Aerial picture of Koh Kradan, taken from the South East. (image credit)


Koh Kradan (เกาะกระดาน) is a small island about 10km off the South West coast of Thailand, near the town Trang.

Kradan is one of the best spots in Thailand for off-the-beach snorkelling. Towards the Southeastern corner, there is a drop-off that runs for about 1km. Here you can find some cool moonscape coral formations and multitudes of friendly fish.

Up top, there are stunning beaches and rugged forest scenery. There are a handful of mid-range, small-scale tourist resorts on the East coast.

Accommodation is more expensive than on other islands nearby. Tents are available for low-budget types.

Best-ish seascape:

Typical seascape:

All images on this site are clickable for bigger versions.

– – – – – –


All images on this site are clickable for bigger versions.

Koh Kradan is probably my favourite island for off-the-beach snorkelling in Thailand. It’s all about the seascapes and big schools of reef fish.

The best stuff is in the South East corner, about 50m offshore, around a drop-off that runs in a long strip from the southernmost cape (A) up to the National Park headquarters and accommodation (C). The stuff along the main beach (D to F) is OK, too.

For this better, Southern, stretch (A-C) the best place to enter the water is by the restaurant of Ao Niang resort. Ao Niang resort is the only accommodation on this beach – the other resorts on the island are 15-ish minutes walk further North. If you are staying at one of the other resorts and want to walk down to Ao Niang – there are a couple of small rocky headlands to negotiate (just South of Area C) . At low tide, you can walk around these; otherwise you will have to do a short wade/swim around them. Alternatively, there is a narrow walking track that goes from the Southwest corner of Paradise Lost Resort to the back of Ao Niang Resort – but it’s a pretty long diversion and is closed-off during the wet season.

An advantage of getting in the water by Ao Niang’s restaurant is that there is a channel through the coral there. It is easy to walk or swim along this. At low water, access can be difficult at other locations.



Outside Ao Niang resort, the coral starts at about ankle depth and slowly gets deeper until it is about a metre deep when you are 30 metres offshore. At that point (B) there is a drop-off that goes down to a sandy bottom at about 8 metres depth.

When you reach the drop-off, you can find decent snorkelling at 2-3m depth by turning right or left. If you turn right (South, towards A) there is good snorkelling for about 200 metres, or if you turn left, it is good for about 800 metres. The most popular spot is the first 100 metres after you turn left (North, towards C). Here are some pictures from that area:

304_AreaB-corals_p1114814.jpg 305_RedandBlackAnemonefish-Bulb-Anemones_p1125069.jpg Thai_Kradan_101-P1145741_ Thai_Kradan_102-P5012274_ Thai_Kradan_103-P5022614_ Thai_Kradan_105-P5022608_ Thai_Kradan_106-P5012358_ Thai_Kradan_107-P5022616_ 306_Clam_img_3616.jpg

In area A, there are five or six Gorgonian (fan) corals.



There are a few strands of these beautiful whip corals in the depths:
Thai_Kradan_218_Whip-Coral_P3064369__.jpg 313v2_Whip-Coral_20150302_IMG_4038_Ps.jpg 312_Whip-coral_img_3706.jpg

This end tends to be better for big schools of fish like these Longfin Pike,  Two-Spot Snapper and Yellowtail Scad::
Thai_Kradan_219_Longfin-Pike_P3054156_.jpg 315_TwoSpot-Snapper_p1114822.jpg 411_Yellowtail-Scad_20160418_IMG_0031_.jpg

There are also some big patches of uncommon Bracket Coral:

Note that about half the coral in Kradan is dead. I’m not sure what caused it, probably the sea-temperature warming “El-Nino” in 1997, but most of the Staghorn species coral in the Andaman certainly looks like it suffered some major trauma around the turn of the century. There are piles of dead Staghorn Coral at the bottom of the drop-off on Kradan. Note the background to this photo of a Moon Wrasse:

Most of the other species of coral are OK.


Edit: I’m happy to say that during my last few visits, I’ve noticed that more and more of the Staghorn coral at the bottom of the dropoff is growing back. It’s quite deep (about 7m), but it’s there. (The shallower Staghorn Coral is still dead). Here’s the new stuff:


Most of the coral at Kradan is Porites species (brown) “Hump/Lump” coral.

Although this is one of the less spectacular species of coral, there are some interesting formations and lots of nooks and crannies to explore.

