History of Koh Mak
The first settler on Koh Mak was probably Chao Sua Seng, who established a coconut plantation on the Island. Chao Sua Seng was a Chinese Affairs Officer during the reign of King Rama V. He later sold his coconut plantation to Luang Prompakdii, Plian Taveteekul, who also was a Chinese Affairs Officer and who originally came from Ban Koh Po in Prachankiriket province. This is now the province of Koh Kong in Kampuchea, but at the time it was a province of Thailand. In a sense the history of Koh Mak is also the History of Luang Prompakdii and his family, the descendents of the Taveteekul clan, because his children still own most of the land on Koh Mak.
Luang Prompakdii was, as far as we know, a Chinese descendent who emigrated from China to Thailand during the Great Revolution in China. He settled in Ban Koh Po and received a royal appointment of Chinese Affairs Officer for the province of Prachankiriket. Because of this the villagers called him Than Palad Jeen. He was married to Khun Mae Mulee and they had 11 children.
Luang Prompakdii’s family was highly respected and prosperous in Prachatkiriket. Luang Prompakdii’s house and trading post where situated right in the centre of the village. He had highly diverse trading interests. The family expanded their business by buying up the mangrove wood and setting up a timber factory. Since, at that time people didn’t burn charcoals in that area, Luang Prompakdii and Mae Mulee where the first traders who bought mangrove wood and successfully shipped it to Bangkok on a regular basis. It goes without saying they where highly prosperous.
Luang Prompakdii’s wife, Khun Mae Mulee was well known for her devotion to Buddhism. She was a highly respected woman at that time. It was thanks to Khun Mae Mulee that Koh Mak was purchased by the Prompakdii family. She was a well-informed woman and because of her close connections to royal officials and traders she learned that another Chinese Affairs Officer by the name of Chao Sua Seng wanted to sell his coconut plantation on Koh Mak. Khun Mae Mulee bought the coconut plantation for the sum of 300 Chang, which was the equivalent of 24000 Bath. This is how Koh Mak came into possession of the descendents of the Taveteekul clan.
Then came the time of European colonialism where the nations of Europe where competing to exploit nations throughout Asia and other continents. These where difficult times for Thailand and it’s neighbouring countries. Luang Prompakdii turned over the responsibility of the coconut plantation on Koh Mak to his sons whiles he stayed in Ban Koh Po.
One day in 2453 B.E. (1910) however his close friend Luang Panom Tao got robbed in the middle of the night and many of his valuable possessions where taken. After this robbery Luang Prompakdii became considerably more nervous and eventually decided to move his entire family to live on the coconut plantation on Koh Mak.
Koh Mak had and abundance of land which was largely uncultivated. These virgin lands where cultivated by the children of Luang Prompakdii.
Luang Prompakdii and his wife Khun Mulee were both serious practitioners of Buddhism and constantly making merit. They were both generous and very kind. They had build a temple on Koh Mak but it got deserted after 2 years. They kept working on their plantations on Koh Mak until the end of their lives. Eventually they died at an advanced ago on the island of Ban Suan Yai.
We can now see how Koh Mak became covered with coconut and rubber plantations and stayed under the ownership of the descendants of the same family. When Luang Prompakdii passed away, his children divided up the lands for their children and grandchildren. All these land where cultivated with coconut or para rubber. Up until today Koh Mak is still very rich with coconut and para rubber plantations. Most of the islanders work in agriculture but there are also a few who became fishermen.
In 2517 B.E. (1974) the first bungalows for tourists where built at Ban Ao Nid, on the east side of Koh Mak. At that time however transport and communication where very difficult and tourism had not yet flourished in the area. For this reason development where put to halt for some time. Later in 2530 B.E. (1987) Bungalows and resorts where built on some of the beach areas of Koh Mak to properly serve Thai and foreign tourists.
Up until this day Koh Mak has about 800 inhabitants, 3 fishing villages, 3 diving schools and 25 resorts. Some of the most popular resorts are Koh Mak Resort and Good Time Resort.