Thursday, 22 March 2012

Koh Kho Khao

This is a mouthful to say. It’s pronounced ko koe cow, I think, the main thing is that if you are in the Khao Lak area and you have a bit of time it is well worth making the short trip out to the island of Kho Khao. To get there jump on a bus heading north up the Petkasem Road and head for Taku Pa. From there you can buy tickets for the car ferry over the island. Boats run from 7.30am to 5.30pm.

The island is separated from the mainland by an estuary. It is an area with several islands, but Koh Kho is the largest.

On arriving at the main port in the south you are not met by ‘beaters’ or ‘steerers’. Most people simple walk along the west facing beach until they come to a place they like. Much of the accommodation in Koh Kho Khao consists of mid-range and luxury resorts that offer air-con rooms around communal pools. There are, however, a few cheaper places to be found in between. Recommended among these are Pranee Restaurant and Bungalows, Ha Pha Beach Cottages, Sunset Restaurant and Wang Klong Kayaking Resort. Ha Pha Cottages allows tents for those on a tight budget. Sunset Restaurant has fan bungalows for 700 Thai Baht. Both of these places are found at the northern end of the beach.

The beach is golden sand and the water is suitable for swimming. Down in the south the sediment from the river means it is not clear enough for snorkeling. In the north the sea is clearer. Here you will find a ship wreck that is good fun to dive. The real highlight is the nearby Surin Islands. They have lots of coral reefs and offer excellent diving just like the Similan islands. There are a few dive shops on Koh Kho Khao that can organize scuba trips for you.

Another great thing about the island is the grass lands in the north. These attract a good variety of birds. There is a bird watching tower behind Bang Naeng beach. You can usually see hornbills if you are patient enough.

In the south-east of the Koh Kho Khao are the remains of a Thirteenth Century fishing settlement. It makes for an interesting few hours visiting the site. The island was host to very early waves of people moving from Asia into South East Asia.

The great thing about Koh Kho Khao is that it has a very relaxed feel. No one hassles you. It is truly a place to unwind, and a place to get a glimpse of traditional Thai island culture.

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