Friday, May 18, 2007

Ko Kradan

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LAST VISITED DECEMBER 2012
LAST UPDATED MARCH 2014 Ever wanted your own budget bungalow in the jungle? Here it is, PARADISE LOST surrounded by rainforest but within 5 to less than 15 minutes walk to 3 nicer than average beaches.


Or maybe you want an absolute beachfront traditional style rattan and thatched roof bungalow with mattress on the floor etc - not too many of these left in the Andaman, but KRADAN ISLAND RESORT can do it.

Ko Kradan is a small island in the Trang group, close to but a little further south than Ko Ngai and west of Ko Muk. It is distinguished by having the nicest beaches and best coral of all the easily reachable Trang islands.
There are no village or roads and the only motor vehicle I've seen is a motorcycle-sidecar used to cart supplies from the beach to the bungalow place in the jungle.

Kradan and neighbours - image Google Earth. This image is tilted a little west of north in the vertical plane.


BEACHES

 The 3 easily accessible beaches on Kradan. Note that Google Earth shows the main eastern beach going right to the pointy headland south of the "north" triangle at top - must have had good sand build up and a super low tide when that was shot. When I visited the sand stopped near the lime-green marker some distance south.

THE MAIN EASTERN BEACH


The main beach is an attractive 1.5km long white sand job mainly facing Ko Muk and the mainland. Water is very clear, there is some coral on the fringing reef some distance from the beach, better towards the southern end where it curves around to the west a bit south of the National Park buildings. But water does get shallow at lower tide levels in the northern half from Kradan Beach Resort on. This beach attracts quite a lot of day-trip groups and so can be quite busy at times, although its length allows you to find a deserted spot easily enough. Note this is an oblique angle shot in an attempt to bring out the hills and has foreshortened the northern half of the beach. Note too when I visited last time the sand ended in the north a short distance past Kradan Island Resort. Labels might be clearer if you click-expand.

Main eastern beach shot from in front of the Anantara Trang day-trip facility. Deserted in this low season shot - I was the only visitor on the island! But a nice low season beach because it is sheltered from the sometimes blustery western-quadrant monsoonal winds. Maybe 100m behind the camera the beach curves around the corner of the island to the National Park HQ area. The water is deep enough at low tide in the area of camera and behind for okay swimming - but gets very shallow from that boat in background north. That is the area of Kradan Beach Resort, Seven Seas, Kalume, Coral Garden and Kradan Island Resort - but it is a nice walk from these down to this area at such times and in the top half of the tide the water is fine for swimming in front of these resorts.

Same area early Dec 2012 - not yet really high season but far more people around. The sleek ferry is Phetphailin's day-trip craft from Ko Lanta. The higher older ferry has brought Thai day-trippers from the mainland. The longtails are maybe from southern Lanta but more likely the other Trang islands.

Starting from the southern end - National Park headquarters had some quite flash looking concrete bungalows under construction in their compound when visited in 2007, but they were unfinished ruins in June 2010, with these newer nearly-completed joints further south. Go figure. These more modest newer places look like typical late era National Park guest accommodation. Could be worth checking for in the future. You can rent a tent for 100baht (um, that's an old price, probably more now) or pitch your own for 30. According to my trip report buddy MV the food in the canteen is not great. Used to have cheap booze but National Park food places have been dry for several years. 
fotografamantaspra stayed in the National Park bungalows in December 2012 and was less than impressed as you can read in the COMMENTS at the end of this page.
The beach was deserted when I took this shot low season 2010 but was similarly busy to adjacent Anantara Beach Clubs section as seen 3 shots below. However if you want a quiet section of beach in high season .....


---- walk a short distance further south to the last 150m of the main beach to this section - pic taken 5 minutes after busy shot two down page. If you walk around those rocks at the end of the beach (bit hard to see - maybe click-expand) at low tide you will reach the south western Ao Niang beach. The bigger far headland is at the south-west corner of the island. 
For best snorkelling on the island enter the water at those closer rocks, swim out to the fringing reef (maybe 40m) and follow the edge away from the camera.


Next north is the Anantara Trang's daytrip facility. Anantara (used to be Amari Trang) has a mega-expensive hotel on the mainland Trang coast with a beach not as good as Kradan's, so they shuttle guests over here to enjoy something top-notch. Lots of jetsetter bikini babes lounging around in high season - no-one but the caretaker when this shot was taken. That sign far left is for Paradise Lost, the budget resort in the jungle - the shorter rainforest access path starts there - it's actually a designated public road, but is narrow, has a few steps and trees in the middle in a couple of places.


In front of Anantara's Beach Club in December - those speed boats are from Lanta Garden Hill which runs daytrippers (and Ngai resorts' guests) down from Lanta each day. Most of those day-trippers will be on the beach to right of frame in front of the National Park bungalow area. To left of shot are Anantara's own speedboats plus their longtails which bring staff like waiters and cooks to look after the mob. The water here is very nice - deep fairly close in at all tides. Lotsa colourful fish which are used to being hand fed.

To the north of the daytrip facility is a fenced section which stretches maybe 100m - towards its far end is a gap which has the longer but easier access path to Paradise Lost. The Anantara caretaker has a house just behind the beach here where you can organise longtail trips to adjacent islands - although any resort can do this, many using this outfit.


KRADAN BEACH RESORT
Just past there was a new to me (in 2010) outfit with maybe a dozen bungalows started by Moon, the original owner of Kradan Beach Resort just to the north.
Moon used his old resort's original name Paradise Resort but apparently the joint only ran for a few months - water supply AND flooding beat it. Seems a pity - those front row bungalows looked pretty okay and were just behind the beach. The small bungalows in the ditch behind had water marks half way up the walls.
UPDATE DEC 2012 - apparently Moon's bungalows were bought by Kradan Beach Resort immediately north who refurbished the front bungalows and incorporated them into their resort. They look pretty nice, as you can see below.


Sweet.

