Best Beaches In Koh Phangan: Discover Paradise In Thailand

haad salad swimming best beaches in koh phangan

Want to explore the best beaches in Koh Phangan? From my favorite beaches, the best snorkeling beaches in Koh Phangan, how to get there travel around the island, where to stay, and my top tips for enjoying the best Thailand paradise has to offer, with this guide you’ll’ be covered!

One of my favorite islands in Thailand is Koh Phangan. It is the definition of paradise and has tourists flocking there all year round. Sure, the main reason for visiting for many tourists is the full moon party. Though, if you are willing to explore you will come across the best beaches in Koh Phangan which make this island a must visit while backpacking Thailand.

Get ready for blue seas, white sand, and gorgeous views as I list the best beaches in Koh Phangan which you need to see on your visit!

The 7 Best Beaches In Koh Phangan

tasha amy relaxing on haad chao phao

Best Beaches In Koh Phangan

1. Haad Chao Phao

Haad Chao Phao is one of the more quieter beaches in Koh Phangan.  Hidden off the main road, just pull over and down an overgrown path is where we discovered the beautiful beach of Haad Chao Phao.

It is slightly rocky, though there is still plenty of clean white sand around. It is possible to swim here no matter if it is low tide or high tide and the rocks provide a perfect place to snorkel around. Though, if you are a confident swimmer you can paddle out 100 meters from the beach where the reef can be found. Here you will find plenty of beautiful corals and exciting sea life making it one of the top spots for snorkeling in Koh Phangan.

Nearby you will find plenty of resorts and restaurants where you can stop and have lunch.

haad chao phao instagram photo location palm tree over rocks

crowds swimming on haad chao phao

haad chao phao palm trees on shoreline

2. Leela Beach

One of the most ‘Instagram famous’ beaches in Koh Phangan is Leela beach. Known for beautiful pristine white sand, calm blue waters and a swing between two coconut trees there will certainly be plenty of photos being taken here.

Like many places in Koh Phangan you will need to walk through a resort to access the beach but it is well worth it.  Also, because of the awkward access to the beach, it is mainly just filled with resort-goers. Leela Beach is not as crowded as the popular Haad Rin making it a great place to relax in this busy corner of Koh Phangan.

Nearby the famous coconut tree swing, you will also find a jetty on the water which you can walk out on.


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3. Haad Salad

My hands-down personal favorite choice for the best beaches in Koh Phangan is Haad Salad. This piece of paradise is the perfect place to relax on the more northern side of this island.

Slightly hidden again it can be a bit of a hassle to get to, but trust me it is well worth the adventure. We ended up parking in one of the more quieter resorts then following the in resort signs for paying guests down to the beach. There was pay for parking sign at the nearby restaurant, but there was legitimately nobody in there so we just risked it.

At the beach, there are crystal white sand and surrounding cliffs covered in beautiful swaying palm trees. This is a much more family-friendly place when compared to the alcohol-fueled Haad Rin. Therefore if you aren’t a partier and are visiting Koh Phangan during the full moon party, Haad Salad could be the perfect place for you to stay!

If you are into discovering the underwater world Haad Salad has some of the best snorkeling in Koh Phangan. You will have to head out 80 meters to find the coral, though if you wait for low tide you will be able to walk out some of the ways. Expect to find colorful small fish with great visibility.

Down at the beach, there are a few resorts around and a couple of places to grab lunch.

haad salad best beaches in koh phangan

haad salad swimming in blue water

4. Chalok Lum Beach

An easy beach to get to with no need to sneak through any resorts is Chalok Lum Beach. Stretching over 2 and a half kilometers long it is never overcrowded. The village of Chaloklum is located right in the center and in the middle of the beach itself is mainly just a fishing area. Here is where you can find some of those beautiful colorful longtail boats sitting in the beautiful blue waters.

On either side is where you can find areas of the beach which you can swim and relax on. Though this is only through December to March, during other times of year you will likely have to plan your swim during the daily high tide. This is also not the best beach for snorkeling off the shore due to all the fisherman which have destroyed the nearby coral reefs.

chaloklum beach with a rocky shore

chaloklum beach boats sitting on sand at low tide

5. Haad Rin

Welcome to the craziness of Haad Rin. No doubt if you are traveling Koh Phangan during the busy full moon time of the month you will find yourself here at some stage. Whether that’s partying to the early hours on the beach, watching a waterside fire spinning display or simply sunbathing on the sand. Sure, this certainly isn’t the quietest or most beautiful best beaches in Koh Phangan, but it certainly deserves an honorable mention.

The beach area of Haad Rin can be split into two different sections, Haad Rin Nok and Haad Rin Nai. Haad Rin Nok is certainly the crazy party area where you will find yourself drinking on the sand to the early hours and hitting up the nearby bars and clubs. The opposite of this is Haad Rin Nai which has a more relaxed bohemian atmosphere.

Overall the beach itself of Haad Rin is one of the biggest in Koh Phangan and is, therefore, one of the most crowded. If you are looking for a slice of paradise and some quiet time this is certainly where you will not want to be. Though, if you are a backpacker looking to chill out with a beer, people watch and perhaps make some new friends there is no better option than Haad Rin.


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6. Baan Tai Beach

During my time in Koh Phangan, we stayed at Goodtime Beach Backpackers on Baan Tai Beach. Located on the southern coast of the island the beach itself stretches all the way from Thongsala to Haad Rin Peninsula.

