If you're looking for a quiet paradise, where the only items on your itinerary are exploring the island by motorbike and discovering heavenly beaches along the way, Koh Phangan is the perfect travel destination for you
Koh Phangan | Quiet Islands in Thailand
Thailand is a highly popular travel destination for good reason. The country has some of the most beautiful beaches and islands in the world and is also affordable to visit. The only downside to this, is that these places tend to become too commercial and overcrowded, which can dampen your experience there. If you understand exactly what we're talking about and are looking for that quiet paradise in Thailand, then Koh Phangan is the place to visit.
In this post, we list our top 10 beaches in Koh Phangan based on the type of experience you may be looking for.
Getting from Bangkok to Koh Phangan
There are many options to getting around Thailand and we highly recommend you venture outside of Bangkok and Phuket so you can avoid the crowds and experience more of Thailand. Check out our getting around Thailand on the cheap guide to plan your trip, compare prices and book your tickets online.
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Best place to snorkel in Koh Phangan
Koh Ma Island, Koh Phangan
There are many tour operators that will take you snorkelling around Koh Phangan. But if you want to avoid the crowds and be able to snorkel right off the beach, then Koh Ma will be your best choice. The best snorkelling spot is on the side of the island where the hut is (left on the image). It is best to snorkel during high tide as visibility tends to be the best and you're less likely to brush against the corals.
This beach tends to be busier than others around Koh Phangan, but never feels crowded because it connects to a longer beach called Mae Haad Beach.
Nang Yuan Island Snorkelling
If you really love snorkelling, then you may want to consider taking a full day snorkelling trip sailing on a catamaran from Koh Phangan to Nang Yuan Island for a full day of ocean indulgence. This tour includes everything from transfers to and from your hotel in Koh Phangan, the entrance fees to Nang Yuan Island, snorkelling equipment, delicious food and non-alcoholic drinks. All you need to bring is sun screen (a reef friendly of course), your swimwear of choice, sunglasses, a towel and yourself!
Most pristine beaches in Koh Phangan
Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan
Bottle Beach is our #1 favourite beach in Koh Phangan. The soft, white sand and crystal clear waters are some of the most pristine on the island. No rocks, dead corals or broken shells to "exfoliate" those feet. The perfect beach paradise for the ultimate beach bum experience. It is also very isolated and there are never many people on the beach. You can easily chill in the sea hammock all day until you're nice and toasty.
If you want to get the most out of your 300 baht round trip, consider staying overnight at Bottle Beach Bungalows or Bottle Beach Resort, which are both relatively affordable accommodation options. That way you can have the beach all to yourself, when other day trip guests have to leave at 5PM to catch the last taxi boat.
Malibu Beach, Koh Phangan
If a taxi boat isn't for you, then Malibu Beach will be the next best option. This beach also has soft white sand and turquoise waters, but is not as quiet as Bottle Beach. There are plenty of palm trees for shade and even a couple of beach swings too.
This beach is perfect if you have young children. There is a shallow side on the one end of the beach, as well as a deeper side for adults.
There are a few boats docked here, but nothing too invasive.
Salad Beach, Koh Phangan
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Most vibey beaches in Koh Phangan
Haad Yao Beach, Koh Phangan
Haad Rin Beach (Full Moon Party Beach), Koh Phangan
Best sunsets in Koh Phangan
Secret Beach, Koh Phangan
Secret Beach is not that "secret" compared to other quieter beaches we visited, but it was definitely very romantic and beautiful. There were some dead corals on the beach, but the sand was still soft.
The sunsets here were the best we experienced in Koh Phangan. Although Malibu and Bottle Beach is better for its crystal clear waters, you can not watch the sun setting on the horizon on either of those beaches.
You can take amazing sunset pictures at Secret Beach and even take a few on the huge swing close to Koh Raham restaurant.
The Quietest Beaches in Koh Phangan
Haad Khom Beach, Koh Phangan
Zen Beach, Koh Phangan
West Coast Beach, Koh Phangan
The best beaches in Thailand
So now you have it, a guide to finding the best beach for you in Koh Phangan. If a motorbike isn't for you then consider staying on different parts of the island so you can explore its many beaches. There are a few beaches on the east coast such as Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach and Haad Than Sadet Beach that is only accessible by boat too. In that case it may be better to stay there for a few nights to maximise your boat transfer. Zoom out on the map below for different hotel options and pricing too.
Where to after Koh Phangan
After experiencing some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, why not explore the most ancient and majestic rainforests and lakes of Thailand? If you love nature, hiking and going on a cave adventure, check out our Khao Sok Lake Tour guide or 3 day itinerary in Krabi. If you can't get enough of the ocean, then make sure to add scuba diving around Similan and Surin Islands in southern Thailand on a liveaboard to your itinerary. We also share how to get to these places affordably by public transport in our getting around Thailand travel guide.
What is your favourite activity when you're at the beach and which one of the above is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you.
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We're Michael & Chloe!
An adventure travel couple from South Africa. We've hiked up mountains, dived the depths of the ocean, free-fell through the sky and finally walked down the aisle together. We love exploring the adventurous outdoors and discover hidden gems. Our dream is to inspire others to travel more consciously and responsibly while having an adventure of a lifetime.