Immediately north is the rest of Kradan Beach Resort which has a large range of bungalows from budget to flash packer.
This place has attracted some scathing reports for poor quality overpriced bungalows and crummy food from a number of sources but it seems to have lifted its game - we had some okay meals here in December 2012 in the new restaurant although prices were higher than a lot of Andaman bungalow joints. But food prices all over Kradan are higher than normal.
When I passed by in June 2010 I noticed that Beach Resort had lost a fair section of area in the north including the old restaurant site to the adjacent luxury Seven Seas resort - bet that earned a motza!

This is the beach adjacent Kradan Beach Resort at the bottom of low tide - probably the lowest of the month (full moon). Above half tide the sand and swimming are fine here - after that you need to walk a bit south to the sections of the beach shown higher up this page. Moving away from the camera most of the area off the beach at this time is a very shallow lagoon with exposed rocks, ideal for fossicking if that's your thing.
Look, if you are considering a resort in this northern half of the beach, don't be put off with the low tide blues. I stayed way up the far end latest trip, no worries. If low tide does occur in prime swimming time at the date of your visit (low tide gets one hour later each day) it's only a problem for people who don't want to walk a few minutes along the beach.


SEVEN SEAS
These are the northern-most bungalows of the super high-end Seven Seas, but despite the expense business must be okay because you can see far right of image work on one of about 6 new bungalows going in during June 2010. A check of their website shows the normal high-end facilities. Jimmy C does a review near the end of this page. This place appeared to be open in low-season June 2010 but had no guests. Plenty of people staying here in December 2012.


KRADAN REEF RESORT
Immediately north of Seven Seas was this unfinished joint in early Dec 2012. Looks decidedly mid-range with that pool etc. No-one could tell me much about it except it is independent from the other places on the beach. The fact that it was less than 2 weeks to peak season and no-one was working on it suggests the developers have financing problems.

UPDATE MARCH 2014 - Trip reporter wonderingstar sent me an email on this place:The place with the unfinished pool is now finished and open.  Its called Kradan Reef Resort and is 3500B per night.


Wonderingstar sent these pix - above shows the opened Kradan Reeff Resort's grounds still look a bit patchy, although......

.....the pool area at night scrubs up well.



KALUME
Immediately north of the new Reef Resort is Kalume, an Italian run joint. Had a funky looking beach restaurant and the more expensive bungalows looked pretty good. But click this shot to expand it and check those small boxes in the foreground - they are just big enough for a double mattress, no room for bags (shove 'em underneath bungalow?). Access is by a fold-down front wall - no door, no veranda. I don't think these are particularly inexpensive on the website. UPDATE DEC 2012 - these small dog-box places are gone, replaced by a row of more traditional looking bungalows. Kalume was not open for business in low-season June 2010 but had quite a few guests early December 2012.


Next north of Kalume is Coral Garden, new to me since my 2010 visit. This place is going for the upper midrange market although its prices were way lower than Seven Seas. There is some connection with Kalume - Kalume's restaurant was being used as a bar and Kalume guests were eating here. Restaurant pricing is western rather than Thai. I didn't see any lights on in the rather nice looking bungalows during out latest visit.



KRADAN ISLAND RESORT
Kradan Island Resort is at the far northern end of the eastern beach. This place has confused many people, opening with lots of internet publicity after my visit in 07 stressing the point that it was NOT Kradan Beach Resort. Yet in high season 09/10 its website disappeared and apparently it did not operate.
This is how Kradan Island Resort (at one stage it was calling itself Kradan Island Hut Resort) looked in June 2010 when I passed by. Interestingly there was a handful of Thais who seemed to be doing a bit of work on the place - you can see their washing on the verandas if you expand the shot. Rumour has it the original owner lost interest, so maybe there is a new owner who intends to reopen come high season. Bungalows themselves looked pretty okay - beach up here very narrow high tide, very shallow low tide, but super quiet area. Not that anywhere on Kradan is bustling.


Yep, an American guy Bill, his Thai wife and friends are running the refurbished Kradan Island Resort. This is our seafront hut in December 2012 - the classic traditional island-style bungalow. Rattan walls, thatched roof, rattan windows held open by bamboo poles, springy plywood floor, double mattress on floor, cold water bathroom. Cool veranda with hammock just a meter from the beach and  the water at high tide. Not great value at 1500 without breakfast and the food was not fabulous or at bottom budget bungalow prices, but for anyone wishing to re-live those backpacking times of last century, this place can do it. Great owners and staff. Note the double storey second-row bungalow at left - sleeps 4 minimum, has cool loft balcony accessed by the ladder you can see at right. 2000 to 2400 baht.

UPDATE MARCH 2014 - Trip reporter wonderingstar emailed me some fresh news on this place:Bill (KIR) has knocked down a couple of front row bungalows and replaced them with a bar and beachside restaurant. It looked pretty popular.  He was out of town so I didn't get the full skinny.

No shortage of water towards full tide out the front of this northern most resort - I found swimming very pleasant at such times. This is shot from the bed thru the front window - check the bamboo support pole.

Main eastern beach from the far northern end. Kradan Island Resort is just past that communications tower. There are some abandoned bungalows adjacent those rocks - in style they look like they were once part of a bigger Kradan Island Resort. The shot above this shows not too much sand left towards high tide but this shows no shortage of the stuff at around quarter tide.

KRADAN PARADISE RESORT
UPDATE JAN 2014 - Trip reporter Boleslav emailed me about a new resort in the area of the above shot when she visited in Dec 13:There is another new resort at the end of the main beach (closer to the north point) – a few bamboo huts for 900tb and 4 quite ugly (the color is blue, pink, yellow and orange) cement bungalows fro 3200tb). It is called Paradise.
UPDATE MARCH 2014 - Trip Reporter wonderingstar sent me some further info:The place North of KIR that Boleslav mentions is called Kradan Paradise resort.; I'm prettysure it's owned by the original Kun Mun (the owner of most of Kradan!)......the 'quite ugly' huts...they were asking 2500B for these as of yesterday.  There was also a single big bamboo front rower (similar to KIR's) for 2000B; I didn't ask the prices of the bamboo back rowers, but I got the impression that they were soon to be upgraded in a push for mid-range-itude.


