Friday, March 18, 2016

Koh Kradan - back to where we left off...

Our longtail to paradise
Back! Yay! It only took just on four months to return. We were home barely a few weeks before we booked the flights and room at the wonderful Reef resort. After last time when I felt trapped in the room with my foot on a pillow, this time I was determined to see the island.

On arrival at Krabi airport, we were met by our driver who whisked us away to the Koh Mook jetty and then onwards to Koh Kradan without having to go via Koh Lanta, or Trang. Most of the journey was along a highway with typical Thai businesses and schools along the way, punctuated with rubber stands and palm plantations. Closer to the coast, we took a series of turn offs and drove through Pak Meng and Chang Lang beach towns before we arrived at the small jetty. The coast area in this district was just lovely, with views down to Chao Mai and surrounding national park. It’s definitely on my list to explore on our next trip. There are quite a few hotels and a strip of local restaurants. The rocky outcrops and limestone made for a very spectacular coastline, not that dis-similar to the area around Ao Nang, without the development and tourists – for now.

Long tail on our way out to open water
The end of the river an onto Koh Kradan

The coast at the end of the river
Ahhh… the memories of last time came back when we pulled into the jetty area. I was so glad to be walking around. Stocking up on some drinks and snacks at the little mini-mart at the harbour, we loaded our bits and pieces onto the longtail and headed off. The jetty is a little way up a river and estuary system before opening up to the sea. White sands line the shore with deserted beaches stretching out almost all the way to Koh Mook. We buzzed Koh Mook not far off its coast before crossing the small straight to Koh Kradan. In the distance, smoke rose in great plumes as burning season continued across the farm land.

Koh Kradan reception and Genta

Getting more excited by the minute as Koh Kradan came into view, we surveyed the island trying to spot the Reef resort along its coast. Of course we had no idea until we had pretty much arrived. Within minutes, we were at the bar, having a Chang with Genta, relaxing as if we had never left. That was pretty much all that we managed for that first afternoon and evening, with a short stroll paddling in the water.

The following day included snorkeling at the drop off directly in front of the Reef resort at high tide, snorkeling a bit further north off the beach at lower tide, with a walk down the length of the island to the south. The beach after the national park headquarters is mostly deserted. If you scramble past the rocky outcrops, you arrive at a sandy cove with clear aquamarine waters and more great areas to snorkel. 

Oh, the only other thing to note was that at low tide, there was so little water in front of the resort that was decided to jump in the pool. Seriously, the pool water was even warmer than the ocean, which was a balmy 27 or 28 degrees. Not at all refreshing, but nice to give ourselves the illusion of cooling off!. 

As the sun got closer to the horizon, the shadows of the trees along the shore provided a nice shady spot to paddle and loll around. Nothing much else to do but enjoy some beers, some delicious food, and chat with Genta and the other guests as night fell. Last time we were there, we were one of only a few guests, this time, every room was occupied. But, everyone else seemed to have a habit of staying in their rooms until 7pm before coming to the restaurant and bar, or wondering off to one of the other restaurants on the island. But not J and I – we were ready to sit at the bar any time of the day and shoot the breeze.

The following day, we decided to trek back to the southern beach and snorkel around there before lunch. Honestly, the snorkeling in every spot on the island was spectacular, and very similar. The corals were alive and colourful. Hundreds of fish with many specifies. Highlights included a huge school of gar fish (I call gar fish “George” – I’m not 100% sure why, but stems from our visit to Palau Sipadan and Kapalai in Borneo Malaysia many year prior), a titan trigger fish that wasn’t impressed we were in his territory, a huge moray eel in between holes, swimming along at a great rate before diving into a rocky cave, and some great red fan corals swaying in the slight current. Every spot had a something interesting to see and each was slightly different in soft and hard corals, as well as fish. Surprisingly, a huge unicorn fish came and swam around in the low tide shallows. He (or she) must have been 60cm or more. When I spotted it, I thought it was a baby shark (which we had seen cruising the shallows in Palau Paya in Malaysia). J managed to get close enough to identify it (and we managed to see it at high tide out closer to the drop off the following day).

Swimming with my sergeant major friends

Here are some more photos of our trip - story to be continued...

Looking over to Koh Mook

Looking left from The Reef

Looking right from The Reef

Day trippers snorkeling

Look at the clear water!
So clear!

Sunset at the resort

Shady afternoon at the beach

Sunset beach on the other side of the island

Sunset beach

Sunrise at the Reef Resort


Looking back to The Reef from the beach further north

Some blue feathered friends
Interesting find

The northern beach early morning
The northern beach

Mangroves to the north

Green friend on the rocks
Photos of the Reef Resort...

Our second contribution to the Reef's sign posts

Leaving :(

Back up the river to the jetty

The jetty

The Jetty dock

- K


  1. Hi there,

    lovely blog you have here. We are visiting Kradan in January and I understand there's no ATMs or whatnot so we need to take cash to cover costs while there. I also have read it's tad more expensive compared to general Thai prices, but are you able to give me a rough idea of costs and prices for meals and drinks? Just trying to work out how much cash we'll need...

    Any info much appreciated.

    1. Hi there,
      It is true - there are no ATMs on Kradan, unless something changed recently. Yes, it is more expensive than the mainland, but not by a whole lot. Some restaurants are more expensive than others too, and the meal you order will also affect price. Local curries and stir-fries are cheaper, maybe 200 THB, pizzas a bit more, a can of Chang beer 80 THB.. But these may have changed since we were there... hope this helps - K