Get the party started on the Southeast coast of the island! Home to Haad Rin Nok, the beach where the famous “Full Moon” party is celebrated monthly, this beach offers both wild nights and relaxation. This area tends to resonate with the backpackers. However, there are smaller more secluded beaches away from the party scene for those hoping to catch a picturesque sunrise undisturbed.
Ao Baan Kai offers an incredible view of the sunrise over the neighboring island Koh Samui. It’s easy to have the best of both worlds on this side of the coast – enjoy the world’s largest beach party and enjoy snorkeling through corals, hovering over pristine white sand.
AO BAAN KAI
Starting where the Haad Rin hills end, this beach continues all the way to Thong Sala and the pier. Coconut palms are plentiful and sway in the warm sea breeze. Although it’s easily accessible from the main town, the unbroken beach stretches on with no interruptions aside from the occasional laid-back beach bar. This is the perfect place to seek solitude or to watch the sunset over Koh Samui in the distance.
AO BAAN TAI
Baan Tai is a popular location with backpackers and the party crowds, who enjoy this beach’s convenient location, between the pier and town center of Thong Sala and the party area, Haad Rin. There is a slew of cheap backpacker accommodation, as well as pricier bungalows lining the long beachfront. Since Baan Tai’s primary industry is fishing, there are all kinds of fantastic fresh seafood restaurants in the area.
AO HIN LOR
At high tide, the beach can only be reached by walking the main road. The white sand is rimmed by lively corals. The beach is close to Haad Rin, but less populated. It offers both high end resorts and backpacker’s budget lodging.
Haad Seekantang, or better know as Leela beach, is extremely popular with partiers who are in-the-know. It offers those who would like to be close to all the party action a chance to stay on a beautiful beach that is just around the corner from Haad Rin (the main party beach, and where the Full Moon Party takes place). Located on the western tip of the Haad Rin peninsula, Leela beach is just a 15 minute walk from the town center of Haad Rin. This secluded and beautiful beach was once popular with nudists and cults, and still retains a bit of the “old Koh Phangan charm”. New and old resorts can be found amongst the mangrove and palm trees. The sea can be rough at times, and may not always be suitable for swimming.
HAAD RIN NAI
Check out a sunset from this section of the famous Haad Rin Beach. Haad Rin Nai is named for the sunset. Catch a fire show, but be careful if you decide to engage in the fire activities – many have been burned! Located conveniently by the pier, this beach has become a backpacker’s paradise and party central. The famous Full Moon Party takes place on its neighboring sister beach, Haad Rin Nok.
HAAD RIN NOK
Home to the famous raging Full Moon Party, this beach is appropriately-named the Sunrise Beach. After the monthly party, party-goers can be sighted sleeping on the beach well until noon the next day. Larger than it’s sister beach, Haad Rin Nai, Haad Rin Nok is the Northern beach of the two.
While the exact birth date of the Full Moon Party is a debated topic, a group of tourists came to the beautiful island of Koh Phangan some time ago and gazed upon the most incredible full moon they had ever seen. They started a party along the crescent-shaped Haad Rin Nok, and ever since, thousands have flocked to the largest beach party in the world each month. The party hosts anywhere from 10,000 people during the low season to around 30,000 people during high season (some estimates go as high as 50,000!). The hotels book up even during the low season around the Full Moon period, and it’s recommended to arrive a couple days early to ensure tickets and accommodation.
HAAD THIAN (EAST)
One of three intimate-sized white sand beaches on the East coast of the island, Haad Thian is considered a quiet escape from the wild party scene of the Full Moon Party beach, Haad Rin Nok as it’s located less than 5 km away. The beach can only be accessed by boat or adventurous walkers.
HAAD WAI NAM
One of the three smaller Southeastern beaches (along with Haad Yuan and Haad Thian) the refuge beaches are less than half a kilometer from each other and can be walked between. The beach is perfect for swimming, with no coral reefs to be cautious around.
HAAD YAO (EAST)
Not to be confused with Haad Yao West, Haad Yao East is one of the untouched beaches of the island. Accessed only by boat or extreme walking, the beach is home to only two small bungalows, white sand and warm water. It’s tucked behind a rocky headland and away from the rest of the world. Enjoy tranquility and kick back in comfortable solace.
The last of the three smaller beaches located near Haad Rin, Had Yuan is five kilometers down the mountain path linking it to its sister beaches of Haad Thian and Haad Wai Nam. Enjoy the famous low-key, laid-back, ‘old-skool‘ Koh Phangnan vibe, as you kick back on the secluded beach.