Koh Libong is a Fisherman’s Island in Southern Thailand. It’s near the Malaysian Border… You’ve probably never heard of it before. Tourists in Thailand are always looking for that place that is still untouched, still authentic. This is it.
Those trying to get off the beaten track in Thailand often settle on Koh Lanta or Koh Jum. Those islands are quiet, yes, but they still cater to tourism to a certain degree.
Koh Libong literally has zero tourism. It’s a step back in time and it’s difficult to put into words what you’ll experience on this island. It doesn’t even feel like you’re in Thailand anymore. You really need to see it for yourself.
During our three nights here we only ever met one other western tourist. Children were stopping us in the street to shout hello, with huge smiles when they saw us. There were none of those tacky tourist booths which you might find anywhere else in Thailand.
Humble villagers were happy to help and wanted to get to know you, rather than just trying to sell you something. And we stayed with a local woman who called herself ‘Ma’ and invited us into her homestay.
And if you haven’t heard already; Koh Libong is home to an endangered species. The legendary Dugong. A herd of around one hundred Dugong live in the waters around this island.
Koh Libong Island: Thailand
- Check Speedboat Travel Tickets to Koh Libong
- TRAVEL TO KOH LIBONG FROM OVER 30 DESTINATIONS
- Book Travel Tickets From Koh Lanta to Koh Libong
- Book The Andalay Beach Resort on Koh Libong
- Book The Sunrise Homestay (Ma’s) Guesthouse on Koh Libong
- Charter a Private Longtail Boat to See Dugong, or go Fishing by Calling Tony at +66948048466 (1,000 – 2,000 THB)
- Koh Libong Wiki Travel Page
Koh Libong is different from most of the Thai islands because tourism is not relied upon as the primary source of income. The main income source comes from the local fishermen. This makes Koh Libong a really authentic place to visit.
All our fondest moments from our time in Koh Libong came from the local people we encountered here.
Koh Libong Dugongs
The Dugongs are what lead us to Koh Libong in the first place. The Dugong is like the mascot of Koh Libong. You’ll see murals, paintings, and statues everywhere you look. Local people here take a lot of pride in knowing these sea mammals live in the waters of their island. And I had a goal of meeting one.
The residents of Koh Libong and rangers from the Marine Parks Department all told us that morning was the best time to see the Dugong- between 9am to 11am.
Dugongs are huge mammals and can grow to over ten feet in length. There are a few lookout points on Koh Libong, where, on a clear day, you can see the Dugong from the land. But you’ll have the best chance of seeing a Dugong by chartering a longtail boat.
Dugong have been classed as a vulnerable species with populations dwindling into extinction.
Dugongs are threatened by the loss of seagrass in the oceans which is caused due to coastal development and water pollution. Their diet consists entirely of Sea Grass which used to grow in abundance in the Andaman Sea but is now only found around the waters of Koh Libong.
The next step was figuring out how we were going to meet one.
Koh Libong Dugong Tour
On Koh Libong there are no organised tours. This is not an island that tourists often visit. Meaning there is no such thing as a ‘Koh Libong Dugong Tour’. We needed to find an alternative option.
Dugongs like to swim in shallow waters near the coast, where seagrass is growing. The best time to see them is at high tide on a warm day. When the water is clear Dugong can be seen from the surface feasting on their delicious seagrass. When the weather conditions are poor the Dugong tend to move to deeper waters- and it’s more difficult to spot them.
The weather was poor on our first day looking for Dugong in Koh Libong.
We scoped out both Dugong lookout points with no success. So we decided to charter a longtail boat instead. Locals had warned us there was a slim chance of seeing the Dugong due to the weather but we had little else to do and nothing to lose. So we decided to take our chances anyway and rode our scooters down to the pier.
As luck would have it, as we arrive at the Koh Libong Pier so did a local fisherman returning from a morning squid fishing session.
We got talking with the captain of the boat, Mr Tony. And he offered to take us out on his boat for a couple of hours to look for the Dugong. Again, we were warned that the chances of seeing one were slim.
Tony asked us for just XXX.XX THB to spend a few hours at sea with him. Well under what we were expecting to pay.