Who knows who you will find underneath:


As well as the Porites coral, there is also the occasional spot of vase, finger, brain and fire corals:



Ko Kradan seems to have more fish than the neighbouring Trang islands. Maybe it is due to the distance from the mainland or maybe the lack of a fishing community here. There are large of shoals of small, colourful reef fish swimming around the south-eastern reef, and they seem to be indifferent to humans being nearby. Apart from the Sergeant Major Damselfish, that is. They are certainly not indifferent. They get fed by the day trippers who visit this sweet spot of reef. The Sergeant Majors know that snorkellers means food. If you don’t give them any, they will peck away at your back and arms instead.
410_Sergeant-Major-Damsel_P3054257_.jpg Thai_Kradan_2xx_P3054227_.jpg
It is not dangerous, but will freak you out the first time it happens. Wear a T-shirt and swish your hand around to get them out of your face, or they’ll bite your lips.

Btw, feeding fish is not good for the ecology. Please try to resist.


On the reef, there are all the fish from the Common Reef-fish in Thailand page, plus several more:
325_Java-Rabbitfish_p3054215.jpg 326_Orangelined-Triggerfish_img_4061.jpg 327_Titan-Triggerfish-and-friends_p1145580.jpg 328_Longfin-Bannerfish_img_3575_.jpg 329_Long-Beaked-coralfish_img_3911_.jpg 330_Andaman-Butterflyfish_img_3765_.jpg 331_Latticed-Butterflyfish_p1125218.jpg 333_Bicolour-blenny_Ecsenius-bicolor_p1135410.jpg 334_Razorfish_p1125310.jpg 413_Smiths-Fangblenny_20160419_IMG_0054_.jpg
(mouseover for species names and/or checkout the main Specieslist)


There are a few Scorpionfish around:

You don’t want to step on these – they have poisonous spines on their backs. Fortunately, I have only ever seen them several metres down, at the bottom of a drop-off. They know that they are rock-hard, so they don’t swim away from humans – which is good news for photographers:


There aren’t so many big reef-fish around. But you might spot the occasional Red Snapper:

Or a Many Spotted Sweetlips, slinking off under a rock:

(or his audacious little cousin, blatantly doing his pookie-dance right out in the open):


There are lots of juvenile Groupers around:

But the grown-ups are either very good at hiding or went missing-in-action during illicit night-time fishing incidents.


If you have enough tide to cover the shallows closer to Ao Niang beach, you can find some juvenile reef fish getting ready for the big, bad world; plus some sand/ rubble dwellers like these Blennies and Gobies:
Thai_Kradan_212_Starry-eyed-Goby_P3064481 XXXXXXXXXX.JPG Thai_Kradan_210_Goby_P3064404.JPG 345_Freckled-Goby_img_3750_.jpg

You will usually see this little White Damselfish nose-on, as it charges at you to try and scare you out of its territory:


People with eagle-eyes and lots of patience can try combing the shallows for Flatworms and Nudibranchs:
346_Flatorm_img_3819.jpg 348_Black-Phyllidiella-nudibranch_img_3767.jpg 349_Black-Rayed-Fryeria-nudibranch_img_3906.jpg 350_Black-Rayed-Fryeria-nudibranch_img_3766.jpg


The beautiful orange-patterned Analogium Striatium (aka Gymnodoris striata):
..speeds around hunting-down poor unfortunate Plakobranchus ocellatus, who does his best to hide by putting on a sandy camouflage:


Critter aficionados might be surprised to find a Mantis Shrimp’s deely-bopper eyes poking out of his lair:

These teeny tiny shrimp were hanging around outside a Mantis Shrimp’s nest.
I’m not sure if they are family or dinner, I suspect the latter.


Away from the shallows, other non-piscine life includes Moray Eels, Starfish, Urchins and Shrimp:

360_Honeycomb-Moray-Eel_p1125330.jpg 362_Crown-of-Thorns-Starfish_img_3781.jpg 363_Sea-Urchin_img_4051.jpg 365_Striped-Hingebeak-Shrimp_Rhynchocinetes-durbanensis_img_4030_.jpg

Occasionally, when sea and wind conditions conspire against you, you might get some jellyfish blow-in. It is fairly rare and, mostly, they are the standard ‘sea-wasps’, which will just make you itch for an hour. But these two gave me hummers that burned for three days afterwards:
366_Jellyfish_img_4078_.jpg 367_Jellyfish_img_3885_.jpg


This ‘one’ looks jellyfish-like, but it is is actually a colony of Salps, members of the tunicate family:
Although they make up huge, long chains, they are harmless.

Wearing a long-sleeved shirt is good defense against jellyfish and sunburn. See my Safety page for more info on jellyfish.

As you move North, away from Ao Niang, the reef starts to get a bit more variable – most of it is quite good, but there are some duff spots, too.

