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Koh Adang: travel guide to the hidden gem of Thailand

Koh Adang: travel guide to the hidden gem of Thailand

Unspoilt and untouched by mass tourism, Koh Adang is how most islands in Thailand used to be 25 years ago.

It is the largest island of the Adang Archipelago, which forms part of the Koh Tarutao National Marine Park. It is also the antithesis of busy Koh Lipe located just opposite: secluded, unspoilt and peaceful.

We love visiting this part of Thailand because on the one hand it offers all the touristic options you need for a comfortable holiday on Koh Lipe, whilst at the same time you find gems like Koh Adang.

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The Adang-Rawi Archipelago

Adang is part of the Tarutato 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.

Adang or Tarutao map Adang Archipelago

Although Koh Lipe has 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.

How to get to Koh Adang

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 bahts ($3/£2) 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 minutes journey

Entrance fee to Koh Adang

There is a 200 bahts ($6/£4) 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.

Upon arrival at the Ranger Station, a park warden will be there to collect the fee.

Koh Adang accommodation

As a result of being strictly regulated as part of the Tarutao National Park, Koh Adang is underdeveloped, peaceful with few facilities. The accommodation options available are as follows:

Travel advice for LGTBQ community

Advice for LGBTQ travellers to Koh Adang

Koh Adang is super remote and in our opinion a complete haven and paradise! We know fellow LGBTQ travellers 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.

Adang Island Resort: 3* luxury

This is the closest you're going to get to luxury on Koh Adang. As far as we could find, Koh Island Resort is the only commercial hotel on the island. It is a 3* hotel located right on the beachfront in the south of the island. It has an outdoor pool, restaurant and bar. The rooms have TVs with satellite channels and free WiFi. They also offer water sports facilities and snorkelling gear for guests.

Rooms at the Adang Island Resort start from $65 (£50).

Stay in a bungalow or tent: budget options

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 bahts ($18/£12) a night. They are basic but include a fan, mosquito net and private bathroom. You can also rent a tent for 200 bahts (£4/$6) a night, which includes bedding or pitch your own for 30 bahts (less than $1) a day.

We strongly advise booking your bungalow online on the National Park's website as they get snapped up quite quickly.

The designated camping ground area of Koh Adang
Not a bad place to pitch your tent eh?

Things to do in Koh Adang

Adventure travellers will be in paradise here. Most of the inland 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

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 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 a pick up time to bring you back!

Hiking on Koh Adang

The highest point on Koh Adang is 690m (2,264 feet), 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 sun block cream, bug spray and lots of water with you.

Snorkelling in Koh Adang

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

Diving in 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, who will know the best diving spots to visit depending on the latest weather information.

Snorkelling with clown fish on Koh Adang
Snorkelling and finding Nemo in Koh Adang

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.

Be sure to check out our Thailand gay travel guide  for more inspiration:

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Our travel guide to Koh Adang island in Thailand
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Sebastien Chaneac

Sebastien is the co-founder, editor and author of 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.


Wednesday 28th of November 2018

Great post :) Love hearing about these quiet hidden gems!!

Nomadic boys

Wednesday 28th of November 2018

Thanks Freddie :)