Despite being told it was virtually impossible: we saw a Dugong. We were on the water for no more than five minutes before we spotted one!
I think I am incredibly lucky when it comes to meeting wildlife. On a recent trip to Phu Kradung National Park, I managed to have a rare encounter with one of the four elephants in the park. And in Koh Libong, on Tony’s longtail boat- we spotted a Dugong feasting on the sea grass after less than five minutes on the water!
▶ If you’re visiting Koh Libong and want to go to see the Dugong with Tony, here is his(wife’s) phone number: +66948048466.
The water was waist-deep and we could see the Dugong from the surface. Tony cut the boat’s engine and started punting the longtail around with a long wooden pole. So we could get up close with the Dugong. He(the Dugong) would occasionally stick his nose out of the water for a breath of fresh air. We were told that this particular Dugong was named ‘Chompoo’ (which means pink in the Thai Language) and he was known for approaching and befriending the people.
Koh Libong Things to Do
On our first full day on Koh Libong, we’d hiked through the cave system to Point Dugong, chartered a local boat and somehow met an awesome Dugong. So what other things are there to do in Koh Libong.
Point Dugong on Koh Libong
You have to pay a visit to Point Dugong. It is one of the best things to do at Koh Libong. You can see the Dugong from the land here and it’s also totally free to visit.
On Koh Libong there are two viewpoints. One is a lookout tower on the end of the fisherman’s pier climb (which is also one of the best places to watch a sunset on Koh Libong). It’s really easy to find this one just walk to the end of the pier where the staircase leads to the top.
But if you want a better viewpoint to see the Dugongs then “Point Dugong” is the place to be.
We weren’t lucky enough to see any Dugong from either lookout- but the short hike to the top of the cliff at Pont Dugong made it worth going regardless. The trail leads to the top of a rock formation passing through a cave system to reach the top.
To get to point Dugong you’ll need to ride a scooter to the start of the trail. It’s signposted and really easy to find. There is a massive statue of a Dugong which you’ll encounter in the parking lot. Other than a young local couple hanging out there was literally no one else here.
When you arrive at Point Dugong there are two trails you can take. The first leads down onto a huge viewing deck jetting out over the sea. The deck is built from natural resources and can be reached by claiming down a short staircase.
After looking for Dugong from the lower deck there is a short hike (20 minutes) to get to the top deck. The trail is simple to follow and passes through a cave system. There are some steep inclines along the path and ropes have been tied between the trees to help you climb to the top.
There is not much light in the Koh Libong Caves and some sections are almost pitch black. Make sure you head back through the cave before the sun goes down otherwise it can quickly become unsafe.
You’ll have an epic view once you reach the summit of Point Dugong on Koh Libong Island. And if you’re lucky enough you’ll be able to spot Dugong swimming in the ocean from here.
Rent a Scooter
We rented our scooters in Trang and rode to Koh Libong, taking them on the Longtail boat. But scooters can also be rented on Koh Libong island itself at the main pier. The cost is around 200 Baht per day and it’s the best option for getting around on the island. We spent the best part of the day just riding around with our hammocks stored in our bikes- stopping at any place which looked nice to chill for a while.
Koh Libong is a Fishing Island. So why not get yourself involved in the local culture and head out on a fishing trip? Fishing is done in the open waters from longtail boats. There are no fishing tours on the island so you’ll need to meet a fisherman on the island who is willing to take you.
We were offered to spend a morning Squid Fishing for 1,200 Baht all in.
Captains typically leave early in the morning around 6.00 am and return late morning (with a bunch of squids). The best way to charter a boat is to head to the pier late morning when the captains are returning. You can negotiate a deal with a local captain to take you along the next morning. Or contact Tony on +66948048466.
The Stone Bridge and Waterfall
The Stone Bridge is Koh Libong’s only tourist attraction. And calling it that is a stretch. It’s an interesting place to visit but 20 minutes or so is enough time to spend there. The rocks have naturally formed into the shape of a bridge and there is a short tunnel from the beach into the sea. There is a waterfall a few meters behind the Stone Bridge.
