Ko Mook: Travel Information and Personal Experience
|The Thai island of Koh Mook in the Andaman Sea|
During my adventure of island hopping around the Andaman Sea, I went to 9 different islands and I can consider the island of Ko Mook, also called Koh Muk, my favourite. I´m aware that people have different tastes and experiences on islands, so it might not be everybody´s favourite. But I found it well worth to dedicate a full article to this gorgeous island. So if you´re curious to my experience on this treasure hunting ´Cast Away´ island or if you´re planning to travel there yourself and are looking for some practical information, then just keep on reading. I will share my personal experience, things to do on the island and will include some practical travel information about this amazing island of Ko Mook.
My personal experience on Koh Mook
Ko Mook is a real ´Cast Away´ island!
I always wanted to go to typical tropical ´Cast Away´ island and even though I have been to smaller tropical islands like Caye Caulker in Belize, Veligandu Island on the Maldives, some islands on the Philippines and the Gili Islands between Bali and Lombok, for me they never made it completely like being on such an island you see in certain movies or series like Lost. For me they were either too touristic or too luxury for that. But on Koh Mook I felt like my dream came true!
|Koh Muk felt like being on a ´cast away´ island!|
Ko Mook is also called Koh Muk: ´Pearl Island´ in Thai
The Thai word of ´Muk´ means pearl and I completely see where the name of this island comes from. The island is very untouched and a true example of a place where nature still outbalances humanity. I think it is a true pearl laying in the Andaman Sea. The main attraction of Koh Mook is the Emerald Cave, which might be the pearl of the island. The Emerald Cave got her name due to the blue-greenish colour from the sunlight reflecting upon the water which you can see when you are in the cave. But besides the emerald cave there are also hiking trails to do, you can kayak around the island, visit the local village and there´s even a scuba dive center.
|The Emerald Cave might be the pearl of the island|
Why is Koh Mook my favourite island so far?
Well, I just loved the fact that the island is so robust with an overwhelming jungle, the most precious beaches and the chilled vibe of the local people. Even though there are many things to do which I will cover in this article, I also truly enjoyed just walking around the island where no cars drive around. For a relaxing day I would just walk across the island from my stay at Koh Mook Garden Beach Resort to Had Farang Beach, which takes about 30 minutes. Small roads where only tuk-tuks will pass by whilst children wave at you with a friendly ´Sava dee Kaa´ or you meet your bright smiling tuk-tuk taxi driver again who picked you up from the ferry: ´Hi Tony!´. You pass some local houses or fruitshake stands while the Thai people either are taking a nap or greet you also with a bright smile, in the meantime you´re constantly surrounded by an immense nature, hearing the jungle sounds and the most beautiful butterflies will cross your path all the time. For the night time you can go to Ting Tong Bar or Mong Bar where local island guys are copying Bob Marley on their reggae nights.
|Local Island Boys copying Bob Marley in Mong Bar|
Spending the night with stormy weather, jungle noises and weird insects!
At night time the weather sometimes went really stormy with thunderstorms and heavy rains. I was staying in a small, budget beach hut in the Koh Mook Garden Beach Resort, which almost felt like camping. The hut was not more than a mattress on the floor, a fan and a bright pink mosquito net, which was absolutely necessary due to all the insects flying and crawling around at night. The attached bathroom was half open, and at some point there was something flying around which looked like a moth but had the size of a bird. I never ever saw something like this before in my life and I still don´t even know what it was but I was glad when it finally left again! Noises from the jungle made me sometimes having to push scary thoughts away: “What if a snake decides to come in?”. It might not sound very attractive, but it really was. It was just part of the adventure and contributed to the overall amazing experience I had on the island of Koh Mook. The next morning you wake up with a calm sea, a brightly shining sun like the night and bad weather never happened. Yes, exactly like in these movies ´The Blue Lagoon´, ´Cast Away´, you name it even the serie ´Lost´ if you like. For me it didn´t really feel like Thailand but more like being on an island in the Pacific somewhere.
Things to do on Koh Mook
The Emerald Cave (Tham Morakot)
First of all you can´t miss a visit to the Emerald Cave. You can go there either by boat or take a kayak and go by yourself. If the weather conditions allow you, you can even kayak there all the way from Garden Beach Resort or Sivalai Beach. When I was there the sea was a bit rough on that side of the island, so we kayaked from Had Farang Beach, also known as Charlie Beach. It took us about 20 minutes to reach the cave. Once you´re there, I can recommend you to bring a torch, you enter the pitch dark cave and kayak through for a short distance, like 100 metres, before you arrive at a secret beach. If you go there by boat you can swim through the cave. The secret beach is surrounded by high cliffs and jungle, there´s no other way to reach this place than through the Emerald Cave.