SUNSET BEACH

VOO888DOO (napster) sent me this recent shot - the track to Sunset Beach is now well signposted. This is actually where the track passes Paradise Lost in the middle of the island - image http://visitingasia.net

This secluded west coast beach can be reached in about 10-15 minutes via cross island tracks from the Anantara Daytrip area via Paradise Lost or from Kradan Beach Resort. This is much smaller, maybe only 250m across, has good deep water all tides, some reasonable snorkeling and drop dead gorgeous sunsets. I never saw more than a half dozen people on this beach on my high season visits and often it was deserted. There are two nice viewpoints over the beach each side of the access track although they have been a bit overgrown my past 2 visits.
Wally at PARADISE LOST told me this beach gets surf in wet season and he's had surfers stay at this time, plus remote-control kite flyers from Singapore attracted by the updrafts of the onshore winds against the low cliffs behind the beach.
Note the direction triangle should be labelled EAST - but it takes me too long to change one of these images.

Wet season June 2010 shot of Sunset Beach shows heavy erosion. In dry season the sand extends out to around the first wave line 25% across photo from left. Don't be dismayed if you intend to visit early dry season 2010-11, beaches can rebuild when fine weather hits in a matter of days. No surf in dry season.
Beach was covered with a huge amount of wind-blown debris in June - Wally from Paradise Lost told me they spend a week cleaning it up at the start of dry season. This is shot from the southern viewpoint over the beach - there is a bench seat here for fantastic sunsets, but the vegetation was  slightly out of control, will need a bit of a trim come high season. I found access to the northern viewpoint over the beach very difficult - and the walking track from Kradan Beach Resort was pretty overgrown. Okay from Wally's Paradise Lost.


Sunset Beach December 2012 - Wally told me wet season 2012 had some big seas with extensive erosion of Sunset Beach - and that a lot of sand had since moved back onshore. Hell, it must have been bad because there is a lot more to go to bring the beach back to what you can see in the Google Earth image 2 up page, which is what I remember from my 2007 trip.

The short haul out of Sunset Beach is much steeper than it looks in this shot (something to do with my elcheapo camera's focal length I think) - in 2007 there were helper-ropes but since then Wally and the boys have installed these steps.

UPDATE - March 2014: wonderiinstar sent this info and the following pic :KBR has cleared the old track from the back of their resort to Sunset beach and have put up a sign advertising drinks (actually 'dring')  at the top of the Sunset beach steps.




SOUTH-EAST BEACHES



At the south-eastern corner of the island is the Ao Niang area - 2 adjoining beaches which have nice sand and good snorkeling by Thai standards on the fringing reef about 70m off the shore. Closer to the beach are some reasonable lumps of coral for poorer swimmers. This reef attracts day-trip snorkel boats both big and small from the other Trang islands, Ko Lanta and the mainland . However the area is big enough that I was never crowded when snorkelling in my high season visits. In previous visits I never thought this beach suffered the low tide blues, but latest trip coincided with a very low tide and there was some exposed rock near the beach. At such times it is very easy to access the beach by wading the shallow water around the small headland at right from the main eastern beach. At high tide the sand from here to the "N" of Ao Niang Resort tends to disappear.
At such times you can reach the beach near Ao Niang Resort by cross island track - 15 minutes from Anantara Beach Resort via PARADISE LOST. The track came out out at a small sea fishermen's settlement on the more eastern beach in 07, but there was the new resort when I returned in 2010. To get to the adjoining more western beach follow a track behind the small farther headland if you don't mind jumping the new resort's fence. It's not too hard to rock-hop around the sea side of this headland.Eastern-most of the twin southern beaches - there is now a budget resort behind the trees this end. The National Park headquarters area of the main eastern beach is just around the far headland which is not too difficult to cross at lower tide levels. The smaller adjoining beach can be seen below.
The new southern resort is called Ao Niang Beach Resort and seems built mainly to cater for Thai visitors. Its future may not be too hot because of trouble with National Parks about beach setback and with Thai Forestry over illegal logging.
The people there seem to have adopted a seige mentality - they had blocked the track from the north with fallen vegetation even though it is a designated public "road" (National Parks was giving them grief about this too - not that those lazy ineffectual dopes ever achieve anything) and had thrown up a fence a for a good 2oo+ metres across the beachfront - the only gap being here in front of the restaurant.
The caretaker guy and his lady friend seemed astounded when I appeared from the blocked track - lady got on phone probably to the owner in Trang who yelled at me in terrible English - I told him I didn't know what the hell he was saying, handed back the phone and walked on.
When I went to take this shot the caretaker guy said NO NO - but I was bigger and way nastier looking than him so when I went ahead he hid behind the tree at right! WTF - who did they think I was? Certainly not an inspector from Thai National Parks or Forestry. Maybe someone from Green Peace- because apparently the illegal logging had been dobbed in to the tree-huggers too and there had been a helicopter taking pix a few days before.
Anyway, come high season I can't see the blocked track lasting - the other resorts won't allow it on account their guests access the beach for snorkelling.

UPDATE - wonderingstar gives a good account of this place in his Trip Report - link down page. Sounds like a worthwhile place to check out. And come high season, the blocked track wasn't. UPDATE OF UPDATE - resort open and relaxed in early December 2012 although it seemed to have few guests.


