Koh Phra Thong (Golden Buddha Island in Thai) is an 88 km² island located about 40km north of Khao Lak. As with most islands along Phang Nga and Ranong provinces’ coast, it features three main styles of landscape: mangrove forest to its eastern coast, white sand beaches and rocky islets to its western coast and, unique in Thailand, the central area of island has all the characteristics of an African savanna; you’d almost expect to see zebras, giraffes and lion wandering around!
Barely developed to tourism, Koh Phra Thong counts about 300 inhabitants who live from fishing and agriculture (in a similar way as Koh Phayam, cashew-nut trees grow well in this area of Thailand). Only a few accommodation choices are available in Koh Phra Thong and, apart from the high-end Golden Buddha Beach Resort, most accommodation choices on the west coast of the island are simple budget or mid-range bamboo and thatch bungalows.
Koh Phra Thong’s main point of interest is the strong connection to nature it offers to its visitors. With the possibility to spot over 100 bird species, the very shy Sambar deer, Fishing and Leopard cats, as well as sea turtles, strolling around Koh Phra Thong will certainly please nature lovers.
The two main villages and ports of arrival – Thapayoi and Thung Dap – are located on the eastern coast of the island. The best way to get to Koh Phra Thong is to hire a long-tail boat at Kuraburi pier. The journey takes about one hour through the mangrove forest and a one kilometre strait. Please note that the last boat leaves Kuraburi at 16:30, so plan ahead to get there earlier if you do not want to have to spend the night on the mainland. If you already have booked your stay at one of Koh Phra Thong resorts, they surely will arrange the transfer for you.