Tips for visiting the Emerald Cave
- Avoid the crowds, from the tourists going here on a boat trips from other islands, by going there before 09.30 am or after 03.30 pm
- If you arrive after 03.30 pm you don´t pay the 200 Baht entrance fee
- Check the tides before you go in, you can only enter the cave during low tide
- Bring a torch or, if you don´t have one, take a waterproof cover for your cell phone with you.
|The secret beach after going through the Emerald Cave|
Scuba Diving from Ko Mook
Although the dive center ´Chilled Out Divers´, is not running scuba dives anymore, what I found is that there are two dive centers operating at the time of writing. Because they might change, depending on the season and the amount of interest, make sure you check directly with them before you go there. As far as I´m correct, there´s one dive center in the luxury Sivalai Resort, called Trang Scuba Diving. Contact them here to check for availability and prices: http://www.trangscubadiving.com/contact/ The divecenter ´Princess Divers´ is located in the Charlies Beach Resort, close to Had Farang Beach. It is said to offer scuba diving from PADI courses to fun dives.
Tip for scuba diving Koh Mook
- Please make sure to check information before you go, if you´re planning to do some diving on Koh Muk. Lately things have changed and a dive center closed down so it´s a bit unsure what is happening in the future. So make sure to contact the dive centers to check what´s available and it might also be season dependent.
Hiking Trails on Koh Mook
|Koh Muk Island Map: treasure hunting?|
Other then just crossing the island on the proper roads, which I already highly enjoyed, you can do a few proper jungle tracking hikes on Koh Mook. I name the following routes from staying at Koh Mook Garden Beach Resort, since the map on the photo shows the routes from there, on the right, close to the jetty if you can read this ´treasure hunting´- map! If you stay in the area of Had Farang Beach (Charlie Beach), you can add another 20 to 30 minutes from Had Farang Beach to Koh Mook Garden Beach Resort.
You can hike to the viewpoint which will take you over 45 minutes and a part of it is pretty steep. Make sure to wear hiking boots or proper sandals, I can not recommend to do this on flipflops. It can get a bit slippery with loose stones on a steep gradient. A nice time to do this hike if for sunset or sunsire. Expect monkeys and snakes!
|The view after hiking to the viewpoint|
This trail is through a very tightly grown jungle. It might be recommended to put closed shoes for this one. There are no motortaxi´s or whatsoever allowed, this is pure nature. After hiking for about 1.30 hrs, you´ll arrive at a precious beach.
Although there is not much left from the statue and the track is not very accessible, it is still another hike you could do. I didn´t do it myself and heard that the path is very overgrown, but if you´re in for another adventure, go for it!
Tips for hiking around Ko Mook
- Always make sure to bring enough water, sunscreen and mosquito repellent with you.
- Don´t forget your camera!
Visit the local village
There is a local village, on a short walk from Garden Beach Resort. Here you can find a small supermarket with basic stuff, some very nice places to eat and friendly people. You can also see the local school. I like how on Koh Mook the local people mix well with the tourists.
Tips for a visit to the village:
- Show some respect and dress yourself properly. You don´t have to cover yourself up but please don´t go wearing your bikini (girls) or no t-shirt (guys)
- The place ´Ma Kin Ni´ (to the right on the main path if you come from Koh Mook Garden Beach Resort) offers good food and fresh made coffees.
|The local school of Koh Mook|
Other things to do & activities on Koh Mook
Other things to do include hiring a bicycle for either 50 or 100 Baht, depending on the bike and the shop. You can rent a kayak for 100 Bath per hour or for 300 Baht in total at Garden Beach Resort. If you find it too hot and don´t like to get too active you can rent a motorbike for 250 Baht. You can go snorkelling by yourself, book a day tour to Koh Kradan or do a snorkelling trip excursion. Shorlty, if you like hiking, cycling, kayaking, nice beaches and some quieteness with an amazing nature and some adventure, you can´t go wrong on the paradise island of Koh Mook! There are also yoga classes available on Had Farang Beach (Charlie Beach).
|Sunset Yoga Class on Had Farang Beach|
Tip for activities on Koh Muk:
If you stay one week at Koh Mook Garden Beach Resort, you get a kayak for free for 1 day and they also offer free bicycle rent for her guests.
Practical Travel Information for the island of Koh Mook
How to get to Koh Mook?
You can reach Koh Muk by boat from the bigger islands Koh Lanta and Koh Libong, or the smaller surrounding islands including Koh Kradan and Koh Ngai. From the mainland it´s reachable from either Trang, Krabi or Phuket (Island). Even if you´re not looking into visiting more islands in the Andaman sea you can book the boat in combination with train or bus, depending on where you coming from. 12go.asia can book your complete trip to Koh Mook for you, from almost anywhere inThailand. They have all services available including boats, busses, trains and even plain tickets. Also, no matter if you´re looking for a fast speedboat and willing to pay a bit more or travel on a budget and take the slower ferry.
I´ve booked my ticket from Koh Lanta to Koh Mook locally on Koh Lanta but found that 12go.asia offers the same tickets for the same price. You can´t really go wrong with them since they offer and compare all different companies. You can click through from the links provided or use the search box below and I will get a small commission too. Thank you!
