Holiday Accommodation Near Koh Phangan Island Beaches Thailand
Koh Phangan is the perfect tropical island paradise in Thailand you've been looking for.
Phangan Island is in the gulf of Thailand, just a 30 minute ferry ride from the tourism hotspot of Koh Samui.
If you think Bali has become too busy and Samui the same, you'll find Phangan island full of white sandy beaches, calm aquamarine water and just enough beachfront cafes and hotels to make it interesting for the traveller seeking heaven on earth, combined with comfort.
Koh Phangan's infamous "full moon parties" near "Haad Rin Beach" have distracted from the true beauty of its two most beautiful beaches on the north east coast at Thong Nai Pan - lush palm trees fringing pure white sand and friendly smiles everywhere.
Thong NaiPan Noi (small) is the prettier beach, perfect for swimming with a truly beautiful small luxury hotel named Santhiya in a commanding position looking down the beach past pretty little cafes. Right around the corner, Thong NaiPan Yai (large) is also a perfect beach with slightly more hotels and beachfront cafes. While Noi means small and Yai means large, Noi beach here is certainly a good size.
Koh Phangan island is now at a perfect stage of development for tourism. The sealed road from the south at Haad Rin beach, home of the Koh Phangan "full moon party", is nearly complete, which will bring in more tourists.
At present it's 45 minutes by four wheel drive to Thong Nai Pan's twin beaches in the north, but the relaxed option is traditional Thai longtail boat, beach hopping around the island from Haad Rin, with pretty beach stops in between at Haad Thien and Haad Thranprapet as you approach Thong Nai Pan's two beaches.
WHAT TO DO ON KOH PHANGAN ISLAND
Head straight to the northern twin beaches of Thong NaiPan Noi and Yai. If you arrive at Noi beach by boat, you'll see red resort flags on the beach, but there's a much better resort at the northern end of the beach named Santhiya. More on this outstanding Small Luxury Hotel later.
To the left of the red flags, you'll find the beach end of the cute little Noi village. The newly-cobbled street from the beach features good food and little shops including a wonderful place called Tanaporn Massage House. This is the best massage on Koh Phangan along with the luxury massage at Santhiya Resort.
Tanaporn is a family business where you can relax in traditional Thai style with tranquil music, beautiful aromas and warm smiles. It's only $15 for a one hour massage. Or for $5 less you can have a simple beach massage with the happy Thai ladies at any of the huts on the beach. The best of these cheap beach massages is the one just outside the entry to Santhiya Resort.
Near Tanaporn Massage House you'll find the humorous Handsome Sandwiches,which also provides Handsome Taxi, Handsome T -Shirts, Handsome Gasoline and even Handsome Laundry with "clean and good smell for 10 years".
Here on Noi beach, you can learn to dive or hire a jet ski inexpensively,with the friendly French operator with the French flag on the white sand.
It's also fun making your way from pretty Thong NaiPan Noi beach around the rocks to neighbouring pretty Thong NaiPan Yai beach.
There are three ways to do this - take a cheap 2 minute longtail boat ride around the rocks from either beach, take a cheap taxi on the sealed road behind the two beaches, or take the secret path through "Panviman resort" at the end of Noi beach.
The Thai people here are so friendly that resort staff happily told us how to do this - inside Panviman resort, head up the hill towards the hotel rooms, take the right fork to rooms further uphill, then when you get to the room at the end of the higher road, look for a small grassy path on the right against the big rock.
When you walk onto that white sand at Yai beach with beach cafes in front, you feel like you've been on a 15 minute jungle adventure, and it's much quicker than walking around the hill in the heat on the sealed road between Noi and Yai beaches.
Yai beach itself is lined with small cafes and shops including a cute little pharmacy. The Phangan island village behind Yai beach is slightly bigger than Noi village, and includes two ATMs for cash withdrawals.
There are three pretty waterfalls that flow into the ocean - one above Santhiya Resort, one above Noi beach and one above Yai beach. You can also take a quick longtail boat trip around the cliff to the left to Bottle Beach, which is untouched and beautiful.
It's easy to get a taxi between Noi and Yai beaches at any time - just ask any local with a car, and they become a taxi driver for a small fee, usually about $3. If you want a taxi from these northern beaches to the main Thong Sala settlement, south Koh Phangan, 45 minutes away, it's about $10.
KOH PHANGAN ISLAND ACCOMMODATION
If you want a beautiful tropical island experience, the prettiest place on Koh Phangan island is definitely Thong NaiPan Noi beach, an unspoiled curve of nature at its most beautiful. Sensitive development has maintained this beauty and the Small Luxury Hotel here named Santhiya is so beautiful that it's now our number one choice as the World's Best Holiday.
Imagine a five star eco-friendly resort on acres of lush foliage right down to a dazzling beach. At Santhiya, you have a choice of architecturally-superb rooms, ranging from the elevated suites that look across treetops to the white beach, through to beautiful beach rooms where five star luxury combines with barefoot bliss.