MID ISLAND
PARADISE LOST is a bit of a gem - situated in a jungle clearing about a short walk in from the main eastern beach, you literally have your native hut in the jungle, as some of those shots on the website show. It consists of a few smallish trad style bungalows - woven-bamboo walls and thatched-roofs - with outside bathrom, plus a few bigger attached-bathroom bungalows. Between my 07 and 2010 visits Wally had added a small dorm which is really just a sleepout, some more bungalows with bathrooms, rebuilt the kitchen, expanded the second eating area because he attracts so many diners from other resorts in high season and sound-proofed the generators which run 24/7. He was preparing to construct 2 new bathroom bungalows when I visited in June 2010. The website will give latest bungalow prices - in general they are on the expensive side but not compared to KRADAN BEACH RESORT or KALUME. One of the reasons Kradan tends to be more expensive is there is no village with a public boat to the mainland - everything has to be brought in by longtail - in June 2010 this boat was costing Wally 1200 each trip plus the cost of transport to the pier from distant Trang. Your native hut in the jungle (image Paradise Lost Resort)

Wally is a big old bear of a guy originally from Hawaii and an ex-yachtie, knows the Trang islands intimately and is a real expert on local landowning and politics. He is particularly keen to stop big (and small) developers grabbing public and National Park land. I don’t think Kradan will do a Phi Phi while Wally is around.
Like most big guys, Wally is not afraid of food and is particularly disdainful of “small Thai helpings”. Consequently the food at PARADISE LOST's airy open sided thatch-roof restaurant is not only very tasty, but HUGE in quantities. If you order the muesli-fruit-yogurt for breakfast don’t order anything else except maybe a juice or a coffee. Prices are higher than most budget restaurants, in proportion to the helpings and the fact Wally goes for top quality ingredients. As said PARADISE LOST has 2 restaurant seating areas, simply because people come across from other resorts (Wally told me he gets a kick out of the arrival of super luxury SEVEN SEAS guests for a reasonable priced feed), and passing boaties are constantly dropping in. The restaurant offers ice-cream, wine and for you Aussies, VEGEMITE!! I found the service pretty quick.
Note the second eating area has a TV and video set-up, which seems a bit incongruous for such a place, but Wally likes to keep abreast of the news. It is far enough from the bungalows not to be noisy.


To reach Wally’s from the main beach, take either track which runs inland each side of the white Amari Beach Club. The left hand one (facing inland) is shorter (a bit over 5 minutes) and has more shade, although it has a slight hill.
From Wally’s to the nice sunset beach on the west coast is a litle under 10 minutes by jungle track - the twin southern beaches with the good snorkeling on the fringing reef is a bit over 10 on a similar track.

In 2007 I took a 400 bungalow, sturdy and clean but a bit squeezy for 2 people and their gear. There were no shelves but a couple of hooks. The bed seemed to be 90% the size of a normal double with a comfy mattress, excellent mozzie net and nice big soft pillows. A fan, broom and towels were supplied, but no mirror - and no hammock on the big veranda which was a nice place to spend some time. Lights both there and inside were great for reading.
The outside toilet/shower block was clean, had western toilets and the water pressure was excellent. Grounds were clean and attractive, although the area around my veranda just failed the no ciggy butts, no plastic ring pulls test.

On my return trip I got a bigger bungalow with bathroom. Cost 600 which is expensive for low season - but we should factor in the cost of staying open low season. This was a big spacious place with the traditional woven bamboo walls and thatched roof. Lots of stained timber for floors, veranda and interior beams. A big super comfortable bed. Good lights, quiet fan. Bathroom was big with good water but getting a bit worn - Wally said it will be renovated soon.Chez tezza June 2010

The man himself. Wally with Nok.

Paradise Lost menu board - click to expand for June 2010 prices (UPDATE DEC 2012- Wally told me they have not been changed). These seemed 0 to 100% up on cheapest Andaman budget bungalow restaurants, (but I found in 2012 they were not too much more than at Kradan's two other lower priced restaurants at Kradan Beach Resort and Kradan Island Resort)* and a lot less than Coral Garden and Seven Seas) 
In defence - Wally's portions are HUGE, cost of bringing stuff in by longtail is high, ingredients are top range (rice is highest price variant - ice cream comes not from nearby Trang but from a specialist Dutch guy in Phuket - steaks are imported) There are 6 coolers with 24/7 electricity so nothing spoils. Range of stuff on offer is very wide. On balance cheapskate tezza thinks things are still a bit dear - but the fact the restaurant is so popular with outsiders says a lot. As does the fact I have eaten the majority of my Kradan meals here.
This board is in the second restaurant area which suggests come high season this is now the main dining area. You can see the other area thru the railing. Note Wally lurking in his favourite position far right.

DECEMBER 2012 - Wally was justifiably proud of his two newest bungalows - spacious polished wood interiors, huge tiled bathrooms. Only 1200 baht blew my 1500 Kradan Island Resort retro job out of the water. Okay, this is not beachfront but many would argue a bungalow in the jungle is as romantic as a beachfront one any day. 

Email: info@kokradan.com
Phone - Mr Wally (0066) 089 5872409
New website http://kokradan.wordpress.com/

NOTE - ANY OF THE FOLLOWING UPDATES DATED BEFORE JUNE 2010 I'VE RETAINED FROM MY ORIGINAL KRADAN PAGE BECAUSE THE INFORMATION IS STILL RELEVANT.

UPDATE SEPT 09 - several people have found contacting Wally a bit difficult. I just got a message from Karoolsie - "I was there in June. He is not too keen on E.mail Cell: 0895872409 Also (0066) 09567 2409 But he said that must regulars make bookings with a SMS."

Tito also gave this information on the Forum page:
Update on Ko Kradan Paradise Lost phone.
I just spoke to Wally today and made a reservation. To reach him from the United States, you dial 011-66 as usual, and then 89-5872409. I could not connect using 9, 09 or 089 as a prefix. Finally succeeded with 89.

UPDATE SEPT 2011
Kradan trip reporter Boleslave just drew my attention to this information:
Wally and PARADISE LOST has WIFI since the 5th August 2011, I installed it.

Please call or email Wally to Verify.


TELEPHONE: 0066 895872409. or 0066873898408.


BOOKINGS: kohkradan@yahoo.com


WALLY: wallysanger@yahoo.com


Amari Beach Resort's (now Anantara) rather swish beach club on the main eastern beach (image Amari Trang Beach Resort)



GETTING TO KRADAN.