As you round the headland, you will see the frames of unfinished concrete huts from the National Park accommodation on the left. There are some cool bulk-corals outside the National Park HQ:

..then the seabed turns into sandy bottom as you leave the Park headquarters area . On the border between reef and sand, you might find some rubble-scavengers like the Blackpatch Triggerfish or Freckled Goatfish:
374_Black-Spot-Triggerfish_p1125261.jpg 376_Freckled-Goatfish_p5022555.jpg


In the dry season, you will also see lots of daytrippers over on speedboats from the beachless resorts on the mainland. Most dayboats and ferries land on this beach (or on the strip a few hundred metres to the North), as there is no reef here to damage their hulls. Yes, I said there is no reef there. Starting at around the Amari Resort and continuing up to Kradan Beach resort, there is just plain sand and the occasional Sea-Star. If you are on a day-trip snorkelling boat from Lanta or Pak Meng and they stop at here for a picnic lunch on the beach, I suggest ditching the lunch break and walking ten minutes South (left as you approach from the sea) down to Ao Niang for a snork. Make sure they don’t drive off without you, though!


Up at land level – point C is the start of the long, single beach that runs past all the resorts on Kradan.

The resorts on this main beach go (from South to North) :

• National Park
• Amari Resort (only used for lunchtime daytrippers, there’s no overnighting)
• a long, white wooden split-rail fence. This has a gate with a track that leads to Paradise Lost Resort (10 minutes walk) and Sunset beach on the west coast (15 minutes)
• Kradan Beach resort
• Seven Seas resort
• Reef Resort
• Kalume Resort
• Coral Garden restaurant and resort
• Kradan Island resort
• Kradan Paradise resort

Throughout the ~1km run of these resorts, there is beautiful, white powder-sand beach and gorgeous azure blue waters. Most of the idyllic photographs you’ll see on google images are taken on this stretch (after the daytrippers have left).

But the snorkelling along this main beach is patchy.

The reef starts-up again near the blue grocery store that is part of Kradan Beach resort. The drop off is far, far out from the beach. The reef top is variable here. At some points it is 60% good, live coral, but on average, about 70% is dead. The best spot here is the just before the drop-off at the North-end of Kradan Beach Resort. Here are some pics from there:

Thai_Kradan_110-P1135401_ Thai_Kradan_111-P1135419_ Thai_Kradan_112-P1135447_ Thai_Kradan_113-P1135534_ Thai_Kradan_114-P1135536_

The spot outside Kalume is quite good, too. There is also a small patch of flat sand there.
Sting rays like flat, sandy bottom. There’s not so much of that around Kradan – it’s all reef or rock. I found these fellas on the small patch of sand near Kalume:
Thai_Kradan_117-P1135520_ Thai_Kradan_241_Ray_P3064461.JPG

Here are some shots from a little further North, outside Coral Garden Resort:
Thai_Kradan_115cg-P1135512_ Thai_Kradan_116-P1135516_

Access to the water here (D to E) is OK except at low tide, when you will be stepping over broken-up stones and coral fragments.


There is a narrow walking track that leads to the middle one of the three West coast beaches. The track starts just North of the telecommunications tower at Kradan Island Resort (GPS 7° 19′ 2.142″ N, 99° 15′ 10.284″ E). The track is a bit overgrown. If you’re after an easy walk and a beautiful sunset beach, then it’s better to choose the Southernmost one, via the track near to Paradise Lost Resort.

– – – – –

The main East coast beach appears to end at some mangroves just after Kradan Paradise Resort (around point E), but actually, you’re only about half way along the island. At low-ish water you can walk around the back of the mangroves and there’s about another 2km of beach, albeit a lot more rugged and unkempt than the resort-y stretch. I saw one map which labelled this one as ‘Ao Pai’. This area is National Park protectorate, so should hopefully remain untouched in the future.

There is a track here that leads to the third (Northernmost) West coast beach. (Edit: at 2015, a mudslide on the East side has effectively closed-off this track. If you want to take your life in your hands, the GPS is 7° 19′ 30.93″ N, 99° 15′ 0.576″ E).