In between these locations is another choice, the most remarkable individual rooms that take the meaning of "lagoon access" to a much higher level. Inside, you'll find hand-carved timber walls and ceilings featuring timber mosaic light troughs that make you think you're in a six star tree house.
The four poster beds look out onto an alfresco lounge with its own daybed,which itself looks out onto the most beautiful infinity swimming pool we have ever seen.
You feel like you're floating on air as you look from your lofty room position over thick palm groves to the beach.
And that's just your room swimming pool! The main resort swimming pool features its own waterfall on the edge of a pretty palm-fringed white sand beach. This is a dreamy place where you can lounge on your sun bed or eat in your swimmers at the al fresco By the Sea restaurant, shaded by lush foliage on the beach as you gaze across paradise.
Santhiya is a beautiful resort full of happy guests, many of them European and increasingly from Australia. To get up and down the gentle slope between beach accommodation and higher rooms, you take the Santhiya bus - an open, hand-carved teak work of art that makes you feel like royalty. The staff here at Santhiya add to this feeling of nirvana; such wonderful, attentive Thai islanders genuinely interested in your happiness.
Panja was recruited by Santhiya's young visionary owner from the mainland, Komjet Chantaravisoot, who designed the resort without any formal architectural training. The results of his vision at this resort have stunned leading architects because of the blend of luxury design and natural beauty in this Small Luxury Hotel on Koh Phangan island.
Koh Phangan island also features accommodation near beaches right around the island, but the best is certainly Santhiya on Koh Phangan's best beach in the north at Thong NaiPan Noi.
If you want to stay in the south around Haad Rin, the beach is also quite nice, but it's been ruined a little by the Koh Phangan "full moon party" revellers and the many Koh Phangan beach bars there that pump out loud music.
KOH PHANGAN ISLAND RESTAURANTS
The best beaches at Thong NaiPan Noi and Yai feature excellent little cafes with authentic Thai food and western cuisine at very cheap prices.
For something special on Noi beach, try Chantara Restaurant at Santhiya Resort where the moon meets the sea. Here you'll find gourmet dining that's considerably less than western prices, along with a very impressive international wine list.
Santhiya also has the casual By the Sea café for open air dining that is outstanding value for a five star resort. Try the superb Padh Thai or traditional Chicken Cashew nut for less than $15. The beach bar here also makes what must be the world's best tropical juice drinks. Ask for the fresh mango, pineapple and coconut blend served in a fresh coconut with a straw...this is an outstanding tropical experience looking down the beautiful beach.
In the tiny village behind Noi beach, try Luna Lounge where dishes include massaman curry with slow roasted lamb. Also try Again and Again restaurant for wonderful home-cooked Thai food that's cheap and delicious (near Handsome Sandwiches).
On Yai beach, you'll find good beachfront food along with Thailand's best pina coladas at Havana restaurant, with the friendly owner Roger looking after you. At the end of Yai beach, go to Dolphin restaurant at sunset, where you can dine with your toes in the sand or in a little open hut surrounded by palm trees right on the beach.
Next to Dolphin you'll findPan Panburi's nightly beach barbecue, where they display the fresh local fish caught that day along with squid, prawns and other seafood.
Other good restaurants on Koh Phangan include Beach lounge in the main settlement of Thong Sala, Fisherman's restaurant nearby inPan Tai and Crave restaurant on the north west coast at Haad Yao.
HOW TO GET TO KOH PHANGAN ISLAND
There are regular ferries from Koh Samui beaches to Koh Phangan, arriving at the main settlement at Thong Sala, or the beach at Haad Rin. The quickest way to get to Koh Phangan island is to fly into Koh Samui's airport in the north, then take a 10 minute taxi to Mae Nam pier where the long tail boats have regular half hour trips for only 400 baht ($13).
A few resorts on Koh Phangan provide speedboat transfers direct to their beach. For example, Santhiya will pick you up from Koh Samui and have you sipping a pina colada at their beautiful beach on Thong NaiPan Noi just 30 minutes later.
KOH PHANGAN ISLAND SUMMARY
Koh Phangan is an island paradise in the gulf of Thailand with white beach sand and lush palms that often line the beach. It's only 30 minutes ferry ride from the international airport at Koh Samui.
Koh Phangan hasn't yet been spoiled by mass tourism, but there are enough resorts and cafes on beautiful beaches around the island to make you want to stay for a week or two.
The prettiest beaches on Koh Phangan are on the north east coast at Thong NaiPan Noi, where you'll find one of the world's best resorts named Santhiya.
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YouTube Video of Phangan Island in the Gulf of Thailand
Best Koh Pha Ngan beach holiday Thai travel destinations are written by dedicated photo journalists, published and edited by the Best Beach Holidays Travel writer. Contact Best Beach Holidays to submit your Hua Hin beach holiday articles