FROM TRANG (and BANGKOK)
Trang has the nearest airport and also two sleeper trains from Bangkok daily. There are several daily Bangkok/Trang buses taking roughly 12 hours and of course many from up and down the Andaman coast, Had Yai and other locations.
Details of trains/planes and buses to Trang can be found here.
billp recently indicated that the morning Nok Air flight into Trang is met by reps from town travel agents who will transport you into town and arrange bookings/transport. I should imagine they will meet flights from any other carriers.
UPDATE DEC 2012 - I saw on a Lanta information poster that Air Asia was shuttling people up to Lanta from its Trang flight on a ferry from Hat Yao pier. Kradan  is on the way so maybe you could investigate if the ferry drops off there.
Many resorts organise their own transfers from Trang. Most leavefrom the smaller Kuan Thung Khu pier on the mainland behind Ko Muk.
Some independent travellers coming via Trang may prefer to go out to the island and see what is available. All those small travel agents near the Trang railay station can organise van and boat transfers. KK Travel is a good one -. tel 075-211198, 223664, 081-8945955.

 FROM OTHER TRANG ISLANDS, SOUTH ANDAMAN ISLANDS, PHUKET, PHI PHI  AND LANTA
There is now good transport from other Andaman islands.
 The  Trang Island daytrip boat (Phetphailin) has been bringing people down to Kradan from Lanta for years – according to its schedule which varies with tide times you may get to snorkel those karst islands just off Ngai and go into the fabulous Emerald Cave on Ko Muk although these places are more likely on the return trip to Lanta.
In December 2012 Lady Tezza and I hopped on Phetphaillin's daytrip boat as it called in at nearby Ko Ngai and went the short distance Ko Kradan just south. Except the captain decided to vary his route and stopped off for snorkelling at Ko Ma karst and to visit the Emerald Cave at Mook. This is fine except they got real shirty when I swam into the cave independently - "only for 4 island payers!" they told me. 
Daytrip longtails come down from southern Lanta beaches and many will drop guests off at the Trang islands. The longtail guys hanging around Lanta old town pier would no doubt bring you down too but if you have to charter a whole longtai lwithout a bunch of daytrippers to share the cost it wont be cheap.
Tigerline run their fast ferries from Phuket via Phi Phi and Lanta in the north and  Langkawi/Ko Lipe in the south. The latter calls in at Hat Yao pier where people who have flown into Trang airport etc pick it up (the website shows a shuttle service from the airport and I think the station). I usedTigerline to come down from Phi Phi  in April 2012. Tigerline can bring you from Krabi but this involves a van to Had Yao pier where you wait to pick up the fast ferry on its return trip to Phuket via Kradan and other islands. This is a kinda roundabout trip but probably less hassle and probably faster than going Krabi-Trang by public bus or minibus and then transferring to Kradan via the Kuan Khung Thu pier.
It may pay to Google SPD speedboat to see whether their Phuket-Lanta-Lipe service calls in at Ko Ngai, although I am not a fan of speedboat transfers on long runs. It can get real uncomfortable and wet on bumpy days. Definitely Lanta Garden Hill and Opal Tour speedboats were dropping off guests from Lanta on their daytrip visits to Kradan and the nice lady running Konai Cliff Beach Resort asked me if I wanted to transfer from Ngai to Kradan on Lanta Garden Hill.
Plenty of people jump across from the neighbouring islands of Muk, Ngai and Libong on charter  longtails although I found the Phetphaillin daytrip boat would take me at a more reasonable cost - longtail charter operators think we are Warren Buffet - well maybe not Wazza who has a good nose for value. 
Tigerline will also transfer you between these islands although it aint cheap – as a matter of fact Tigerline aint cheap full stop. But before they started up there was no way you could make Kradan from Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi or Lipe in a day unless you were prepared to charter a horrendously expensive longtail from say Pak Meng – Tigerline takes 2 hours from Phi Phi, worth every baht. One caveat here – Wally told me Tigerline at one stage was dropping Kradan guests on Ko Muk from where they had to charter a longtail across to Kradan. Might pay to check if your particular trip stops AT Kradan (Lady T and I had a discussion and we can’t remember the distinctive noise/sight of Tigerline in the 3 days we were at Kradan in early Dec 2012).
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Pulling into the Ko Ma snorkelling area on Phetphaillin between Ngai and Lanta. I have visited this area many times and was disappointed in the deterioration of coral this latest look - very ordinary. The stuff on Kradan's south-east reef is better although it has gone down hill too. Plenty of fish at Ma, but no big stuff.
That's a 4 islands daytrip longtail in shot, maybe from south Lanta but more probably nearby Mook, Ngai, Kradan or Libong. I even saw one from Ko Sukorn Beach Resort pulled up on Kradan's main beach - Ko Sukorn is a fair haul away.

Phetphaillin arriving at Kradan. One disadvantage of this outfit is that it lands a bit south of the Anantara Beach Club and if your resort is on the northen half of the beach it can be a real haul with your bags. At Ngai like Tigerline it stops outside the fringing reef and longtails transfer resort guests to the beach adjacent the resort for 50baht. At Muk, island resort guests were loaded into a longtail at the Emerald Cave for the short trip around to Farang Beach.
I didn't see Tigerline at Kradan so I don't know what the procedure is. Resort and other longtails can access the beach adjacent resorts unless the tide is hopelessly low - ditto speedboats but they need a bit more water.

EARLIER UPDATE from OCT 08
mysticpaki says there is an 11am boat to Kradan: "...railway station travel agenices have a bus going to the pier at 11am from there the long tail boat will take u to ko Kradan.If youre alone then the boat fare is 1000 baht."

Looking at the Trang Railway station from the main street which runs up to the clock-tower. Most of the booking agents are around the far corner to the right. Ko Kradan Beach Resort's shopfront is right on the corner. Some are actually in the main street this end. These people can arrange transport and accommation for the islands, plus supply minibus and other transport tickets to distant areas. (image http://visitingasia.net)

billp adds that if you fly in on the morning Nok Air flight: "In the airport you'll be approached by reps from travel agencies which are legit. They will bus you into town, sign you up for the trip to Kradan via minibus and longtail, and book you for one night's accommodation in Kradan Paradise. This is the simplest, most problem-free way of getting there. You can move on to Wally's the next day."

I find these travel agents very reliable, and their cut seems to come out of the normal bungalow and longtail/ferry prices.

