Phangan Island Attractions | Koh Phangan beaches: Thongsala, Haad Rin, Thong Nai Pan, Ao
Koh Phangan's beaches are its glory. Come lay on the fine white sand and feel the gentle, balmy breezes caress your skin. Get a tan, read a good book, or play in the warm waves in the water-craft of your choice. There are plenty of other things to do on Koh Phangan, but you won't really experience this island's wealth if you don't spend some serious relaxing time on the beaches.$strRes = "
The most developed beaches lie around Thong Sala, where most of the boats from Samui, Surat Thani, and Koh Tao dock. Haad Rin also boasts developed beaches, and this is where you want to go if you want the Full Moon parties.
Along the island's south coast, just beyond Thong Sala is a series of more intimate beaches, where the traveler can enjoy a slower pace. The east coast has very little development, and presents the ideal place to absorb the beauty of a secluded cove or blazing sunset in tranquil solitude. Some of the best beaches can only be accessed by boat. The North coast is even less developed, while the west is known for its excellent year-round swimming.
Here are some of the beaches you should know about:
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These are two of Koh Phangan's most celebrated beaches, set in a deep cove at the bottom of a river valley. The beaches may have originally been one beach many thousands of years ago, but are now split by the estuaries of two rivers and a rounded volcanic outcrop.
Immensely beautiful and with year round swimming, these popular beaches have to be seen to be believed. They enjoy a legendary status amongst backpackers and others who have found them. The small nearby village has a few bars, tattooists, and the relaxed personality that attracted the original expats to Koh Phangan so long ago.
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A river splits these two beaches, just as in Thong Nai Pan and Thong Nai Pan Noi. This configuration forms the island's most dramatic waterfall upstream, Nam Tok Thaan Sadet. This beauty runs year round, and is three kilometres of rock pools and rapids. It is a favourite place for the Kings of Thailand to visit. The waters are considered sacred.
Haad Thong Reng is the smaller of Thaansadet's two beaches that form a picturesque double bay, the swimming is not as good as its neighbour, but it is just as beautiful and a bit quieter.
Haad Sadet is the beach at the estuary of Khlong (river) Thaan Sadet. The beach is intimate, residing at the bottom of the river valley surrounded by steep green hills. Huge boulders crown the peninsulas that surround the cove. The sea is deep enough for year round swimming, but check with the locals before you do so. Sometimes the waves can be rough.
North Coast beaches of Koh Phangan
The north of the island is a lot more accessible since the completion of the north-west concrete ring road. Koh Phangan also patched the road to Haad Khom, further improving matters.
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This is where the local fishermen keep their long-tail boats. At either side of the village the beaches are good places to swim when the tides are high.
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This pretty little beach on the west side of the island is known for its relaxed atmosphere and excellent snorkeling. The coral reef is extensive and full of aquatic sea life. It is popular place for the ex-pat in the know to go when the hoards descend during the moon parties. The dirt road is badly rutted in places, so take a boat taxi or a 4WD vehicle to get here.
During the lower tide you will have to wait until high tide if you want to swim over the reef.
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Also known as Bottle Beach, it's a haven for ex-pats and tourists who vacation in Koh Phangan year after year.
You need a water taxi to get to it, so plan on staying a few days at the very least, and keep your plans flexible. If the weather comes in, you will have to delay your departure until it is safe for the taxis to operate again.
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This translates to \"Golden Deserted Beach.\" At the moment there are no permanent residents, though the beach is just gorgeous. It has a shallow coral bay with a coral reef that creates a beautiful lagoon in high tidal seasons.
Once over the reef you an find some good snorkeling, but be careful not to damage the corals if you are going to cross the reef at low tide. This is a great place to indulge in your desert island fantasies.
South and South East Coast beaches of Koh Phangan
The south east of Koh Phangan is almost entirely made up of steep mountains of granite, lush peaks, and virgin rainforest. The beaches here are varied, and the accommodations are quite reasonable. This is a great place to stay if you think Haad Rin is a little too loud.
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These long, winding beaches boast some good snorkeling and swimming in a quiet, secluded location. Come and let all your outside worries just drift away.
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This is THE party capital of the island, and is the most densely populated place on Koh Phangan. The beaches here are nice and quiet until 1300, as all the revelers are sleeping off the night's excess.
The East side of the beach is a bit better than the west, and has various water craft for your renting pleasure. If you venture a little out to sea you can visit the floating bar.
Haad Rin is where the global party that is Full Moon takes place, attracting up to 30,000 people at new years eve and 10,000 on an average Full Moon.
West Coast beaches of Koh Phangan
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This jewel of a beach is an almost perfect half crescent-and in our opinion, that makes it a great place to have a quiet Full Moon party for those who would rather party with just a few friends. The swimming and snorkeling are very good.
You can get to Haad Yao via Songthaew from Thong Sala.
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If you are a fan of spectacular sunsets, this is the beach for you. If you like to swim and snorkel, this is also a good bet. The seabed drops off quite steeply, giving you plenty of room to play, before it meets the reef 100m off shore.
Visit the south end, where you will find a pretty lagoon and a few mangroves.
Don't just stop at the beaches listed in this guide. Do a little exploring-there are some staggeringly beautiful coves and bays hidden like secret treasure along the lush coast of Koh Phangan. At every turn you will find hidden stretches of water, sand, and lush green foliage. You will bring home memories of your Thailand vacation that few visitors to Koh Phangan will ever have.";
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2008
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