The fishing villages of Ao Salad and Ao Yai lie at the respective ends of the main road in the north east and south east of the island. They are the only developments of any kind on the east coast. Both are very much working villages, with a mixture of Thai and Cambodian residents and most if not all families involved with the fishing industry in some shape or form. Neither village offers places to stay bar some basic homestay, though the solitary resort, Baan Ao Salad has recently opened at the bottom of the hill down to Ao Salad.
As a window onto island local life in this part of the world, you will find no better example than these two villages. Thankfully, neither village has yet developed into a diving or snorkeling base catering to Koh Kood’s increasing number of visitors.
Tourism is, however, just starting to change things in Ao Yai, with the appearance of several seafood restaurants cheek by jowl at one end of its long wooden walkway. Only time will tell if this is the fishing villages’ first tentative steps to becoming Koh Kood’s version of modern day Bang Bao in Koh Chang.
The road to Ao Salad
With the central area of Klong Chao Beach behind you and having passed the police station, hospital and gas station, you reach the first crossroads. Swing a right here and shortly after, the road reaches a junction by the local vegetable shop. This offer you an option of a right turn or straight-on, with the straight-on choice ending at Klong Mad.
By taking the right fork instead, you start out across the island to Ao Salad, up and down hills, passing through the forest, with just the odd collection of houses and even a resort, Koh Kood Little Hut. After a couple of kilometres, there is a right turn for a little back road which surprisingly leads to a public library and then brings you back out at the old electricity generator near the police station, a back route loop.
Ignoring that turn and continuing on further, another local shop marks the spot where you should veer to the left to continue onto Ao Salad. Going straight on here reaches the track to the ancient trees and Huang Nam Keaw waterfall and beyond that, a dead end.
Once more, you will find yourself pretty much alone on the road, though you do pass a left turn, which is the back road from Klong Mad and gives access to Klong Yai Kee waterfall.
After a good ten kilo meters, you drop down a steep hill past the turning to the new Ban Suan Ao Salad Resort to arrive at the village. It’s a fabulous bay, with the narrow road running alongside the roofs of the stilted houses beneath and a temple complete with 30 metre Buddha covering the ground up above. Narrow paths allow you to drop down to the jetty which serves as the pavement and motorbike route for the villagers, houses on one side, boats, moored up ready for the next trip out to sea, on the other.
There are no souvenir shops or ticket shops for snorkel trips, just the odd local store and at the very northern end of the walkway, Ao Salad Seafood restaurant, which has homestay should you need it. On the top road at the start of the village, Kraten Seafood is another spot for lunch, also offering a place to stay, with lovely views out across the bay. In the next cove around to the south, there is another resort, Koh Kood Island Resort, only really used by Thai packages.
Address : Ao Salad Pier, which is on the east coast