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Koh Adang: travel guide to Koh Lipe’s secret sister

Koh Adang: travel guide to Koh Lipe’s secret sister

Koh Adang is one of our favourite Thai islands. Check out this complete travel guide including transportation, entrance fees, accomodation, things to do and more…

Whilst Koh Adang has nothing to do with Alex Garland's famous novel-turned-film, it sure feels like it when you get here. Adang is totally unspoiled and untouched by mass tourism. Facilities are scarce, so very few people venture here, making it feel secluded and peaceful.

Koh Adang is one of the largest islands of the Adang Archipelago, which forms part of the Koh Tarutao National Marine Park. It sits just opposite the more developed and touristic Koh Lipe – connected by a short 10-minute tail boat ride.

Despite the proximity to the crowds on Lipe, Adang remains a quiet slice of paradise, which is what makes it so ideal. We love to head to Koh Lipe for the beach parties, crowds, and good restaurants, then hop over to Adang to get away from it all!

Wanna feel like Leonardo DiCaprio on an adventurous, remote, mystical Thai Island… just like in “The Beach” movie?

In this blog post, we've put together all our experiences from our many trips to Adang, which we hope inspires and helps you plan an equally fantabulous holiday.

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Where is Koh Adang?

Adang is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park in southwest Thailand close to the Malaysian border. Within this national park, there are two groups of islands: Tarutao and Adang-Rawi. The Adang-Rawi group consists of Koh Lipe, Koh Adang, Ko Rawi, Koh Butang and Koh Lek.

Koh Lipe is the only island in this archipelago that has been allowed to develop for mass tourism, with many restaurants, hotels, resorts, bars, agencies and more.

Although Koh Lipe has largely managed to avoid the problems caused by mass tourism in Thai islands, during peak periods, like the Chinese New Year, it can become extremely busy and quite claustrophobic. Koh Adang on the other hand is the total opposite: remote, underdeveloped, and peaceful. It is the ideal respite from the heaving crowds on Koh Lipe, yet only 5-10 minutes away by tail boat.

Adang or Tarutao map Adang Archipelago

How to get to Koh Adang from Koh Lipe?

You can only reach Koh Adang by tail boat from Koh Lipe. Simply head to one of the main beaches on Koh Lipe and ask one of the tail boat owners there to take you. When we visited, we paid 100 baht ($3) per person each way and the journey took around 5-10 minutes.

For the return, there are always a few tail boats hanging around by the Ranger Station on Koh Adang waiting to take people back to Koh Lipe. However, you should check this before leaving Koh Lipe as it will depend on how strong the tide is.

Warning: do not try to swim back from Koh Adang to Loh Lipe. Whilst it may seem doable, the current can sometimes get so strong that it can whisk you out into the open sea!

Taking the tail boat from Koh Lipe to Koh Adang
The tail boat from Koh Lipe to Koh Adang is a quick 5-10 minute journey

Entrance fee to Koh Adang

There is a 200 baht ($6) National Park fee to pay for foreigners. The ticket you receive is valid for 5 days across all the islands in the Tarutao National Park including Tarutao island. Upon arrival at the Ranger Station, a park warden should be there to collect the fee.

Koh Adang accommodation

As a result of being a strictly regulated part of the Tarutao National Park, Koh Adang is underdeveloped, and peaceful with few facilities – but we love it for this! As such there are only two accommodation options here – camping or the Adang Island Resort:

Travel advice for LGTBQ community

Advice for LGBTQ travelers to Koh Adang

Koh Adang is super remote and in our opinion a complete haven and paradise! We know fellow LGBTQ travelers will love it here as much as we did and highly recommend coming here, especially if you're basing yourself in nearby gay friendly Koh Lipe. Thailand is in our opinion a very gay-friendly destination – one of the most LGBTQ friendly countries in all of Asia.

01

Adang Island Resort

Adang Island Resort is the only hotel or resort on the island and quite romantic

In a nutshell


  • Beachfront luxury at budget prices
  • Very romantic and private
  • Free gear and lots of activities to take part in
  • Delicious food with romantic beach-dining experiences

This is the closest you're going to get to luxury on Koh Adang. As far as we could find, Adang Island Resort is the only commercial hotel on the island.

It's a 3-star resort located right on the private beachfront in the south of the island. Even at just three stars though, you'll feel like you've found a little slice of paradise on this idyllic tropical island. During the day you'll see giant lizards stalking the grounds while each morning we were treated to the sights and sounds of beautiful birds. We were lucky enough to spot both hornbills and eagles during our stay!

Adang Resort features an outdoor pool looking out over the beach, so you can choose if you want to splash around in the ocean or swimming pool. There's an on-site restaurant, which provides delicious Thai meals and a bar/lounge. Breakfast is included in the rate. You can also organize to have an incredibly romantic dinner on the beach, with your own little pavilion surrounded by candles.

