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Koh Muk Travel Information

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  • Koh Muk Travel Information

    The World's best hidden Beaches: Trang Archipelago, Thailand
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    Haad Farang (Haad Sai Yao) | Koh Muk

    Framed by jungle-draped limestone karsts, this small but striking bay has serene waters free of riptides, making it safe for families to splash around in the sun. As its nickname implies – farang is Thai for foreigner – you’ll find a large concentration of backpackers here. Still, with only a few sun-loungers and a couple of ramshackle food stops, it’s a far cry from the chaos of Chaweng beach on Koh Samui or Kamala on Phuket. Most of the bungalows, restaurants and Koh Muk’s near-nonexistent nocturnal scene are tucked out of sight in the adjacent woods. Rent a sea kayak (100 baht, around £2 an hour) and paddle around the corner to Tham Morakot (the Emerald Cave), a winding stalactite-lined cavern that opens up to a sheltered cove walled by dense foliage and frequented by bands of monkeys. It is awe-inspiring, but to fully appreciate it, be sure to pack a torch to avoid slamming into cavern walls and other kayaks. To avoid congestion, make the trip in the late afternoon, after the longtail boats (from £14) carting other travellers disperse. Perched up on one of the limestone outcroppings, the aptly named Ko Yao Viewpoint Restaurant is the best place for sundowners. Skip the saccharine cocktails in favour of an icy Chang beer and bask in the last rays of the day. Accommodation: Cheaper lodgings of comparable quality are set slightly back in the forest, but if you want beachfront access it’s worth shelling out a bit more for one of the basic bungalows at Koh Mook Charlie Beach Resort. Getting there: Fly from Bangkok to Trang with AirAsia, then take a one-hour Tigerline ferry from Hat Yao Pier. Alternatively, a five-hour ferry from Phuket at Rassada Pier (£41) goes directly to the island and will drop passengers at Haad Farang.

    Ao Sabai | Koh Muk

    Not far from the Emerald Cave is the island’s only uninhabited beach. Walled in by dramatic bluffs and a smattering of palm trees, Ao Sabai feels like a secret hideaway. It may be on the petite side and its sand is more amber in colour than postcard-perfect alabaster, but the seclusion more than makes up for it. Loll in the shallows or pack a picnic and chill out away from the crowds. Getting there: Part of the reason Ao Sabai has retained its low profile is that it’s only accessible by longtail boat. Charter one of the dozens of wooden watercraft moored at Haad Farang for about £14.

    Ao Kham | Koh Muk

    On the eastern side of the island, about 30 minutes walk or a speedy tuk-tuk ride from Haad Farang, Ao Kham is both longer and more peaceful than its westward-facing counterpart. Luxury bungalows line the edge of the sand, but are set back far enough so as not to intrude on the panorama. In lieu of the clamour of hawkers, you’ll mostly find couples wading through the glass-clear water. Early in the morning, the speckled tracks of hermit and sandcrabs outnumber human footprints. Accommodation: Sivalai Beach Resort has an extended menu of standard Thai and western dishes and is popular for evening meals. However, prices are high and the quality tends towards the mediocre. A bit further inland, Boon Chu (+66 82 268 3073) has a more local feel and affordable prices, though service is often slow. Meanwhile, Koh Mook De Tara Beach Resort has some of the more authentic dishes on the island. Though the waterfront bar’s claim of the “best margarita in the world” may sound dubious, plates such as massaman curry – with slow-braised, bone-in chicken in a rich sauce with crimson coconut oil – are excellent. Sivalai Beach Resort is the only real option if you want to stay on this expansive strip of coastline. Though villa prices rise steeply during high season, the superior lodgings are worth it for those seeking tranquillity. Fortunately, as all of Thailand’s beaches are public property, so backpackers can spend the day here regardless of where they’re staying. Getting there: As per entry for Haad Farang (Haad Sai Yao), see above.