29 Jan 2017 Koh Adang Thailand Guide 2017
When traveling to Koh Lipe Thailand, you’ll more than likely find yourself gazing off into the Andaman sea at the nearby islands. Odds are you’ll be looking over at Koh Adang. Which is one of the closest islands to Koh Lipe and one you should definitely go explore. If you are looking for the best view of Koh Lipe it’s a must to hike up to the Koh Adang viewpoint. We’ve put together this Koh Adang guide with everything you need to know and the best things to do on Koh Adang.
Koh Adang Guide
Where Is Koh Adang
Koh Adang is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park located in Southern Thailand in the Andaman Sea. It is easily reached from Koh Lipe. Koh Adang is the second largest island in the Tarutao National Marine Park, it spans 6 km long and 5 km wide.
Koh Adang is also sometimes written Ko Adang and in Thai: เกาะอาดัง.
How To Get To Koh Adang
There is only one option to get to Koh Adang and that is by boat. You can either kayak to Koh Adang or take a taxi boat. Both options are super cheap. We hired a taxi boat right on Sunrise Beach at the taxi stand for 100 baht per person ($3 USD). The price didn’t seem to matter if there was 2 people or 4 people it is a fixed price per person. If you have a local Thai SIM card get the number of the boat captain and call him when you are ready to be picked up to go back to Koh Lipe. This is what we did and our driver was at Koh Adang within 10 minutes of calling him.
Another option to Koh Adang is to kayak there from Koh Lipe. Our hotel Salisa Resort rented kayaks for the day for only 400 baht ($12 USD) or 150 baht an hour ($5). Local Thai’s will tell you it’s too far to kayak, but it’s not if you have kayaked before you will be fine. We would not suggest swimming there, the islands are much farther apart than they appear. Not to mention, how unsafe it would be with all the boat traffic going between Koh Adang and Koh Lipe.
Koh Adang Entrance Fee
Koh Adang is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park which costs 200 baht ($6 USD) for foreigners and 40 baht for Thai’s. On our last visit in December 2016, it was required to buy a National Park ticket on arrival at the ferry dock before taking a longtail boat to Koh Lipe. We were informed the National Park ticket is valid for 7 days, we stayed two weeks in Koh Lipe and never had an issue.
Make sure to keep your ticket and take it with you to Koh Adang and on program 1 & program 2 trips from Koh Lipe. There are several ranger stations that may check your ticket. On our visits to Adang we were never asked to show our tickets, but it’s best to bring them where ever you go outside of Koh Lipe.
The islands of Koh Rawi and Koh Rok Roy stamped the back of our ticket with the date when we visited them on a day trip. Koh Hin Ngam ripped off the detachable part of the ticket. So it is possible if the first stamp is more than a week old you’d have to buy another Tarutao National Marine Park ticket. If you don’t have your ticket you’ll have to buy another one costing another 200 baht.
Hike To The Koh Adang Viewpoint
For the best view of Koh Lipe head up to Koh Adang viewpoint #3. There are actually 3 viewpoints on Koh Adang with the third one having the best view of Koh Lipe. The hike is not paved and involves some ropes, uneven surfaces, and can be slippery & muddy if it has recently rained. The path isn’t well marked, several of the “path markers” had fallen down or were simply just spray painted yellow arrows on trees. Keep your eyes open for markers and remember the way you came so when heading back down you don’t take a wrong turn.
We had a hard time finding the start of the path. After the ranger station go towards the restaurant, with the restaurant on your right keep going straight a little and you should see a sign to the left. The hike starts off with “steps” leading you up into the jungle. If you think this part is tough, it will get tougher.
We never saw an official sign marking viewpoint #1 but we assume it would be somewhere around the large set of rocks. After about 30 minutes you should reach viewpoint #2 which is well marked, and the view is pretty awesome. We spent 30 minutes at viewpoint #2 taking pictures and a break before continuing. It takes about 45 minutes to make it all the way up to the third Koh Adang viewpoint.
