What to do in Koh Mook, our new favorite Thai island

What to do on Koh Mook Thailand Island

Complete guide: The best things to do in Koh Mook, Thailand

Occasionally there are still paradises to be found, but they are becoming increasingly rare. Welcome to Koh Mook (also called Koh Muk or Koh Muuk), a lesser-known hidden gem in the Andaman Sea and a must-visit Thai island.

Imagine a small tropical island with hundreds of palm trees, where you can still ride your bike from one beach to another without cars or endless shopping streets full of trendy restaurants. We immediately lost our hearts when we visited Koh Mook during our last Thailand trip!

Unlike the beautiful but very touristy Koh Lipe or Koh Lanta, Koh Mook still has an authentic Thai island vibe and is less visited than many other Thai islands. Maybe it’s a bit less picture-perfect than some others, but it still checks all the boxes!

It is a place where you can enjoy the sunset without mass tourism, with a lonely reggae bar tucked away somewhere in the bay on a secluded beautiful sandy beach full of palm trees.

TIP: There is an ATM on the island but it is often empty. Make sure you have enough cash with you. Most accommodations and some restaurants do accept card.

If you are traveling through the south of Thailand, Koh Mook should be on your list! It is easy to combine with Koh Lipe or Koh Lanta because it lies between these two islands.

Let’s dive into the best things to do in Koh Mook, with fun tours, lovely places to eat, and hidden spots you have to go to.

Travel guide Koh Mook island Thailand

How to get to Koh Mook

From the mainland (Trang)

Koh Mook or Koh Muuk is located off the coast of Trang.

When you arrive in Trang by train or plane, you can grab a taxi to take you to the Hat Yao pier (45 min drive), where the longtail boats to Koh Mook leave. The island is another 30-45 min boat ride away from the Trang coast and the mainland.

From another island (Koh Lanta, Phuket, Koh Lipe)

You can also choose to go from Koh Lanta or Koh Lipe to Koh Mook by ferry.

Getting around on the island

Koh Mook is a small island and many places can be reached by foot. However, it is also fun to rent a bicycle or a scooter to reach the beaches on the other side.

Another option is to take a motor taxi (a scooter with an extra side piece that fits up to 4 people). They drive you anywhere around the island.

TIP: If you arrive at the pier with the ferry, consider taking one of these motor taxis, even if you are staying in the main village (Baan Koh Mook). Walking down the pier with your luggage in the burning sun, isn’t really fun and they are very affordable.

Tropical Thai Island Koh Mook Getting around

What to do in Koh Mook

Koh Mook is mainly known for the Emerald Cave, which is indeed absolutely amazing!

However, besides that and relaxing on the beaches, there is far more to do on and near the island! So let’s explore the best things to do on Koh Mook, including all of our best tips for this beautiful Thai island.

Visit the Koh Mook Emerald Cave (Tham Marakot Cave)

The Emerald Cave is probably the most visited point in Koh Mook, and with good reason.

From the outside, you can only see a cave. But when you go inside, it turns out to be a dark tunnel. At the end of that tunnel, there is a hidden open spot with towering cliffs, a lush jungle, and a tropical beach. A true hidden paradise!

To arrive at the secret beach, you have to swim 100m in the dark. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight, because it is pitch dark! The cave used to be an old hiding spot for pirates. Now, you’ll probably only see a few monkeys (if you are lucky like we were).

You can only reach the Emerald Cave by boat or by kayak. It is free, however, to enter the cave.

  • If you want to go by yourself, you can rent a kayak at Charlie Beach (ask for a life vest and flashlight). It takes about 30 minutes to paddle to the Emerald Cave. Be aware though, that you are peddling on the sea, so don’t forget to check the tides before you go (also for entering the cave). You cannot enter the tunnel with the kayak, except when it’s completely low tide, but don’t forget you need to be able to go back as well. Better is to tie it up just outside the cave.
  • You can also book a tour to go by boat to the Emerald Cave, leaving from Koh Mook. Your guide will go with you in the water and normally has a flashlight. Usually, these tours are combined with other Koh Mook highlights such as snorkeling and a visit to Koh Kradan. We booked a tour with our guesthouse, PK Family House, and can highly recommend them!

TIP: We recommend that you visit the Emerald Cave in the early morning or the afternoon (depending on the tide). Unfortunately, the Emerald Cave can be really crowded with big boats coming from Koh Lanta or other islands. Our tour guide advised us to go in the afternoon and we were almost completely alone.

