Koh Kradan: Thailand’s secret island paradise

You need to visit Thailand’s secret island paradise that very few people knew about, until now.

Are you looking for clear blue skies, transparent sea which sparkles in the sun as multi-coloured fish swim by? Where all you can hear is silence apart from the sound of waves lapping against the pure white sand?  Welcome to Koh Kradan. 

Koh Kradan Image

An island like no other

There are thousands, literally, of islands in the South of Thailand that tourists and travelers like you and me flock to every year. And for a good reason. The South of Thailand is beautiful with its beaming sun all year around, white sandy beaches, calm seas and tongue tantalizing Thai food. But it is pretty likely that you would have also heard people saying that it has passed its prime. That the beautiful quiet beaches have become commercialized, packed and not like they used to be.

Yet I believe there is still one breathtaking island in South of Thailand that very few people know about. I actually found myself guilty writing this post; a selfish part of me wanted to keep this small island my own un-discovered paradise to ensure it doesn’t get ruined like the rest of the islands. But after sharing photos of the island with travelers we met around Thailand, with each and everyone of them staring in awe whilst saying “I have to go there, I never knew it existed!”, I decided to share with my readers what I believe is Thailand’s best kept secret island paradise: Koh Kradan.

Picture perfect postcard

They say a picture paints a thousand words so I think the best way to show off this island is to show you the photos I took when I was there. And if these photos don’t convince you to pay this island a visit then I don’t know what will.

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I was taking a stroll and didn’t see anyone else

Relax, snorkel, grab a massage

If you are looking for a party island then this is most definitely not it. There are no bars apart from the restaurants at the accommodation and everyone tends to be back in their accommodation by 10pm. But that is the beauty of the place. The tranquility and simpleness of it. And when you have views like this, what more do you need?

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Amazing snorkelling

The sea is so transparent that you can see tropical fish no further out from the beach than a few steps. You don’t even need a snorkel.

There are two sides to this small island. The front where the boats come in (and where the photos above were taken) and then the back, where there is a small cove beach called Sunset Beach. It has an amazing sunset view hence the name.

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Sunset beach

I also had the best Thai massage in my life on this island. I mean check this out for a massage with a view.

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And because this island is simple and less well known, it is more catered for the adventurous backpacker traveler as opposed to the luxurious commercial comfort seeking traveler. This means it isn’t expensive. Food, massages, they are all very reasonably priced. And very very good.

Back to nature

The only thing I found a bit hard about this island was how at one with nature it was. Sure this was it’s beauty but also for me, a self confessed city girl, a bit too basic. We found a frog in our bathroom and crazy noises outside our room all night. We didn’t see or hear of anything dangerous and felt safe the whole time, but do be prepared for seeing wildlife on this island. And quite possibly in your room. Plus there are a lot of mosquitoes. So make sure you bring your repellent as well as use the mosquito nets that all the accommodation options offer. Even when you do you are still likely to get bitten, but it didn’t stop this being paradise for me.

Where is it? And how do I get there?

So I’ve convinced you to visit this hidden gem of an island. Now you are going to need to know how to get there.

Koh Kradan
source: phuket-boatcharter.com

Koh Kradan is part of a set of islands in the Andaman sea. It is next to Koh Mok and a few islands down from Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lipe. All of which are more well known so I have always been surprised that Koh Kradan has escaped attention. You can quite easily travel there from Trang (1 hour) by Tigerline ferry and they have a timetable on their website and online ticket booking. You can also travel by ferry from Phuket but that takes a bit longer (3h 30 mins). There are daily flights from Bangkok and the rest of Thailand to Trang/Phuket on Nok Air and Air Asia.

Because of the size of the island (and not wanting to damage the coral) the ferry cannot stop on the beach front and the island has no pier. So a small fishing boat will come to the ferry and take you plus your belongings to the beach. Be aware that you need to pay an extra 200thb or so for this (about £4) which isn’t included in the ferry price. There is no way you can get to the shore line without the boat (unless you swim with your suitcase on your head!) so make sure you have enough cash for this both ways, as well as spending money for the island as there is no ATM there and everything is paid in cash.

If you want to visit but don’t want to stay overnight then you could stay on a neighboring more popular island with better facilities and then make a day trip over. The front beach tends to have quite a few day trip boats around lunchtime which come from nearby islands as part of an island hopping tour. But they disappear leaving the beach silent after a couple of hours as they hop onto the next island stop of the day.

Where to stay?

There isn’t a great choice of accommodation options due to it not being so well known. When I went there were about 5 accommodation options in total. I wouldn’t even call them hotels as they are smaller scale than that. The majority of them are rather basic, but recently I hear a few higher end options have been built.

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We stayed in Paradise Lost (above) which was a set of wooden Robinson Crusoe type huts in a jungle clearing in the middle of the island. This was the only one inland and the rest of the accommodation options tend to be on the beach front. It was the first accommodation on the island and still one of its most popular. An American sailor called Wally discovered this island many years ago and built these huts. He still lives in one of the huts but as he is rather old his Thai wife helps run the accommodation.

There are huts with your own bathroom and those with sharing bathrooms which I hear where clean but a bit of a pain when you needed to go to the toilet in the middle of the night! All huts had a fan but no AC, and as its a basic island electricity comes from a rather noisy generator. The huts were very basic inside and I admit my photos do make the huts seem more impressive than they are. They were clean but did not keep the wildlife out. And if I visit Koh Kradan again I will definitely explore the higher end options. But at about 700thb a night for a hut with private bathroom, they were a good deal.

And one last thing to mention, their food. People from all the other accommodation around the island come here every evening for dinner because they do the best Thai and western food by far. And it’s cheap.