Back on the East side, Wally’s map indicated that there was a big bulge of reef out to the Northeast corner (and satellite pictures show it as being shallow here), so I had a good trawl around this area (G to F). There is a wide expanse of sandy bottom here; followed be a fairly-good edge to the reef top; then a crummy drop-off). Often the drop-off is better than the reef-top, but not here. Here are some shots from the area:

North East Kradan Thai_Kradan_119-P1135502_ Thai_Kradan_120-P1155995_ Thai_Kradan_121-P1155999_ Thai_Kradan_122-P1156043_ Thai_Kradan_123-P5032671_ Thai_Kradan_124-P5032681_ Thai_Kradan_125-P5032687_ Thai_Kradan_126-P5032701_ Thai_Kradan_127-P5032706_ Thai_Kradan_128-P5032709_

Around the West side of the Northern point, it all starts getting rocky. There are a few algae feeders around:
382_Lined-Surgeonfish_img_3783.jpg 383_Powder-Blue-Surgeonfish_img_3614.jpg
..but, apart from the three small beaches, the whole of the west coast is craggy rocks above and below the waterline:
380_West-underwater-rocks_img_3884.jpg 385_West-cliffs_p5012329.jpg

The untouched forest sitting atop the imposing craggy rocks is a beautiful, naturalistic sight, but underwater, there’s not too much of interest to snorkellers around the West side.

Here’s a Sea Eagle, taking in the view:
Thai_Kradan_West Side

I have swum the West side several times now. There is usually a significant current, running parallel to the coast, sometimes Northerly, sometimes, Southerly. It’s nice when the current is going the same direction as you, but it is tedious and quite hard-work if you are swimming against it. Even without current, the West coast is a bloody long swim (about 6 hours).

If you have shoes on, you can almost rock-hop most of G to J in a few hours. I say almost, because there are a few spots where you just can’t get across that plummeting ravine without jumping into the sea and swimming round (and being prepared to climb up the barnacled rocks to get out of the water at the other side).

It’s probably best to go by kayak if you want to look at the West coast. There are a few resorts that will rent you one – try Kradan Beach Resort or Kalume Resort. They can adopt a ‘resort-customers-only’ policy at busy times.

Around the Northern tip, and swimming South on the West side of the island, you eventually get to the big, Northernmost of the three West coast beaches. This is guaranteed to be empty, has decent sand, but like most west-coast beaches in the Andaman sea, above the tideline it is covered in washed up-plastic debris. Handy for picking up a different pair of flip-flops or a squid fisherman’s lightbulb.

Snorkelling here is generally unremarkable, (though I have found the uncommon Square-Tailed Grouper here on a few occasions):


After a long schlep, you eventually get to the middle of the three West-coast beaches. (I saw it labelled on one map as ‘Ewu beach’). This beach is similar to the Northern one, perhaps a little better. Here’s a picture of it, taken from point I:


It is a surprisingly short distance (a couple of hundred metres) to the main (Southernmost) West coast beach, J. This is a beautiful beach, particularly at low tides (at high tide, the beach gets very small). This one seems to be generally called ‘Sunset beach’, although I have seen one map that calls the bay Chorgkom bay’ (อ่าวช่องคม?)

People often walk to this beach to take-in the sunset. It’s an easy 15 minute walk from the gap in the bamboo fence on the East side, near Amari Resort and Paradise Lost resort, (GPS 7° 18′ 38.028″ N, 99° 15′ 29.808″ E).

You might find a few yachties anchored around sunset beach, but mostly it’s quiet. There are no resorts here. You do still get some West-coast plastic garbage washed up at the back of the beach. Recently, some wags have started sculpting it into human figures.

Snorkelling-wise, you might find a few beasties near the rocks on the left (South) end:
Thai_Kradan_South of Sunset beach Thai_Kradan_132-P1115010_
..otherwise it is all boring sandy bottom, peppered with a few rocks:

391_Peacock-Flounder_img_4070.jpg Thai_Kradan_238_Sunset-Bay-Shallows_P3064448.JPG
Getting in and out of the water, there are small rocks in the shallows, but access to the water is possible through some wide gaps between them. It can be tricky when there’s surf stirring up the sand and obscuring the rocks.


Continuing on South, the South-Western stretch is another long schlep round rocky coastline, with no particularly interesting features underwater. Fauna-wise – I’ve had some interesting trips round here and some dull ones. Best sightings were a Nudibranch hiding in a Vase Coral:

and some friendly Cuttlefish:
Thai_Kradan_Cuttlefish South West


As the West coast is on the deep-sea side of the island (and away from the noise of the tourist boats on the beaches), it is sometimes possible to get a fleeting glimpse of an exciting pelagic (ocean-going) fish here. Unusual pelagic fish spotted include the Queen Talang fish:
These are pretty big (around 1.2m) and very fast moving. They like murky water and their eyesight is better than yours, so you’d be lucky to catch a glimpse.

These Pick-Handle and Great Barracuda were on the West coast
395_Pickhandle-Barracuda_p5012279_.jpg 396_Great-Barracuda_img_3894.jpg
(although you can sometimes see Barracuda on the East-side reefs, too).

You might also get the occasional fleeting glimpse of a passing Trevally, like this Golden Trevally:


It is veeery uncommon to see Giant Trevally this close to the mainland:


There is a bit of (mostly unhealthy) coral reef in deep water on the West side:
It is unglamorous, but does provide a habitat for reef fish.