Make sure to bring at least a liter of water per person, they sell it at the restaurant for only 30 baht for a 1.5-liter bottle. Try and hike early in the morning before the midday heat is in full effect. Don’t forget to put on sunscreen and bug spray. Bring a dry bag just in case it rains, we got caught at viewpoint 3 in a rainstorm for an hour. When we got back to Koh Lipe we were told it never rained there. You don’t need hiking shoes, Adam hiked in regular athletic shoes and Hannah in her Havaianas sandals.
Overall the hike is worth the great views at viewpoint #3. It’s and easy trip from Koh Lipe and one of the top things to do in and around Koh Lipe.
Hike To The Koh Adang Waterfall
There are several waterfalls on Koh Adang with Pirate’s waterfall being the most easily accessed and commonly visited. Once again the start of the trail was VERY hard to find. Ask the ranger to point you in the right direction and try and get as many details from him as possible. The trail head is only marked by a fallen sign and the opening to the trail is small. Look for the black pipes which you will follow just about the entire hike. When standing on the floating pier looking at the island, the trail start is to the left, about halfway between the pier and rocky end of the beach.
After walking on the beach for several minutes look for a small clearing up into the Thai jungle and possible a spray painted tree or arrow. We had to use the tree roots to help boost us up to the start of the trail. After we were on the trail for awhile we noticed there was a black pipe that ran along side of the trail. If you stay with the pipe and what “looks like a trail” you’re on the right path. Stay with the black pipe(s) until you reach the falls
There were several times on the path where it looked like a dead-end, but we kept going. We only passed 2 other tourists on our hike and they gave up half way, very few people attempt this hike, let alone make it to Pirate’s Waterfall. We made it and here is more details on how to reach the falls.
There is only a short section we deviated from the black pipes to walk on the right side along the path of the river while the pipes ran over the river. This is the section where there are some every small “waterfalls”. We kept the pipes in sight and followed along a makeshift path that followed the water for around 100-150 meters. From there we crossed the river and again met back up with the black pipes.
Once you reach a set of very large boulders in or near to the path of the river you are almost there. There are a few ropes to make your way up to the final few meters before the falls. Use the ropes with caution they were in (December 2016) only tied to the loose roots of a tree. They helped me up but could have been dangerous if they broke while I was climbing. There is only one large boulder that is at about 6-7 ft (2m) that would have been tough to get up without a rope.
This hike is much more difficult and less marked than the viewpoint hike. Other waterfalls are supposedly accessible from other parts of the island. Talk with locals on Koh Lipe and see if they can arrange a longtail boat to take you to that part of the island. We were unable to hike to other waterfalls on Koh Adang as information was hard to find.
The reward for your efforts searching for the waterfall and a decent set of falls standing maybe 20-25ft (7m) tall. It’s possible there was more further ahead but I did not venture past this set of falls. I did not see any path that continued up around the falls. Notice the pipes all the way to the falls, helpful, but not the best in photos!
Things To Do On Koh Adang
The Viewpoint hike and Waterfall hike are the most popular things to do on the island of Koh Adang, but there are tons of things to do on Koh Adang. People that love the outdoors and want a quieter Thailand vacation could easily spend several days on the island. We took a longtail boat over to the island three times from Koh Lipe. Here are some of our favorite things to do on Koh Adang.
Koh Adang Diving
There are several dive sites right off of Koh Adang, the two main dive sites on Koh Adang that several dive shops head to are: Nursery Bay and Hin Yai/Big Rocks. We dove with Adang Sea Divers who had Koh Adang diving scheduled. Nursery Bay is a shallow dive (1m-15m) and is often used as a dive site those getting their open water certificate. Often spotted is; stingrays, moray eels, hard corals, barracuda, and several other reef fish. Hin Yai/Big Rocks dive site (5m-30m) can have very strong currents and often a fast drift dive. Dive highlights include: clown triggerfish, emperor angelfish, and nurse sharks.
