In 2012

Koh Kut: Your Own Private Paradise … Almost

Koh Chang newsBangkok Post, 26 August 2012

This remote island of lush tropical rainforest off the country’s southeastern coast in the Gulf of Thailand, doesn’t exactly fall under the undiscovered category, nor is it touristy like Koh Samet or other better known islands; far from it. It is a preferred destination for travellers in the know, who appreciate tranquility yet aren’t willing to forsake modern amenities. Getting there involves a six-hour drive from Bangkok to Trat province, and one more hour by speedboat.

The beaches on Koh Kut are some of the most beautiful in the Gulf. Tapao Beach, the island’s only port, offers good snorkelling. Klong Chao Bay is ideal for kayaking, and tucked away in the jungle nearby is Klong Chao waterfall, which after a fun hike offers a large freshwater pool for a refreshing dip.

Famous for fine white sand and seaweed, Kluai Beach is among the most popular stretches on the island. There are other small beaches as well, some so remote that you can only access them by boat, which makes for a nice romantic excursion.

As you’ve probably surmised, Koh Kut is all about nature, lush and lightly touched by humans. Here you can experience the island lifestyle by visiting the fishing village at Ao Salad.

Take a fishing trip with the locals, buy fresh seafood from them if you wish, or even take them up on a home-stay for only 300 baht per night.

But there are other options for those who might prefer something a little less rustic. Three fairy-tale inspired resorts _ Tinker Bell, Captain Hook and Peter Pan, all located on Klong Chao Beach _ are suitable for travellers looking for a little comfort. Captain Hook and Peter Pan are popular among groups of friends on holiday, with a rustic beachfront and canalside huts.

From Peter Pan you can rent a kayak and row across the Klong Chao Canal to the foot of the waterfall, and after a short hike bathe in the pristine water, offering just the right amount of ”roughing it”. It’s not too adventurous, but enough to clear the urban echoes from your mind and just be.

The third resort, Tinker Bell, offers private two-storey beachfront bungalows surrounded by fences that allow direct access to the clear blue sea, while the villas each have their own private pool. This is a place recommended for lovers wanting to get away. A candle-lit dinner under the moonlight by the beach, followed by a long walk with soft waves crashing at your feet is something you don’t want to miss.

For those who like to soak up nature in style, there’s Soneva Kiri resort. With a package from Soneva Kiri, you can board the resort’s private plane at Suvarnabhumi airport and an hour later land on a small island 10 minutes from Koh Kut. A 10-minute boat ride later and you’ll be greeted at Soneva Kiris’ private port by your very own personal assistant courtesy of the resort.

Soneva Kiri is stretched across a vast estate. Guests are supplied with their own buggies to get around. In the morning and evening there are yoga classes, pilates sessions, tai chi groups and even muay Thai exercises. There’s Cinema Paradiso, a movie house inspired by Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1988 film, where you can watch a movie on a giant inflatable screen on a platform in the middle of a huge reservoir with only the Milky Way above you. There’s a chocolate bar that features premium chocolate sourced from cocoa trees in Thailand’s South, presented in blends of up to 95%.

On a stretch of hill is a children’s corner that looks something like a hobbit village in the Shire. The wine cellar features 4,500 bottles of the very best labels from around the world

At Soneva Kiri, there are ways to get naturally high. One is to gaze into the celestial sky at the observatory, using a telescope. Here you can get inspired by the constellations above _ be awed at the Big Dipper standing upright over Saturn _ and count the moons around Jupiter. The other way is Tree Pod Dinning, a unique cliffside experience in which you are hoisted up a huge tree in a pod for dinner with the sea far below you on one side and the rainforest on the other. Food is served by a waiter on a zip wire.

Koh Kut is pretty much a stay-in-your-resort getaway, as there is no town or city centre. But there are fine restaurants here and there.

Benz is popular on the river, set deep in the mangrove forest and lit only by lanterns and fireflies. The food is sumptuous, to put it mildly.

It is also recommended that you enjoy the surrounding islands. Only half an hour from Koh Kut, Koh Rang is a collection of six islands great for snorkelling and swimming. You can even spend a night on one of these islands as they are camper friendly.

There isn’t much happening on Koh Kut, yet there is so much to do. It depends on what you want out of a holiday. Koh Samet and Koh Phangan are for parties, while chilled Koh Kut a place to get away from all, kick back and enjoy nature.

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