You can’t book online for Paradise Lost but you can google them and get the mobile number that you can text to make a booking. If you also google Koh Kradan accommodation you should be able to also check out the other places to stay on the island.

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So do please go and visit the island paradise of Koh Kradan but leave it how you found it so others can enjoy it too.

Have you ever been to Koh Kradan? Do you think there is another unknown island that is better? I’d like to hear so please leave a comment.

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12 Comments

  • I loved Koh Kradan just as much, but unfortunately Sunset Beach was totally trashed up... I hope they gonna fix that issue, but I wanna definitely return! Also I heard Wally has died, RIP :(
    • Justine
      Hey Sileas, thanks for following my blog! I checked your blog out too and have followed it also. I am so sad to hear about Wally dying, RIP indeed :( I guess his wife will continue to run Paradise Lost as she was already. Did you stay there too when you went? I'm also sad to hear about the rubbish, when I went the beach was spotless. Maybe it's got something to do with the time of year and the tide?! What time of year did you go? Just :)
  • Dear Justine: I don't have an idea how I find you ! I love everything about you blog I'am ready for new culture, faces, smell, flora , fauna , an one simple word, I'm ready for new me! I've been waiting for this trip for long time, travel alone has been my dream for the longest time. I'm a mature women, a lovely mother, a good wife, a successful photographer, but now I need to be part of something different an I desired to taking off. Thank you so much for your tips, I will fallow some of your steps. I will travel to Bangkok around October for one o two month, depend of my work., I am busy in NYC, but my soul tell me .....GO! Thank you so much for your blog, I know we are on the same page:) Have the best next trip ! Thank you again Best Patricia www.patriciadillon.com
    • Thank you Patricia, that's kind of you. Travel is indeed awesome, there are some life changing places out there to see. Bangkok in October will be a perfect time to travel there, not too hot or rainy. You should definitely try to visit the islands in the south and chiang mai in the north when you are in Bangkok, they are only an hour flight away. Enjoy making memories :)
  • Carina
    I absolutely love Koh Kradan - I'm here now and was trying to google the best massage. Then I found this post. Were did you get the massage? We arrived yesterday and haven't explored the island yet but it is really beautiful so far
    • Hi Carina, it is paradise isn't it I am very envious of you being there right now :) If you stand at the main beach where the boats drop off facing the sea, then walk left around the beach for about 5 minutes you will see the massage lady there on your left just set off from the beach behind a few trees. It is the best location I have ever had a massage! Truely serene. Enjoy!
  • Awsome info and right to the point. I am not sure if this is actually the best place to ask but do you guys have any ideea where to hire some professional writers? Thanks :)
  • Eliza
    Hi, loved reading this! I'm heading to Thailand for the first time (been in Asia 4 years but never Thailand!) I work most days online so I need good internet, were you able to check the internet speeds when you were there or at least have reliable internet connection? Can you recommend longer-term accommodation? Keep making memories in paradise and sharing them with us! Thanks
  • Amy
    Hi Just Thanks very much for your blog about Ko Krandan. I am going there in February this year, I wonder if you can help me with some extra information. Is it safe in the island? Did you book your returned ferry to mainland before your travel? How many ferries per day to island? I will arrive Trang by train and in case the train will delay, I wonder if other agencies also arrange ferry to the island. Is it easy to get food or drinking water in the island? I know there are a few restaurants in the island, but I suppose the food will be expensive? Do you think it's good idea to bring own drinking water to the island? Many thanks for your help.
    • Hi Amy, Lucky you going there - it's such a beautiful tranquil island. We went February which was a great month to go - around Valentines they have underwater weddings there which is quite a sight people scubadiving under water to get married, but that also makes the island a little busier. Onto your questions - yes we found it very safe, our wooden hut we stayed in didn't even have a lock on the door. There are no real roads on the island and some parts are very dark at night but people walk around with torches. A tip for a place like this is to get one of those torches which go on a hairband around your head which you can pick up online for a few pound but are very helpful to see where you are walking at night. You're more likely to get bitten by a snake or lizard at night rather than other people being a risk, but having said that of course always be sensible/careful. Yes we booked our return ferry but you dont need to - there is a place on the island where you can book the ferry from. There was only one ferry a day to the island a few years ago - it may have increased now. You can either book ferry online very easily, or pay on the ferry (obviously only risk is - especially if there is only one a day - that it is fully booked and you cannot just hop on, or I am sure in Trang there are many kiosks that will sell tickets. Obviously the safest option is to book in advance on their website. It is very easy to get food on the island - each accommodation has a food place. Where I stayed on Wally's wooden bungalows it was well known they did the tastiest and cheapest food so nearly everyone from all the other accommodation walked over there to eat everynight! Wally has sadly passed away I heard but his wife still runs it, I am sure prices have gone up a bit as they do everywhere but I am confident it will still be reasonable and the best priced place there. Thailand in general is very reasonably priced for food! Everyplace to stay and eat will do mineral water which is cheap to buy so no need to take your own. I think that answers all your questions, do please let me know how you find the island when you get back. Just :)
  • Sarah Howard
    Hi, Thanks for all the info, I have been past Kradan on the ferry many times but never stayed. However, this February (around the 20th depending on how long we stay on Koh Lipe) we plan to spend 3 or 4 nights there. We haven't booked any accommodation in advance, do you think we are likely to find anything? I really don't like making advance bookings as I never know how long I will want to stay! Many thanks Sarah
    • Hi Sarah, lucky you visiting there! I'd usually say if you're not fussy about where you stay and how long for, and have a flexible budget (as in can pay high end if that's the only thing left) then I reckon you could find something there however Feb is THE busiest month on the island due to the annual underwater weddings they run there every February around valentines so it may be harder to find accommodation then. Hope that's helpful, enjoy.

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