Magic Sunsets from, ahem, Sunset Beach - (image http://visitingasia.net)

EARLY UPDATE 2008 - TT poster ISLANDBOI321 gave me this info, which reinforces my suspicion that the beachside KO KRADAN PARADISE RESORT (now Ko Kradan Beach Resort) has lifted its game:
"As for the Ko Kradan Paradise, tezza's experience with the bungalows mirrored mine. I did eat at their restaurant nearly everyday and found the food to be very good, although overpriced. The staff at the restaurant were charming. I was attempting to learn food items in Thai. You know what that is like... I had the whole kitchen staff out watching while the waiter tried to teach me various food items in Thai. All the while they were off in the distance, giggling and smiling. They were so charming. I made a special point of saying goodbye to them when I headed back to the mainland. They were so nice and kind.
A couple I met from Oz who were there last year said the resort is in WAY better shape than it had been in terms of cleanliness and attentive staff. The young man who was the manager (The guy with the high voice, tezza) was well organized and helpful.
I have to reiterate the fact that this 'drop dead' gorgeous beach vanishes at low tide and you have a huge expanse of slimy, rocky, smelly nothingness for 6 hours."


That's pretty interesting - It seems like the place has responded to the bad publicity. I reckon I might stay a few days at Paradise Resort next time I visit.
As for the beach, it sounds like IB321 was there during the extra-low "Spring" tides with occur twice a month around full moon and no moon. The tide was no-where that low for that long when I visited. Note Spring Tides also have extra-high high tides. So tidal range is at a maximum.
Note, those other two beaches were nice low tide, particularly sunset beach.
Further update - I think someone has subsequently posted a link to TRIP ADVISOR user reviews of (old name) Paradise/(new name) Beach Resort in the messages below. Weren't good.

** EARLY UPDATE AUGUST 08 - looks like high end tourism is coming to Kradan -
Seven Seas Resort opening Nov 1 08.
There is also a newish budget place called Kradan Island Resort. UPDATE OF UPDATE - was not operating high season 09/10.
And another - Kalume' Kradan Village


UPDATE FROM DEC 08 - Jimmy C sent me this on the new Seven Seas:
Just back yesterday. Of all the places we stayed i thought 7 seas was worst value. That being said it is a fine facility and the 4 beachfront units are exquisite and maybe be worth 300$---we only paid 250$ us.(if i were stay there again, i would definitely spring for the beachfront units) the second row units are ok, but the hotel block units in back are nothing special.
The hotel is still under construction and only some units are open. The hotel is also still working out some kinks---no landscaping yet and i'd avoid the restararaunt-slow and wildly overpriced.
The beach itself is near perfect---and there is excellent snorkeling right offshore in front of national park station---say 500 metres or so from the hotel (a white sandy beach with clear water and coral right offshore is a rarity for me).
I asked Jimmy the locaction and from what he said it is adjacent either Kradan Beach Resort or Kradan Island Resort on the main eastern beach - and as he says above, 500m from the National Park station.

UPDATE FROM APRIL 09
claire just provided this info on the FORUM page:
"thought you might be interested to hear that my partner and I visited Wally on Ko Kradan in May last year. He has no plans to sell up (as I'm sure you know by now!) and was in the process of building a couple of new bunglows - one of which was earmarked to be a dorm. Wally seemed in fair spirits but was walking with a stick most of the time.
As for Kradan Beach Resort - it looked like it needed to raise its game to me. Budget-mid range rooms were pretty basic and a bit run-down and the staff seemed fairly disinterested..."

ALSO IN MAY 09 was this update sent to me by Eddie (Mytsicpaki)
Ko Kradan This has 3 drop dead gorgeous beaches, If like me you have a weakness for white sand crystal clear turquoise coloured warm water, deserted beaches, romantic sunsets then sigh you hit the jackpot.A row of new bunglows under construction in 3 lines on the main beach were by Ko Kradan Island resort. This is where the longtail boat drops you.
Lost Paradise. It's still run by a gem of a guy called Wally. His resort is a 5 minute walk from the beach in the midst of the jungle. He now has 9 bungalows which are very nice. Offseason price for the big one was 750 baht. They are big with tiled toilets, comfy bed, super pillows,fan and running cold water. He runs the generator 24-7 so the beer is nice and cold. He has 12 lovely dogs to escort you all around the Island. Food is very good though expensive like on all islands when compared to the mainland.
Mosquitoes are always around, so buy “Off” before heading to any island.I inherited 41 bites on my back. Must have been my sweet terrorist blood lol. Wally's e mail is presently being intercepted therefore best to call him directly for reservation/information 09-5872409.Wally had arranged a long tail boat for me and family from the peir popularly known as Koh Mook Pier (Kuantang Pier). The rate was 1000 baht. No bargaining required, this is the standard rate.
The Emerald Cave at Koh Mook is well worth a visit when going or returning to any of the Islands. Please do tell Wally and his girlfriend that Eddie and family from Pakistan said hi.
Feel free to contact me at cliche61@hotmail.com for any other information or questions.
Eddie also had some info on Trang and surrounds:
Trang is a sleepy quiet town in June July. A 3 hour drive from Krabi.Food especially seafood, is cheap and fresh with “thai prices. Their iced coffee “Ko Pee” is absolutely fantastic.
Thumrin Hotel is a 1 minute walk from the Trang railway station, charging year around 650 bath for a superior room with fridge, carpet, tv aircondition, bath tub and some english channels on its cable. Very nice rooms for this price excluding the fading carpets in the corridor. Standard Room without carpet and fridge is 550 baht. They also allow you to use the pool facility at the new posh hotel Thumrin Thana, free of cost.
In Trang city “Ko Cheng” is a popular seafood restaurant on the right side after the clock tower. Its very famous and anyone can guide you to it.
My favourite place and definitely a don’t miss place to eat is “Baan Tanai Coffee” it is right next to the Clock Tower on the main road with some white ferry lights. This place is really awesome and serves mouth watering Dimsum at 10-20 baht till late at night. It also serves the Best Iced “Ko Pee” I have ever had anywhere for only 20 baht. The lady who runs it is called Ying. Do tell her Eddie and family from Pakistan said hi. The place is open till late and has a nice open air atmosphere. It’s only a 5 minute tuk tuk drive from the railway station or bus station.
The main Trang waterfalls are lovely and the Dragon cave (Le Khaokob cave) is well worth a thrilling experience. Don’t miss it. Rambutan farms are on both sides while driving to the waterfalls. Lush greenery is everywhere.
The Paak Meng beach was a big disappointment with shallow water and a very dirty littered beach. The accommodation was rustic. I checked many places charging 400 to 700 and found them all pretty pathetic, even Paak Meng resort.Paak Meng was also full of mosquitoes. Not being able to take a swim was the biggest disappointment.
The Amari Trang hotel on Paak Meng was the exception, gorgeous and right on the beach with all the 5 star amenities. Price 2700 baht in offseason. My bargaining skills left me helpless so decided to go to Amari Trang next when I hit the jackpot lol. Understand its now completely closed, must have been my evil eyeJ.
Best to stay in town at Thumrin hotel, and hire a scooter to go all around or rent a car from Krabi. Trang also has Pizza Company and Swensens. A few minutes away you also have a Big C. Right next to the railway station is an old but big shopping center for clothes though I didn’t really find it too interesting. Loads of clothes for women.
------------------------------
Tezza again: I've found the Koteng Hotel about half way up the main street from the Trang railway station on the left a good clean low budget place. And Eddie's favoured Thumrin which is not far up the main street from the railway is a modern nice looking joint.
A reliable Trang travel agent for booking and transport into all Trang and Satun area islands - good on transfers/accommodation to/for Lanta and further north too - KK Travel in the parallel street directly opposite the railway station tel 075-211198, 223664, 081-8945955

