Most travelers know the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand for its wild Full Moon parties. But there’s more to this destination than free-flowing booze and eager backpackers. Come off season and discover crystal blue waters beckoning you for a swim; lush green palm trees waiting for a visitor; and chill vibes just all over the gorgeous island.
So grab your sun hat and maybe a good book. Let the lovely beaches of Koh Phangan mesmerize you with its natural beauty and serene atmosphere. Here’s a short list of the best Koh Phangan beaches to add to your travel bucket list:
1. Thong Nai Pan Yai and Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach
This beach duo is suitably located at the village of Thong Nai Pan. Getting there is the tricky part though, as it’s about a 20-30 minute ride by motorbike northeast from Thong Sala pier. But once there, you’ll see why travelers always rave about it.
Yai (which means large) is the bigger beach than Noi (which means small). But both have their own unique charm. Pick one or visit both and you might find yourself not wanting to leave the island at all!
If you’re more social, head on over to Thong Nai Pan Noi where there are more visitors as well as luxury accommodations. For folks searching for an authentic Thai experience, then Thong Nai Pan Yai is the better choice with its numerous Thai families, seaside restaurants, and more laidback vibe.
2. Haad Yao Beach
Located northwest of Koh Phangan, this beach boasts of more than a half mile long of soft, white sand and convenient amenities. Plus, it’s the ideal location to catch that picture-perfect Thai sunset. Haad Yao is also a well-known snorkeling and diving spot.
So whether you just want to chill at the beach, or partake in some of the island’s activities, this seaside paradise has it all for you.
3. Haad Salad Beach
Just a little further up the road from Haad Yao is this gem sought-after by couples, families, and solo travelers for its peaceful atmosphere. As it’s not frequented by tourists, Haad Salad is ideal for folks who want to get away from all the craziness of parties or huge crowds.
Swim in its blue-green waters, or just chill on a hammock while waiting for that famous Thai sunset. You may find yourself booking an entire week here!
4. Mae Haad Beach
What’s unique about this particular beach is that there’s a thin sandy strip that connects it to a national nature preserve and marine park called Koh Ma. Families with children enjoy walking this area during low tide to explore the hidden wonders of the tiny island ahead.
Plus, waters are shallower so it’s great for beginner swimmers, or those who simply want to wade in the waters. Sand in Mae Haad is rougher compared to other beaches in Koh Phangan, but it’s still a paradise worth visiting!
5. Haad Khuat Beach (Bottle Beach)
Gems are precious because of the hard work typically involved in searching and mining for them. The same could be said for this little treasure in the remote northern end of the island. More commonly called ‘Bottle Beach’, travelers love its secluded location and aquamarine clear waters. It is arguably the most beautiful and serene beach on the entire island.
Haad Khuat can be reached either by trekking through the jungle for 1-2 hours, or by longboat from Chaloklum for 150 baht, which is the easiest route. But if you come during monsoon season, you may encounter choppy waves and super cold winds. So be sure to schedule your trip at the right time to fully enjoy this gem.
6. Malibu Beach
One of the things that set this beach apart from all the others is the abundance of palm trees on the beach itself. This makes Malibu Beach ideal for people looking to relax on the shores on hot summer days.
Imagine powdery fine white sands in contrast to turquoise blue waters and vivid green hills. Plus, you get a perfect view of the mountains of Koh Phangan amidst the colorful long boats. The entire place looks surreal.
7. Secret Beach
It’s technically no secret, but Haad Son or Secret Beach is a favorite for some tourists because of its small size, making it seem like an isolated, idyllic swimming spot (especially during off-peak season). There’s also a coral reef a short swim away, so this place is great for snorkelling.
Located west coast of the island, you won’t have trouble finding this charming paradise thanks to several signs pointing in its direction. If you want to relax, there’s a small bar and restaurant that plays chill out music, too. Talk about a heavenly experience!
8. Leela Beach
This is a great alternative to the otherwise busy beaches of Haad Rin catering to the Full Moon party.
This beautiful find southeast of Koh Phangan is a good option for those who want to be near markets, small bars, and other amenities, but still enjoy peaceful nights. There are tiny bungalows directly at the beach, rewarding you with a gorgeous view of the sister island, Koh Samui.
9. Haad Rin Nok Beach
If you came to Thailand specifically for the infamous Full Moon party, then this is the beach to be. Also known as ‘sunrise beach’ because it’s located at the eastern side of the island, it has plenty of hostels, bars, restaurants, and other amenities.
The village of Haad Rin has a pier and receives passengers from neighboring island, Koh Samui, so expect things to be rowdier and crazier than other beaches. Other than that, Haad Rin Nok is THE place to be if you want to keep busy.
As the island of Koh Phangan isn’t as developed as other destinations like Phuket, you’ll discover that waters are clearer, and the atmosphere more relaxed. Plus, if you visit outside Full Moon party season, you’ll find that you have these amazing beaches all to yourself.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, plan your trip, and head on over to any – or all! – of these wonderful Koh Phangan beaches.