The Andaman Sea is dotted with hundreds of small limestone islands, called karsts, of various sizes. making them really quite unique. The karsts have been formed over millions of years as softer rock around the limestone is eroded creating gigantic pillars of stone. Belonging to the National Marine Park, the four islands of the Koh Hong Archipelago are set against the spectacular backdrop of Phang Nga Bay with its rocky outcrops.
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. It has stunning twin bays on its east side, and two rockier beaches on its north shore. Koh Hong is just a day trip rather than an overnight destination. Its National Park status thankfully means there can be no development, no resorts and certainly no private beaches on the islands.
Hong is the Thai word for ‘room’, so literally translated, it means Room Island. There is a very good reason for this as right as its center is a lagoon completely surrounded by cliffs. The entrance to the lagoon is quite narrow making the whole experience quite spectacular. The longtail and speedboats pass right into the lagoon where the water is at about waist height at low tide and perfectly calm. It is surrounded by mangroves with their incredible root systems. So once you are there you have only one mission, to kayak around to the back of the island and find your way into the ‘‘room’’ – a secret lagoon. You just have to paddle past the island’s majestic cliffs and duck through a low-hanging arch before nosing your way into the lagoon via a passageway that would be easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it.
What puts Koh Hong on top of many visitors’ itineraries, is its spectacular rock formation and its breathtaking natural lagoon surrounded by majestic limestone formations. Kayaks are provided by your tour company, for the full circumnavigation of the island – approximately one hour’s paddle is involved around the coastline – as the landscape is incredible. 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.
The entrance to the lagoon is through a dramatic cliff passage that should be photographed on your way out. Here no one will be trying to sell you anything, just a lone lifeguard stationed at a desk which is a rare thing in Southeast Asia! It truly is a little piece of paradise that is genuinely relaxing. Koh Hong is under Than Bok Khorani National Park and it’s only open for day visits and strictly no overnight stays allowed.
Tips to the Travelers :
1) For a private trip you have to pay for Kayaks which is 300 bhat per hour.
2) The best time to visit Hong Island is in the early morning between 7 – 10 AM.
3) Kayaking 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.
4) Please carry your drinking water and energy bar along with sunglasses and sunscreen.
5) For a private trip you have to pay 400 bhat to the National Park Ranger’s as entrance fee.
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