Part of the National Marine Park, the four superb islands of the Koh Hong group can be reached within twenty minutes from Ao Nang by speedboat, or 45 mins by longtail. Set against the spectacular backdrop of Phang Nga Bay, with its countless rocky outcrops, the islands are rightly considered to be among the most beautiful in Krabi province.
The main island, Koh Hong is uninhabited, except for the birds, white-faced gibbons and monitor lizards that can be often spotted on the main white sand beach (at quiet times, at least). It has stunning twin bays on its east side, and two rockier beaches on its north shore. The rest of the island is comprised of high cliffs, surrounding a large lagoon at its interior – the “chamber” to which its Thai name, “Hong”, refers.
The lagoon is best accessed at low tide by kayak, as the diminishing water level makes its colour change drastically from a deep emerald green to a clear turquoise, only a few inches deep; motor boats (either longtail or speedboats) can only enter around mid-tide when the water is around chest level. The entrance to the lagoon is through a dramatic cliff passage that should be photographed on your way out.
Kayaks, if you choose this option, are provided by your tour company. Note that only Sea Kayak Krabi offers the full circumnavigation of the island; other operators travel only to the lagoon and back. It is worth paying the extra for this if you are reasonably fit – approximately one hour’s paddle is involved around the coastline – as the landscape is incredible. If you come on your own, with a chartered longtail or speed boat, you can also rent two or three seater kayaks directly on the main beach at Hong for around 300 – 400 baht per hour and go it alone.
Lao Lahding, also known as Paradise Island, is another beautiful spot around 2km to the north of Hong. There is a sheltered sandy cove where a birds’ nest collectors’ camp used to be; now, due to continual disturbance from tour boats, it has been abandoned. Further north again, both Koh Pakbia and Koh Rai have impressive sandbars revealed at low tide. Tours will include at least two pretty decent snorkeling stops: the first (or last) at Koh Daeng, a rock island on the way to (or from) Koh Hong, and the second in Lahding Bay.
Itinerary order varies throughout the month, so that the lagoon can be entered before low tide (or at low tide if going by kayak) and will include a picnic lunch on the main island of Koh Hong, where a snack bar and basic toilet facilities are available. There is a 300 baht entry fee payable for all foreign visitors to the Hong Islands (due once for the whole group, not per island). This is collected in cash at the National Park ranger stations on Koh Hong or Koh Rai.
EXAMPLE TOUR ITINERARIES
Want to visit the Hong Islands? Some typical organised tours with itineraries and prices are listed below as a guide; bookings can easily be made on site at your hotel or in any agent on the street.
Please note: speedboat travel is not recommended for infants under 1 year old, pregnant women, or anyone with back problems or prone to seasickness, due to the bumpy ride.