The Best Restaurants on Koh Phangan

The Best Beaches in Koh Phangan

A Guide to the Best Beaches, Beach Activities and Beach Bars in Koh Phangan

Being a relatively small island, you’re never far from a beach in Koh Phangan. As such it’s a pretty easy place to live the archetypal ‘dream’ beach lifestyle.

Whether you are into beach walks on deserted beaches, water sports, swanky beach clubs, resorts or old school Thai style beach bars, sunsets or taking insta worthy photos with world class backdrops, Phangan is more than likely to have the perfect beach for you.

In this blog post, we will talk about the best beaches and the stuff there is to do on and around them. Warning, the beaches of Koh Phangan are pretty so it might be a long one… If you want to find out about stuff to do in Koh Phangan as well as beaches then why not have a read of our other article here

East Coast Beaches

The East coast of Koh Phangan is much less developed than the other parts and as a result there are some relatively remote, untouched beaches here. Obviously being on the East coast, they boast amazing sun rise views. But less obviously there is no reef running along the east of the island, so the beaches are better for swimming as the water gets deep quickly, and most beaches have soft, white sand like in the movies.

Haad Yuah Beach, Koh Phangan

Haad Yuan, Haad Tien & Wai Nam - The Tri Bay Area

The Tri-Bay area as it is known by long term western (farang) residents of Koh Phangan is made up of three beautiful beaches which are perhaps some of the hardest on the island to get to. Meaning that apart from a few small bars and bungalows, they are all still pretty untouched. The beaches are Haad Yuan, Haad Tien and Wai Nam. All three are absolutely stunning and well worth visiting on any trip to Koh Phangan.

These three beaches are notorious for their “off the beaten track” parties which are very popular with those western residents I mentioned earlier. Possibly because of the views and possibly because of the seclusion, the parties on these beaches – Eden, Guys Bar & Wai Nam – have been local favourites for years.

To get to these beaches you either need a good 4 wheel drive car, a taxi boat from Haad Rin or a love of loooooong, sweaty hikes. We reckon the taxi boat from Haad Rin is the best way to get there.  As long as the sea isn’t too rough (believe me, the boat rides can be scary if it is). It costs 300thb per person and takes about 15-20 mins on a good day.

It’s also worth mentioning Haad Yao East in this section. It is an East Coast beach as its name suggests, and it is also home to another wild beach party called lost paradise. Apparently it’s a really really good time but not for the feint hearted.

If you are going round for a beach day then you can go any day of the week. If you want to hit up one of the parties, you will need to check the party schedule online or with people who know these things…

As far as I remember, Eden and Guys Bar are usually Friday and Saturday nights whereas Wai Nam and Lost Paradise are scheduled on different days. Whichever one you visit, be prepared for a fun and eye opening night, and don’t forget to save money for the boat and taxi ride back the next day.

Than Sadet Beach

Probably the most famous beach in Koh Phangan apart from Haad Rin (full moon party). This is because the waterfall which runs down to the beach was a favourite of King Rama 5 who made many visits to the beach and waterfall. His royal insignia is even carved in the rocks there.

Mai Pen Rai Bungalows is pretty much the only resort in Than Sadet and is comprised of simple beach bungalows and a wooden beach bar. It’s beautiful, it’s chilled, and it takes you back to what backpacking in Thailand was like 20 years ago… Before the roads and modern resorts were built.

There is also a little secret beach next door, to the right if you’re looking at the sea. Which is a really cool place to go for a picnic and a chilled day away from the crowds.

Than Sadet - Best Beaches In Koh Phangan

Haad Nam Tok

The Thai word translated into English as water fall, so unsurprisingly this beach also features a waterfall which runs down behind it. Whilst there is not much at all to do on Haad Nam Tok, it is a really cool hike/climb down the waterfall to the beach if you like adventurous nature hikes.

Thong Nai Pan Yai and Thong Nai Pan Noi

Or big Thong Nai Pan and little Thong Nai Pan in English are yet another pair of stunning beaches situated towards the north end of the east coast. Because of its postcard perfect views, great swimming and ease of access by speed boat, TNP has become the 5* area of the island boasting luxury resorts like the Santhiya and Anantara up on Thong Nai Pan Yai.