A tall narrow set of falls runs off a steep cliff in a valley in the middle of the island call Kinaree Waterfall. The falls can be seen when approaching viewpoint #3 on the Koh Adang viewpoint hike (pictured from this point). Some locals said it is possible to hike to this set of falls as well, but we did not make the trip.
Snorkeling on Koh Adang
If you spend the day on the island make sure to bring you own snorkel gear or rent some from the restaurant. There is plenty of sea life right off the shore. Koh Lipe day trips program 1 and program A spend some time snorkeling at Koh Adang.
Private Beach To Yourself
You’ll be shocked how many tourists don’t head over to Koh Adang. Right in front of the ranger station there is a gorgeous huge white sand beach, on our visit, there were 3 other tourists there. If you are looking for a private beach for yourself you won’t have to look too far, just have your captain drive around the island there will be plenty available.
Black Sand Beach
Have a longtail boat bring you to the north end of Koh Adang to the black sand beach. Sure white sand beaches are gorgeous but so are black sand beaches.
Related Article: Ultimate Koh Lipe, Thailand Guide
Accommodation on Koh Adang
Koh Adang is one of the few islands in the Tarutao National Marine Park where you can step foot on to explore and even spend the night. There are two types of accommodation on Koh Adang, Bungalows or camping.
Koh Adang Bungalows
The bungalows looked really nice, we were shocked as they are only 600 baht a night for two people. The chalets came with a fan and a private bathroom. You can book the chalets online here. Advance bookings can only be made on the National Park service website. At the time writing this, the price online offered a discount for December 2016 dates therefore 2 nights was only 840baht ($23 USD). If they happen to be booked there are several of Koh Lipe hotels to spend the night at.
Camping on Koh Adang
Camping is only available as a walk-up costing 200 baht ($6 USD) per night for two people, which includes a tent and bedding. If you are traveling with a tent it’s only 30 baht (less than $1 USD) to camp on Koh Adang. We have run into travelers reporting that they were not allowed to camp due to weather and were required to stay in the bungalows instead. If you are planning to camp and need gear in Thailand, the best place to pick up gear is Bangkok, more info: Camping gear in Bangkok
Facilities On Koh Adang
Koh Adang Restaurant
There is a very reasonably priced restaurant on Koh Adang. They have a large menu serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We were shocked at how affordable the prices were considering it’s the only restaurant on the island. Here are a few menu items:
- 2 fried eggs 30 baht
- hot coffee 30 baht
- fried rice/noodles 90 baht
- french fries 90 baht
- green curry with chicken 90 baht
For those looking to hike Koh Adang view point stop into the restaurant before or after to buy a large water for only 30 baht. The prices were comparable to 7-eleven on Koh Lipe. If you are spending a few nights on Adang it would probably be best to purchase a few snacks on Koh Lipe.
When you first get to Adang it’s best to stop at the ranger station and check out the maps. They didn’t have any maps of the island for us to take, so we took a picture of the one in the ranger station as a reference. The staff onsite spoke some English and were able to guide us in the right direction to start the hike up to the Koh Adang viewpoint. They did have a pamphlet on Tarutao National Park that was in English and Thai, but it was only information and no maps.
Public Bathroom & Shower
There is a public bathroom and shower next to the ranger station. The chalets have their own private bathrooms, but the campers and those on day trips can use the public bathroom.
Snorkel Gear For Rent
The restaurant rents snorkel gear by the day. There is some amazing snorkeling on Koh Adang so either come with your own snorkel gear or rent it for the day. The prices are as follows:
- Mask & Snorkel 50 baht
- Fins 70 baht
- Deposit 500 baht
Cell phone Service
We use AIS and had 4G wireless service during our entire hike up to the viewpoint and to Pirate’s Waterfall. There is no wifi available at the restaurant or in the bungalows. If you plan on spending a few nights on the island buy a data plan and hotspot to your computer. I topped up 3GB good for 24 hours for only 49 baht with AIS.
Hopefully, we convinced you to jump on a boat and go explore Koh Adang. There are so many amazing islands in Thailand.