Covered in fine white sand surrounded by swaying coconut palm trees this is the perfect place to relax. There are plenty of resorts, affordable guesthouses and backpackers located right on the Baan Tai Beach making it a perfect option for anyone looking for cheap beachfront accommodation.

Depending on the time of year, water currents and weather, most of the time the water is beautifully blue. Though unfortunately, this was not the case during my stay. Nevertheless, it is an excellent swimming beach with a slow gradient into the sea. The water is extremely sandy as well so you do not have to worry about bumping into rocks. Also during low tide, there is a long sandbar outside Goodtime Beach backpackers which you can walk right out to sea on!

If you are looking for an excellent place to watch the sunset Baan Tai Beach is one of your best options!

baan tai at sunset with boat on water

resorts situated along Baan Tai Beach koh phangan

7. Mae Haad Beach- Best Snorkeling In Koh Phangan

No doubt Mae Haad Beach is one of the best beaches in Koh Phangan. It has gone through a lot of changes in recent years and road conditions have greatly improved providing easier access.

There are a few resorts located around Mae Haad Beach. Though thanks to the roomy beach it never feels overcrowded stretching over 800 meters. At low tide, there is a sandbank beach joins Mae Haad Beach to the small island of Koh Ma. This is where you can find the National Marine Park. That makes it one of the best areas in Koh Phangan to go snorkeling.

The waters here are extremely rich in sea life, from gorgeous coral reefs, turtles and small reef sharks. It is extremely unspoiled and being at one of the far corners of Koh Phangan it rarely gets busy.

This is a true slice of paradise and is great competition for the best beaches in Koh Phangan. If you are looking for the perfect sunset there is no better place than Mae Haad Beach.


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How To Travel Around Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is a relatively large island so if you are wanting to explore the best beaches in Koh Phangan you will definitely need some mode of transportation. If you feel comfortable hiring a motorbike this no doubt your best option of getting around. Taxi prices will add up fast. Also, it will be fairly expensive to hire a longtail boat to take you around to all the beaches.

It is extremely easy to find a shop hiring out motorbikes, but it may be hard to find somewhere which won’t scam you. Ask around to get opinions on a good hire spot, Facebook groups can be helpful for this or simply just asking around at your hostel. Either way, it is always a risk, but instead of handing over your passport, you can always ask to pay a deposit or hand over a second passport if you are lucky enough to have dual citizenship.

I am surprised at how well maintained the majority of the roads are in Koh Phangan, especially compared to other places around Thailand. While on the island there was a lot of roadworks going on and potholes being filled. In all the places I road around Thailand Koh Phangan definitely had the nicest roads to drive on. It’s also a lot less quiet on the roads than many other Thai tourist spots. Though, if you are looking at getting completely off the beaten track your best to head south to islands like Koh Yao Yai or Koh Yao Noi.

There is a mixture of quiet country roads, busy bustling villages and wide highway-like streets around Koh Phangan. I had previously driven in Vietnam, but Koh Phangan was the first place I drove around Thailand and it was incredibly easy to do so.

ku club beach palm trees lining path to shoreline

Where To Stay In Koh Phangan?

Find the best hotels in the area

Phanganist Hostel Koh Phangan

A social hostel and dorm beds with privacy, starting from $6.00 per night it provides the perfect stay!



Goodtime Koh Phangan

With a massive pool and beachfront location, what more could you want! Starting from $8.00.



Alcove Bungalow

Affordable bungalows perfect for two travelers on a budget from $18.00 per night.



Sunset Beach Villas

Luxury for less in this beachfront resort starting from $70.00 per night.


Ready To Hit The Best Beaches In Koh Phangan?

If you’re looking for the best beaches in Koh Phangan you will know where exactly to find them now. Whether you are just wanting to find somewhere to swim and relax on the beach or go snorkeling in Koh Phangan there is a beach for everyone. Personally, this island is one of my favorites in Thailand and I am excited to share this slice of paradise with you!


Get ready for blue seas, white sand and gorgeous views as I list the best beaches in Koh Phangan! The definition of paradise, Koh Phangan has tourists flocking there all year around, including for the full moon party. Though, if you are willing to explore you will come across the best beaches in Koh Phangan making this island a must visit while backpacking Thailand.

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

  • about tasha amy sidebar

    Your typical New Zealander, now discovering the world one country at a time. With a high-end backpacking style I prefer to glampack across the globe by embracing the best of each destination. All of which I share right here on Backpackers Wanderlust. 




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  • 4 Responses

    1. I never made it to Koh Phangan while we lived in Thailand. This post is making me regret that! Lol

    2. Honestly think Koh Phangan was one of my highlights of Thailand! It’s such a shame people only go there for Full Moon and then claim to hate it because they only see that side of it. We stayed on the opposite side of the island and it was like paradise! Sooo, so nice! I could happily go and spend a week there.

    3. Your picture are so beautiful and relaxing that I want to get on a plane right now! I’ll save this post for when I finally get to Thailand, Koh Phangan will definitely be on my itinerary!

    4. These beaches all look incredible. They remind me of the beach (the book)…at least before it gets all scary and horrible 😉

      I always thought Thailand’s best beaches would be more busy than that, but these all look quite empty. Did you go early in the morning, or were they just pretty chilled areas?

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