Uncommon reef-fish I have seen on the West side include this Oriental Sweetlips; and a small posse of Indonesian Sweetlips:
399_Oriental-Sweetlips_img_4102.jpg 400_Indonesian-Sweetlips_img_3848_.jpg

Plus the beautiful nudibranch, Jorunna Funebris:


but the West coast spotting award goes to, after about 6 trips to Kradan, finally seeing one of these:
Thai_Kradan Turtle
Yay! And I was always suspicious of the claims that they were here 🙂



There is a small cave about 300m short of the Southern cape:

It is a bit scary going in, but can be fun when there are big schools of fish gathered in the doorway. Various sizes of juvenile Sweepers hang out there:


Up top, there are many steep cliffs in this section – it is (almost) possible to rock-hop J to A, but you’ll have to go in for a dip a couple of times.


Soon, (well not that soon, actually) you are back round the southern headland to return to point A/B near Ao Niang resort.


Other watery info:

There are often currents running parallel to the beach, but they aren’t very strong. Generally, currents run from North to South when the tide is falling and South to North when the tide is rising. But sometimes they do the exact opposite, just to confuse you. Check which direction moored boats are pulling on their buoys.

Underwater visibility is usually about 6 metres in dry season, but it suffers near Spring Tides (full moon and no moon) due to the higher volumes of water being sloshed around by the tides. Try to avoid those times.

Kradan isn’t known for its diving. Since 2013, there has been a one-man dive-shop at (expensive) resort Seven Seas. Expect to pay accordingly.

In 2015, Kradan Beach Resort started pushing “snuba” (like diving/scuba, but the air is piped down to you(r regulator’s second-stage) from an air tank on the surface, rather than one strapped to your back). It didn’t seem to be catching on.

– – – – – – –

Here are a few more random pics from Ko Kradan:



Links :

Main menu

Species List


There is comparable (but slightly inferior) snorkelling at nearby Koh Ngai; Koh Lipe

– – – –


There are no roads and no vehicles on the island.

There are no ATMs.

Dry season is ostensibly 1 November to 1 May, although the seasons everywhere have been getting more unpredictable lately, so who can say, really?

You can get there from Trang town. It is a 1 hour minibus ride from the northern minibus station in Trang to Kuantungu pier (70B) then about 40 minutes by longtail boat. There’s not much English spoken at the pier and there doesn’t seem to be a timetable or a list price for the boats, so be prepared for some confusion. It works out just as cheap (and much easier) to buy a minibus-boat combination ticket from the travel agents in Trang town (450B), where you will be guided through the various connections.

Koh Kradan is listed as a stop-off on the big Tigerline ferry that island-hops down from Phuket to Langkawi in Malaysia. Actually, I’ve never seen it stop on Kradan – I think they take you to the mainland port at Hat Yao, to make the connecting boat to Kradan.

The PetPailin ferry from Koh Lanta to Koh Mook stops at Koh Kradan.

Koh Kradan is also a stop-off on “4-island” snorkelling day-trips from Koh Lanta and Pak Meng. You can jump off half-way and stay on Kradan if that suits you. Daytrips from Koh Lanta are about 1000B, from Pak Meng/Trang, about 800B.

These transport options only exist in the dry season. In the wet season, you will have to charter your own longtail. If you have decided on your resort in advance, they will be able to arrange this for you, otherwise get the minibus to Kuantungu pier and start negotiating. Expect to pay around 1000+B each way on a private charter.

You can also charter private longtail boats from Pak Meng (30km Northwest of Trang); Hat Yau/Ko Libong (30km Southwest of Trang); and Koh Mook (also out of Kuantungu pier, but there is a regular scheduled service Kuantungu-Mook, so this cuts down the distance on a private charter boat by only having to charter the Mook-Kradan section).

Other than the staff at the resorts, nobody lives on Koh Kradan. There is no village and no locals. This means that the food is more expensive, as you can only eat in the resorts. Your cheapest fried noodle dish starts at 90B in Kradan, compared with 35B in Trang or at the villages in nearby Koh Mook or Koh Libong. Weekending locals bring their own food and drinks with them.