Are there any banks or ATM´s on Koh Mook?
|Look for this sign in the local village if you need cash|
This is pretty important to know. There are no ATM´s on Koh Mook. And one friend I met on the island needed to leave at the day she planned to leave, because she didn´t bring enough cash with her while she actually wanted to stay longer. Actually, the next day I saw a sign from a shop doing cash out on your card, but I´m pretty sure they charge extra for it. If you need them, they are located in the local village, just look out for the above sign on the right before entering the mainstreet. There are no ATM-machines on Koh Muk, so the above only works for mastercard or visa.
At Dada´s place (Garden Beach Resort), you can pay on card, but I can recommend to check with your accommodation beforehand if they offer you this choice since it´s not very common yet at the time of writing.
There are places where you can change your money into Thai Baht.
Where to stay on Ko Muk?
Personally, I had a great stay in Koh Mook Garden Beach Resort. So I´ll start with this accommodation and can include some more information based upon my experience. After that I will name some place I´ve seen of heard about from other travellers I met. I will arrange them in price order, from budget to luxury.
Basic & Budget – Backpacker Style
My stay at Koh Mook Garden Beach Resort, also called ´Dada´s place´, was really good for a budget price! The place is a bit family ambient orientated so don´t go there if you´re looking for a party place, although I think this is hard to find on Koh Mook anyway. I met families staying here as well couples and single travellers. The place is right at the beach but you can only swim at high tide, although you´re at walking distance from the beautiful quiet beach at Sivalai Resort where you can swim. What I liked the most about this place was the feeling you´re staying in the jungle but are still at the beach, so you can hear the jungle sounds and the waves at night!
One thing to consider is that it´s a bit further away from Had Farang Beach, so if you like to hang out at night, keep in mind that most of the tuk-tuk taxis run till about 10 pm. After that, you can do a 30-minute jungle walk in the middle of the night! Although when we went to the reggae night, we found a guy willing to take us to Dada´s place on his tuk-tuk.
I found a very good deal on booking.com for a small beach hut, I only paid 500 baht per night, which is around €12,-. For a location right on the beach with the breakfast included. My hut was tiny though, but cosy too and with a bright pink mosquito net, a mattress on the floor and an open bathroom, it felt almost like camping! There´s a restaurant in the place and Dada, the owner, can help you organise anything you need from a day tour excursion to hiring a kayak or a motorbike. She also offers one of the cheapest prices on the island for excursions and hiring stuff.
You can book the place or find more information by clicking on this link.
|My small bamboo hut at Dada´s place|
Other accommodations for a backpackers price
Other accommodations for a low budget traveller include Koh Mook Hostel, they offer beds in shared dorm rooms for 350 Baht including breakfast. Bamboo Hut Bangalow offers small huts for about the same price as Koh Mook Garden Beach Resort but they´re located a bit closer to Had Farang Beach (Charlies Beach), so you can walk home from Mong Bar.
Paying a bit more – Flashpacker Style
Other accommodations for the flashpackers include Koh Mook Coco Lodge which looked like a descent place, also located close to Koh Mook Garden Beach Resort. They offer bamboo bungalows for 900 Baht. Another good places I heard about in this area for this price category is Smile Bungalow, located close to the local village and offering bungalows for about 900 Baht.
Expensive – Luxury Style
Anything in between
Is Internet available on the island of Ko Muk?
What is the best time to visit Koh Mook?
The best time to visit the island is from November till April. The busiest time will be in December around Christmas and New Years, so make sure you book your accommodation well in advance if you´re planning to go around this time. If you go outside the season, from May till October, please make sure to check with ferry companies and accommodations because they might be limited or not available at all due to the rain season.
Any information I forgot to include about Koh Mook?
All taxi rides around the island cost 50 Baht. One other tip for walking around on the island at night is to bring a torch or use the torch on your cell phone. There is not much light if there´s no full moon. I hope you have a good idea by now about this truly amazing island of Koh Mook, Ko Mook, Koh Muk or however you like to call it. The name doesn´t matter, but the experience does and for me it was great. If you have any questions or if I forgot to cover anything, feel free to ask or share in the comment box below.
|Meet Toni, the local tuk-tuk taxi driver!|
Stay tuned for more articles about my adventures island hopping around the Andaman Sea. This article is more informative but I´m also creating a serie of articles in which I share my personal experience hopping around the Andaman Sea. Expect informative travelposts as well as personal travelblog updates stories including some articles about scuba diving.
Did you like the photos in this article?
Some of the photos in this article (to be exact: Number 2- ´Cast Away Island´, 7- Viewpoint, 8- Sabai Beach, 11- Jungle Island, 14- Koh Mook Garden Resort and 15- my small beach hut) are provided by Martin Watters. If you like them, you can follow him on Instragram, by clicking on his name. The rest of the photos are my own and you can follow me too on Splashpacker Instagram account.