A hidden lagoon on a tropical island

Published on 10 August 2023 at 22:35

Remember from our previous blog that we opted not to visit the famous Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Lei?  That’s because we had plans to visit Hong Island, which is just as beautiful, less known, and you can swim there!

For months I have been seeing images on social media of a secluded green lagoon and a white powdery soft sand beach which to me looked like dreamland and the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of life.  The social algorithms somehow picked up on the fact that I was excited about all things Thailand.  I pictured the day I would be sitting on the “insta” swing taking my photo in this slice of paradise. Even though social media would have you believe that the person in each photo was there all by themselves, often the reality is that there are usually hundreds of other people visiting and lined up off camera for their chance to take a “lonely pic”, so the chance of you having the spot to yourself is nearly impossible.  Or is it?

After some intense research we decided that waking up at the crack of dawn and using our advantage of having Harris to drive us part way up the coast to Klong Muang Beach, which is the closest point on the Krabi mainland to Hong Island, would give us a good chance of beating the crowds and getting a better rate for the boats than from Ao Nang. 

Arriving at around 7:30am, we negotiated then hired a private longtail boat which was to take us straight across the sea to Hong Island. The first part of the trip was uneventful until, about 20-minutes into the journey, the propeller fell off. It turns out that is quite an important part of a motorboat, so we were now stranded in the middle of the sea! Luckily the captain had cell service so called a mate for help.  We floated and waited.  As these boats are essentially water taxis their anchor rope is only long enough to tether them to the beach, and not long enough to anchor when out in the open ocean, so Tony was quietly hoping that the current would not take us too far, too quickly.  After around 30 mins another boat came into view and spotted us.  We were rescued! 

After a tense moment jumping between the two moving boats with our day packs on, we were off again.  Hopefully the first boat made it back to safety later in the day and that the old captain is not still bobbing out in the sea somewhere off Malaysia, living off a diet of sundried barnacles and urine.

Koh Hong is part of Than Bok Khorani National Park and is protected by the government. There is a 300 Baht per person entry fee onto the island and drone flying is not allowed, which are both par for the course for many national parks here. The island is unspoiled and undeveloped, with only one beachside snack station and a restaurant that opens around midday.  The mountains are covered by jungle and there are two gorgeous beaches with crystal-clear waters which are partially hidden from view from the sea by limestone cliffs. 

Even with the “engineering delay” we were still one of the first boats to arrive at the island.  Our skipper made the call to circle the island to show us Koh Hong’s best worst-kept secret, which is hidden within and not visible from the outside. A gorgeous inland lagoon with precious blue-green waters, which can only be accessed through a narrow opening in cliffs on the north side of the island.

This is what I had been longing to see, and a dream come true that was even better in real life.  The passage is so narrow that only one boat can pass at a time. Since we were there early, we were one of two boats in the lagoon, and soon had it all to ourselves. 

After a few MUST have photos, we made our way back out through the gap and headed to the main jetty.

Travel Tip: Even though plenty of web resources advise to get to spots like this early, it’s a pleasant surprise for us that many travellers still find this difficult.  Later in the day this lagoon has a “train” of boats waiting to go in and follow one another around the lagoon. 

The wharf is one of those new plastic floating pontoons, that rock as you walk down them.  The further we walked, the more the main beach revealed itself from behind the large rock wall.  The white sand is the softest that we have encountered so far on the trip, and the water in front of the beach is another sheltered partial lagoon.  We picked a spot underneath a shady tree to swap into our swimming outfits, locked up our gear, and headed into the water.

Travel Tip: Tony is as wise as he is good-looking.  He packed one of our bicycle lock cables as our very own portable security system.  We have used it to lock our day packs to trees and various other immovable objects so we can relax while swimming (the bags are also padlocked), we also lock things to other things in our hotel room as required, and even use it as our steering wheel lock in rental cars - tethering the wheel to the driver's door handle or the Jesus Grip. Genius!

There is also a viewpoint at the top of one of the cliffs where you can enjoy 360-degree breathtaking views across all the islands in Phang Nga Bay and look back down on the bay itself…. if you can handle the 419 stairs, that is. 

As you can see, Tony braved the stairs and took some great photos, but I only made it halfway before turning back and convincing myself that swimming and snorkeling in the crystal-clear water was a better use of my time on such a hot morning. 

We then spent several hours relaxing, enjoying the beach and warm waters, and even made time for that "Insta Shot."

After a while, we decided it was time for us to head back to the mainland, just as the larger tour groups started arriving onshore. Our boat driver had spent his time preparing us a fresh pineapple to enjoy on route.  It was a great day that we'll always remember, and we are still in awe of Thailand’s beauty.

Hong Island is a rising star in this space, so get there before everyone else finds out about it.  Another bucket list item done!

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Comments

Stephen Douglas
9 months ago

Wow looks incredible! Great find.

Carlize
8 months ago

You clearly need some life vests in your day packs too. Also, a makeshift motor wouldn't go amiss. Happy that you got your insta pic! I'm dreaming about that soft sand...