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Thai island makes a virtue of simplicity

Koh Mak may be a model for sustainable tourism

Thailand's remote Koh Mak island boasts the hallmarks of a tropical paradise. (Photos by Ron Emmons unless specified otherwise)

KOH MAK, Thailand -- On a map, Koh Mak looks like a splotch of spilled ink in the Gulf of Thailand, close to Thailand's maritime border with neighboring Cambodia, with splashes stretching to the north, south, east and west.

Yet as the forested island comes into view for travelers arriving by boat, it bears all the hallmarks of a tropical paradise -- swaying palms bordering empty beaches, tasteful resorts tucked away behind dense vegetation and clear waters lapping the long, sandy shore.

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