Here are some important travel tips for Thailand and Koh Mak you should be aware of.
There are no ATM’s on Koh Mak (and Koh Kood), which operate with foreign credit- or ATM cards. The bigger resorts (Koh Mak Resort, Seavana Resort, Good Time Sports Resort and Ao Kao Resort) accept credit cards, but anyway you should bring enough cash with you. The next ATM is in Bang Bao (Koh Chang) but this option takes 45 Minutes Speedboat ride (one-way) and costs about 1300 Baht (return) just to get cash. Traveller Checks and US Dollars are accepted sometimes but you will have experience a disadvantage from a low exchange rate.
You get better exchange rates when you will exchange Euros or Dollars in Bangkok. At the airport, you get about 1-2 Baht less per Euro compared to a regular bank. Normally they do not charge commission. There is a new Exchange Bank Chain in Bangkok, named “Super Rich”. They usually provide very good rates.
Malaria: There is still malaria in the Trat Province, but only in the remote areas near the jungle or the border of Cambodia. As far as we now, there are no reports of malaria-cases in the last 15-20 years on Koh Mak.
If you are worried, you can bring a stand-by medication (for example Malarone) with you.
Of course, the best protection is not 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. Bangkok Hospital opened a little branch on Koh Mak 2018.
Local Bangkok Hospitals 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 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).
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, named Kruam Luang pier. The pier to Koh Mak (and not to Koh Chang).
The last boat leaves at 16.00. Don’t miss the boat, or you have to stay one night in Trat.
This is the way how to get to Koh Mak
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 “mai pet” (not hot). What also irritates guests from abroad sometimes, is that the rice and soup are served after the other dishes. This is standard in Thailand. Don’t be surprised if this happens to your order.
Vegetarian Tips: There are a few restaurants offering vegetarian food. Just make sure they don’t add fish sauce. If you try to eat conscious and avoid sugar, please tell them “no sugar”, because Thais like to add sugar everywhere.
There are many sea-food restaurants on Koh Mak
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 20 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.
Does and Don’ts
Be ALWAYS polite to Thais (if you start screaming, they don’t take you seriously anymore)
- Don’t buy a return ticket the Laem Ngop Pier (you are more flexible when you travel back)
- Don’t buy drugs
- Order “mai 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 stopover 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 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.