Located just northeast of Ko Samui, Koh Pha Ngan is best known for its crazy full moon party at Haad Rin. For us, it’s a place to stay in a simple bungalow on the beach and relax with a book.
We haven’t seen very much of the island – once we get to Haad Yao, a white sand beach in the northwest corner of the island, we find it hard to leave. We fall into synchronization with the pace of the island, where the most difficult decision of the day is “pineapple or mango shake?”
Bungalows on the beach are perfect for navel gazing and getting lulled into a meditative state by the rhythm of the waves.
It was really hard to leave.
Photos from Haad Yao Beach on Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand
If you don’t have a high-speed connection or want to read the captions, you can view the Haad Yao Beach photo essay.
Practical Details – Transport to and Accommodation in Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand
How to get there: Take a train or bus to Suratthani and transfer to Koh Pha Ngan by ferry. Alternatively, fly to Ko Samui from Bangkok and catch a ferry to Koh Pha Ngan. Hydrofoil and bus connections through Chumphon are also available from Bangkok. Sawngthaew taxis (pick-up trucks with benches in the back) will take you from the pier in Thong Sala to wherever you’d like to go on the island.
When to go: December through February is the high season, with sunny days and minimal rain.
Where to stay: Bungalows are available along the beach and inland. We’ve stayed both times at Seaboard Bungalows where a simple bungalow (cold water, basic bed and bathroom) right on the beach is 400 baht ($12) during the high season. Cheaper bungalows are available off the beach. More expensive upmarket options are possible in Haad Yao, but probably better sourced elsewhere on the island.
Where to eat: All guesthouses have restaurants serving Thai food, western breakfast, and simple western food. In the evening, expect to see trays of fresh seafood from the day’s catch, ready to go on the grill. Prices are reasonable.
What to do: The beach and slow rhythm are the main draw for us. Motorbikes are available for rent to visit other parts of the island to explore waterfalls, Buddhist temples, and coconut plantations. Scuba diving and snorkling are easy to arrange.