The Stone Bridge is listed on Google Maps but finding your way there is tricky. There is a small unmarked track leading from the road to the beach. You can drive halfway and then there is a natural ‘staircase’ down to the beach.
Hang Out at The Beach
You can guarantee a beach to yourself on Koh Libong. The sand might not be white like the other islands nearby but you’ll have complete peace if you want to spend a day chilling on the beach.
The best beaches on Koh Libong are:
- Sea Cucumber Beach
- Stone Beach (Tung Yaka Beach)
- Juhoil Beach
- Mariam’s Beach (Panyang beach)
Day Tours From Koh Libong
Koh Libong is the largest island in Trang Province. But there are three other neighbouring islands too.
- Koh Mook
- Koh Kradan
- Koh Ngai
These three small islands are where you’ll find clear blue waters and perfect white sand beaches. There are some great snorkelling spots around these islands and Koh Mook is home to the ‘Emerald Cave’ which can be accessed at low tide. There are hotels on all three of these islands so I recommended visiting the other islands after leaving Koh Libong, and staying the night. But it’s also possible to take a day tour there if you have limited time.
There are no arranged tours from Koh Libong so you’ll have to go about things the old-fashioned way. By heading to the pier and negotiating with a local boat captain to take you out on his Longtail Boat.
How to Get to Koh Libong
We travelled to Koh Libong the local way, renting scooters in Trang and riding down to the pier. We took a longtail boat from mainland Trang to Koh Libong and our scooters were loaded onto the boat too.
You can also travel to Koh Libong on the speedboat and there are daily connections from a ton of other islands.
We’ve found 12Go to be the best site to book travel connections in the region- if you don’t want to ride to the pier yourself.
Trang is the easiest place to connect to Koh Libong. The city centre is around 45 kilometres from the pier (Haad Yao Pier).
You can get to Haad Ya Pier (Koh Libong Pier) from Trang by taxi or by riding a scooter. There is not much public transport in the area. It was rumoured that one bus runs each day and leaves from Trang Train Station but I cannot confirm this. A taxi should cost somewhere around 500 Baht.
Longtail Boats run from Trang to Koh Libong throughout the day. There is no fixed schedule and the boats leave once they are full. If you don’t want to wait you can pay somewhere in the region of 500 Baht for a private boat.
We were able to take our rented motorbikes on the boat to Koh Libong. However, I will admit that I was terrified I’d be paying the rental shop for the full cost of the bike. As I watched the two locals lift the bike by hand and shuffle it off the end of the pier onto the longtail boat I had visions of the thing dropping and sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
It takes about 15 minutes on the boat to get from Haad Yao Pier in Trang to Koh Libong island.
|Local Boat to Koh Libong Prices|
|FORIENG ADULT:||100 THB|
|THAI ADULT:||50 THB|
There is also a speedboat operated by SiriLanta which travels from Phuket to Langkawi each day and stops at pretty much all of the Andaman Islands along the route. Phuket, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi, Mook, Ngai, Lipe, etc, etc.
Getting Around Koh Libong
Our motorbikes arrived safely at Koh Libong after being transported by a longtail boat.
Renting a Scooter is the local way to get around in Koh Libong; there aren’t many other options. You’ll have the freedom to explore the island at your own pace. You can rent a bike on the island. But we chose to rent the bike in Trang and take it over to Koh Libong on the Longtail Boat. Koh Libong is a good place to learn to ride a scooter.
Fuel can be purchased on the island in plastic bottles for about 40 Baht a litre, making it one of the cheapest ways to get around the island too.
If you want to rent a scooter with a sidecar and driver then Jadaat is a local on the island who can provide that service. You can contact her at +66920023725.
Where To Stay at Koh Libong (Koh Libong Hotels)
There are a ton of Homestay’s on Koh Libong! But most are not listed online. Koh Libong is one of the few places in Thailand where you can just book somewhere to stay when you arrive.
Here are the top three accommodation choices for Koh Libong.
Sunrise Homestay Koh Libong
Sunrise Homestay Koh Libong – We stayed at the Sunrise Homestay and it was the best choice we could have made. Our host ‘Ma’ was the sweetest, most caring woman ever. She made our stay so memorable. I couldn’t publish this post about Koh Libong without mentioning her. Every morning when we woke she’d jump onto her motorbike and race into the town to pick us up fresh doughnuts and coffee.
