We have just visited Ko Lanta.
… our next stop is Koh Mook (aka Ko Muk) …
The currency in Thailand is the Baht (or the ‘THB’). I will refer to them as THBs. At the time of writing, the exchange rates for the major currencies were:
|Published Wholesale Rate||34.24||36.66||41.40|
|Actual Exchange Rate (Wise Debit Card)||34.00||36.40||41.11|
|Actual Exchange Rate (Typical Credit Card)||33.21||35.56||40.16|
|Actual Exchange Rate (ATM)||33.04||35.38||39.95|
You will NOT get this Wholesale Rate … you will get the Actual Exchange Rate:
- Expect to lose about 0.70% if you use a Wise Debit Card.
- Expect to lose about 3.00% if you use a typical Credit Card.
- Expect to lose about 3.50% if you take (the maximum allowed) cash out of an ATM.
For simplicity, think of a THB100 note as being US$3.
PLEASE NOTE: Over time, these exchange rates will change. It is also early 2023 … so inflation will need to be taken into account. Please check the current rates.
It is advised that you check out iVisa before you travel to get the latest entry requirements.
PLEASE NOTE: Requirements may change from time to time without prior notice. Please continue checking with iVisa for the complete current list of entry requirements.
At the time of writing Thailand had no COVID-19, Travel Insurance, nor Exit Ticket requirements … and, their standard Tourist Visa On Arrival (VOA) was 45 days for major country passport holders.
I was already in Ko Lanta, Thailand. You can catch a standard ferry from Saladan Port, Ko Lanta to Koh Mook Port for THB950 / US$27.50. Given that I also had to pay THB250 to get from my hotel to Saladan Port, this is expensive.
Instead, I booked at my Lanta Maikeaw Bungalows hotel. The owner has a friend who runs a ‘4 Islands’ tour.
The boat, then, took us around to Charlie’s Beach. We were dropped off at the beach in 18 inches of water … we were responsible for taking off our own luggage. From Charlie’s Beach, I took a Tuk Tuk to my hotel for THB100 … it was just myself and my luggage. The road to my resort was under construction … so, I had to walk over the hill for the last 250 metres.
Check out 12Go to have a look at your ‘getting there’ options:
Much of the island consists of mangroves, deep jungle and small, charming villages.
WHEN TO GO
The weather for the ‘shoulder’ months between seasons is ‘unpredictable’. The island practically shuts down during ‘Off Season’ … but, you may be lucky with the weather during May.
The busiest months are between November and April. December, January, and February are peak months for ideal weather. Average temperatures are pleasantly in the mid-80s in November and December but then climb progressively to a scorching 103 degrees Fahrenheit or more in late April.
Luckily, a constant breeze will keep you cool as long as you remain close to the sea.
Expect Koh Mook to be ‘almost closed’ in Off Season.
AROUND THE ISLAND
I rented a scooter for a day and toured the island … what can you expect?
Charlie’s Beach is the only good beach that you can easily get to. The rest of the coast is mangroves, mud flats, and cliffs.
There are some nice walking trails. The port town is small and quiet.
Thailand is 220-240V / 60Hz. Power plugs are 2-pin accepting either flat or circular 2-pin plugs. Sometimes, you get the USA-style 3-pin plug.
I always travel with a Universal Power strip that also has USB charging ports. I just swap-out 1 plug (or use a travel adapter) to get all of the power and USB ports that I need for all of my devices.
Power on Koh Mook (during ‘High Season’) is reliable.
MONEY / ATMs
ATM Fees in Thailand are ‘high’ compared to other countries. Foreigners are charged THB220 / US$6.40 to use an ATM. This is in addition to your normal inter-bank transaction and conversion fees.
There is only 1 ATM on the island, so ‘for safety’ bring spending cash or try and pay by Card. Many places accept payment by Credit or Debit Card.
In general, you should not have a problem changing a THB1,000 (US$30) note.
WISE DEBIT CARD
I keep my costs down by using a Wise Debit Card.
RECOMMENDATION: I highly recommend the Wise Debit Card to all travelers.
I used Wise to pay for my travel and accommodation whenever possible … and, pay only 0.70% fees in Thailand.
WHERE TO STAY
You can stay anywhere. All of the ‘action’ is in the main town around the port. If you want ‘beach time’ get near to Charlie’s Beach. Away from Charlie’s Beach, it might be nice to get somewhere with a pool.
PLEASE NOTE: There are a limited number of GRANDPAcking priced accommodation options on Koh Mook. This makes it ‘risky’ to just turn up and ask around for discounts. If you are staying for less than 2 weeks, I suggest that you book in advance as soon as you can see a good discount on something that you like in a good location.
AIRBnB / HOLIDAY RENTALS
AirBnB had no properties listed on Koh Mook.
You should easily be able to find somewhere decent for under THB875 / US$25 per night … you may be able to get it down to THB750 / US$21.50. Some places will include Breakfast at that price.
