Are you looking for a clear blue ocean, a transparent sea that sparkles in the sun as multi-colored 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 is a small, picturesque island located in the Andaman Sea, off the coast of Thailand. It is part of the Trang Province and is a popular destination for tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the mainland. The entire island measures 4 kilometers from north to south, and an average of just 300 meters from east to west.
The turquoise blue waters of Paradise Beach on the island’s east stretch for roughly 200 meters at just waist depth. The water then drops off to one of Thailand’s best snorkel-accessible coral reefs.
Beachfront bungalows are backed by dense jungle where various bird calls wake you up for sunrise, and broods of cicadas sing away as the sun sets. Looking out to the ocean, our view is only disturbed by a scattering of beautiful old fig trees stretching out over the sand.
We spent a total of 4 nights on Koh Kradan to develop this ultimate guide to the island. We hope you find the island just as enjoyable as we did.
There are hundreds 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 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 a few breathtaking islands in the 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 undiscovered 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 every one 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.
Good to know!
On Koh Kradan there are only a few accommodations, which are quickly booked up, especially in high season. Popular is the Mali Kradan directly on the beach with its own reef!
There are neither shopping facilities nor ATMs in Koh Kradan. Remember to carry enough cash and buy beforehand on the mainland everything you need extra for your island trip.
Koh Kradan, together with the surrounding islands, such as Koh Mook and Koh Ngai, is a perfect place for those seeking tranquility and a popular stop for island hopping in Thailand.
Kardan will remain closed to tourists four months a year – June 1 to September 30 – despite being ranked as having the most beautiful beaches in the world it will need to preserve the island’s fragile ecosystem, including its coral reefs and marine life
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.
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. The tranquility and simpleness of it. And when you have views like this, what more do you need? 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 is where the boats come in (and where the photos above were taken) and then the back, is where there is a small cove beach called Sunset Beach. It has an amazing sunset view hence the name.
How to Get to Koh Kradan
Depending on where you are coming from, there are two main ways to get to Koh Kradan
Bangkok – fly to Trang Airport then take a minibus or taxi to Khuan Tung Ku Pier which serves as the departure point for both Koh Kradan and Koh Mook. From there, charter a long tail boat for about 1,700 THB direct to Koh Kradan. You can find all routes at 12Go
Phuket – take the Tigerline or Bunhaya Speedboat from Phuket’s Rassada Pier direct to Koh Kradan. The trip takes about 3 hours. Speedboats will stop at many other islands along the way, so you can easily hop on if you’re at a nearby island like Koh Lipe, Koh Bulon, or Koh Ngai.
Koh Ngai, Koh Mook, Koh Libong – if you’re staying at one of the islands nearby Koh Kradan it is most convenient to charter a longtail boat. You can usually find a boat park on the shore and just ask for a price. Try negotiating a little. We were originally quoted 2,000 THB to travel from Koh Kradan to Koh Libong but dropped this to 1,500 THB.
Tickets can be booked in Advance with 12Go you will get an email with all the instructions you need to know
Getting Around the Island
There are no cars, motorbikes, or roads on the island. The best way to get around is by foot. You can walk the entire east coast in a little over 30 minutes, or hike across the island to beaches on the west coast in about 20 minutes.
The island is otherwise fairly compact with everything within a short walking distance.
Things to do around Koh Kradan
During a vacation on Koh Kradan, you have the possibility to make great excursions in the surroundings. Not far from Koh Kradan are the beautiful neighboring islands, Koh Ngai and Koh Mook. If you plan a visit, you can charter a longtail boat directly to the main beach and take a boat trip there.
Especially recommended is a visit to the Emerald Cave on Koh Mook, a former pirate hideout and one of the top attractions in the region. This excursion to the Emerald Cave can also be easily organized from Koh Kradan
Beaches on Koh Kradan
There are 5 beaches on Koh Kradan that you can visit quite easily. You’ll probably spend most of your time in Paradise Beach or Ao Nieng Beach.
Paradise Beach – also known as Kradan Beach, is where most of the island’s resorts are located. Shallow turquoise blue water stretches from about 20 meters at waist height before dropping off to an amazing coral reef.
Ao Pai Beach – a more remote beach on the island’s northeast. You can reach Ao Pai Beach either by walking around at low tide or kayaking across from Paradise Beach.
Ao Nieng Beach – located on the island’s south coast, we rate this as the best beach on Koh Kradan. You can reach Ao Nieng Beach by walking from Paradise Beach at low tide. You can still walk here at high tide but be prepared to get about waist-deep in water as you walk around the rocky outcrop.
Sunset Beach – a great sunset view as the name suggests. Reach Sunset Beach by walking the jungle trail across the island. Start just south of the river next to Kradan Beach Resort. Walk about 5 minutes until you reach Lost Paradise Resort, then go right for another 5 minutes over the hill. Beware that ocean trash on Sunset Beach can leave it falling short of expectations.
