Why Koh Mak instead of a more known island or place?
Koh Makis a bit out of the norm in Thailand. More than 80% of the land is owned by 5 families here on the island. These families have some influence on local events.
Those that live on Koh Mak permanently or at least during the main season (October - March/April) and integrate will notice after one or two seasons that they start being part of local life. Everyone knows everyone. You meet again and again at the usual places. Be it Tuesday at the market, sunset at Banana or breakfast at Rod's.
A ride on the motorcycle (or golf car) will not happen without you crossing at least 10 people that you greet. Maybe you participate at the activities of the Trash Heros that meet every Saturday to clear beaches from plastic. Or you help out at the animal clinic that, thanks to Heather, is taking care to catch and take care of the stray dogs. Or you participate in the recurring events when corals get planted.
You will soon realize that distances here are perceived differently than what you are used to. 3.5 kilometers to Banana for a sunset beer or a Piña Colada appear very far. Really. With a golf car that runs max 30 km/h that is already 8 to 10 minutes. That feels very far. Pretty much the furthest you can drive is 9 kilometers. But then you crossed the whole island from west (Hidden Beach or Maruey Beeach) to Laem Son at the opposite east. You can already plan a stopover :-).
On Koh Mak we have approximately 74 farangs. Most of them (33) from Germany. 9 from UK. 6 from Switzerland, 5 from France, 4 from Austria, two each from Canada, USA, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Italy. One each from Spain, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, and Philippines. 21 are farangs that stay here all year. 52 are here by the season (mostly October to March/April). Many tourist that come back for their regular short holiday also come from these countries. They come for 2 to 4 weeks and after a while you also get t know them.