Thong Nai Pan Koh Phangan
Thong Nai Pan Koh Phangan is an area on the far north east tip of the island that includes the two beach resort areas of Thong Nai Pan Yai and Thong Nai Pan Noi. Yai means “large” and it’s the larger and more developed of the two beaches, Noi means “small”, with the beach here being about half the size of Yai. The two are just a 15-minute walk apart from each other. They are renowned for their soft curved white sandy bays and laid back atmosphere.
Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach is the more popular of the two beaches as it radiates with a bohemian vibe and has a small village, with some dazzling bars and restaurants. Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach, on the other hand, is the longer and quieter of the two beaches. For those who are looking out for some adventure, there are a numerous trails to walk and waterfalls to visit here. Since this is the less visited of the two, the surrounding jungle is still a haven for many exotic tropical wildlife.
Access to this area of Koh Phangan is much easier these days – gone is the dirt track road, as now there is a brand new concrete road all the way from Bann Tai. This makes the journey by motorbike or taxi very easy and the travelling time from the pier at Thongsala is only around 30 minutes. Depending at which resort you are staying, they may offer a free taxi car pick up from the pier and some times even a long tail boat or speed boat.
Thong Nai Pan Noi
The smaller of the two Thong Nai Pan beaches, Thong Nai Pan Noi is the busier of the two resort areas. This beautiful, picturesque cove is lined with silky white sand – surrounded by rocky, coconut tree covered headlands and densely forested mountains rising up behind to create a stunning environment. The pristine waters here are great for swimming.
This area is more happening than it’s sister beach to the south with more bars and restaurants to choose from, and the accommodation here tends to have a classier feel. There are some good simple budget options available, but a couple of upscale places have pushed the average prices up considerably, and sadly the budget huts here aren’t quite as budget as they should be. That said, there’s some great places worth checking out, and the atmosphere is very laid-back and the scenery spectacular.
Thong Nai Pan Yai
Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach is twice as long as Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach and offers better spaced out resorts as a result. It tends to be quieter than Thong Nai Pan Noi as well – though that’s not to say there aren’t some decent beach bars and plenty of opportunities for a good time. The small village has a temple and while it feels relatively undeveloped it offers most services that travellers could need, including ATM’s.
The long cove features beautiful clear turquoise water – great for swimming or kayaking around the rocky headlands, and the sand is nice and soft. Lush green hills rise steeply on all sides and for the more adventurous, provide some good hiking opportunities. Walk up to the far south point and you will be rewarding with spectacular views over the bay.
The resorts at Thong Nai Pan Koh Phangan are mainly simple bungalow style, although there are now also some larger resorts that provide more comfort but less charm. Overall, there are many good accommodation options here for most budgets – although the overall price is higher than most other areas of the island. Very popular among young families and couples, Thong Nai Pan Yai is a big draw for those looking for a slice of paradise, well away from the party zones.