Kho Khao Island
And the Tsunami Memorial
by Alan Hunter
Koh Kho Khao (or just KKK as it is commonly known) is a beautiful small island that lies just off the coast of Takua Pa – about a 30 minute drive north of Khao Lak followed by a 10-minute ferry ride to cross the few hundred metres of water separating the island from the mainland.
The island is often overlooked by visitors to Khao Lak, although currently the addition of new resorts, several restaurants and bars has increased both its visibility and its popularity. It is equally appealing to day trippers as well as overnight and longer staying visitors.
If you are not staying overnight on KKK then your leisurely day trip can be made even more enjoyable by dining at sunset at one of the beach restaurants near the Memorial or at Bang Sak beach front.
THE TSUNAMI MEMORIAL
Combine KKK with a visit to the Tsunami Memorial which is located on the mainland near the village of Baan Nam Khem.The grounds and sculptures here serve as a poignant reminder of that fateful day on December 26, 2004 when so many lives were lost as the Tsunami wreaked its terrible havoc across the Indian Ocean.The memorial was also at the heart of the recent events commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the disaster.
GETTING TO KHO KHAO ISLAND
To reach the ferry drive north along Highway 4 in the direction of Takua Pa for about 20 kilometres until you reach a major left turn signposted to KKK resorts and the Memorial.Take this turn, following signs to the Memorial if you want to go there first, otherwise, follow the road to the end where you will find the pier and ferry which runs every hour from 7am to 6pm. Ensure you catch the last ferry back or you will have to stay on the island.Visitors on motor bikes can take them across more frequently on longtail boats that run all day and later into the evening.
EXPLORING KOH KHO KHAO
After leaving the ferry there is a long, very well made and quiet road that takes you right to the tip of the island.
You can make left turns along the way visiting the resorts and beaches at the south end of the island (near the pier) and if you are staying overnight this is where your accommodation will likely be located.
The local wildlife on Koh Kho Khao includes sea turtles that lay their eggs in the island’s sands between December and April each year.
Those interested in this fascinating event may be lucky enough to observe turtles in their natural environment during a stay on the island.
Turning right off the main road takes you into largely uninhabited plantations and sparse, undeveloped territory with roads often petering out into tracks and dead-ends. Right at the very northern tip of the island is a lovely restaurant with loungers and magnificent views, aptly named the Sea Sunset.
Return the same way to your resort, or continue to the ferry point if you are on a day trip. Before you leave you can enjoy a drink on the terrace of the family-run restaurant there, while waiting for the ferry to load.
If you haven’t visited the Memorial on your outward trip, look for signs to the right as you return back towards the highway.