not time to explore it more.
The next morning we did drive the last 25km to the pier for the ferry to Koh Kut. There are a few well organised ferry companies like Boonsiri and Koh Kood Express. Both companies will pick you up from any hotel in town free of charge. And both companies have a well organised office about 200m from the pier itself. Here you can also park your car for 50 Thai baht per day. You can choose between speed boat or fast ferry. We did choose the fast ferry of Boonsiri at 10:45. Boonsiri also has a bus shuttle service from Bangkok and Pattaya to their office near the pier. Or they pick you up from any hotel in Trat town. We bought our ticket at their office at 500 Thai baht per person. Price includes transport by Song Theauw from the pier in Koh Kut to your hotel. We also bought our return ticket and again that includes pickup from your hotel to the pier at Koh Kut. All very well organised and no hassle about prices. We had a smooth 75min boat ride to the very small old fashioned pier of Koh Kut. And then a just as smooth drive in a Song Theauw to our hotel. The roads are good, almost brand new. We had the 10:45 ferry and we were in our room at 13:30.
Warning : Due to weather conditions ferry schedules can change or totally be cancelled. Koh Kut island is a 75min boat ride in full open sea. The fast ferries are not very big and not really build for bad weather conditions (later more about that).
Although Koh Kut is considered a small island there are a few villages, waterfalls, small mountains, mangrove forrest and at least 12 small & bigger beaches. There even is an hospital and police station! The beaches on the west-side of the island are the best. And there is accommodation from simple guesthouses to luxury beach resorts with private swimming pool. We did stay at a small end of the road beach resort at a small beach in a bay from where you have a stunning sunset view (Do the jigsaw and find what beach). Unfortunately no sunrise view, but you can not have everything. With only 4 resorts on the beach it is quiet and totally of the beaten track, although most other tourists were non-Thai. Although the resort is a bit older and we did not have swimming pool (not needed as we had the sea) I really liked this resort. A huge garden and not too many rooms. A perfect place to do nothing ... well that would be boring so we explored the island a little.
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What to do at Koh Kut?So what did we do? Well the first day we just relaxed, walked a bit and had dinner at the restaurant of our hotel. And the next day we rented a scooter for 350 Thai baht per day (no real insurance) and started riding north. Along the way we made a walk on Klong Chao beach were are a few upscale hotels like Tinkerbell Resort and High Seasons Resort and we had pit stop at the lovely View Point Cafe (highly recommended). We did visit the Klong Chao Waterfall what must be really stunning just after the raining season. And we made a selfie in front of the 500 years old massive banyan Makka Tree in the jungle. And we had a delicious late seafood lunch in the fishing village Baan Ao Yai. There are a few seafood restaurants in the little village build above the sea but we did choose the best one ... Chonthicha Seafood. Delicious food, great location and service with a friendly smile. Also highly recommended .... and make a little walk along the fishing village to see a little glimpse of the real Thai way of life. For more photos of Baan Ao Yai see A fishing village at Koh Kut.
The second day we did what you are supposed to do on beach resorts .... nothing. Also it had became a bit windy and cold (as in all Thailand at that moment). So we just enjoyed the beach and sunset view. The third day it was already time to go back home. And that would become a day that especially my wife will never forget.
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Taking the ferry back to TratAt 8:00 in the morning we were picked up by the Songtheauw and brought back to pier at Ao Salad where the fast ferry of Boonsiri was already waiting. The first 10min were smooth as we were still near the coast of the island. But once we were at sea it became a roller coaster experience and 10min later many people were starting to throw up and putting on their live jackets. Imagine about about 100 people in the cabin of a shacking up & down ferry. Rough sea! And to make matters worst a few waves of water did go over the boat. That would not be a problem .... if the cabin was water-proof. But well it isn't! So now the all floor of the cabin was filled with water, bags were floating and I was standing until over my foot in the water. That was when also I did put on my life jacket! Just after we passed Koh Mak the ferry made a u-turn and we made an emergency stop at Koh Mak. It was not easy for the ferry and it took about 20min until the ferry was moored at the pier of Koh Mak. That is where we learned that the other ferry had not left Koh Kut due to high waves. And that all speed boats were canceled. Not good news! After 1 hour rest at the pier of Koh Mak we did continued our journey although some people decided to stay on Koh Mak. The ferry took a bit closer to the islands route and the rest of the ferry trip was reasonable OK. We arrived shaken, tired and 3 hours too late at the pier of Trat. But happy we arrived at all. Later we would see that all our cloths in our bag were wet.
Going back homeWe should have arrived at Boonsiri at 10:30 but we did arrive at 13:30. And we were hungry and I had become sick, so we did visit the Bangkok Trat Hospital for chekc-up and a bag of medicine. Wonderful and efficient service at any Bangkok Hospital in Thailand. After that we had a snack to eat and started to drive. The nice thing about traveling without planning in Thailand is that there are always somewhere small hotels. So we had no plan where to stay overnight but around 18:00 we arrived tired in Klaeang at a small hotel with 10 little bungalows. As we were tired we had a very romantic dinner next to a Christmas tree ..... in McDonalds .... with a cup of hot tea! As it was still "cold" it felt indeed like Christmas time. As I said there are always hotels nearby ... a few less good things about those hotels is that most time the bed is hard and the hot-water boiler for taking a shower is not really hot. Especially in days like this when it is cold .... the water will never become really hot. And that is what I just needed!
Although we left early we did not make it home in 1 day ... yes we could have but driving in the dark a part of route 101 that is under construction and in the mountains is not a good idea. So we did stay a second night at a brand new small hotel in Rong Kwang, so we could drive the last 150km easy in the early morning and have late breakfast at Hot Bread in Nan.