The rooms are a mix of suites, bungalows and villas, either looking out over the water or the lush gardens. Adang Island Resort also offers lots of (free!) water sports gear for guests, so you can go snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, and kayaking from the private beach. You can even book island-hopping and snorkeling day trips or excursions to the surrounding islands.

Prices at the Adang Island Resort start from $54 per night:


02

Stay in a bungalow or tent

You can camp or stay in basic bungalows on Koh Adang

In a nutshell


  • Camp or stay in a bungalow for LOW prices!
  • Bungalows have proper beds and ocean views
  • Tents can be pitched almost directly on the beach
  • Right by the island's only restaurant

The National Park operates an area with facilities close to the Ranger Station in the south. These include designated camping areas by the beach, bungalows, public bathrooms, showers, and a restaurant.

The bungalows can be rented from 600 baht ($18) a night. They are basic but adorable, with pretty green curtains and little balconies. Amenities include a fan, mosquito net, and private bathroom, along with a proper bed, of course! If you manage to stay in bungalow 1 to 6 you'll have stunning ocean views all the way across to Koh Lipe.

You can also rent a tent for 200 baht ($6) a night, which includes bedding, or pitch your own for 30 baht (less than $1) a day. The camping area is huge, located right next to the beach and extending much further back. You can set up your tent almost directly on the beach or in the heart of the pine forest next to it. You'll also be right by the only restaurant on the island, so it's just a few steps away for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

We strongly advise booking your bungalow online on the National Park's website as they get snapped up quite quickly. You can also book things on the day you arrive, but run the risk of there being no bungalows available for you. For camping, however, you can only book when you get there, not online beforehand.

Prices at the National Park start from $1 per night:


Things to do in Koh Adang

Adventure travellers will be in paradise here. Most of the island's interior is dense jungle and largely inaccessible. There are only ever a handful of people at any one time on Koh Adang, so you truly feel like you have the entire island all to yourself.

Beaches on Koh Adang

The best thing to do on Koh Adang is enjoy all the gorgeous beaches!

There are many beautiful and deserted beaches on Koh Adang. The main one is a long sandy beach which starts from the Ranger Station and continues through the camping grounds, past the restaurant and further on where it becomes more and more secluded. To reach the more remote beaches around Koh Adang, like the Black Sand Beach in the north, you would need to charter a tail boat to take you. But make sure you agree on a pickup time to bring you back as well.


Hiking to Koh Adang's viewpoint

The view alone is worth making the hike to Koh Adang's viewpoint over Koh Lipe

The highest point on Koh Adang is 2,264 feet (690m), which includes 3 viewpoints. The final one has the best views. The path is not paved but not too difficult to find. We advise asking for information and maps at the Ranger Station before setting off. The entire journey took us around 45 minutes each way. You can also hike to several waterfalls like the Pirate's Waterfall. Don't forget to bring your sunblock cream, bug spray, and plenty of drinking water with you.


Snorkeling in Koh Adang

Koh Adang is a prime location for snorkeling and seeing lots of marine life

Koh Adang is surrounded by pristine coral, which is thriving with underwater life. We loved snorkeling here and found it to be some of the best in Thailand, rivaling Thoddoo island in the Maldives. You can rent snorkeling equipment from the restaurant near the Ranger Station, or from one of the dive shops on Koh Lipe.


Diving in Koh Adang

Snorkelling with clown fish on Koh Adang

After getting our PADI scuba diving certification in Koh Tao, we were ready to take it further in other locations in Thailand. Koh Adang is perfect because there are several diving spots around the north and west side of the island. All the diving schools are in Koh Lipe, which will know the best diving spots to visit depending on the latest weather information.


Restaurants on Koh Adang

Let's nip this one in the bud. There is just one sole restaurant here run by the National Park. It's open for breakfast and lunch, then closes for the afternoon before reopening for dinner. Food is decent local Thai dishes along with sandwiches. It's not a bad spot to dine at.

Otherwise, if you're camping here for a longer period of time and craving a pizza or something different, you may want to just hop onto a tail boat and dine out at one of the many restaurants on Koh Lipe.

There's one restaurant on Koh Adang, unless you stay at the Adang Island Resort
At least the one restaurant is very picturesque!

Happy travels are safe travels

We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.


For more inspiration:

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Sebastien Chaneac

Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of nomadicboys.com. He is a tech geek, a total travel nerd and a food enthusiast. He spends most of his time planning Nomadic Boys' travels meticulously right down to the minute details and if not, he'll probably be cooking. Sebastien has travelled to over 80 countries with his partner in crime and the love of his life, Stefan. He regularly shares his expertise of what it’s like travelling as a gay couple both on Nomadic Boys and on prominent publications ranging from Pink News, Matador, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian and many more. Originally from France, Sebastien moved to London in the early 2000s where he pursued a career as a computer programmer for Thompson Reuters and Bloomberg. He subsequently left it all to explore his passion for travelling around the world with Stefan to hand, and thus Nomadic Boys was born. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.