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Friday, October 2, 2015

Thian Ok Beach Koh Tao, Thailand

Thian Ok Beach; image of tropical paradise

 Thian Ok Beach is quite unusual for Koh Tao, and quite special.  Here the beach has flat land behind, and this is almost fully occupied by a single, sprawling resort that keeps the area as a park-like coconut grove.  It is especially beautiful, and their accommodations here are quite elite. There is a restaurant, bar and beach club, all part of Jamahkiri, the resort lucky enough to have such a beautiful spot almost to itself. Almost to itself, but not quite all – because there is just one other small bungalow establishment on this beach, Rocky Resort, and a few private bungalows at the far west end of the beach.

The look of paradise:  Coconut palms shade the 300 metres of sand here and lush green hills stand tall on three sides behind.  Clear water gently laps at the sand, from which interesting, low trees grow, creating shady niches for beach-lovers, and lovers – it's the classic look of a tropical paradise. Perhaps the only thing that holds off complete perfection is the shallow water.  The standard offshore reef keeps this bay full of sand and coral rubble, and at low spring tides the bay dries out completely, exposing dead coral and sand flats.  Only at high tide is there enough water for swimming.

Getting to Thian Ok Beach is not nearly as difficult as getting to some of the other beaches on Koh Tao.  In 2012 the road was in reasonable condition, and the rough patches were no real danger to motorcycles.  Thian Ok lies in the far southeast of the island, facing the same direction. From high vantage points you can see Koh Phangan, some 33 kilometres to the south. Koh Samui, 54 kilometres off in the same direction, can be seen in clear weather.

 Just two accommodations on Thian Ok; 1 luxury, 1 basic

Jamahkiri Spa Resort is certainly one of the most beautiful and up-market sorts on Koh Tao. It occupies one of the most stunning beaches here, yet this is only the beach club and accommodation annex to the main resort, which sits high on the adjoining headland among boulders and trees. The swimming pool and most public areas sit near the top of the hill, with great views across ocean, bay and beach. As the photos show, the buildings, walkways and pool have been crafted to fit into the island's beautiful rocky landscape. This also has the luxury of a private jetty below.
Rocky Resort, which sits on the rocky shore of the headland below Jamahkiri, offers basic bungalows with a nice view down the beach.