Holiday in Ko Kho Khao
For vacationers seeking an island getaway with their families, Ko Kho Khao is the place to be. This large island is reachable within 10 minutes by boat when coming from the Phang Nga province’s area of Takua Pa. The original settlers of the Malay peninsula landed on this island and made it a starting point for the exploration of the entire land. Later on, traders and Chinese merchants alike made it a trade post during the peak era of tin mining at the Takua Pa region.
Although not much different in looks from the mainland, Ko Kho Khao, (enunciated as “kaw koe cow”) offers that remote, secluded feel without having to go too far. It’s not as far-flung as Ko Phra Thong but not as crowded as Phuket or Khao Lak. Best yet, the island have beaches as pretty as those found at the far south region of Khao Lak. Although the waters are not as clear and unspoiled like those at Ko Surin, Ko Kho Khao is still worthwhile to visit to enjoy leisure walks, cool swimming and sunset watching.
As the news of the island’s attractiveness spread, more and more resorts started opening up for business, offering amenities geared to cater to the more well-to-do Europeans like Scandinavians and Germans. Despite the boom in the tourism industry, the place still exudes secrecy and a sleepy ambience, qualities that keep on drawing vacationers year after year.
For the types of activities you can do while on Ko Kho Khao, it is best you get familiar with its geography. Ko Kho Khao’s inland area is pretty levelled (which got more levelled during the 2004 tsunami tragedy) and the sand areas are sprawling with grass while the eastern parts are teeming with mangrove growths along its many canals, perfect spots for that afternoon leisure walk. The north western area, on the other hand, is the site of an old air strip used by the Japanese during the Second World War and a few dirt trails which can be explored by motorbike or bicycle. To the northeast, you will see the Toan Thong Waterfall while to the north is a popular tower used for bird watching activities. Also to the north is an elephant camp along the beach (for a fee, you get to stroll along the surfs on an elephant) and a diving operation, called Kho Khao Diving, the only one on the island. You may opt to also try the kayaking service here which offers trips to the eastern and northern mangrove canals.
The island has a two-lane, cemented road that goes all the way towards the village like area of Baan Pak Koh to the north coast. You can find almost everything along this road like schools, shops, tour companies, restaurants and what remains of a few groups of houses (again, because of the tsunami catastrophe many people chose to abandon the area and move someplace else giving that eerie, haunted feel to most parts especially during late at night). The high priced resorts are found towards the south of the beach called Pak Kon while the more economical ones are to the north at Bang Neang beach. The southern beaches have seawalls built by some resorts which come in handy during high tide but for the most part, all the beaches can be trampled by foot during low tide. Nok Nan, like the beaches of neighbouring Ko Phra Thong, is the most exclusive beach in Ko Kho Khao.
If you’re not coming from Ko Phra Thong via private longtail, you will journey from Nam Khem pier on the mainland, across the thin water strip and arrive at the pier at Baan Pak Koh at the southernmost point of Ko Kho Khao via car ferries of public longtail.
With a two-lane road, the island can be accessed using taxis or motorbikes for rent by tour companies. But since the island is a very seasonal destination, most of the resorts, although open all year, operate with a full staff and offer their complete options of amenities only during high season.
A police station is near the entrance of Tocala Resort and can be seen on the main road as well. Some resorts offer internet services and the large ones accept major credits cards. A few travel companies in Baan Pak Koh, on the other hand, also have internet services. Near the pier, there are a few ATM machines available if you happen to need cash right away.
Unfortunately, Ko Kho Khao does not have medical facilities or hospitals. You have to travel about half an hour via boat and then on land by car to get the nearest hospital in Takua Pa.