Although nowhere near the size of neighbouring Samui, Koh Phangan is still one of the bigger islands of Thailand (it’s the fifth biggest, with Phuket being the overall largest!). It’s an island steeped in rich history and plentiful beaches.
Whilst Koh Phangan is probably best known for hosting the famous Full Moon Party, there’s much more to it than just this. So what are the best beaches on Koh Phangan? We’re going to take a look at some of the top ones that you can go and visit.
Best Beaches in Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan is an island in the Gulf of Thailand, it is part of Suratthani province. Koh Phangan was originally home to the Koh Chang tribe (ชาวเคย) who migrated from southern China thousands of years ago. Koh Phangan was then incorporated into Siam during the reign of Rama V and Koh Chang became Koh Pahang.
The main island has about 9 villages with a total population under 10,000. Koh Kao Yai is an uninhabited island just off-shore from Koh Phangan that can be accessed by boat from Thong Sala pier or Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi. Koh Samui is 50 km away and appearing as numerous very small islands when looking from a distance. But let’s look at its best beaches.
When we’re talking about beaches on this island, then Leela beach has to be on the list of the best beaches here. Whilst it’s relatively small and pretty well known, it’s rarely packed to the brim of people.
Although what is known as a bit of a party island, Leela beach is ideal if you’re looking for something a little quieter. It’s a very calm area, and if you’re more napping and massages than shots and limbo, then stopping at Leela is a good choice.
Also, if you’re looking for somewhere good to stay then there are three hotels which are pretty much just of the beach. This is definitely one of the best beaches on Koh Phangan.
Haad Rin Beach
Although it’s known as the full moon party beach, it’s a little unfair to call it that. Whilst it is host to one of the most epic parties in all of Asia, it’s an amazing beach in it’s own right. The beach itself is right at the South of the island, and as you’d expect, it isn’t the cleanest beach in Thailand.
Which is kind of a shame, as it’s definitely one of the nicer beaches on the island, and it’s one of the best options if you want to see a beautiful sunset too. The local town is also quite busy too. So, this one is quite a simple one to work out. if you want to party, head to Haad Rin – it’s the best place in the area. But if you want relaxation, then definitely avoid it and consider another beach on Koh Phangan (or even look at getting the ferry to the island of Koh Samui, which has some great peaceful beaches on it’s North coast).
Haad Yuan Beach
Whilst Haad Rin is obviously the more famous of the two, another beach worth considering is Haad Yuan. It’s a lot less crowded than Haad Rin, which is largely due to it’s location.
You have two choices if you want to make your way to this beach. You can either take a two hour trek to get there, or you can opt to get their via sea too. But either way, it’s lack of accessibility is one of the main reasons why it’s not as well known, and therefore less crowded.
But those who don’t visit Haad Yuan are definitely missing out. Although throughout the week it can be quiet, there are still parties on this island at the weekend.
Baan Tai Beach
If you travel further West along the Southside of the island, you’ll end up coming to Baan Tai. Whilst I’d say that this beach gives some amazing sunset views and the scenery is amazing, it’s not as soft and clean as what many of us consider to be a “proper” beach.
This is often where a lot of people end up staying on the island, mainly because there’s just so many different options there in terms of accommodation. Because of this, it’s very easy for you to get access to the beach. And to match the accommodation, there’s a ton of great restaurants around the area too. So if you’re in the area, then it could be worth visiting Baan Thai beach.
Mae Haad Beach
Whilst many people only end up seeing the South of the island, it’d be a shame if you didn’t explore it a little more than this. One of the best examples of a great beach on the North side of the island is Mae Haad, and much of the time it’s quite quiet at this side of the island.
This beach is perfectly clean (especially in comparison to the party beaches), and the blue water is enticing enough to get you to go for a swim. You can also do some great snorkelling on this beach too if you’re looking for some activities.
Just off the coast of the beach you’ll see the tiny island Koh Ma, which actually connects to the beach via a small walkway. This beach should definitely be on your list if you’re visiting Koh Phangan – in fact, some even say it’s the best beach in Thailand.
Haad Chao Phao
A beach on the lesser explored Western side of the island is Haad Chao Phao. It’s the perfect getaway beach if you just want to relax and get yourself a sun tan. This beach can get pretty busy during the popular times of the year, but if you van get here when there’s not a crowd, then it can be super peaceful.
Whilst it’s probably not the best beach for swimming, it’s ideal if you’re just looking to dip your toes in the water and chill out. It also has a pretty cheap resort right on the beach front, which could be worth staying at if you’re on a budget – you can find a room there for between 500-1000THB per night.
In conclusion, there are quite a few different beaches that you’ll want to visit if you’re going to visit Koh Phangan. Whilst some will just want to go to experience the nightlife, there’s much more to this beach than just rowdy partygoers, and even if that’s not your scene; don’t write off Koh Phangan.