Koh Kho Khao Island
Just off the coast from Takua Pa and north of the Khao Lak region is Koh Kho Khao Island (pronounced 'Gaw Coh Cow'). It is a large island that covers 64 sq km. It is a beautiful and mostly undeveloped island but there are roads running the full length so it is easy enough to explore.
The island has a wide variety of vegetation and wildlife but is most notable for the glorious beach that runs right along its western coastline. Kho Khao Beach runs the full length of the island's west coast. That is more than 17km of beautiful sandy beach with overhanging palm and casuarina trees. The beach is fine for swimming during the dry season and perfect for long relaxing walks. The beach is still used by turtles to lay their eggs from November to February.
There are a few resorts and bungalow operations dotted along this beach but there are also great stretches of it that are totally deserted. So you can just find a nice resort by the beach and spend your time here relaxing. However it is a nice island to explore and once you have made the effort to get here it would seem a shame not to get out and take a good look around. You can rent a motorbike if you did not bring a vehicle yourself.
The western side of the island is a flat plan and a significant portion of the western land has been taken for agricultural uses such as coconut plantations, rubber plantations and palm oil. This is not very intensive agriculture and it certainly does not negate the generally unspoiled feel of the island. The eastern side of the island is hilly and has natural areas of mangrove forests and rainforest. You can do some bird watching or take a kayak through the mangroves.
If you drive all the way to the northwest corner of the island right thru Nok Na Village there is a stunning wide stretch of sand with a nice rustic restaurant and a handfull of bungalows. It is a glorious location to have an evening meal and watch the sunset.
There is a small waterfall at the northeast part of the island. Toan Thong Waterfall is not very impressive and in fact it can dry up to no more than a trickle during long dry periods. It is still a very picturesque location.
Another interesting feature on Koh Kho Khao island is an old Japanese airfield from the World War II occupation period. Located at the northwest end of the island, it is now overgrown and dilapidated. However, recently there have been plans to develop the area into a new airport. Phang Nga does not have its own airport so you can see the sense in building one. Just the same it would seem like a shame to spoil the serenity of this sleepy island. We do hope that if the powers that be decide Phang Nga needs an airport then they will find an alternative location.
Mueng Thong Archeological Site is on the southeast side of the island. This is an ancient town that was discovered just to the south of Tung Tuk village that shows Koh Kho Khao island was a trading center long ago. Various ancient artefacts have been discovered here such as pottery, glassware, stone beads and Buddha images. Some of these artefacts come from China and the Middle East which shows that the community must have been an international trade center.
You can also rent a long tail boat and visit the small island of Koh Pa just off the west coast. The island is just a small sandy strip but it has some nice coral reefs so is good for a bit of snorkeling or even scuba diving.
The western side of the island took the full brunt of the tsunami and the flat plains were absolutely swamped by the swirling waters. Naam Kem village on the mainland had one of the biggest casualty lists from the disaster with around 600 local people lost. After the horrific experience, many of the locals on Koh Kho Khao decided they simply could not face the task of rebuilding or living at a place that held such painful memories. Many of them simply packed up shop and moved away. What had always seemed like a quiet island now feels even quieter. This is certainly not the place to come for nightlife.
There are still a few villages around the island. The main village is Baan Pak Koh at the pier. There are a few facilities here such as taxis, tour agents, motorbike rentals, shops, restaurants and ATMs.
Koh Kho Khao island is separated from Naam Kem village on the mainland by only a few hundred yards of sea at the mouth of Takua Pa River. There is a car ferry that shuttles back and forth from Naam Kem village on the mainland to Pak Koh village on Koh Kho Khao island. The ferries run from 8:00am to 6:00pm.
Naam Kem village can be reached by turning east from route 4 just south of Takua Pa Town. Then follow the winding country road to the pier.
There are some nice holiday resorts on the southwest corner of the island. There are a few other budget bungalow towards the northwest end of the island. For families we would particularly recommend the Koh Kho Khao Resort with its two swimming pools and playground. For couples we would particulalry recommend the C&N Kho Khao Beach Resort with its simple but sophisticated style.