Koh Kood; a remote island in Thailand's southeast, close to Cambodia

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Koh Kood is one of Thailand's most remote islands with true beachfront accommodations, lying at the end of the Koh Chang archipelago that runs down the country's southeast coast where it meets Cambodia. Koh Kood is the second largest island in this group that includes the much bigger, better-known island of Koh Chang and smaller neighbouring island Koh Mak, both of which also have multiple tourist hotels.
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Koh Kood is used by many seeking a more isolated and natural tropical island, and by others seeking a beach stopover as part of a trip to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia. While Cambodia does have beach resorts of its own, it has (as yet) little to compare with Koh Kood's good quality, luxury beachfront accommodations and natural environment. Visitors can easily cross the road frontier from Thailand into Cambodia by bus or minibus at the nearby Trat-Koh Khong border post.
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The level of development on Koh Kood is so low that there is no commercial centre on the island, no banks or ATMs and the only permanent settlements aside from the tourist hotels are a half dozen small or tiny fishing communities in mangrove channels. There is currently a police station, a hospital, two Buddhist monasteries, a power generating plant, several shops and perhaps half a dozen independent restaurants. These are scattered here and there along the small road network without forming a commercial nucleus.
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Distance and travel time, plus lack of facilities and activities have kept Koh Kood isolated from mass tourism, preserving it for those willing and able to make the five-hour road journey from Bangkok plus a ferry crossing to find a pristine tropical beach. And Koh Kood is not likely to disappoint those travellers, for the beaches here are among the most beautiful in Thailand.
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There is one interesting anomaly on Koh Kood however, that allows those with money to skip right over the road and boat journeys that help isolate the island. Guests booked into the super luxurious resort of Soneva Kiri are flown directly from Bangkok to a private airport on a small island adjacent to the resort. It's then just a five minute boat ride to Koh Kood's most stunning, luxurious hideaway. And Soneva Kiri is truly hidden, with the average island visitor unlikely to see more than a few rooftops and yellow beach umbrellas from a boat far offshore.

Note that Koh Kood is sometimes spelled Ko Kut, or Koh Kud.

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We offer many more info pages about Koh Kood and it's neighbouring islands, some of which might prove helpful:

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Koh Kood; natural, forested island little changed by tourism

The first view that most visitors get of Koh Kood is an exciting, and reassuring one; a sense that this time their dreams of a truly unspoilt, natural beach will be fulfilled, not subverted by waves of construction that arrived after the photos that inspired them were taken. Cruising along the west coast towards either of the two landing piers here, hardly a building is visible. Steep mountains smothered in a tangled canopy rise up behind thin strips of golden beach. Koh Kood is one of the few islands in Thailand with beachfront accommodations that genuinely live up to the promotional claims of 'natural' and 'undeveloped'.
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The mountains running the length of Koh Kood are not as steep as those on its big neighbour to the northwest, Koh Chang. But they are rugged enough to have limited the plantations of rubber to relatively small areas in the lower hills. Nearby Koh Mak is low and flat, and has had its entire forest cut and burnt to make way for rubber plantations. Human pressure on land is intense all over Thailand, and Koh Kood is one of the few places lucky enough to have survived with relatively little deforestation – thanks to those mountains.
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The narrow strips of flat land behind most beaches was turned into coconut plantation long ago, and today those palm gardens are being overtaken by tourism. This writer's photographs show that only Koh Phayam in the Andaman Sea might compare with Koh Kood for such attractive, environmentally-blended development.
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Koh Kood is indeed one of Thailand's most naturally beautiful islands – an assessment from a photographer whose images cover every Thai beach and island in this website, and many others in over 30 years of shooting here.

