Travel Tips For Thailand & Koh Mak
Here are some important travel tips for Thailand and Koh Mak you should be aware of. It could save you a lot of trouble!
There are no ATM’s on Koh Mak (and Koh Kood). The bigger resorts (Koh Mak Resort, Good Time Resort, Cococape Resort and Makathanee Resort) accept credit-cards, but you should bring enough cash with you. The next ATM is in Bang Bao (Koh Chang) but this option takes 45 Minutes (one-way) and cost about 1300 Baht (return) just to get cash. Traveller Checks and US Dollars are accepted sometimes but also for a low exchange rate.
You should change Euros or Dollars at the airport in Bangkok or in a Bank in Trat / Koh Chang. Some resorts would accept foreign currencies but they prefer Thai Baht of course. It is a good idea (when you book in advance) to pay an amount in advance to the resorts account, or use an online booking machine like www.booking.com, www.agoda.com or www.fastbooking.com They are sometimes cheaper than booking directly through the resort but offer much less service. Only the resorts will support you with extra help and service on sight.
Malaria: There is still malaria in the Trat Province, but only in the remote areas near the jungle or the border of Cambodia. As much as we now, there are no reports of malaria-cases in the last 15-20 years on Koh Mak.
If you worry anyway, you can bring a stand-by medication (for example malarone) with you.
Of course the best protection is not be get bitten (wearing long leaves and long trousers and the use of insect repellent is the best protection.
Hospitals and Doctors:
On Koh Mak is a health center which can take care of not so serious injuries and which can provide medication.
There are two branches of the Bangkok Hospital nearby: one is located on Koh Chang and the other (bigger one) is in Trat. This branch is also very well prepared to treat children.
Both branches are connected to the Bangkok Hospital in Bangkok – in serious cases injured or ill people can be easily transferred to Bangkok.
Koh Mak does have a problem with sandflies. Some guests do complain about these nasty insects, which are very small with white wings (transparent) and fly at sand beaches. Their bites are itchy and might bother you for 4-5 days or more. Some people get bitten some not. There are two ways to avoid their bites: 1. try not to sunbath right on the sand (it is not good for you skin anyway) 2. You can put coconut-oil on your skin, so the sand-flies cannot reach your skin (they will “swim” on the oil).
Kids love to stay on Koh Mak
It is a place to discover and enjoy the nature and to meet other kids from all over the world. If the children are prepared well for outside living in a tropical area it will be fun-holidays for the whole family. Preparing for a tropical beach-day means the whole family should apply sunscreen (protection factor 50 – at least), wearing of swimming-suites with long leaves and sun-hats are highly recommended. Kids and parents need to drink a lot of water.
Some resorts offer special kids-menues (kids menu card of good time resort link) or the cook is flexible enough to cook some easy baby-food. Kids on Koh Mak do not need loads of toys, because nature offers enough: coconuts, shelf’s, leaves, seeds and trees are basics for exciting new plays. Moreover the sea is the biggest playground around.
Some beaches on Koh Mak have sand-flies; the bites of sandflies are very itchy – the best protection is applying of coconut-oil, because the small insects will swim in the oil and are not able to bite anymore. Easy but very efficient.
Tiger Balm or Yellow Oil is a good medication after getting sand-fly bites.
Please don’t buy a return ticket at the Laem Ngop Pier. You are more flexible on the way back, if you can choose from varies boat-companies.
Park your private car at “Thida Tours”, near the Laem Ngop Pier. You pay 50 Baht per day, but your car should be safe there.
Carry rain-coats with you (in rainy-season). You will get VERY wet in the speedboats (when it rains).
If the ways are high, the speed-boat trip might take 3 hours, not just 45 minutes. The seats at the back of the boat are more comfortable than in the front.
Be on time, the boat leaves on time (normally).
Make sure you are at the right Pier.
The last boat leaves at 16.00. Don’t miss the boat, or you have to stay one night in Trat or Koh Chang
If you like to get more info about Koh Mak and Beyond, we recommend this magazine (which you can find at many places on Koh Mak, Koh Kood and certainly on Koh Chang:
Please visit their website, if you don’t have the magazine with you…
Most visitors know by now, that Thai-food can be very hot. One of the hottest dishes is “Somtam” and Tom Yum Gung (if it is cooked original). You can always ask for “may pet” (not hot).What also irritates guests from abroad sometimes, is that the rice and soup is served after the other dishes. This is standard in Thailand. Don’t be surprised if this happens to your order.
Of course you can get very good and fresh sea-food on Koh Mak. Fish and shrimps are fresh as it comes. Thai-curries, Tom Kha Gai and all your other Thai-favorites you get here. In about 12 different local shops you can buy food and drinks for your daily needs. The Good Time Resort rent out houses with kitchen, so you could cook your-self as well -if you are one of the very few people, who like to do this. If you are allergic to fish or nuts, be careful in Thailand. Fish-sauce is used all the time and nuts are often used as well. Tell the waiter about your allergy. For restaurant tips, please see Koh Mak Restaurants.
If you like to spent a longer vacation on Koh Mak and think about renting a house (please see our “rental section”) with kitchen, there are some shops where you can buy the basics for your daily needs. There are about 7 shops on Koh Mak, where you can buy noddles, eggs, meat and so on. Fish can buy from the locals, sometimes.
Be ALWAYS polite to Thais (if you start screaming, they don’t take you serious anymore)
- Don’t buy a return ticket the Laem Ngop Pier (you are more flexible when you travel back)
- Don’t buy drugs
- Order “may pet” if you cannot eat hot
- Don’t show your “big” money in public
- Wear decent clothes and never topless in Thailand
- Always use a taximeter in Bangkok
- Never ever take a Tuk Tuk from Grand Palace or Wat Po
- Underestimate the sun in Thailand
- Use your feet to point at something
- Sunbath at the beaches without protection (sun and sand-flies)
- Travel to Koh Mak without a booking for the speedboat (they are sometimes “over” booked)
- Don’t miss the last boat to Koh Mak (at 16.00, or you have to stay one night on Koh Chang or Trat
- Bring a torch with you and a rain-cape in the rainy-season (it can get VERY wet on the speed-boat)
- Don’t touch Thai-people on their head
- Be careful about the weight of your luggage, the airlines charge you overload these days very fast and expensive. Bangkok Airways allows only 20 kg plus 8 kg for hand-bags.
- If you stop over in Bangkok first, you can store some of your luggage there and pick them up on the way home. Most of the hotels in Bangkok have store-rooms and offer this service for free
- Don’t travel “last minute” to the Laem Ngop Pier. The speed-boats are leaving on time (90%) and the captain does not like to wait. It is not convenient for the other customers as well to wait for late guests. You can avoid being late by…
- …making sure where the right pier is. Most drivers, who don’t know Koh Mak, bring you to the Koh Chang pier. Tell him, that you want to go to Koh Mak AND not to Koh Chang and that the pier is in Laem Ngop (you can print out our maps).