Sleeps: (indicative prices, 2015; ascending)
– National Park BYO tent – 30B
– “dorm” (=doorless barn) at Paradise Lost – 300B
– rental tents at National Park/ Ao Niang ~350B;
– small fan hut: Ao Niang, Kradan Island Resort, Kalume – 700-ish
– bigger fan huts: Ao Niang, Kradan Island Resort, Kalume, Paradise Lost – 1100-ish
– AC: Kradan Beach Resort, Paradise Lost – 1500-ish
– Luxury: Kradan Beach Resort, Coral Garden Resort, Reef Resort – 4000 to 5000B
– Super luxury: Seven Seas Resort – 5000 to 12000B

More topside info: 1 2 3

Alternative maps: 1


Originally Written: May 2012 . . . . . . Last updated: April 2016

44 responses to “Thailand_Kradan

  1. great article. i am going to lanta for 3 weeks in feb 13 and will be staying on kradan for 3 nights at the end of my trip. the info on this site has been invaluble thank you very much

  2. Very good information about Koh Kradan.
    We went there 2 times for one week and we see, you know the island very well. Last time we stay there in march 2012.
    But I want to make a remark:
    I understand that you are the opinion, the only nice place for snorkeling is at the south east of the island.
    But there is another nice place for snorkeling, too: a long coral reef starts at kradan beach resort and goes north for aproximately 1000 meters.
    There are many nice corals (some look dead or injured) and very many fish.
    I took many underwater-fotos of them, you can watch them, if you like, on facebooK: make a friendship-request to me (Harald Asshoff), I will accept your request and then you can watch the fotos: I think, many are similar to your fotos from the south-east.

  3. Hi Harald

    Thnks for your comment. Yes, you are right! I came back to Kradan again in January 2013 with a camera to check again (actually I am here again, now, in March 2013).

    Thanks for the offer, I now have lots of pictures from all around the island (including the West side). I will upload them and edit the article when I get back home in May 2013.

    thanks again

    • Just arrived today on kradan, after reading this. I Will go tomorrow to the best spot, but i went kayaking to north today and i already saw a lot of things underwater i never saw. Thanks a lot for all these good information. Seems you are on the Island now, i’m staying at kalume, i’ll be happy to meet you.
      About accomodation prices seems it is a bit more expensive than it was (1200 per night) but with free kayak and wifi its still ok

  4. Thank you for posting about your experience in Thailand, I love the shots that you took.

  5. Wow. Excellent underwater photography. I will confirm SSE corner for the best snorkelling, national park headquarters to ao niang. I don’t recommend swimming the west. That is demented. Admirable, but suspiciously insane.

  6. Hi, it is a great blog. Therefore, I will go to Koh Kradan for snorkelling next week. However, It is very difficult to book a budget accommodation. I did contact Kalume and Kradan Island resort and both are very booked. Also, I still cannot reach to Lost Paradise by phone or by e-mail. Do you have any suggestions/ advice where I could find a place to sleep? Do you think I can rent a tent at the Park office (but I don’t have beddings.)?

    Looking forward to your reply.
    Many thanks in advance!

    • Hi Amy
      You can rent a tent (and bedding) at the National Park office, and also at Ao Niang resort (which is quieter). If you want a proper hut, you will probably find one for under 900B at Ao Niang Resort (in the South) or Kradan Paradise Resort (in the North). Paradise Lost will likely have space in the dorm when you get there. Don’t worry – you will be able to find something.

  7. Hi Amy.
    We are going to ko Kradan and the other islands in april around 11-15 and it is songkhran. Do you know if there is a problem finding a place to stay and do we have to book ahed?
    Thank you for all information.

  8. I’ve been to Ao Niang Beach several times. Nice and quiet beach ! I can tell that Ao Niang Resort is the cheapest bungalow in Koh Kradan. Paradise Lost is in the jungle, no beach. You have to walk 15 mns to the beach. Go to the beach but stay in the jungle, no fun !

  9. Hi there!
    Thank you for the really GREAT blog!!!
    I have been to Thailand every year since 1990, as part of my family lives there – and wow, has that country changed!!!
    I still remember being on Phiphi Island with the fully intact coconut forest/plantation and no hotels except for some bamboo huts… Same with Lipe…..
    Well, those times are over.
    We can all hope that there won’t be too much development in Kradan.

    I will go to Kradan for the first time this November. I want to go snorkelling and also fishing.
    I take a friend with me, and for him it’ll be the first time in Asia. So the whole trip will be pretty fascinating for him but also enough culture shock already. Therefore, no bamboo hut for him! 🙂

    Now my questions:
    I have made a reservation at Kalume because it seems to be one of the better places on the island that can be booked online.
    I would actually be more interested in Ao Niang Resort but it’s not possible to book Ao Niang Resort nor to find further information about them online – but how is it there? Do they also have larger, not super-basic wooden bungalows?
    Do they also have kayaks for rent at Ao Niang?
    How about snorkelling gear?
    Is it possible to get directly from the Tigerline ferry to their beach or would I have to walk all the way with heavy luggage – also when I want to get from there to a boat for Trang?

