If you’re looking for that quintessential tropical hideaway with soft sandy beaches and warm aquamarine waters, Ko Kradan fits the bill nicely. This is an island where you just have to relax and enjoy the serenity and stunning surroundings.
What to see and do
There isn’t really much to do on Ko Kradan but swim, snorkel, sunbathe and sleep. And the repeat visitors to this charming little island in Trang wouldn’t have it any other way. If your ideal beach getaway includes bars, spas and fantastic restaurants, Ko Kradan isn’t for you. Just 4 kilometres long and with an interior covered by jungle, Ko Kradan is part of the Chao Mai National Park. Consequently, development on the island has been restricted with no roads, local villages or ATMs on the island.
The only time Ko Kradan seems to get busy is around lunchtime when the tour boats arrive bringing the day-trippers. Even then the main activity is focused around a small area close to the Anantara Beach Club to the south of the main beach. Within a few hours the day-trippers have moved on and Ko Kradan is left in glorious isolation.
Ko Kradan’s main claim to fame is as the location for the annual ‘Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony‘ held in mid-February. Parades and ceremonies are held in Trang town in the lead up to the main event which takes place on Valentine’s Day in the waters off Ko Kradan.
Where to stay
The main beach on Ko Kradan stretches down the east flank of the island and is a joy to walk along especially at low tide when sandbanks at the north end reach out invitingly towards the outlying islands. A pathway cuts through from the east beach and Ao Niang to the west of the island and Sunset Beach. A leisurely walk takes approximately 15-20 minutes passing Paradise Lost Resort on the way. Accommodation on compact Ko Kradan is limited and can be expensive for what you get. It’s wise to book in advance especially during high season. Alternatively, you could stay on one of the other Trang islands such as Ko Mook and visit Ko Kradan as a day tour by private longtail boat.
Seven Seas Resort
Paradise Lost – RIP Wally Sanger
Wally Sanger, the man who built Paradise Lost on Ko Kradan, passed away in February 2015 at the age of 75.
Food and drink
Food options are limited and expensive compared to other islands and the mainland. Paradise Lost Resort is open to non-guests and widely regarded as one of the best places to eat on Ko Kradan. Although there is limited competition for restaurants on Ko Kradan, Paradise Lost has established an excellent reputation built up over the years through word-of-mouth recommendations.
From the Trang mainland, boats make the crossing to Ko Kradan with an average journey time of 45-60 minutes (departures from Kuantungu and Had Yao pier).
From Trang town
Unless you or somebody you are travelling with speaks Thai, it will almost certainly be cheaper and easier to pay for a combined mini-bus/boat ticket in Trang town (approximately 500 Baht). If you’re travelling independently or in the low season/rainy season you may find yourself having to negotiate a price with the boatman for a private longtail trip from the mainland to Ko Kradan.
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From Trang or Krabi airport
If you want to fly, the nearest airports are either Trang or Krabi. Some resorts on Ko Kradan (e.g. Seven Seas Resort) have the option of a pick-up service available for guests at the airport. You’re then transferred to the pier for the speedboat or longtail to the island. Nok Air also have a connecting mini-bus and boat service available.
Domestic flights in Thailand
Ko Kradan is listed as a stop-off point on the ferry and speedboat routes which makes it a relatively easy island to get to from Phuket, Phi Phi and Ko Lanta. See links below for timetables and prices. Ko Kradan can also be visited as day trip on part of a 4-island snorkelling trip from Ko Lanta or mainland Trang (Pak Meng) although these boats can get busy and your time on the island is limited. Expect to pay at least 800 Baht.
If you’re staying on one of the nearby islands such as Ko Mook, it’s easy and quite cheap to arrange your own private longtail transfer which will take you to Ko Kradan and back.
Satun-Pakbara speedboat (connecting Trang Islands)
The dry season from November-April is the best time to visit Ko Kradan in terms of weather and ease of transport connections.
Visiting Ko Kradan during rainy season is still possible, but be aware that the south-west monsoon can bring heavy rain and rough seas to the Trang islands. This can result in restrictions on boat services. Private longtail and speedboat services will still run if the seas aren’t too rough, but can be cancelled at short notice.