Koh Jum is a small island, around 25km south of Krabi Town. Ko Lanta is 25km to the south and Phi Phi 20km to the west. The northern part of the island is dominated by the jungle-covered peak of Ko Pu, some 400 metres high, while the south is mostly flat with rubber plantations and scrubland. The west coast, where all the bungalow resorts are, has around 12km of wild and windy beaches, facing the Andaman Sea.
There is nothing much to do on Ko Jum. And for the tourists who return there every year, that’s precisely its appeal. No tour agencies, only one dive school, no ‘attractions’ on the island itself: in short, no pressure to be active, or be ‘on holiday’. You can just simply be: your time is entirely your own – these days, a luxury few enjoy. Of course, this is not for everyone – those who need to be entertained should stick to the more touristy areas of Krabi, or risk dying of boredom.
Ko Jum’s tempo ranges from slow to inert, and follows an entirely natural rhythm: you wake up early with the sun, and go to sleep a few hours after sunset – which is often an impressive show of light behind the cliffs of Phi Phi on the horizon. Infrastructure is very basic: mains electricity has recently arrived on the island but only a handful of bungalow operations have invested in the lines to bring power to the beach, so many are still reliant on generators that are usually switched on at sundown and off again at midnight or sunrise.
Thus late nights are rare – most people are happily tucked up, under their mosquito net, by nine or ten o’clock. There is one bar in the village of Ko Jum, but most people drink in or nearby their resort, with their tables close by the sand and cool sea breezes.
If activity is called for, a group of people can rent a longtail boat and driver and go snorkelling on Bamboo Island or around Phi Phi Leh. Kayaks are also available to rent and you can explore the mangrove-lined backwaters of the Krabi River on the east coast of the island. Long stay guests often rent motorbikes and become regulars in the village coffee shops, and you can go on fishing trips guided by the local fishermen.
The island’s 1500 inhabitants live in three main villages: Ko Pu, to the north, Ting Rai in the middle, and Ko Jum in the south. Mainly farmers and fishermen, only a handful of the islanders have embraced the mini tourist boom – the majority of the entrepreneurs come from the mainland, or further afield.
There are no cars on Ko Jum, other than those which make deliveries to and from the pier. Most people get around by bicycle, motorbike, or on foot. The roads vary from decent dirt tracks to almost impassable, potholed paths – the latter mostly leading to the beaches. To get from bungalow to bungalow it is easiest to walk along the beach, rather than going back to the main road. For information on getting to Koh Jum, see the other links on this page.
Shops with basic provisions can be found in the villages; for other supplies, you will have to ask your bungalow owner nicely to buy them for you on their next trip to Krabi Town. Most people eat in their resort’s own restaurant, or one nearby: this is because in most, the Thai food is usually good and authentic, and also because there is limited food available in the villages.
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Last updated: August 22, 2012