In a nutshell
Why go to Koh Kood
Koh Kood’s beaches are perfect for anyone who is looking for a slice of paradise at only a quarter of the price of the Maldives or the Caribbean. The clear waters also make it an excellent choice if you love to snorkel or dive, and there are also some waterfalls to seek out for the more active travellers.
It's location means it can easily be combined with a visit to the more exciting (but also more developed) Koh Chang island, if you want a mixture of atmospheres. This really is somewhere you want to visit now, before it starts to become more developed and loses its unique charm.
Note If you like to do lots of activities, or perhaps have children who require constant entertainment, then Koh Kood might not be the right choice for you. The island's main attractions are its stunning beaches, some of which could contend as the best beaches in Thailand. Even the most developed beach here, Khlong Chao, where you can find most restaurants and bars, is considered as one of the prettiest on the island.
There are beaches to suit everyone – Sai Daeng has shallow waters so it's great for families, Bang Bao is the best spot for cocktails and sunset views, whilst Ao Ta Khian and Ao Noi wouldn't look out of place in the Maldives.
There are at least ten beaches worth visiting, and they are all situated along the west coast, making it easier to beach hop if you want to see them all. The quality of all the beaches is extremely high though, so wherever you choose, you won't be disappointed.
The best way to choose is probably to narrow down the beaches you like the look of, and then explore the accommodation options available there. It's likely that you'll be so relaxed, you'll just want to go to the nearest beach!
What to do on Koh Kood
Although you'll probably spend most of your time relaxing on the beach, there are a few activities on the island for those of you who enjoy a bit more adventure. Thanks to the beautifully clear waters surrounding the island, there are some excellent snorkelling and scuba diving spots near Koh Kood, and if you're lucky you'll get to see stingrays, barracudas and plenty of fish of course.
The recommended dive school is called BB Divers, which has its main branch on Koh Chang, and it's a very reputable company. They offer various courses and one day trips, and they can also arrange snorkelling trips too.
There's also the smaller family run company, Koh Kood Divers, who offer a range of trips and courses for small groups.
Or, if you enjoy hiking and swimming, you can seek out the island's waterfalls. Khlong Chao waterfall is the largest, and takes about 20-30 minutes to reach by foot from the main road in Khlong Chao. There's a huge pool here too, so you can enjoy a dip after your hike. Klong Yai Ki Waterfall is in the northwest, and is a smaller and quieter option, but you can still go for a swim.
When to go to Koh Kood
As with most of the Thai islands, the peak season is between November and March, so you'll need to book accommodation in advance during these months.
The island is best avoided in the monsoon season (May to October).
Where to stay on Koh Kood
Choosing where you stay on Koh Kood will probably depend on what sort of holiday you want, and also your budget.
The Khlong Chao area is considered the most touristy part of the island, and is where you can find most restaurants, bars and shops. It's also where the main budget accommodation options can be found – but you'll have to walk to the beach!
Recent road development here has made this island more accessible to independent travellers, but it still remains relatively unspoilt, especially on the east coast of the island. Nearly all of the accommodation is on the west coast of the island, and it's likely you'll only visit the east to seek out waterfalls or whilst on a motorbike trip.
Although development on the island has remained minimal, there is still a good range of accommodation options, from swanky resorts to budget beachside bungalows. However, Koh Kood does not really have any super budget options like Koh Chang, but it's definitely worth paying a bit more considering the quality of the beaches here.
If you want at least two restaurant options, the best areas to stay are Ngam Koh, Bang Bao, Taphao or Khlong Chao. Or, if you want to stay somewhere smaller, the best beaches are Ao Phrao, Ao Jak, Ao Ta Khian, Sai Daeng and Khlong Mat. Wherever you stay, the island is still small enough that you'll easily be able to explore by either bicycle or motorbike. There are also songthaews on the island that are convenient in the evening if you want to eat out, or go for a sundowner at the beach.
Where to eat on Koh Kood
As with most of the Thai islands, Koh Kood has some excellent restaurants, especially when it comes to seafood and traditional Thai cuisine.
Whilst there are lots of cheap places to eat out, the really good seafood places tend to be rather expensive, but the portions are huge so can easily be shared!
Unlike in its neighbour, Koh Chang, there aren't really many international restaurants here, but nearly all of the resorts have their own in-house restaurants and bars, which serve a variety of cuisines. In terms of bars, although the nightlife here is pretty low-key, there are some decent places to enjoy a sunset cocktail, and several bars offering live music. If you want to party, then this is probably not the island for you! But, as previously mentioned, it can be combined with a trip to Koh Chang which is much more lively!
How to get to and from Koh Kood
The best way to get to Koh Kood is to travel from Bangkok, where there are several options available.
The first is to fly from Bangkok to Trat with Bangkok airways, with one-way fares starting from THB2,500, and flights throughout the day.
Once at Trat, you can take a songthaew (pick-up truck) to Laem Sok, where you can catch the ferry to Koh Kood. The journey is around 30 km and can cost anywhere from THB100 if you take a public songthaew toTHB750 if you negotiate a private ride.
From Laem Sok, Koh Kut Express run both a speedboat and ferry service to the main pier on Koh Kood. The speedboat service (THB600 one way) runs twice every day at 10.30am and 2.30pm during the high season (01 October to 01 May), but in the low season it only runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, at 10.30am.
The ferry service (THB350 one way) runs all year round (weather permitting) at 1.00pm, and takes around 75 minutes.
The speedboat journey duration depends on where you want to go, as it includes drop off at any resort along the west coast.
It's also possible to reach Koh Kood from Koh Chang by speedboat every morning between 9.00am and 10.30am, depending on which pier you choose to travel from (THB900). These boats will also make stops at the other smaller islands along the way.
Tip If you want to bring a motorbike with you from the mainland, you can take the Ko Kood Princess from Laem Sok pier (12.30pm, THB350 per person and THB200 per motorbike).
How to get around Koh Kood
Once on the island, the best way to get around is to hire either a bicycle or a motorbike, as there is no public transport on Koh Kood.
It's important to be safe when hiring a motorbike, as there are minimal medical facilities on the island, so only hire one if you have experience and always wear a helmet!
Is Koh Kood safe?
For medical facilities, it's definitely recommended to return to the mainland if it's serious. However, there is a small hospital on the island if required.
Safety wise, there are only 2,000 people residing on the entire island, so crime is not really a problem here! The main safety hazard is probably if you decide to hire a motorbike, so make sure to take all the necessary precautions.
Also, due to the much less developed infrastructure here, expect regular power cuts – well, it somewhat adds to the island's rustic charm.
Finally, it's better to bring enough cash with you, as there is only one ATM on the island next to Ko Kut Hospital.