READERS' REVIEWS OF KO KRADAN.
See napster's (aka V00888DOO's) nice pix including this one, plus descriptions from his Dec09 visit in the new Readers' Trip Report section.

There are also Trip Reports from the same months by Rachael
and Boleslav.

If you want to fire in a trip report on Kradan or any other location, please send text and a few shots if you have them to
lajolla22@hotmail.com



UPDATE - latest trip report from March 2011 comes from wonderingstar - has some good new info and lots of pix.
UPDATE OF UPDATE - actually Boleslav just sent a newer trip report of a Dec 2011/Jan 2012 revisit on the first link in this section.
-----------------------------------------------
STOP PRESS OCT 2012 - trip reporter wonderingstar has his own snorkelling blog and has a very good page on KRADAN SNORKELLING with lots of info, maps and pretty pix

STOP PRESS 2 JAN 2014 - trip reporter Boleslav sent me this update:
A quick note on Ko Kradan, went there in Dec. 2013.
There is another new resort at the end of the main beach (closer to the north point) – a few bamboo huts for 900tb and 4 quite ugly (the color is blue, pink, yellow and orange) cement bungalows fro 3200tb). It is called Paradise.
 Ao Niang seemed to be much much cleaner then in the past years.
It was quiet there in 1st week of December, just few tourists and lots of day trippers.
Wally said the tourism is down thanks to the protests, so I can imagine it is even worse now with all the demonstrations around the election.
The prices at Wally's are still same. He said that he won the legal battle for the road and Antara should repair it to the original state by this March.
 Now there are 3 flights a day from BKK to Trang with Nok air

----AND WONDERINGSTAR'S FULL MESSAGE ON 7TH MARCH 2014:
Just back from Kradan (6 Mar 2014) .  Here's a few updates:  
The place with the unfinished pool is now finished and open.  Its called Kradan Reef Resort and is 3500B per night.  Some pics attached.  
Bill (KIR) has knocked down a couple of front row bungalows and replaced them with a bar and beachside restaurant. It looked pretty popular.  He was out of town so I didn't get the full skinny. 
The place North of KIR that Boleslav mentions is called Kradan Paradise resort.  I'm pretty sure it's owned by the original Kun Mun (the owner of most of Ko Kradan!).  Attached are a few snaps of the 'quite ugly' huts.  They were asking 2500B for these as of yesterday.  There was also a single big bamboo front rower (similar to KIR's) for 2000B.  I didn't ask the prices of the bamboo back rowers, but I got the impression that they were soon to be upgraded in a push for mid-range-itude.  
Kradan Paradise resort was also mid-way through building a big (presumably) restaurant.  See pic
KBR has cleared the old track from the back of their resort to Sunset beach and have put up a sign advertising drinks (actually 'dring')  at the top of the Sunset beach steps. 
I only had a quick word with Wally - he seems fine.  
Everything else is about the same 

Unfortunately wonderingstar's pics are in  a zip file which my computer refuses to open, but I'm working on it (I'm a bit of a computer dummy).

-----------------------------------------------

If you are visiting Kradan you may be interested in nearby:

KO NGAI

KO MUK

KO LANTA

KO LIBONG AND HAT YAO

KO LAOLIANG

-----------------------------------------
If you have any questions, please ask them in THE FORUM rather than below. I don't get a chance to check all threads daily, but unless I'm travelling I'll try to monitor THE FORUM regularly.

20 comments:

Click4Gap said...

Hi Guy's, great write up on Wally and paradise lost. I sailed with Wally between 95 and 2002 and since then visit him regulary on Koh Kradan. Just thought I would mention that Wally has definately not sold Paradise Lost, his health was not brilliant a couple of years back however he has now had laser eye surgery and can now spot the tits on a shy thai at dawn 3 miles away!

Cheers for all the memories Wally, your bro Sonic, Aloha ;-)

tezza said...

Wow, great news on Wally, thanks Sonic.
When I visited, Wally had big plans for Paradise Lost. He wanted to put in more huts and even a dorm for low budget travellers. Any news of changes?

Click4Gap said...

