Koh Phangan island is a midsized island that stretches approximately over 168 sq km in area. Some seventy percent of its topography is mountainous, while much of the rest consists of beautiful beaches and coconut grooves. Although it is small in size, the island offers numerous attractions, drawing visitors from all over the world to experience its eye catching natural features and magical scenery.
One of the major attractions in Koh Phangan island is its infamous and magnificent moon parties that regularly attract hordes of tourists. The island generally has three moon party venues where locals and visitors can engage in revelry on a weekly basis. The three moon parties – full moon, half moon and black moon, each at their own venue – are the pride and joy of the island. These moon parties have turned Koh Phangan island into a major tourist attraction as well as a major entertainment hub in southern Thailand.
The Koh Phangan beaches are of course a popular attraction to many local and foreign tourists.This is because they offer a relaxing environment where holidaymakers can just sit back and lighten up and escape from the normal bustle of everyday life. The waters are calm and hence ideal for relaxing swims, while the beaches are not too crowded, offering a peaceful and quiet environment for relaxation. Not all the beaches on Koh Phangan Island have been developed: visitors who explore beyond the built up areas can find unique and serene locations where they can just kick back and relax.
Most of the coastal waters around the beaches at Koh Phangan island harbor live coral formations, which visitors can snorkel and dive on with great ease. The north-western coast of the island has especially rich coral reefs supporting a diversity of marine life, providing some magical views for divers. Visitors can also take fishing trips or take part in a variety of beach and water sports for example kayaking and beach volleyball.
Koh Phangan island also offers a wide range of affordable accommodation ranging from beach resorts and hotels to bungalows and villas. Prior booking should however be made to avoid missing out on the most comfortable accommodation, especially at peak times during the moon party cycle.
Wok Tum Bay
The Wok Tum bay is a wide sweeping bay, which has most of its accommodations clustered behind a break-water located at the southern end of the bay. The bay is located on the western coast of the popular Koh Phangan Island. The break water is ideal for keeping the waters at the beach near the resorts calm, but has the disadvantage of disrupting the scenic view of the ocean.
Wok Tum bay is one of the serene and quiet bays that lie in the undeveloped areas of the island coast.
It is ideal for visitors on vacation at the Thai coast who value tranquility or for those looking for a peaceful and quiet place to escape to. The area is largely untouched by the tourism sector, and so retains an authentic Thai atmosphere.
The beach is a long stretch of soft sand but is mostly ideal for sunbathing or for secluded relaxing barefoot strolls along the coastline. Wok Tum bay has cool and calm waters that may be good for swimming at different periods, although they may not be completely favorable. This is because of the break water constructed some few hundred meters out to sea, which limits wave action at the beach. However, the breakwater supports coral formation and hence the bay is a favorable spot for snorkeling, although the reefs are fairly distant from the beach.
Accommodation at the Wok Tum bay is generally comprised of a few beach resorts and hotels together with a host of long term houses available for rent. The bay is therefore ideally suited to visitors on long term vacations and for those who are looking for a quiet place to escape and unwind—attracting, for example, older folk who may not be so comfortable at the more crowded or youth-oriented areas around the island.
Thong Sala is the main town on Koh Phangan Island, and much of its population is comprised of the many visitors passing through as they head to other beaches on the island. The visitors who stop are generally staying close by, unless they are there because they need to kill a few hours as they wait for their boats or tour buses to arrive.
There are plenty of activities that one can engage in to keep busy while waiting. These include a cinema, a paintball battle field and a gym where visitors can learn a few Thai boxing lessons. The town also has everything that any visitor may require including banks, ATMs, money exchange stalls and supermarkets. There are also countless travel agencies and rental agencies for cars, jeeps or bikes. And then there are the tourist shops, cyber cafes, restaurants and bars.
Accommodation at Thong Sala mainly consists of several impersonal hotels and a range of guesthousesthat are friendly but not very comfortable. It is hence advisable to try the resorts that are closest to the beach, because they are both better in value and closer to the sea, providing an extra advantage to those who are in Thong Sala waiting for an early ferry departure.
For most visitors, though, Thong Sala is ideal mostly for carrying out various activities and stocking up on essentials before departing for your vacation at another beach on the island.
