Ko Phangan Beach Guide
While Ko Phangan's west coast offers several pretty bays with good beaches and great sunsets, the best beaches lie along the east coast and are easily reached by water taxi. Here’s a round-up of the best beaches, running clockwise from the northeast coast:
Hat Kuat (Bottle Beach) – Relax on this gorgeous crescent of pristine white sand framed by bush-covered rocky headlands and nestled beneath a steep, lush green hillside in a secluded cove on the northeast coast. Visit on a day trip or stay overnight or longer at one of the budget bungalows that nestle among the palm trees on this remote beach.
Ao Thong Nai Pan – Choose from two crescents of fine white sand – Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi to the north and Thong Nai Pan Yai to the south – that nestle beneath steep green hills and are separated by a small jungle-clad promontory that faces a wide horseshoe-shaped bay.
Sunbathe on either beach, swim in the calm sheltered bay and savour a cold drink or tasty snack at one of the beachfront bars and restaurants.
Indulge for longer and stay at a luxury beachfront resort such as the Panviman Resort or the Santhiya Resort & Spa where you can enjoy a full range of creature comforts.
Hat Tien – Accessible only by boat on the east side of Hat Rin, this stretch of golden sand is good for swimming and snorkelling. Come for a day or stay at one of the beachside resorts, including The Sanctuary, a healing resort offering a wide range of alternative practices.
Choose from meditation, Reiki, astrology, inner child therapy, belly dancing, Ayurvedic massage, shiatzu, tai chi and Yoga. The Sanctuary Spa also offers a range of body treatments.
Hat Rin Nai (Sunset Beach) – Located on a peninsula at the southeast tip of Ko Pha Ngan, Sunset Beach is famous for its monthly full moon parties. By day, cool off with a swim, sunbathe on the crescent of fine white sand that lies beneath the green hills and savour a tasty seafood snack or cool drink at one of the numerous bars and restaurants hugging the shoreline or in the bustling township.
To the east, across the peninsula of Cape Rin, lies the larger Hat Rin Nok (Sunrise Beach), which offers better swimming and snorkelling. Known as a party town, with loud music, bars and nightly fire-shows, this beach area is probably best for singles and couples rather than families.
Ban Tai – A quite alternative to Hat Rin Nai is this long stretch of uninterrupted beach facing Ko Samui, just minutes by car from the full moon party.
Haad Chao Phao – This west-facing, golden-sand beach is fringed by a vibrant coral reef and offers magical sunsets.
Ao Haad Yao – Just north of Haad Chao Phao around a headland lies this long crescent of golden sand backed by steep jungle-clad hills. It offeres an array of resorts, bars, restaurants and shops as well as a dive centre and jeep and bike rental outlet. Enjoy good snorkelling and great sunsets on this west-facing beach.
Ao Hat Salat – This idyllic cove is home to a narrow, tree-fringed, white-sand beach, with good snorkelling off the northern rocky promontory. A choice of resorts lines the beach, behind which sit a cluster of various retail outlets.
Ao Mae Haad – This wide white-sand beach is joined to tiny Ko Ma by a sand spit and offers some of the best snorkelling on Ko Pha Ngan. Choose from a variety of beachside resorts, restaurants and bars.
Ao Chalok Lam – This stretch of white sand fronts a large and picturesque bay framed by steep jungle-clad hills on the northern coast.