I find AGODA to be better than BOOKING and HOTELS in this area of Thailand.
RECOMMENDATION: If you are staying in a bungalow, bring a can of mosquito spray … even though you should have a mosquito net over the bed, you’ll need it.
There were few options at GRANDPAcking prices that I liked. I waited, watched, and pounced as soon as a good deal raised its head. I had my eye on the Koh Mook Resort.
This Resort had bad reviews but, after investigation, it was evident that most of these bad reviews dated back to the pre COVID-19 lockdown. I knew that (a) it was far from town and (b) it was far from a good beach … but, it had a great pool and I was happy to do some ‘pool-side’ time (for a change). I guessed that the Resort was under new management and decided to take a chance … how bad could it be? 🙂
They were offering amazing discounts (on paper) with a Standard Villa discounted from US$72 per night to US$20 and a Pool View Villa discounted from US$72 per night down to US$21.
This price included a free Breakfast. I waited until the last minute and got cheaky (and lucky). The day before arrival, prices came down further. I booked a Standard Villa at a ‘last minute’ US$19 per night. It was (said to be) their last one. I went back onto AGODA (to capture a screen shot for this blog) and saw that a Pool View Villa was, now, reduced to US$12 per night! I immediately cancelled the former for free and booked the latter.
It looked like this Resort was vastly under-booked and desperate to get guests … probably because it had such bad reviews.
The Resort rented scooters (for THB250 per day) … so, I knew that I could get away now and again if I wanted to. And, a 1km walk to town centre is not a problem for me.
On check-in, I was given a Pool Side Villa that wasn’t really ‘pool side’ … it was ‘near’ the pool 🙂 It, also, had no internet signal from any of the 3 of the resort’s internet connections. I didn’t really need to use their internet because I had a 70GB High Speed AIS data plan on my mobile (see, below) and there was good internet in the restaurant … but, I wanted to find out what they would do. I asked to change room.
The Resort was full that night … but they moved me the next morning to a Villa nearer to the internet router. I had a strong 5mb/s internet signal and a proper view of the pool … up went my travel hammock!
I didn’t have an outside table, so I just ‘borrowed’ one from next to the pool.
The resort has lots of dogs and puppies. Not a problem for me … I am a dog lover. I left by shoes outside of my Villa on the first night. In the morning one shoe was missing ... I assume that one of the dogs found a new toy 🙂
The Koh Mook Resort does not deserve its poor ratings. I suspect that the problem is the US$72 / night asking price … it sets too high an expectation … and almost guarantees disappointment. Yes, the rooms are simple, ‘tired’, and in need of maintenance. BUT, if you can get a Villa here for US$20 including Breakfast, you should be more than happy.
For ‘Short Term’ accommodation, have a look yourself:
EAT & DRINK
KOH MOOK RESORT
BARS / DRINKS
You should be able to get a large beer in a local bar / restaurant for THB100-THB120, the minimarts around the island want THB90, but the supermarkets in town charge THB65-70.
It is assumed that you will eat in local restaurants.
Expect to pay THB125 for Breakfast with tea/coffee, THB125 for Lunch with a fruit drink, and THB250 for Dinner with a small beer / fruit juice.
Koh Mook has no Public Transport … but the island is small enough to walk to most places.
RENT A SCOOTER
The normal price is THB250 / US$7.50 per day plus petrol. You can rent at this price everywhere. Petrol is THB40-45 per litre.
Expect to pay THB50 per Tuk Tuk from one side of the island to the other (e.g. from Town to Charlie’s Beach).
INTERNET / WIFI
I advise you to get a local Thai SIM Card and Prepaid Package. You can buy these at the airport when you first land in Thailand. At Krabi Airport, TRUE were offering a new 5G SIM with 1 month ‘unlimited’ data, (local) call, text package for THB999. TRUE were also offering a 1 month data only plan with 30GB limited to 1Mbs for THB399.
I decided to wait and find a store in Krabi Town. The 7-Elevens were all selling TRUE packages at the same prices as above.
RECOMMENDATION: Do not get a ‘traveler SIM’ … they are over-priced. If you are staying in Thailand for more than 1 month, download the AIS Mobile App.
AIS are the major provider in Thailand. I had no trouble getting a 4G signal … even in remote places on the islands.
Breakfast was included in my hotel price. I was eating all of my meals in restaurants. I don’t spend a lot of time in bars and I rarely get drunk. As a result, I didn’t do much grocery shopping.
LEAVING KOH MOOK
That said, a GRANDPAcking couple should have no trouble holidaying here on a GRANDPacking Budget.
To keep your accommodation costs down avoid Christmas, New Year, and Easter.
Many GRANDPAckers will enjoy Koh Mook for a short stay.
Could you afford to retire here on a GRANDPAcking budget? YES. Would you want to? NO.