Crystal turquoise waters beckon you from the west coast of Koh Phangan. The beaches on the west side are what trademarked Thailand as having the most beautiful, untouched white sand beaches in the world. The west coast offers incredible sunset views. Part of this coast is considered a National Marine Park – so not only is taking a seashell souvenir illegal, but the snorkeling is unbelievable.
Swing from a rope threaded around a palm tree and enjoy the sand exfoliating your feet. Yoga retreats are a favorite among the west coast beaches – feel free to try your own sun salutation before the day heats up and you tuck into relaxing on the plush sand and snorkeling in the refreshing waters. There’s even a publicly advertised “Secret Beach,” which, though clearly labeled, still doesn’t have the crowds it ought to.
AO CHAO PHAO
A soft, curved bay and calm waves lapping at white sand are the trademarks of this ideal beach. Famous for its sunset views, this west coast paradise is part of the movement that coined Thailand for its heavenly beaches. The beach is home to several coves that formed around volcanic lava rock points. Surrounded by mountains and shaded by their privacy, Ao Chao Phao offers privacy and solitude.
AO HIN KONG
Enclosed by mangroves, this beach is untouched. Seashells paint the sand along with pieces of coral from the reef 300 meters into the sea. Located on the west coast, this beach offers yet another unrivaled view of the sunset.
AO SRI THANU
If you’re into yoga and are looking to discover your spiritual self on Koh Phangan, Ao Sri Thanu may be for you. Adjacent to one of Koh Phangan’s most popular yoga centers, with a detox retreat not far away, Sri Thanu has quickly grown into something of a bohemian beach. In the morning, you can catch yogis doing their sun salutations in one of the many wooden huts perched on stilts along the beachfront. It’s best to wait until the tide is in to go swimming – when it’s out, it can take ages to get to water that’s deep enough to swim in. There are a few different resorts with fairly-priced rooms and restaurants that cook good quality Thai food.
HAAD DAO DEUK
Positioned on the west coast, this beach is perfect for romance. Haad Dao Deuk is a quiet refuge, but is located near Haad Yao and Haad Son beaches, with plenty of bars and nightlife. The west coast claims the best coral reef on the island so make sure to bring your snorkel gear!
This small beach has coarse sand and coral deposits. Surrounded by a lush, green jungle, this beach is truly unique. While it may not be ideal for swimming, it occasionally hosts trance parties with mesmerizing music and all-night dancing.
HAAD MAE HAAD
This local dive site is a National Marine Park. A long beach with plush, white sand extending for ages, Haad Mae Haad offers plenty of chilled out beach bars, party spots and silent retreats to meet any traveler’s needs. You can walk across the sandbar to visit Koh Ma, a small island located at the Southwestern end of Koh Phangan.
Haad Salad is thought by many to be one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Phangan. The crystal ocean water sparkles in the sun, lapping up onto its powdery white sand. Funky restaurants and bungalows line the beachfront, which is unfortunately rather thin. Huge rope swings hang from palm trees, just waiting for couples to flock to them. A new sandbar protects the beach from whatever neat sea animals lurk in the deeper ocean. And the sunset, which sets just over the hill to the west, is truly magical.
When you see the sign for Secret Beach, you can’t help but think you’ve discovered a gem – and you have. It’s perhaps not as hidden as you might like (the signs on the side of the main road calling out “Secret Beach” as if shouting at you, in big, bright pink lettering), but somehow, it’s not as populated as it ought to be, given its fabulous features. There’s one restaurant in the middle of the beach simply called “Restaurant & Bar”. They provide free WiFi to their customers, snorkeling equipment, and kayaks.
HAAD THIAN (WEST)
Only one resort populates this intimate, secluded beach. Perfect for diving into a book or a long conversation with travel companions, this beach has coarser sand and coral deposits. The beach is fairly close to a reef crawling with sea life.
HAAD YAO (WEST)
Catch a fire show or enjoy a freshly-caught fish grilled in front of your eyes on this stretch of one kilometer-long western beach. Relax with a beach side massage as you watch the tangerine sunset in the distance. There are Buddhist elephant statues located on rocks on the far west side of the beach for those looking to explore. Haad Yao or “Long Beach” is postcard material.