Koh Maphrao - Coconut Island near Phuket
A Genuine Bucolic Charming Island Off Phuket's East Coast0
Koh Maphrao – Coconut Island - is a small isle (2.5km x 1.5km) located 500m off Phuket’s east coast. Facing Leam Hin, a popular seafood dining area just north of Phuket Town, Koh Maphrao is still rather undeveloped due to the fact that there’s no electricity on the island apart from private generators. The local powers that be have been discussing whether to connect the island to the power grid for years, which is at the same time a good and a bad situation.
Bad, because the 500 or so islanders would surely be happy to enjoy the basics of modern comfort without having to pay extortionist private electricity rates; good because Koh Maphrao retains a genuine bucolic charm, and is light years away from its overdeveloped big sister, Phuket…Read More
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It takes only five minutes by long-tail boat to reach Koh Maphrao’s main pier, situated on the northern part of its west coast, facing Phuket. On the way, you can see the famous floating restaurants between Laem Hin and Koh Maphrao’s jetty. The island is roughly rectangular, and a good quarter of its southwestern part is covered with mangrove forests, home to long-tailed macaques. A road goes through the island from west to east, starting at the pier and finishing at a viewpoint in the east-coast jungle.
The main village is located on the northern coast, right next to the first resort built on Koh Maphrao – The Village Coconut Island. Fishing and farming are the two main occupations on the island: rubber trees, local fruits and vegetables are grown in the central part of the island. There are only three easily reachable beaches on Koh Maphrao: the longest one is on the northern coast, in front of The Village Coconut Village; the second one is on the southern coast, at the Jindarin Beach Club & Resort, a new venue opened in 2013; and the third one is on the east coast. The latter two beaches are rather tiny and have mangroves.
The northeastern part of the island is wild and superb with mountainous rainforest and the road gradually degenerates into a dirt track which follows the east coast up to its central part, where a closed-up small bungalow resort with bungalows and a restaurant stands. Still, for all that, there are some people living in this part of the island – retired Europeans living the dream in peace, far from it all. Getting around this hilly part of the island is quite exhausting, but the view to the east is rewarding: on clear days you can see the Phi Phi Islands and even the Krabi coastline.
Summing up, Koh Maphrao is a nice place to visit if you’re looking to discover authentic local life. You can rent a bicycle at The Village Coconut Island Resort and follow the unique road through Nature and past typical wooden stilt houses. Koh Maphrao offers a glimpse of the past as, apart from the resort, the modern world has not yet reached its shores. Things may change in the coming years as a few large resort projects are ready to start – Burasari Resort for instance – and they will, as soon as electricity is available at Koh Maphrao. Until then, you can still enjoy the tranquility of this idyllic place.
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- How to get there: By long-tail boat from LAem Hin pier