Three Lesser Known Beaches in Koh Phangan

Koh Phanan
Picture by Robert Nyman

Koh Phangan is an island paradise in the Gulf of Thailand. Until recently it has been over-shadowed by the neighboring island of Koh Samui which has been a long time favorite with package tourists and celebrities such as David Beckham.

I was always glad that the mad crowds went to Koh Samui because it meant that less people made it the extra 12 km across the Gulf of Thailand to Koh Phangan. While Koh Phangan doesn’t have the big supermarkets, international schools, big hospitals that Koh Samui has, it is infinitely more beautiful.

Koh Samui has rushed blindly into development and as a consequence has cut down many trees and thus every rainy season the island gets flooded. Also the beaches have suffered from mass tourism. And anyone who has been to Lamai or Chaweng will testify that Koh Samui in parts is one big brothel dominated by sex tourists, lady boys, loud music and drunken Westerners who behave like Wayne Rooney.

In contrast, the locals of Koh Phangan have resisted getting an airport, stopped a ring road and have kept the island 90% covered in forest. The beaches are more beautiful and the atmosphere more laid back.

Beach Treasures

Three lesser known beaches on Koh Phangan are Haad Yuan, Haad Thian and Haad Wai Nam. Haad Yuan is just 5 kilometers up the East coast from the famous beach of Haad Rin where the Full Moon Party takes place. Just half a kilometer further up the coast is Haad Thian and then another half a kilometer further up the coast is Haad Wai Nam. They are three really beautiful white sand beaches with just a few bungalows for rent. They are great for year round swimming and for getting away from everything. The only way to get to these beaches is via the small Thong Nai Pan Express boat or via mountain paths.

All three beaches are places of unspoiled nature where you can see eagles sporting in the thermals and yellow butterflies flitting above the calm sea. If you are interested in studying yoga then Haad Thian has the Sanctuary, an established and well run school with professionals to guide you in yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and reflexology.

So if you want to visit a really great beach in Thailand then give Koh Samui a wide berth and head for the East coast of Koh Phangan.

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