    Also: does anyone know if there’s a pier or rock to fish from? (or is it not allowed at all?)
    Can one rent a longtail from somewhere in Kradan to go simple (not fancy) fishing at normal prices or has it become outrageously priced like Lanta or Phuket?

    Thank you again for the great BLOG!!!
    Thanks for reading my questions and replying! 🙂

    Chris in Germany

  10. Hi

    I like Ao Niang resort, but it is very-much ‘local style’ and I think it might be a bit basic for your friend.

    There are a few pictures of it at the bottom of the page here:

    I guess you could book the first one or two nights at Kalume or Kradan Island Resort, then take a walk down to Ao Niang and see if you like it. They usually have one or two huts free for walk-ins.

    There is one kayak that the staff use, but I think its a bit leaky and the paddle is a broom handle with a flat piece of wood nailed to it. You can rent kayaks from other resorts, as long as they aren’t already being used for their guests.

    Ao Niang have a few masks and snorkels for rent, but I would recommend bringing your own.

    Kradan features on the Tigerline itinerary, but their boat never seems to stop there. I think that they transfer you over to a longtail in Hat Yao on the mainland. If it is mid-high tide, you can ask the longtail to drop you directly at Ao Niang. At lower tides the boat can’t get in and you would have to walk down the beach or round the back of Paradise Lost.

    Fishing isnt allowed as it is National Park. There aren’t really any places you could do it from off the land. There is no pier.

    I’m sure you could rent a longtail to go further out to sea. I’m not sure of the prices. You can get a general idea from these listed at nearby Libong island


  11. Wow, that was a really quick and constructive answer! Thank you very much indeed!!! 🙂

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  13. Hi,
    thanks again for the very good blog, the nice fotos and the detailed information.
    We stayed at Koh Kradan 3 times: 2012 for one week, 2013 for a one day-trip and 2014 (january) for one week again. I’ve made many underwater-fotos there, too, they are on facebook. Now I read, you stayed there in 2015 again. I would like to ask you a question, because perhaps we want to go there again in 2016: do you think, the status of the corals has improved in 2014-2015 ? Are there still as many fish as always or less fish (I ‘ve heard, more and more tourists go there)?
    Thank you for your answer in advance.
    Many greetings from germany,
    Harald Asshoff

    • Hi Harald The Staghorn corals at the bottom of the drop-off (5m deep) at Ao Niang are continuing to grow back, which is good news. Other than that, not much has changed. There are still lots of daytrippers on the main beach from 10am-3pm, but outside that area/timeslot, things are pretty quiet. HTH 🙂

  14. Hi there,

    Please can anyone tell me how you guys arrange/pre-book your transportation to get on to the island ….. Many thanks Theresa

    • Hi Theresa

      In dry season (Late October-mid May) just book at one of the travel agents in Trang town for the minibus/longtail combo LINKY

      In wet season, you have to take a public minibus from Trang to Hat Yao or Kuantengo pier and negotiate a price for a private longtail boat from there.

  15. WoW … this is wonderful, thankyou all ! can anyone recommend other islands that have great snorkeling from shore ? thanks !

  16. Firstly thank you for great page and info given. I plan to do Kradan and Lipe beg. of May. Which mid range accomodation you would recommend on Kradan? I see you have Ko Libong on your index list but no description yet – can you share some impressions. I am mainly interested to see the dugongs there – is day trip from Kradan possible for that? Can you swim around them or only observe from boat?
    I read that Bundhaya and Tigerline stop operating boats end March/end April. So what is best option to go from Kradan to Lipe early May?
    Lonely Planet states that counter-intuitively on Lipe visibility is best beg of wet season mid April to mid June. What is your experience with that and is it same on Kradan?
    Thank you in advance for replies!

    • Hi

      The public boats from Trang to Kradan will probably have stopped running by then, so that would be a factor. Kradan Beach Resort keep running their own boats from Trang as long as they have guests, so you might want to book ahead with them – at least you know you can get there and back. Kradan is on the edge of ‘closing down’ at the middle of May (a few resorts stay open year-round, but with no public boats running, it is eerily quiet).

      Generally, I think most/all mid-range places on Kradan are fine – KBR/Kalume/KIR/Paradise Lost, etc. (I stay in my tent, so can’t say for sure!

      On Libong – underwater visibility is very poor on the reefs on the beachy West side especially at Spring tides (full moon/no moon). The coral isn’t in very good shape there, so I wouldn’t make it a priority for snorkelling. I haven’t done a dugong tour, I think you stay in the boat. If you have a private charter boat this might be negotiable. I’m sure you could hire a longtail to do a tour there from Kradan (I guess around 2000B. There aren’t any ‘package’ group trips to Libong from Kradan). It is probably cheaper to do dugongs out of Libong or Hat Yao if you have the time and want to save some money.