Koh Mook Emerald Cave Thailand Must-do
Koh Mook Emerald Cave Tour Thailand

Enjoy the sunset at Charlie Beach (Garnet Beach)

Charlie Beach is located on the west side of Koh Mook. This was definitely our favorite spot on the island and it is one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Mook. Because of the shallow waters, it is perfect for swimming. Or come here to watch the sunset.

If you go all the way to the left of the beach, there are two lovely reggae bars. Sit down under an umbrella, while you enjoy a fresh coconut. From here, you’ll have a beautiful view of Charlie Beach and the surrounding area.

You can easily reach Charlie Beach by bike (30 minutes), scooter, or motor taxi from the center of Koh Mook.

You can also spend the night on Charlie Beach. There is Longbeach Bungalow, which is not luxurious but it has everything you need. A little further from the beach, you can also find some nice hotels such as Mookies Bungalows, surrounded by a nice garden, only a 5-minute walk from Charlie Beach.

TIP: If you arrive around 4 pm you can enjoy a delicious cocktail and something to eat at one of the many local tents or the reggae bars. Then go for a swim and stay around because you will be rewarded with a breathtaking sunset.

Koh Mook Charley Beach Thailand
Koh Mook Charley Beach Sunset Kids Family
Koh Mook Beach bar Thailand Islands

Spot manatees and turtles on the pier

One of the most surprising things to do in Koh Mook is to look for manatees and turtles on the pier (the same pier where you arrive by ferry). It’s only a short walk from the local village and a fun activity if you have some spare time left.

The manatees and turtles come to the Koh Mook pier in search of seagrass. You can easily spot them from the tower or from the pier itself. The locals are enthusiastic when they see the manatee and will certainly help you spot it.

TIP: Ask your host or another local for the best time to go see the manatees and turtles. It depends on the tide: usually between low and high tide you have the best chances.

Turtle and manatee spotting on Koh Moo to do

Walk around Pearl Beach (Sivalai Beach)

If you have been looking for a picture-perfect beach, look no further. Pearl Beach (or Sivalai Beach after the Sivalai resort which is located at the tip of the beach) has palm trees, soft white sand, and crystal blue water. What more could you ask for?

Bring your towel and sit under one of the palm trees, overlooking the Andaman Sea. This is definitely one of the best beaches of Koh Mook and a place you can not miss to visit. If you are up for it, walk here around sunrise for the most beautiful skies.

Keep in mind that you have to watch out for stingrays in the sand on the north side of the tip. So if you want to swim, get in the water on the south side.

TIP: Come here at low tide, when you can walk around the entire tip and enjoy some relaxing hours on the beach.

Koh Mook Sivalai Beach Resort Family
Best beach in Koh Mook Thailand Tropical
Pearl Beach Sivalai Resort Koh Mook Drone Thailand

Snorkel around and visit Koh Kradang

Koh Kradang is a very small and rather unknown tropical island next to Koh Mook. From Koh Mook, you can take a taxi boat to visit Koh Kradang (around 30-45 minutes), but even better is to book a tour that also takes you to some of the best places for snorkeling.

Koh Kradang is undoubtedly one of the most amazing places for snorkeling in Thailand. Especially at the southeastern point, you have a beautiful reef off the coast. We had some of our best snorkeling ever here, it is breathtakingly beautiful!

On Koh Kradang, there is also a nice restaurant located at the main beach, which is as tropical as you imagine a Thai beach to be and definitely a must-see!

TIP: If you want to stay a bit longer in this hidden gem, you can also stay at one of the few resorts. We recommend the nice Reef resort. A unique stay on one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand.

Tropical island Koh Kradang Hidden gem Thailand
Koh Mook Snorkel Tour Boat Koh Kradang Family
Koh Mook Snorkeling SnorkelTour Family

Have breakfast and coffee at Miss Island Bakery Restaurant

If you are looking for a tasty breakfast, Miss Island Bakery Restaurant is the place to be. You can find smoothie bowls, croissants, omelets, and so much more. They even bake their own bread.

But if you are a coffee lover, come here for the best coffee on the island (from northern Thailand) or a tasty tea in the cozy garden between the palm trees. They also serve lunch and dinner, so you can come here any time of the day.

The service is super friendly and they pay attention to every detail (for example check the different spoons you get with your coffee or tea). A place not to be missed when staying on Koh Mook.

Koh Mook Best Breakfast Miss Island
Thailand Koh Mook Breakfast Granola

Explore Koh Mook by bike

What could be more wonderful than riding a bike on a tropical island? In our opinion, renting a bicycle is one of the most fun things to do on Koh Mook and the best way to get around.

