Residents of the south end of the island call it Ko Jum (or Jam or Cham), while the northerners call it Ko Phu (or Pu). Local villagers take fierce pride in the two different names.
Ko Jum has three main villages (Ban Ko Pu, Ban Ting Rai, and Ban Ko Jum) and is permanent home of about 1,500 people. On the west side of the island, about 20 resorts provide very simple bungalows.
During high season (late-Oct-late-Apr), ferries between Ko Lanta and Krabi Town call at the island. You must pay the full fare (350 baht) for the full crossing, despite only travelling half way. You pay on board, but pre-booking is recommended as the ferry is often full. Tickets can be bought from travel agencies in Krabi or at the main ferry offices at the old pier on Khong Ka Rd, and from resorts on Ko Jum.
Ko Jum has no jetty or dock. The ferry stops offshore and is met by longtail boats. If you've pre-booked, then a boat from your resort should be there to pick you up; otherwise simply choose a longtail and ask for a lift to shore.
Ferries also run from Laem Kruat to Ko Jum (70 baht for foreigners, 40 min). The first is at 11:30 and the last leaves at 18:00. Do not be late, as if you miss the ferry you will have to hire your own taxi boat, which costs thousands of baht. During the low season, this is the only option to get to Ko Jum.
To get to Laem Kruat, take a bus, taxi, or songthaew from Krabi. The songthaew is blue and white and departs from the Siam Bank near the piers and 7-Eleven, but you can pick it up elsewhere along its route if you happen to see it. Ask the driver for Laem Kruat or Ko Jum, he'll understand. Some songthaews have their destination written on them in English.
If you cannot find a direct songthaew, take one from Krabi to Nua Khlong (maximum 50 baht, minimum 20 baht) and a second from Nua Khlong to Laem Kruat for 50 baht (minimum 40 baht).
Ko Jum is a relatively small island and most of the population gets around on small motorbikes, which can be rented easily. There is also a local taxi service, consisting of a motorbike and sidecar!
The roads in the three villages and between Ban Ting Rai and Ban Ko Jum are concrete and easy to drive on. However, the roads between the north and south are narrow, unsealed, frequently pot-holed and wet, and can be very challenging for inexperienced riders. A taxi ride from the Ko Jum ferry port to most places in the south is 50 baht. A taxi ride to take in all of the island's main places costs 400 baht.
The villages are sights in themselves, with slight differences in their ways of life. Travelling around the island on a motorcycle is a fun and (mostly) safe way of sightseeing.
Most resorts will also be able to arrange day trips with treks up to the top of Mount Pu on the northern part of the island, which has a majestic view of the islands and the Andaman Sea.
Relax in a hammock by the beach. Swim. Walk along the beach. Small hikes. Many people seem to stay here for a long while just to relax and recharge. There are not a lot of other diversions here.
Most guesthouses and resorts on the island have a kitchen, and are happy to cook for you even if you aren't a guest. Just walk down the beach until you get hungry. The meals are good, and the prices decent.
The island only got electricity in 2008 and it's starting to get developed in the southern part. The constant loud noise from bars and party-goers, as on Phi Phi, has not been an issue here, but this will probably change with time. Beer and stronger drinks are available from guesthouses, or from shops in the villages.
Respect the locals by making an effort to keep bottles of alcohol out of view, and keep in mind that many travellers come here to get a quiet break from loud partying.
- Bo Daeng (Hire a taxi to go to Bo Daeng), ☎ +66 81 4948760. Check-in: Any, check-out: Any. Very basic bungalows. Think one step above camping. Have mosquito nets. May have ants and geckos in the room. No fans, so it can get warm on hot nights when sleeping. Five bungalows within five metres of the beach, with a total of about fifteen or so. With or without attached bathroom/showers with squat toilets. Uses solar electricity so lights are usually off by 23:00. Food is a good value with decent prices and portions. The owner, Deela, is the reason many people return often. Many cats around, but it's that or rats. 150-250 baht.
- Bonhomie Beach Cottage, North Beach, Ko Pu (On the north beach. Free pickup with longtail boat at the ferry from Krabi or Ko Lanta), ☎ +66 81 8449069, e-mail: email@example.com. Surrounded by jungle and a couple of other resorts. Nine bungalows with baths, serving all meals and delicious local seafood. Beach volleyball, plenty of hammocks, local trips, and Thai massage can be arranged. Fan and electricity all day. 800-1,000 baht.
- Loma Sea Views (Ban Ko Jum. Call for free pickup from ferry, or take taxi from pier), ☎ +66 86 1208681. Fan bungalows with a great view of the Andaman Sea, just a few stairs from Ao Se Beach in Ting Rai village. Fan bungalows with balcony and bathroom. New, quiet resort without restaurant, but there are plenty quality restaurants within walking distance of this resort. 800 baht.
- New Bungalow (On the SW beach, about 10 min walk to the fishing village). Simple bungalows with and without attached bathroom. Very good restaurant with big portions. Electricity only from 18:00-22:00. 300-800 baht.
- Sunset Beach Bungalows (North Beach, Ko Pu. Free pickup with longtail boat at the ferry from Krabi or Ko Lanta), ☎ +66 83 1825142. Six bungalows with bath, serving all meals and delicious seafood. Plenty of hammocks. Local trips and Thai massage can be arranged. Electricity available in the evening. 500-700 baht.
Some people go to Ko Phi Phi or Ko Lanta via ferry. Otherwise, if you want to go back to Krabi Town, just go back the opposite way you came in. The ferries back towards Krabi Town, via Laem Kruat, sail from 07:15 to 08:00.