      To get to Lipe (May-October), you’d need to go back to Trang and then by bus/van to La Ngu/Pak Bara and boat to Lipe.

      I think LP’s point about Lipe is that all the crowds have disappeared by then, so it is better because it is quiet. If the weather is on your side, they would certainly be right. Public boats go to Lipe all year round, so timing is not so much of an issue there. With Kradan, availability of public boats is an issue if you don’t want to charter (or if your resort does lay one on). better to go to Kradan first, before everything closes up, then Lipe afterwards.

  17. In this blog, you say that “Kradan is one of the best spots in Thailand for off-the-beach snorkeling” “Underwater visibility is usually about 6 metres in dry season” and you mentioned that you’ve done “6 trips to Kradan” so you must like it. 6 meters of visibility isn’t all that good is it? What kind of visibility did you see on Lipe or Koh Tao or Phi Phi? I’ve only been to Tao. I’ve heard so many people say that Phi Phi is better than Tao that I’m tempted to visit. I only go for the snorkeling. I don’t do the parties or drinking. I love Thai food though. How come you put Thai script all over in your blogs? Do you read/speak Thai?

    • Hi Tim

      I’ve recently got a new underwater camera which tells me what depth I take each picture at. If it is accurate, then I can freedive twice as deep as I thought I could! My distance judgement underwater was based on how deep I could go, so my old visibility statements are probably half of what they should be!! Essentially, the viz on the West coast in the (West coast) dry season is about the same as the viz on the East gulf coast during (East gulf Coast) dry season, so it should be no problem.

      Note that the visibility around shallower-water islands (like Kradan) suffers around Spring tides, so go at half-moon if possible.

      Yes, I speak/read a little Thai. I put thai script in the articles for thai people doing websearches on placenames in the thai language. If you want to know about adding thai-fonts to your computer, see here.

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  19. Great information, thank you so much. We are hoping to be in Ko Kradan in early May.

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  21. Hi…great webpage 🙂 Did you spot any leopard sharkes around Ko Kradan?

  22. Great article thanks for sharing. I’m heading to Koh Kradan in Feb 2018. Looking forward to snorkling and testing my Gopro hero5.
    Do you recommend using filters whilst doing your underwater photography/ video?

    • Hi – I know several folks who get results using a red filter with go-pros, especially at diving depths. Personally, I use an underwater compact which has a decent White-balance setting and then tidy-up in photoshop afterwards.

  23. Fantastic amount of detail! Ill be heading out to Kradan in a few weeks and will certainly look out for the areas you suggest in your article. We’re also planning on spending a few days on nearby Koh Rock; I wondered whether you might have travelled out there and tried on the snorkelling there?

    • Thanks. Yes, I have been to Rok, but haven’t written it up yet. Porites corals and some Blue Coral (species, not actual colour); decent showing of reef fishes. Maybe a turtle or black-tip reef shark, if you are lucky 🙂

      Are you going on a daytrip? If so, they will take you to the best spots. If not, shout again.

  24. Ryosuke Kojima

    I enjoyed snorkeling in Kradan in this March beginning. Your saying moonscape is true. The corals are not much beautiful than the ones in Philippines places such as Lusong island in Coron, Balicasag drop off and southern Leyte & Limasawa island where I experienced. In Kradan and Koh Ngai, I noticed many white floating spots that make the visibility worse. What are those? Plankton or sands blown by wind?

  25. That‘s a marvel of a guide – thanks squanderingpa. Would you think overall this still applies or has there been some further coral damage / bleaching in the meantime?
    We‘re thinking about spending a few days snorkeling on Kradang end of October.
    If we go there we‘ll make sure to check out your spots!

  26. KarenNC

    After reading your very detailed and helpful descriptions we’ve decided to spend our 3 days of beach time in Thailand (not much I know) in February on Kraden. Would you recommend that we spend all of our time on Kraden or that we take a boat trip to Koh Rok or other nearby islands? THANKS!

    • Hi It would be worth a one-day ‘4 islands’ type trip around the islands close to Kradan (Ngai/Muk/Wairn/Cheuak). In particular, The Emerald cave on Muk is a fun and novel experience), but I wouldn’t go to Rok if you only have three days. Rok is a long way out to sea and there are no speedboats from Kradan, so it would need an expensive, slow chug-chug-chug on a Longtail charter across the open sea and would take the whole day for not much time on the island. For Rok (if you had more time) there are daily speedboats leaving from Ko Lanta, which are more practical.

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