From the main village (and the pier), you can easily get to Charlie Beach via small roads. There is not much traffic, except for some taxi scooters.

You can stop anywhere along the way drink or eat something. For example, on the highest hill on the road to Charlie Beach (don’t worry, it’s not that hard), there is the Hilltop Café.

Make sure you have enough water with you and that you have tested your brakes before leaving. We stayed at PK Family House where they have free bicycles available. If you don’t feel like cycling, you can also rent a scooter.

Explore Koh Mook by bicycle Thailand

Hike to the viewpoint

From the center of Koh Mook, you can hike to one of the most beautiful viewpoints on the island. It will take you about 30 minutes of walking through the lush jungle to get there (it is not a difficult hike but some parts are steep).

Use the app maps.me or ask the locals for directions. The hike starts at The Nurse House (you can even go a little further down the road if you want to shorten the hike a bit).

From this viewpoint, you can continue to Lu Dong Beach or Sabai Beach (steep descent). Both beaches are also great for snorkeling.

TIP: Make sure you have enough water with you because hiking through the jungle in tropical temperatures can dehydrate you easily. And there are no facilities at the viewpoint or the remote beaches.

Koh Mook What to do Hike Viewpoint

Our favorite restaurants in Koh Mook

Although Koh Mook is a tiny island, there are many great places to eat something, usually all very affordable! Choose one of the restaurants in the small village, go for a local experience at the stalls at Charlie Beach, or one of the lovely places along the way.

If you fancy a sea view, just outside the center, on the south side, you will find many local restaurants facing the ocean.

Here are some of our favorite restaurants and places to eat on Koh Mook:

  • Miss Island Bakery: as mentioned before, come here for the best breakfast under the palm trees and taste the best coffee on the island. They also make their own bread and delicious smoothie bowls.
  • Mookdara Restaurant: go here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a sea view.
  • Sugar’s Coffee Restaurant: if you fancy a delicious coffee.
  • The Perfect Bar & Restaurant: we loved having dinner here overlooking the ocean.
  • Mong Bar: a lovely reggae bar on Charlie Beach (Garnet Beach), with the best sunset views and a friendly owner.
  • Local food stalls Charlie Beach: although we love the reggae bar, definitely also pay a visit to the local food stalls. Taste their delicious and very affordable food or have a drink at one of their tables.
Monk Bar Reggae Charlie Beach Koh Mook
Koh Mook sunset Reggae Bar Garnet Beach
Local street food Charlie beach Koh Mook

Where to stay in Koh Mook

Although it isn’t a big island, there are a lot of nice places to stay on Koh Mook. However, in the high season, book in time as the best places will be fully booked quickly.

Here are some of our favorite places to stay on Koh Mook:

  • PK Family House: this is the very budget-friendly place we stayed in, located in the center of the village. They don’t have a sea view or a garden, but make up for that with everything else. They are close to the ferry, you get free bicycles and the rooms are clean (with a large refrigerator, air conditioning, and a small terrace). The owner (who happens to be the grandson of Madame Yoohoo on Koh Lipe) will help you with anything! Even if you are not staying here, we highly recommend booking a tour with him, we loved it! They also own the supermarket next door.
  • Mookies Bungalows: for a stay close to Charlie Beach (our favorite beach), check out these affordable bungalows, a few hundred meters from the beach, located in a lush garden. Next time, we’d love to stay here!
  • Koh Mook Bungalows: another fantastic and low-budget stay on Koh Mook, in the main village, surrounded by a great garden. The staff is extremely friendly and everything is close by.
  • Mook Lamai Resort: a bit more inland but still close to everything, this beautiful resort has everything you need, including a pool.
  • Inhale@Hill: this beautiful small resort (located a bit outside of the village but still very close) offers bungalows with sea views, a lush garden, and a very friendly staff. Come here to relax and enjoy the island vibe.
  • Sivalai Beach Resort: if you are looking for a luxurious, tropical stay, check out this resort that is located on the tip of one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, Pearl Beach. Wake up in your beach bungalow overlooking the ocean.

Best time to visit Koh Mook

From November to April, it is the dry season in this part of Thailand, which also makes it the best time to visit Koh Mook. Temperatures are nice and the sky is usually blue. However, that being said, we were here in December and had cloudy skies and even some rain as well (due to climate change).

During the rainy season, prices drop considerably. even though the weather is less than ideal, it is still nice to be on the island. Do take into account that the sea can be a bit more rough during the wet season. From April to June, it can be really hot!

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