Ma was born on Koh Libong, her family have lived on the island for seven generations and she has spent a lifetime there. Her Daughter and Son-In-Law live on the island too and are well-known in the local community. But I got the impression she was quite lonely and opening her home to tourists gives her some company. You won’t regret staying at Sunrise Homestay.
Her home is incredibly clean and has three air-conditioned guestrooms and her suite. You can call Ma on +66869967120 if you want to book a night at her homestay. The cost was around 600 Baht per night.
Update: Her home is now listed on Agoda and you can book it right here: https://www.agoda.com/koh-libong-sunrise-homestay/hotel/all/trang-th.html
Andalay Beach Resort Koh Libong
Andalay Beach Resort – There are two main resorts on Koh Libong island with Andalay Beach Resort ($$$) being the most popular. If you like your home comforts then this is the best place to stay in Koh Libong. You’ll find peace with the seafront view from the rooms and access to the swimming pool too. The other alternative is the Koh Libong Dugong Resort ($$).
Laem Nai House (Koh Libong Glamping)
If camping is something you’re into, consider staying at Laem Nai House. We stumbled across this place by accident while exploring Koh Libong on Scooters. The Tee-Pee-style tents are right on the seafront in a secluded area of Koh Libong. Highly Recommended. There is no online booking for these tents so you’ll have to negotiate a price when you arrive.
Eating and Drinking on Koh Libong
There are very few restaurants on Koh Libong, however, two places really stood out to us as ‘Must Visit’ spots on Koh Libong. There are also restaurants located at the end of the main pier and at the Andalay Beach Resort, (you don’t need to be a guest).
Cool Coffee Cart
Coffee in Thailand can be hit and miss.
But a cup of coffee from the Cool Coffee Cart packs a punch. Honestly the best coffee I’ve ever drunk in Thailand. Proper Arabica Press coffee was the last thing I expected to find at Koh Libong.
“You did it! Congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee! Great job, everybody! It’s great to be here.”
You’ll find the cart parked up next to the local market, in the mornings between 700am to 1100am.
You have to try their latte, and their hot green tea is amazing.
Ja-Nhai Seafood Restaurant
Asides from breakfast which Ma, our host brought for us every morning we ate most of our meals at the Ja-Nhai seafood restaurant. You’ll find it located nearby the ‘Dugong Pier’ and the restaurant overhangs the ocean.
The menu is typical Thai food and the seafood is caught fresh on the island daily.
The views are what made this restaurant stand out so much. The restaurant is built from wood and bamboo. The seating is at floor level and your legs dangle from the end of the pier while you’re eating your dinner. Listen to the ocean and see the fish swimming right below you.
How Long Should You Stay at Koh Libong
We didn’t have a set time frame for how long we were going to stay on Koh Libong. The only goal was to meet a Dugong which we achieved (pretty quickly)😅 We ended up staying for three nights in the end which was the perfect amount of time to explore the island.
Koh Libong Tips and FAQs
- ATM: There ARE ATMs on Koh Libong near the main pier there are two ‘Pink’ ATMs (Government Savings Bank) where you can withdraw cash the same as you would anywhere else in Thailand.
- Phone Signal: AIS is the only Thai Network which has a signal on Koh Libong. Make sure to buy a Thai SIM Card in advance. DTAC and TRUE do not have reception on Koh Libong.
- Alcohol: Koh Libong’s population is Muslim, so it is difficult to find alcohol on the island. But not impossible. There is one small shop where you can buy bottled Chang and Leo Beer. It’s fine to drink a beer or two in the evening here- but Koh Libong is not a place to party.
- Libong means ‘Palm Tree’ in Malaysia.
Koh Libong Contacts
- Jadaat – Local Taxi Driver: +66920023725
English and Thai Speaking.
- Tony – Longtail Boat Captain (Dugong Tours, Island Tours and Fishing): +66948048466
His wife should answer the call, Thai Speaking with Little English.
- ‘Ma’ – Local Homestay Owner on Koh Libong: +66869967120
Does not speak any English.