Thong Nai Pan Beach
The eastern part of Koh Phangan island is perhaps the wildest, and is generally characterized by carefully secluded beaches hidden between the soaring cliffs and forests at the coast. The beaches in the region can only be accessed by boat via the sea or by foot through the jungle. A good example is Thong Nai Pan beach, which provides a perfect getaway for those looking for a place to relax
in a natural open beach paradise. To the north of this area are the twin bays of Thong Nai Pan Yai and Thong Nai Pan Noi. These are among the most beautiful of all the beaches in the Koh Phangan Island with their numerous natural attractions. The jungle clad highlands surrounding Thong Nai Pan offer lovely, picturesque scenery with many types of trees, bushes and bird species. The gorgeously curved bays also make a lovely setting on the eastern coast of the Thai gulf.
Thong Nai Pan Noi is the smaller of the two beaches, and also the more visited. The beach is a gorgeous semicircle-shaped cove with a stretch of lovely white sand that is encircled by rocky and tree covered headlands and a forest clad mountain in the background that creates an eye-catching sight. The water is pristine and is perfect for relaxing swims, especially at the northern and central part of the beach. The beach has a variety of bars, restaurants and resorts that offer quality and affordable accommodation.
Thong Nai Pan Yai on the other side is twice as long as its Nai Pan sister, with more spaced resorts. It is quieter and more secluded, and therefore perfect for visitors searching for an area of tranquility surrounded by nature. It is a long and gently curving cove with magical clear blue waters that are perfect for swimming and kayaking around its headland. It has lovely soft sand where the tourists can sunbathe or enjoy relaxing barefoot strolls.
The scene is made all the lovelier by the steeply rising green hills surrounding the beach. Between them, the Thong Nai Pan beaches make a magical holiday destination, enjoyed by discerning tourists from around the world.
Than Sadet Beach
Than Sadet beach is on the eastern coast of the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand, to the south of the beaches at Thong Nai Pan. The waters at the Haad Sadet beach are also very calm, with the beaches characterized by long stretches of soft white sand. The beach is also rather secluded with only a few tourists vacationing in the area. All things considered, Than Sadet beach has a laid back feeling that makes it a favorable spot for tourists to relax and chill out.
The clear blue waters of the Than Sadet beach are calm and sheltered, ideal for taking a refreshing swim, while you take a break from just laying your towel and relaxing as you sunbathe under the warm rays of the afternoon sun. Tourists at the beach can also take barefoot walks along the beach or watch the magical sunsets in the horizons in the evenings. It is also a popular spot for norkeling as there are some coral reefs just a few meters off the coast.
The green cliffs to the north of the beach provide a good view as well as cool shade from the sun, where visitors can relax while escaping from the direct light. Another popular attraction at Than Sadet beach is Than Sadet National park, and its centerpiece, the waterfall at Than Sadet, where a series of small rivers tumbles down the rocks of the nearby hills. The waterfall and the park presents magical and picturesque scenery and is just a few minutes’ walk away from the beach.
Apart from visitors in tour buses from other beaches stopping for a view of the beach and the waterfall, Than Sadet beach is fairly secluded. There are just a few visitors staying at the local hotels. This means that the beach is an perfect little getaway from the other crowded and noisy beaches such as the Haad Rin. The accommodation facilities at the beach provide good lodging coupled with a mix of tasty cuisines that includes local dishes, seafood and a host of other recipes from different regions around the globe.
Sri Thanu Beach
Sri Thanu beach is located in the Ban Sri Thanu region, which is the market center for the north western and western parts of Koh Phangan Island. The village at Sri Thanu beach maintains a more traditional Thai feel compared to other areas on the Island. The beach is comprised of two parts—the south busy, with local fishermen at work; and the north quiet and shaded, with palm groves that were planted to prevent erosion and provide some shade. The southern part Sri Thanu is generally characterized by a fleet of local fishing boats that anchor at the beach. These boats have a detrimental effect to the waters in the middle and southern part of the beach and hence these areas are not ideal for swimming. The sound of industrious fishermen working their boats at anchorage is attractive in context, but hardly conducive to the normal relaxing atmosphere of a holiday getaway.
Fortunately, the northern part of the Sri Thanu beach is better equipped for relaxation, and for engaging in beach activities. The deep waters and nearby coral reef make it perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is also a calm place for sunbathing under the sun since much of the beach is un-shaded, although there are a few palm groves dotting the area where you can take a relaxing nap. All the same, it is advisable to pack a hat and plenty of sun-block when visiting this beach.
Sri Thanu beach has a host of accommodations at its northern end that range from bungalows and villas to hotels and beach resorts. The southern end might not be ideal for beach pursuits, but the rocky surface provides a lovely view of the sea and the headland. Visitors can also be attracted to watching some of the local fishermen at work on their long boats.
