White sandy beaches, turquoise and crystalline sea, dense vegetation in the center of the island, a splendid coral reef and a unique view of the Andaman Sea: all this is Koh Ngai!
In this guide we go to the discovery of Koh Ngai, an island still little traveled by mass tourism and perfect for a holiday dedicated to relaxation and nature.
We will see in detail all the tips and information for organizing a holiday in Koh Ngai: where it is, how to reach it, when to go, where to stay, what to do and so much more.
At the end of the article I will give you some suggestions on the islands that you can visit after or during a stay in Koh Ngai.
The island of Koh Ngai
Koh Ngai (pronounced Koh Hai) is a small island, 4 km long and 2 km wide, located in southern Thailand in the province of Krabi a few km from the port of Pak Meng in the province of Trang.
The island is part of the marine park of Koh Lanta but together with the neighboring Koh Kradan and Koh Mook they form a small archipelago known as the “Trang Islands”.
Koh Ngai is a real jewel of Thailand, there are no roads but only a lush jungle, populated by large monitor lizards, parrots and sea eagles. The beaches are among the most beautiful in the country, bathed by crystal clear waters where you can swim among corals and tropical fish.
Why Go to Koh Ngai
Koh Ngai is a very quiet island, the ideal destination for a romantic couple's getaway or a pleasant family stay.
Keep in mind that the few restaurants close early, after 22pm you will not find anything, so if you are looking for a little more evening life you could consider the nearby Koh Mook or even better Koh Lanta.
How to get to Koh Ngai
Although the island is part of the Krabi province, the easiest and fastest way to reach Koh Ngai is to take a ferry from Pak Meng port near Trang.
The closest airports to the island are those of: Trang, Krab and Phuket. If you come from the mainland, therefore, evaluate on the basis of the cheapest flight and the fastest route. For example, from Chiang Mai there are no direct flights to Trang, so you could reach Krabi and take a ferry to Koh Ngai.
In the high season (November to April) Koh Ngai is connected to many islands in southern Thailand by ferries and speedboats of various companies with frequent departures. You can buy tickets from agencies or resorts on the island where you are staying.
We were on Koh Lanta and took a Satun Pakbara speedboat for 600 Baht (about € 17) each, including pick up at our hotel.
How to get around Koh Ngai
Koh Ngai is really small, there are no roads, so no mopeds or cars. There are only jungle trails that connect the beaches. Then you move strictly on foot through the jungle, alternatively there are long tail boats or you can rent a canoe.
When to Go to Koh Ngai
The best time for a holiday on the island of Koh Ngai is from November to April, during the dry season. From May to October, some facilities close during the rainy season and connections by sea are limited.
Where to stay on Koh Ngai
Basically there are 3 options:
- The main beach, located to the right of the small pier and where most of the resorts are located;
- Stay directly at the first resort adjacent to the pier, the Koh Ngai Resort;
- Choose Paradise Beach the only resort on the beach of the same name.
The Paradise Beach is isolated from the rest of the island so you will be forced to stay in the resort in the evening. To reach the main beach it is about 10 minutes by long tail boat.
We have chosen to sleep at Koh Ngai Resort and I must say we enjoyed it very much. There is a very nice private beach with a clear sea and a good spot to snorkel thanks to the coral reef just a few meters from the beach. It is possible to use the kayak, snorkeling equipment and sea beds for free.
The restaurant is not bad although a little more expensive than the restaurants located on the main beach.
Important: the Koh Ngai Resort is practically attached to the main beach but is separated by a rocky promontory and to get there you have to cross a path inside the jungle, quite simple but a bit steep on the last stretch. However, allow about 10 minutes to move between the 2 beaches.
We also crossed it at night, using the smartphone flashlight, but I understand that it may not be the most comfortable way for everyone, especially if you are traveling with children. There are taxi boats but on the days we went in the evening the tides rose and the long tail boats could not leave.
We chose the Koh Ngai Resort mainly for the good value for money and for the direct access to a beautiful beach.
However, if you prefer to stay close to the few restaurants on the island then you should choose one of the resorts on the main beach.
Keep in mind that there are not many options so book as soon as possible!
What to do on the island of Koh Ngai
The dolce far niente is definitely the favorite activity for those staying in Koh Ngai! But beyond that there are other things to do:
The island offers several spots to swim among corals and tropical fish, but the best beach to snorkel is Paradise Beach with a beautiful coral reef and a chance to see the black tip shark.
Kayak Koh Ngai
Rent a kayak and move between the various beaches, you can get to Paradise Beach and stop at small beaches for a little relaxation.
Excursions to nearby islands
There are several excursions that you can do starting from Koh Ngai, from nearby Koh Kradan or Koh Mook (famous for the Emerald Cave) to the splendid Koh Rok.
Explore Koh Ngai
If you manage to get up from the sunbed, which is rather difficult but worth doing, you could explore the island on foot and reach Paradise Beach in about 30 minutes of walking through the jungle.
The beaches of Kho Ngai
There are practically three beaches on Koh Ngai:
The main beach: a long stretch of white sand and an extremely transparent sea. Here are practically all the resorts on the island except 2.
Koh Ngai Beach Resort: a small beach located to the southeast, an excellent starting point for exploring the island by kayak.
Ngai Paradise Beach: through a path that starts from the main beach behind the Thanya Resort you reach Paradise Beach. A very quiet beach about 500 meters wide and where there is only one resort.
Bancomat and Koh Ngai
There are no ATMs on Koh Ngai. You can exchange money at some resorts, but the exchange rate is not cheap at all. Most resorts accept major credit cards but charge high fees.
I therefore recommend arriving in Koh Ngai with enough cash.
Various services: Advice
There are no doctors' surgeries or hospitals on the island, the closest being in Trang. There is not even a police station, but only the rangers of the natural park available in case of need.
Where to go next?
For a tour of the beautiful islands of southern Thailand, starting from Koh Ngai you will have several options: from nearby Kradan and Koh Mook, up to the wonderful Koh Lipe, in my opinion the most beautiful island in the country!
Also Koh Lanta it can be a valid option, it can be reached in about 1 hour by speed boat and it is an island not to be missed!
Conclusions: Driving to Koh Ngai
Now you will have all the information you need to visit and enjoy Koh Ngai to the fullest. Also read all our guides on the Thailand, and if you need more information or want to add something, comment on the article!
Start with the Best Guide to Explore Thailand
Tips, practical information, itineraries, ideas and maps to organize a trip to Thailand
Don't leave without Lonely Planet!