Last visited December 2012
Outlook from the main eastern beach on Ngai is pretty sweet – small karst islands in foreground, Ko Muk middle background, Ko Libong far right background and mainland far far background. This is all reflected light at sunset – camera is pointing east away from the sun. This shot will probably look pretty nice if you click-expand.
Ngai is one of the Trang Islands and is about 15km southeast of Koh Lanta and less than 10km northwest of Ko Muk. Trang (top right is) the main regional town with a station and airport. If coming by boat, the Trang island daytrip boats and several daytrip longtails come down from Lanta each morning, Tigerline arrives from Phuket and via Phi Phi and Lanta in the morning and from Hat Yao (origin Langkawi via Ko Lipe) in the afternoons. Some resort transfer boats come from the mainland pier at Pak Meng, others from the smaller pier at Kuan Thung Khu east of Ko Muk (modified Google Earth image).
3 This is the SOUTHERN-MOST 900m OR SO OF MAIN BEACH from about 150m north of Sea Food resort (adjacent longtail boats). You can see the water is getting shallow at lower tide levels to left of camera but once you reach Sea Food swimming it’s okay at low tide providing you wade out a fair bit. However there are some rocks in the water just off the beach at low tide here and off Hai Villa a bit further south - at high tide there is a good 20m of sandy bottom before the rocks and the water depth means you are swimming by this stage.
You need to get down to around Mayalay Resort a bit further south of Hai Villa at the start of the far half of this shot to ensure mostly sand, few rocks at low tide. The water is deeper too but you still need to wade out for good swimming. The beach and water is not too much inferior adjacent Fantasy and Thanya further south. Near the far headland there are more rocks in the water and it gets a bit shallower low tide.
Useful point for people staying at nearby Coco Hut and Thapwarin and more distant places similarly without pools - the lady managing Cliff Resort told me outsiders are welcome to use this pool if they buy some food or drink at the pool cafe. Okay, big Changs were an extra 30 over budget Ko Ngai Villa along the beach but the toasted sandwiches with chips considerably cheaper (and better). Only downside - the pool is at the very top of the resort which can be tough going for the less fit. But a great place to spend time.
Ao Mung is unsettled, rockier and has lots of storm debris. The bay is a popular anchorage for fishing boats.
Sorry about SUNEST (Sunset) Point but it takes me too long to change one of these images.
From Main Beach the start of the track used to be simple – it ran up the southern side of Fantasy resort. Now that Thanya resort occupies this land you need to walk in alongside Thanya’s restaurant at right – the track goes up the hill in the area of the smoke. Thanya's staff seem used to outsiders seeking this track.
It climbs a short but often steep rainforest slope across the saddle here. After about 5 minutes it meets the track from Koh Ngai Resort which starts up past that resort’s staff quarters and generator – just follow the power lines for a time, don't take the branch to the left to the VIEWPOINT (unless you want to go to the viewpoint. I recently got a message suggesting that this track is badly overgrown. I didn't have time to check it).
The main track from Ngai Resort is much steeper, longer and goes higher than the one from Thanya – it meets the track from Thanya after a downhill section. The intersection is unsignposted these days, unlike my previous trip – turn left.
Fortunately the route to the start of the track within Ko Ngai Resort is well signposted from reception near the pier. Reception can also give you a photocopy of the route – a bit rudimentary but helpful.
The track to Sunset Point starts at the western end of Paradise Beach immediately behind camera in pic 11 up page. It goes thru the National Park Headquarters area – stick to the path between the buildings and the sea, not behind them.
ACCOMMODATION ON KO NGAI
Note Villa's website shows my bungalow at 800 that time of year (so I got a discount!), aircon jobs at 1800 and 2000 (strewth!) and guesthouse family rooms in a longhouse which can sleep 4 for 1000. Prices are reduced low season (June 1 to Oct14! That's one short low season) by 20 to 35%.
One exception may be the BBQ with candle-lit tables on the sand which Camping put on each night This attracted a crowd of similar people and cheapskates like me – I got a thick and tasty barracuda steak plus rice for 125 baht which compares nicely to Villa’s 160 club sanga and less expensive than similar meals I've had on other islands. Interestingly Camping’s a la carte menu was a bit more expensive than Villa’s – about the same as Seafood’s.
UPDATE - all that above speculating was in my April 2012 rewrite. As it turned out, I didn't stay at any of the those joints. Kongai Cliff Beach Resort's pool and great views from the rooms won out and the joint was affordable to cheapskate me on account of my booking site credit dollars and the fact that at time of booking it wasn't too much more expensive than the other more upmarket joints.
The usual Trang island longtail trips are available – all resorts can put these on. Usually called 4 island trips they include snorkeling around the small karst islets offshore plus a visit to Ko Muk’s fabulous EMERALD CAVE and some beach time on one of the other nearby islands, probably Ko Kradan or Ko Mook. Whith a bit of luck you may get to snorkel the south-east reef at Kradan which I reckon is the best close to Ngai (note I haven't been to Ko Rok). On my latest trip I found the kast island snorkelling had slipped a bit with only so so coral. Ko Kradan was better but not the good stuff I remember from the past. But less travelled snorkellers will enjoy these places and there is no shortage of fish (although few mid-size and big fish). The cave is very good value and involves a swim up a flooded tunnel to a cavern where the roof has collapsed to form a cliff ringed lagoon, complete with small beach, rain-forested sides and emerald water from the limestone content. Or reflection. Or something. See the photos on the Muk page.
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.
In December 2012 I hopped on Phetphaillin's daytrip boat as it called in at Ngai to drop passengers off from Lanta - I went the short distance to Ko Kradan just south. Except the captain decided to vary his route and stop 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.
You can charter a longtail if you arrive too late for your resort's transfer boat or the public ferry but this will cost a bomb. I'm thinking 1500 in 2012 prices.
That same Trang minivan station has hourly public vans down to the Hat Yao pier where you can pick up Tigerline, although Tigerline has its own van transport from various places in Trang.
I'm not sure if the travel agents across from Trang station arrange their van/ferry transfers via the other pier at Kuan Thung Khu, or by Pak Meng and the public boat.
The Trang Island daytrip boat (Phetphailin) has been bringing people down to Ngai 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.
Lady Tezza and I came down from southern Lanta in Dec 2012 on a dayrip longtail for 450 baht.
I usually like to end my page with a sunset/sunrise shot but .......
Julie's Trip Report from December 2012
If you visit Ngai you might also be interested in nearby:
KO LIBONG-HAT YAO
KO LAO LIANG
People going thru Trang will find some basic information on the Ko Kradan page.
If you see mistakes or have new/extra info not big enough for a TRIP REPORT, please post it below.
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.