Hi Tezza, I spoke to wally about a month ago and he sounds great. He had a good High Season which is always good as he has limited resources to advertise.
If the demand is there then Wally would have built them by now...he doesn't hang about. I forgot to sak him about the pool. For those of you that don't know, Wally has an unlimited supply of fresh water from an underground river. His plan was to put a freshwater pool in the resort... but I know that it was down to cost. I'll ask him next time we speak.
I maybe going in August... I know its the off season but wally is such a fine host you rarely notice the weather!
If anyone is heading to this part of Thailand, you'll certainly be writing home about wally if you visit him. For those of you that want a little more home comforts, you should stay on the island opposite called Koh Muk (or Mook). Stay at Charlies bungalows (the same Charlie that had Charlies on Phi Phi) and you'll have air con etc... but you will pay for it!!
Go visit Brian at the only bar on the Beach. Brian is a good friend of Wally and took over the bar about 2 years ago. He also has a yacht and will gladly take you on a day trip over to see Wally at Paradise Lost (for a fee!).
Anyone visiting either Brian or Wally... be sure to mention that I sent you! Wally, Brian and I go way back. Laters, SONIC

fabbbig said...

hallo!
just to inform you that there is a new place on kradan. The name is Kalume' Kradan Village and it is nice, clean, good food, budget accomodation etc etc
www.kalumekradan.com

tezza said...

Looks nice fabbig. I always like to stay at a new place when I revisit, so now I got one for next trip.
Interesting that there is a second high season in August. Normal for Samui side, but not Andaman.

Solstickan said...

Hi tezza!

Thank you for an awesome page!!

Me and my boyfriend are going to Kradan in february. I read in your page that we can go one way on a day trip tour from Koh Lanta. Do we need to book it in advance, or is it enough to book it the night before?

We are flying from Sweden to Phuket and will then go straight to koh lanta, sleep one night and then take a boat to kradan. So the question is if it is enough to book the trip the day we arrive at koh lanta, and go the morning after that?

We want to book the accommodation on Kradan in advance, but we are afraid not to be able to take a boat to Kradan and miss our accommodation.

If we can't take a one way day tour, are there guaranteed places on the tigerline ferries, or do we need to book that in advance too?

Thanks in advance!

waggy said...

Hi there,
could any one tell me if Kradan Island Resort is any good. I'm looking to go to Koh Kradan mid May 2010, and was looking for a bungalow located on one of the beaches. Is island hopping recomended?
Thanx
Waggy

Solstickan said...

Waggy: Read these reviews, I wouldn't stay there...

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g297938-d600714-r26025183-Kradan_Island_Resort-Trang.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT

tezza said...

Folks, sorry for the late replies, but I only check THE FORUM on a regular basis.

SOLS - you can get by booking the daytrip boat the day before in my experience.
Tigerline's is a big boat - should always have room.

WAGGY - only one way to find out I guess, stay there. That's what I intend to do in June with a bit of luck.

P Grace said...

Hi all: There are four of us staying at Cocos on Ko Hai from Dec. 22-25 and had planned to go on to Paradise Lost for three nights but Wally's is booked. He has us on the waiting list. Any updates on places on Kradan for December 26-29? We have a fairly tight schedule and are coming from Kathmandu. Thanks.

Helena said...

I stayed at Kradan Beach Resort for 5 nights in February this year. It was great. The bungalow was ok, a bit overpriced maybe but clean and cozy with open air shower. The Air con was on between 6pm and 9am.
The food was great, especially the mussaman beef and yellow curry beef and chicken! The fruit smoothies were great too!

We found the snorkelling just outside the bungalows the best on that side of the island, it was so great. I would recommend everyone to go to Kradan before it's too late and crammed with resorts!

Wally said...

Thanks tezza from Wally's web site!
kokradan.com doesn't work, now we are on
http://kokradan.wordpress.com

tezza said...

Whoa! Just noticed your comment Wally. I don't visit individual pages very often. Have changed the links to the new website. Cheers.

Sierra said...

From the season 2011/2012 Tigerline has a daily ferry to/from Phuket to/from Langkawi in Malaysia. There are as usual several stops on the way and Koh Kradan is one of them.

Unknown said...

Hello Tezza
I went to Ko Kradan on November 2011 and I loved the snorkeling there. I made this video so people interested in doing the same can check it out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muDASfYGh8w&context=C43ab560ADvjVQa1PpcFPnGjghF3Veii2qVfVDaHDV1wZqdqHHzRA=
thanks for all the info, and all the help on the thorn tree forum, if you ever come to lisbon send me a msg and we can talk about those beautiful thai islands over a pint or two...

fotografasmantaspra said...

Just came back from Kradan, spend there 2 nights. The accomodation would say is overpriced. At daytime the island is overcrowded with daytripers and boats, so it's not so relaxed. I reccomend to avoid accomodation at National park. We took room in long house for 600baht. Only toilet, no shower and super rock solid beds. But that was okay comparing to stuff. Everything was okay until the night. They turned on generator which makes noise like tractor and which was behind our rooom. They said it will be off at midnight, so we were patient and waited cause it was impossible to sleep. After midnihgt th generator still was on, and we went to ask to turn it off. What we found:staff was drinking with local thais and being arrogant. They said they will turn generators off when they want... That was the last straw. We solved this problem going to other staff who were already sleeping in their rooms, and asking them to turn off tht damn noise thing. In conclusion: the beach itself is beautiful with clear water but with those daytrippers it's not secluded, ou feel like in any other tourist overcrowded island. And the rubbish.. rubish everywhere. Strange that hotels don't take care of that. Bottles, plastic cups and etc everywhere. So a bit dissappointed. What we really liked it was Koh Phayam island. So relaxed and secluded.

Ananda said...

From what I saw, the Tigerline 'stopping' at Koh Kradan means it stops somewhere between Koh Kradan and Koh Mook and longtails take it from there. Smaller speedboats actually stop on Kradan itself, no longtail needed. Phetpailin offers best value (550) if travelling on to Lanta. The price includes transport to any place in Lanta from the pier by shared pick up. Coming from the South (in my case Koh Bulon Lae) PBS is your only option (900 from Bulon to Kradan). They seem to charge 1100 for trip between Lanta and Kradan.

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