the stunning tropical beaches of Koh Kood are among the best in Thailand

The beaches of Koh Kood retain much of their original, natural look - as the photos show. Happily for the island, most of the beachfront resorts and bungalows have been tastefully blended into the coconuts and foliage, and few can be seen from the water. Look down most beaches on Koh Kood and not a building comes into sight. Hotel owners have done one of the best jobs of preserving the pristine appearance of their beaches that we can find in Thailand.
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Most beaches run along the west coast, facing their maker, the monsoon waves. They are generally quite narrow, though the sand is soft and coral-white. Every beach here is backed by a thick forest of coconut palms or wispy casuarina trees whose, long flowing needles flutter on the breezes.
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The island's south end holds three much wider beaches, Khlong Hin Beach, Neverland Beach and Ao Phrao Beach, while Soneva Kiri also has an exceptionally wide and attractive beach in the north. See the full Koh Kood beaches review for a more detailed look at the different beaches here.
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The water surrounding the island is shallow, as it is off all beaches. Swimming is thus good at high tide, but more difficult at low tide when many beaches are left with sandbanks stretching far out. Note that Koh Kood is subject to the unusual tides of the Gulf of Thailand, which leaves the beaches with high tide all through the day from November to February, and low tide all day from March to June.
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Since Koh Kood's beaches all face south or west, and the monsoon waves, they become rough and stirred up from June to October. It's the time of annual rejuvenation for the beaches, but when they lose their tranquillity and appeal, the island virtually closes down, with most resorts shuttered into hibernation. A few do remain open however, trying to attract some of the trickle of off-season visitors who understand and appreciate the varying weather in the Gulf of Thailand during the monsoon season.
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Koh Kood's few local communities add up to only a couple of thousand plus inhabitants, leaving the beaches with little pressure of population or development. Without doubt, Koh Kood's beaches are among the most unspoiled and beautiful in Thailand.
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little to do away from the beaches on this escapist island

Koh Kood is a do-little island, a place to truly unwind and relax in one of the most natural environments available on a tropical island in Thailand. Aside from the normal sand and water activities that beaches everywhere provide, there are few attractions or activities here.
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The island has two waterfalls. There is a stilted fishing village that makes an interesting half day trip. The two Buddhist monasteries on the island are small and only of minor interest, and there are no other cultural attractions. Water based activities are tops here, with swimming being the obvious, most popular pastime. But if swimming is important to you, think about the strange tides first. Snorkelling and diving are also quite popular, though this island does not hold any of Thailand's more famous dive sites.
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I definitely recommend renting scooter and driving the island's quaint little rods. For more details of Koh Kood's on- and off-island activities, see the full activities page covering all topics.
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why Koh Kood is largely a group tour island

The restrictions of distance and travel have favoured the growth of group tourism on Koh Kood. The early resorts on so remote an island could not rely on trickles of visitors to find them one or two at a time. Management marketed their resorts in Bangkok, often at travel fairs, offering packages to groups and families to cover all holiday periods. It's the way Thais like to travel. Bangkok families often drive their own cars to the ferry terminal at Laem Sok, while groups rent buses. Businesses also bring their staff to Koh Kood on incentive and team building trips.
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Also, catering to groups is much more efficient; meals can be planned in advance, making food purchasing much easier on an island where there is no fresh market.
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The arrival of foreigners has made running a resort on the island that much easier, Foreign couples and families might require more transport organization, while their eating habits are more difficult to cater to – but they are ready to pay more for the Koh Kood experience. But critically, the mix of Thai and foreign visitors now extends the hotels' season from November through May, with the two groups coming at different times. Big beach destinations like Phuket struggle to keep business running high for that long.
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Those booking rooms on Koh Kood through a booking engine like Agoda, Booking.com or this site, should remember to contact the hotel soon after to ask about transport arrangements – unless you want the adventure of turning up and finding your own transport.
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A new wave of package tourists now arrives from Pattaya, with two resorts here relaying entirely on this traffic. Khlong Hin Beach Resort and Pa Hin Sai – on our maps Khlong Hin Beach and Ao Phrao Beach – offer no means of booking and have no source of guests save Russian agents in Pattaya. Both resorts have only Russian guests, with the former even flying the Russian flag.
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why walk-in, and easy-go backpacking is difficult on Koh Kood

Distance and transport are again the problem for those who like to first arrive in a destination, then look around for a place to stay. Virtually all visitors arrive in Koh Kood with rooms pre-booked. On alighting at the island jetty, song-taew transports await, ready to deliver every passenger to a resort. Those without a destination hotel will get left on the jetty – quite alone. There is virtually no other transport, and the jetty is deserted once these vehicles depart with each lot of new arrivals.
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With no public transport on the island, and distances quite great from one beach to another on this hilly island, finding a room could be a difficult and exhausting exercise for those arriving without a room prebooked. And in peak season there may be no rooms at all. Booking in advance thus makes the best sense on Koh Kood, even if for a single night, allowing the option of finding a different or more suitable place the following day.
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Koh Kood began its life as a tourist destination catering to package tours for Thai groups and families from Bangkok. Only recently has it seen an embryonic backpacker scene develop at the back of Khlong Chao Beach.
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If you want to take your chances on backpacker accommodation (it's OK to do this out of peak season), use one of the three major ferry companies and take their free transport from the jetty to Khlong Chao Garden View Resort, facing the main road. This offers comfortable budget rooms, both air-con and fan. If this is not satisfactory, or is full, walk along the inland road to the back where several more small cheap bungalows have opened up in recent years. Some have rooms beside the canal, all in this area are budget.
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by John Everingham

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