On thong Nai Pan Noi there is a really cool little restaurant named Flip Flop Pharmacy which is famous for it’s absolutely delicious roti with Burmese curry sauce and Burmese meat balls. I highly recommend a stop here if you’re close by.

On the way to Thong Nai Pan (which is now easily accessible by road) it’s worth stopping at: To See or 2C Bar which has unbelievable views of the whole of Thong Nai Pan bay and is a great spot to chill to watch the world go by. There is also a really cool temple made from empty bottles in the same area. 

Thong Nai Pan Beach Koh Phangan

North Coast Beaches

Whilst most of the beaches of Phangan are on the east and west coasts (because they are the longest), the north` has some gems that are well worth a mention.

Chaloklam, Haad Kohm & Malibu Beach

Firstly, it’s the old fishing village of Chaloklam and its  neighbouring beaches, Haad Kohm and Malibu Beach. Chaloklam is a quaint and relatively quiet (though it’s becoming more lively) village right in the north of Koh Phangan that is becoming more popular with foreign residents and tourists.

It has some pretty nice restaurants as well as lots of bars and café’s, and like the beaches on the East, feels a bit cut off from the rest of the island. Perhaps for these reasons, there is a growing ex-pat community here, many of whom are partial to a beer or ten most days. For this reason, it’s lovingly referred to by locals as the ‘drinking village with a fishing problem’. As opposed to ‘a fishing village with a drinking problem’ which is what people used to say.

So what are the hotspots in Chaloklam? Well, there’s a few so I’ll break them into categories…

Chaloklam - The best beaches in Koh Phangan

Bars in Chaloklam

There’s the old favourite and somewhat aptly named Twisted Village which is run by Hinch and his wife Francis who have been in Koh Phangan for about 30 years and have seen pretty much everything over that time. Hinch is known to cook up some amazing grub and is usually on good form so why not pop in for a beer and a bite?

The Warren is another favourite of ours. Mainly because it’s run by Jamie who is a pal, but also because it has a deck with beautiful views of the bay, a good pool table and like Twisted, lots of interesting characters. Pop in for a game of pool and a beer if you’re in town. But be careful if Jamie asks you to play a game for money because he’s not a bad pool player.

The Live Lounge is a new kid on the block and is a venture of a few of our other friends who happen to like live music. None more so than Tez who is a hit song writer and musician from the UK who moved out to Koh Phangan years back after some success in the music industry. The live lounge often has live music jam sessions and acts from around the island so if you like your music then drop by.

Places to Eat in Chaloklam

As mentioned, there’s loads of good ones in Chaloklam so I’ll quickly name a few for you to try when you’re there.

The old classic Nong M has to come first. Its right on the beach, serves delicious Thai food and sea food (and Thai sea food), fruit shakes, coconuts and cold beers. All at a very very reasonable price.

If you’re talking about restaurants in Chaloklam, you have to talk about the Italians. It’s very possible that the best three Italian Restaurants on Koh Phangan are in this little village. Cucina Italiana, or Jenni’s as it’s known is my personal favourite. It’s right next door to the Warren and it’s run by Jenni. A lovely Italian guy who was the first on the island to open an Italian, some 30 years ago. The pizzas are absolutely world class and so is his pasta. Its an unpretentious setting with great food and an awesome view. Not to be missed.

The other two Italians are Rimini and Kika’s Place. Both good Italian restaurants, we recommend the ravioli at Rimini, as for Kika’s, she changes her menu often so just ask her what the specials are when you’re there.

Before I move on from Chaloklam, it’s worth mentioning a couple of the morning / day eateries or cafes. The Worlds End is a good breakfast spot right by the pier which serves western breakfasts, juices and snacks. The cookies are banging.

Kaif is another good place for breakfast or lunch. Also situated right on the beach, Kief serves a variety of dishes, juices and healthy shots. We recommend the scrambled eggs with truffle.

You can read more about the best restaurants in Koh Phangan here.

