Of all the beautiful islands I visited during my 6 months in Southeast Asia, Koh Wai located in the Ko Chang archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand, was the biggest surprise. Of course I had heard of the beauty of the likes of Koh Rong, Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi (albeit the latter was a big fat disappointment), but not once had I heard of Koh Wai until my Vietnam riding partner, Jules, brought it up. He said it was a “fairly uninhabited paradise island”… and damn did it deliver!
We had decided to visit Koh Wai after a few days on Koh Chang (one of my favourite hang out islands that you can access by boat from Trat), and had worked out from asking around that we needed to catch a 20 min boat first thing in the morning from the Bang Bao pier (not the one you come in on from the mainland but the one further on from Lonely Beach). You can make this a return day trip or you can buy a one-way, which is exactly what we did.
Now if you are looking for a party or even luxury accommodation you will be disapointed, so you may want to take a day visit rather than stay the night, (although there was a less ‘basic’ place around the coast a tad) but in my opinion you will miss the best bit…the plankton!
All of the lights (and I mean all of them!) turn off at 11pm which makes this the perfect place to experience the luminous plankton (remember that amazing scene in the film ‘The Beach’ – yeah its just as good). It was even more magical than I expected and showed up so much more in total darkness without the shine from a nearby town to drown it out.
1 night on Koh Wai is more than enough time to lap up the beauty of the place. Apart from the one place you can get food & drink from, which is the same place you book your $3 a night rustic beach hut from – think mattress & mozzie net and thats it!, there are no other signs of human life after the daytrippers leave the island, so bring money and a sense of adventure!
The days are great for all the usual things like snorkelling, fishing, exploring & sunbathing and as long as there is at least 1 other person around for a few drinks (although this isn’t guarenteed!) then there are drinks and some night swimming to be had. Alternatively I guess you could do this on your own but I wouldn’t recommend it! After that though i’m afraid it’s off to bed – oh and a tip: bring your torch out in the evening or you’ll have trouble trying to get back to your hut in the dark!
From Koh Wai you can access Koh Mak or Koh Kood, the latter was the only other one I visited and wasn’t that enamoured to be honest.
I would highly recommend a visit to Koh Wai as it was just stunning…crystal blue waters, gorgeously soft sand and hardly anyone around…paradise found!
Have you been to Koh Wai or have found a hidden gem somewhere…let me know!