Krabi adventures – Koh Poda is closer than you think
As beautiful as the Krabi islands Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi are, the strings of resorts, bars and restaurants found on them often mean that paradise island itch remains unscratched. Step forward Koh Poda — a Thai island that’s almost completely undeveloped, with only clear seas and soft white sand to keep you busy. Here’s a little more about this natural delight, including how to get there and what to expect.
Getting to Poda Island
Situated about 6 kilometres from the mainland beach of Ao Nang, Koh Poda is only accessible by boat. Though unlike fellow Krabi island Koh Hong, getting there doesn’t involve the hassle or the expense of chartering a private boat or being tied in to a tour. With a relatively short journey time of around 25 minutes, Krabi’s iconic long tail boats can regularly be found waiting by the beach at Ao Nang for passengers to to come. You may have to wait for the boat to be full before going anywhere — both on the trip out to Koh Poda and back to Ao Nang — but for a return price of only around 300 baht, it’s more than worth any slight inconvenience.
As well as just heading to Koh Poda, another popular way to see it is as part of an island tour. Island tours usually take in Poda island, Koh Gai — which is shaped like a chicken, hence its name, as “gai” means chicken in Thai — Railay beach and one or two others depending on the tour itself. Whilst tours might limit your freedom to explore and do as you please, they’re often a cost-effective way to see more of what Krabi has to offer and can come with other activities such as snorkeling and kayaking, so it’s certainly an option worth considering. Some tours may also use a speedboat rather than a long tail boat, which would greatly reduce the transit time and would be more comfortable than a longtail boat, making it a popular choice for those who aren’t really fans of boat journeys.
Those who visit Poda island have to pay the national park fee to gain access.
What To Expect on Poda Island
It’s tempting to say there’s little else to do on Poda island than enjoy the beautiful surroundings, but after landing on the shore you’ll be asking yourself — why would you want to do anything but that?
Despite being a small Thai island with nothing in the way of fancy resorts, bars or restaurants, it’s undoubtedly a very popular one. Given its close proximity to Ao Nang beach and the short journey time to get there, coupled with the fact that it’s routinely included in island tours, it’s not uncommon to see a dauntingly large of long tail boats and speedboats waiting by the shores for their customers, particularly during high season. Whilst it may be a disheartening sight, many tourists — for whatever reason — choose to congregate and swim in the same small patch of water, leaving the other sides of the island relatively empty and peaceful. With this in mind, don’t let your first impressions of the island throw you; there’s a high chance that you’ll find a spot on the island that’s perfect for you, and just what you might have been expecting from this island paradise.
It’s not hard to see why it’s such a popular island. Surrounded on all sides by soft, white sand and with glistening, extremely-clear water, it certainly checks all the boxes. The water is perfect for swimming and snorkelling, with a coral reef not far from the island where a multitude of colourful fish and corals can be spotted. Whilst some tour companies may provide snorkelling equipment, if you’re heading there alone you’ll have to bring your own. These can be picked up relatively cheaply from the stores around Ao Nang beach prior to departing on the boat, and having your own set is bound to serve you well throughout your trip to Krabi. The calm, clear waters of Poda island also make it a great place to enjoy a spot of kayaking, which are often included in tours but can also be rented from vendors on the island itself.
At around a kilometre in diameter, it’s not hard to traverse the entire island and pick your favourite spot. Arguably the most beautiful view from the island can be enjoyed from the northern shores. From the beach, there’s a fantastic view of a limestone karst standing stretching up out of the sea, the image of which is almost always the one used to sell Poda island to tourists. As well as having soft, sandy beaches, the centre of the island is a mixture of pine trees and palm trees, providing some much-needed shelter from the blazing sun as well as adding those finishing touches of greenery that help to make the island just that little more irresistible.
There’s a small beach bar selling drinks and snacks on the island, but nothing too grandiose. Those who visit on a tour often have lunch included as part of their deal, but those who visit the island independently will have to make their own arrangements, or make do with the limit choice on the island. There is one resort on the island which has bungalow accommodation, but given how easy it is to get to the mainland, there’s not really much point in staying there – it’s perfect for just a day trip.
If your looking to visit Koh Poda and other islands in the region we suggest you look at our page on private charter to Koh Poda here: 4 island trip