Water Sports in Chaloklam

Being a bay right at the north of the island, Chaloklam often has flat water that is perfect for wake boarding and other water sports. As a result there are a few companies there that take advantage of this and teach water sports.

One is Wake Up Wake Boarding which is also run by our friend Jamie (from The Warren) so he is pretty good at wake boarding as well as pool. I would recommend wake boarding to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet. It’s very fun and highly addictive and there’s no better place to learn than in the bright blue waters of Chaloklam Bay.

Another really cool thing to learn if you find yourself in Koh Phangan, is e-foiling or surf wing. As most people haven’t heard of this, and I can’t really explain it in a few words, here’s a short video. It’s also very fun and you can learn here.

Lastly, an underwater sport. Scuba diving. At Koh Phangan’s northern most point, Chaloklam is close to Sail Rock, a popular dive spot which you can get to from here or from Koh Tao and can sometimes see Whale Sharks on their migratory route. There are a few dive schools that take groups to Sail Rock and our favourites are Haad Yao divers and Sail Rock divers.

The Sunday Market

The Sunday Market. It’s a market on a Sunday, held on Chaloklam Pier. They have a wide selection of amazing local food, beer, amazing views and sometimes live music to keep the crowds entertained. Also worth a visit if you’re in Chalok on a Sunday.

Bottle Beach

Bottle Beach - Best Beaches in Koh phangan

Or Haad Kuat in Thai, is one of our absolute favourite beaches in the world, let alone Koh Phangan. Unlike Chaloklam, Bottle Beach is cut off from the rest of the islands road network, and so is pretty remote and untouched compared to the rest of the island.

It has 4 small resorts on it, our favourite of which are creatively named Bottle Beach 1 and Bottle Beach 2. Both of them have been here since Back In THE Day. Like with Mai Pen Rai Bungalows in Than Sadet, Bottle Beach 2 is a bit of a throwback to what backpacking was like in Thailand years ago, with wooden bungalows and a cool little bar and restaurant on the beach.

Bottle Beach 1 is a little more modern and upmarket but whichever one you choose, Bottle Beach is a magical place where you can forget about your worries, switch off and lie in a hammock all day if that’s what you want to do.

Special shout out to Babu, the legendary manager of BB2 who has been going. out of his way to give us and our customers at TruTravels a great time for over 10 years.

Mai Haad & Koh Ma

Mae Haad & Koh Ma

Mai Haad is a special beach. Why? Because it’s connected to Koh Ma by a beach which is above water at low tide and below water at high tide. This makes for some. Awesome photo’s like this.

Koh Ma (the island off Mai Haad Beach) boasts the best snorkelling spot on the island. Unfortunately it’s not as good as it used to be, cos of humans, but it is still a good snorkelling spot as it is at the top of the reef that runs along the west coast of the island.

West Coast Beaches

The west coast of Koh Phangan is where it all goes down… Well, most of it anyways. Being home to the main pier of Koh Phangan, Thong Sala, the west coast is the most developed and the busiest part of Koh Phangan.

As such it is home to the most beach bars and beach clubs. And because the sun sets in the west, it is also the place where you will find the best sunsets.

Starting from the south we have:

Sunrise Beach - Haad Rin

The home of the full moon party and probably the most famous beach on the island. Haad Rin is actually a beautiful stretch of white sand surrounded by mountains. If you came here outside full moon you would not think it’s the place that hosts the worlds biggest beach party.

Come here for full moon though and you won’t believe it’s actually a beautiful beach most days…

Haad Rin used to be the place for youngsters to stay a while ago but now they tend to stay a bit further north in Baan Tai and just head down to Haad Rin for Full Moon. Of course if people are visiting just for the party they often stay in Haad Rin but we would strongly advise seeing more of the island then just Haad Rin beach and town.

The town itself has lots of bars and restaurants but they tend only to be busy once. A month around full moon time.

Sunrise Beach Haad Rin - Best Beaches Koh Phangan

Baan Tai Beach

Baan Tai is now where the majority of young adults visiting Phangan tend to stay. This is because it’s close to all the parties and not just full moon. It’s also much easier to access the rest of the island from Baan Tai and having lots of hostels, resorts and parties, it attracts young people which of course attracts more young people.