Sarikantang beach is located at the western end of Koh Phangan Island, and is also commonly known as Leela beach. It is a lovely white sandy stretch, lined by beautiful palm groves, that follows the western coast of the Haad Rin peninsula. Sarikantang is therefore an ideal alternative to the hustle and bustle of Haad Rin beach, but with the option of engaging in the same thriving nightlife just a few minutes’ walk away. That makes Sarikantang beach perfect for those looking for a quiet place to kick back and relax during the day while having easy access to a lively night party scene in the evenings.
The palm trees at Sarikantang beach provide a cool and relaxing shade where visitors can take relaxing naps away from the hot bright sun. The rising rocky headlands lining the beach give a picturesque tropical feel and make a magical scene. The beach is perfect for sunbathing and a range of other fun activities such as engaging in a game of beach volleyball or soccer.
Sarikantang beach also has shallow, cool and clear turquoise waters that are ideal for floating or splashing around in, or for swimming in the high tides when the water is fairly deep. The beach also has some lovely corals off its western end, with colorful marine life that provides an ideal spot for snorkeling.
The hotels and beach resorts in the area are among the best in the region and offer excellent lodging and sumptuous meals at affordable prices. Sarikantang beach is ideal for escaping from the crowded Haad Rin beach for a peaceful and relaxing time. Its visitors are predominantly young, and so beach parties have been known to spring up from time to time!
Mae Haad Beach
The Mae Haad beach can be found on the quiet northwest corner of Koh Phangan Island.
The beach is lovely, strategically placed on a spit that runs all the way out to Ko Ma, which is a small jungle islet lying just off the island coast.
Crossing the sea to the islet can best be done at low tide as it is rather tricky, but the route is well mastered by the locals, who will be happy to guide you. The jungle islet is a popular attraction with lovely sceneries for visitors, and provides an adventurous trail in the dense tree and shrub cover.
The sand bar separates Mae Haad beach into two distinctive parts. The eastern part of the beach is relatively short and is rarely used by vacationing tourists. This is because the beach generally gets muddy during low tides and anyway is normally busy with local fishermen working their long boats and crab pots.
The western part of Mae Haad beach is longer and much lovelier, often flocked by numerous tourists searching for a spot to spread their towels and sunbathe in the gentle warm sun. Here, long stretches of soft white sands extend to the calm sea waters.
The beach is perfect for taking peaceful naps and sunbathing, or engaging in beach games. When you are ready to hit the waves, the clear, cool and calm waters are perfect for taking a refreshing dip. Offshore, there are a number of coral formations, making the beach ideal for snorkeling. The seafloor then drops just beyond the reef and is hence perfect for swimming regardless of tidal conditions. Mae Haad beach is only a short walk from the Wang Sai waterfall, where magical scenery surrounds calm waters where visitors can take relaxing freshwater swims.
The beach has a thriving and buzzing night life with occasional all night techno parties being held at the local bars and nightclubs. Mae Haad beach also has a variety of accommodation facilities ranging from low income hotels to some modest lodgings.
Hin Kong Bay
The Hin Kong bay is found on the western stretch of the Koh Phangan coastline at the northern end of the Wok Tum bay. The northern and southern beaches of the Hin Kong bay are named differently because they are periodically divided from each other by a small river canal that empties into the sea from October to March. Being set in the quiet and undeveloped coastal part of
the Koh Phangan Island, the beach is relatively remote, and doesn’t receive a lot of tourists.
Hin Kong bay is generally inhabited by the local Thai communities and long term renters. It also has a host of low budget bungalows available for short term occupation by tourists vacationing at the beach. Just like Wok Tum, the Hin Kong bay is generally ideal for those who prefer a quiet corner of the island to escape to, far from the normal hassles of life where visitors can just kick back and relax. One significant characteristic of this beach is the number of people taking naps on the sandy white beach or in hammocks, while others relax under the shade of the palm trees dotting the area while reading their favorite books.
The waters at the Hin Kong bay are not ideal for swimming or watersports, but visitors can however sunbathe in the warm sand or take relaxing strolls at the beach—especially in the evenings, as they watch the magical sunset in the horizon. The beaches at Hin Kong bay are therefore mainly ideal for relaxing and not for engaging in vigorous beach activities. Instead, Hin Kong bay is the place to come for nice views of the sea and of the surrounding forest covered hills.
If you are searching for a nice little quiet corner of the world to escape to and just relax, then the Hin Kong bay is just the place for you.
Continue to Koh Phangan Beaches – Part 2