Ewu Beach – another smaller sunset viewpoint on the northwest of the island. A walking trail starts behind Mali Resort and takes you over the island in just over 10 minutes. Note: we did not visit this beach as we were recommended that Sunset Beach was the better option.
Best Snorkeling around Koh Kradan
There are two main spots for snorkeling around Koh Kradan. Each is distinctly different and we highly recommend exploring both.
About 200m off the coast of Paradise Beach
This reef has huge collections of hard corals including vibrant staghorn corals. You’ll find many types of fish, eels, and even octopuses if you’re lucky.
Start on the northern end of the reef in front of Seven Seas Resort and let the gentle ocean current drift you south until about Koh Kradan Resort. Stay island side of the floating buoys as the reef depth drops off sharply thereafter.
About 50m off the coast of Ao Nieng Beach
This reef has many soft corals inhabited by smaller reef fish like clownfish. The reef is shallower with an average depth of around 5 meters until you reach a sharp drop-off about 100 meters off the coast.
Hotels on Koh Kradan
There are only 7 accommodation options in Koh Kradan, most with beachfront views.
The choice of accommodation and hotels on the island of Koh Kradan is not too big. But you get a unique location directly in paradise, including a fantastic view of the turquoise sea. Many people stay here for a longer time. It is recommended to book your desired hotel in advance because the good places to stay in Koh Kradan can be booked up quickly. Here are our recommendations for an unforgettable vacation…It’s worth a look!
Resort with House Reef: The Reef Resort is one of the best hotels on the island. It scores with a beautiful beach location, delicious food, and its own house reef for snorkeling.
Eco-Resort on the Beach: The KALUME Eco Boutique Resort inspires with beautiful bungalows directly on the beach. A brilliant accommodation for a vacation on Koh Kradan.
Bungalow Resort on the Sea: The Mali Kradan is a beautiful, new bungalow resort with villas directly on the dream beach and with its own reef!
Budget-friendly bungalows in the middle of the Island Paradis Bungalows
Camping: There is the possibility to camp cheaply at the national park building on the island. Here you can pitch your own tent or rent one on-site.
Other Important Info
Are there mosquitoes in Koh Kradan? Yes, lots. Large parts of the island are national parks and remain dense jungle which is the perfect breeding ground. It is best to pack mosquito spray and mosquito coils.
Is there an ATM in Koh Kradan? Nope. Bring as much cash as you think you’ll need for your stay, then double it. Food and drinks on the island aren’t exactly cheap, and you’ll still need to pay for your boat to and from the island.
Restaurant opening hours. Restaurants are not open all day but usually in three time periods. Breakfast from 8-10 am, lunch from 12-3 pm, and dinner from 6-9 pm.
Nearby Islands to Visit
There are so many amazing islands in this southern Thailand area that you would be crazy not to explore a couple more. Here are three nearby islands which are accessible by a short (less than one hour) long tail boat ride.
Koh Mook – look across the ocean to the Thai mainland and you’ll see it. Koh Mook has an authentic fisherman's village, a really nice sunset beach, and the iconic Emerald Cave.
Koh Libong – look across the ocean to the south and you’ll see it there in the distance. Koh Libong also has an authentic fisherman village, is famous for spotting wild Dugongs, and is the closest place to launch a day trip to Koh Lao Liang.
Koh Ngai – look across the ocean to the north and you’ll see the island’s steep cliffs in the distance. Koh Ngai is another super laid-back island with great snorkeling and more diving options available.
If you traveling to Koh Lipe you can find a blog post with everything you need to know here
Here are some resources to help you get your trip going:
Travel Essentials What's in my bag: To help you get started on packing, here are my essential travel and photography gear
Flights: WayAway to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.
Accommodation: Hostelworld, Booking.com, and Agoda.com are the ultimate go-to platforms to search for amazing hostels and hotels at affordable prices.
Car Rental: DiscoverCars.com is a great and reliable platform to find rental cars all over the world.
Internet: Airalo is the best way to get a sim card and has reliable internet access for your trip. All you need is an Esim-compatible smartphone, install it on your phone prior to your trip, and you are all set.
Day Trips & Tours: Viator, and GetYourGuide, are great platforms to search for activities to do
Tickets & Deals: Tiqets is always my go-to website when I want to find cheaper deals for entrance tickets to tourist attractions
Klook to find the best deals for trips in Asia, somehow they are 30% cheaper than when you buy them at a local agency
Train, buses, and ferries 12Go to find your travel route for local buses, and ferries, we use them all the time as you can easily see the reviews, and the vouchers are everywhere accepted. tickets are sold for more than 5,000 destinations in 100+ countries worldwide.