As a result there’s lots to do around Baan tai area. Lots of activities, parties, resorts/hostels, restaurants, bars, and of course now… weed shops 🙂 

The beach itself is a loooong one and stretches all the way form Baan Tai Pier up to Thong Sala so here’s a break down of some cool things to check out on and around it.

Some Activities in Baan Tai

If you like travelling fast on water you can hire a jet ski or speed boat from Phangan Jet Ski Club.

For something a bit slower paced you could try foot golf or mini golf at the Ganja gardens with the Great Niris who is Thailand’s answer to David Copperfield – an accomplished magician who likes golf, football and ganja!

Parties

There are more parties then you can shake a stick at here and they all have stuff about them online, so I won’t write much about them here.

Just look em up: Half Moon, Jungle Party, Chill Up, Secret Mountain, Cult/Waterfall Party, Sabai Bay, Retro Mountain for a start. 

Some Good Eats in Baan Tai

Again, there’s loads of restaurants in Baan Tai and this blog is getting long so I’ll keep it short.

Eateries in Baan Tai of note are, Bubbas café which is a great spot for breakfast. Fisherman’s restaurant which is decent sea food & Thai food. And Harbour House which is a great all rounder for any time of the day. 

Resorts & Hostels with Beach Bars

If you are looking to meet young party goers in Baan Tai then maybe head down to one of the backpacker hostels or resorts that have lively beach bars?  A few good ones are Echo Beach Hostel, Tiki Beach (of course), and Puks Palace. All social with good vibe and nice bars on the beach.

Baan Tai Beach Tiki Beach Koh Phangan

Hin Kong Bay

Famous for its sunsets and its restaurants, Hin kong is a long stretch of beach just north of the main town of Thong Sala. Like the rest of the west coast, the reef means it’s quite shallow so when the tide goes out it goes waaaay out leaving some sand bars and meaning you can walk right out into the bay and get some awesome sunset shots.

Cool restaurants and bars on hin Kong Beach are: Charlies Bar & Restaurant, Summer Salts Beach Club, L’alcove French Restaurant, Romanzo Tropicale Pizzeria, King Kong Bar, and Fish Pacific (Thai Sea Food Restaurant). That should be enough to get you started in Hin Kong.

hin kong beach sunset

Haad Chao Pao

Now we are up in the yoga/hippy area of Sritanu, towards the north of the coast. Haad Chao Pao is yet another beautiful beach (especially for sunsets), it is where the main Sritanu town is so there’s plenty of cafes and restaurants including lots of vegan options.

We think the best place on Haad Chao Pao Beach is Sea Flower Bungalows whish is a resort owned by a lovely Thai/Canadian family which has been running over 30 years and has the best Jacket Potatoes in the entire world. As well as a good beach bar, nice food and a mix of residents, travellers and holiday makers of all ages form all over the world.

Zen Beach

Very randomly a tiny little stretch of Haad Chao Pao has now become known as Zen beach and attracts crowds of people every night for sunset. You’ll find DJs, drum circles, and lots and lots of yogis and hippies dancing to the beat and watching the sunset.

Haad Yao

Or Long Beach in English. Is indeed a long beach, and more of a typical holiday resort type beach than the others mentioned on this coast. Lots of big resorts and beach bungalow hotels and lots of restaurants, massage shops, bike rentals and other small businesses to serve the tourists who stay on the beach.

Cool places to visit here are Koh Raham (for eating or snorkelling in the day), Rasta Home (on a Friday night) and a number of other beach bars and restaurants.

Haad Salad

The last beach worth mentioning on the West coast is Haad Salad. A bit like Haad Yao with lots of resorts and villas for rent to holiday makers. It has beautiful views, a laid back vibe and lots of options for places to eat.

So that’s it, a round up of the best beaches and some stuff to do on and around them. It ended up being a bit longer than intended so I have kept the last few as short as possible. I hope you have found this somewhat useful and enjoy your time on the beautiful beaches on the beautiful island of Koh Phangan. 

Much love, 

Team Tiki 🙂 

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