When you think about Koh Phangan, your mind immediately conjures up beaches. In fact, for a small island of 125 km2, there are plenty of beaches in Koh Phangan to choose from.
That being said, not all of the beaches are worth visiting in Koh Phangan. Some beaches are used by fishermen, other beaches have such low tides it’s like walking on a mud pit.
So if you are looking for a Koh Phangan beach with soft white-sand, turquoise clear waters, or one where you can snorkel, then keep reading below as we have shared the best ones!
The Best Beaches in Koh Phangan
1. Salad Beach
Salad Beach is a beautiful beach that’s just a 7-minute scooter ride South of Mae Haad Beach.
What I love about this beach is that even though it’s well-known, it’s always quiet.
This small, crescent-shaped bay is sheltered by a tidal wall, which stops waves from hitting the reef that is nestled close to the shore.
If you want to go for a swim, you can grab your snorkel mask and see thriving fish and ocean life from a short distance from the shore.
If you don’t have a mask, don’t worry, because the ocean is so still and so clear, you can wade into the water and still see the fish swimming around your ankles from where you stand.
There are a few cozy cafes and restaurants behind the beach and a few trees that offer shade in the morning. However, there are no showers or toilets for the public to use, you would need to use a restaurant one.
The sand is soft and golden, though a little rough under your feet so be sure to bring flip-flops to wear when walking to the water’s edge.
2. Mae Haad Beach and Koh Ma Island
Mae Haad Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Koh Pha Ngan. It’s a long, golden beach with soft stoney sand that connects to Koh Ma Island by a spit that appears at low tide.
You can walk all the way along the spit to the island, or you can stay on Mae Haad Beach and enjoy this crescent-shaped bay.
The water is usually gentle and warm, with a reef only a few meters from the water’s edge. You can wade out for 100 meters or so and still only be waist-deep (well, for an adult anyway).
This is another excellent beach for snorkeling and has a bounty of sealife just a few meters from the shoreline.
There are several top-class resorts and restaurants nearby, and ample parking for scooters and cars.
It’s a popular beach for families, and you can even hire kayaks or buy buckets and spades from the general store here if you’re looking for something more fun to do.
Though parents with small children should be aware that the ocean floor drops off by about 1-2 feet from where the water hits the shore, which is fine for an adult as it comes up to just above the knee, for toddlers this would swallow them up. So do make sure to keep an eye on the little ones.
3. Bottle Beach
Famously known as Koh Pha Ngan’s most beautiful beach, Bottle Beach is a difficult beach to get to but its beauty is worth the effort.
Located on the northern side of the island, Bottle Beach is a remote beach that can be reached by hiking or by boat. In theory, you can drive there, but I wouldn’t recommend it as the road is incredibly steep.
Although most beaches in Koh Phangan have a shallow shoreline, what I love about Bottle Beach is you can actually swim.
The turquoise blue waters are an inviting site, especially when you look back at the island from the water and see the dense jungle and mountains in the background.
The sand is mostly soft, though there are a few rocky areas.
Despite its growing popularity and two resorts that sit behind the beach, Bottle Beach is very clean and well-maintained. It also has a shower, which is not something you often see on Koh Phangan’s beaches.
Read More: Is Koh Phangan Worth Visiting?
4. Zen Beach
Zen Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Ko Pha Ngan but not for the beach itself, but more for the vibe.
Come sunset, this beach is packed full of people, including a hippy community who play music, twirl dragon staffs, and dance outside the Grasshopper Beach Bar.
Since it faces directly West, it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset…and try acro yoga.
The beach is clean and has soft sand, plus a shallow shoreline that makes for a great swimming spot for kids.
5. Haad Rin Beach
Like Zen Beach, you don’t go to Haad Rin Beach for the beach itself. This is the famous spot for the Full Moon Parties that bring many travelers to the island.
If you’re looking for nightlife, this is the beach to go to. And attending a Full Moon Party is a bucket list activity not to be missed.
Despite being the spot for partygoers at night, it’s a clean and relaxing beach during the day. It sits on the South West on the island, which means it often has a low tide.
6. Malibu Beach
Malibu Beach was one of my favorites because it was so quiet, the sand was startling pure white and the water was so clear I could see the fish swimming around my ankles.
Located at the tip of the crescent-shaped Chalok Lam Beach, Malibu is somewhat of a hidden gem.
It has one beach shake serving refreshments and overpriced food, a volleyball net, and snorkel rent, and not much else.
The shoreline slopes gradually and the water is shallow for a good 100 meters or so.
It would be an ideal beach for families as the water is protected by a barrier and the water is shallow enough that kids can play without the need for swimming.
If you do enjoy swimming, you will need to wage out a fair distance, otherwise, the sand will scrape your belly near the shore.
You can also get a boat to Bottle Beach from here.
7. Haad Baan Tai Beach
Baan Tai Beach is the nicest beach on the south of the island. The beach is pretty much taken over by resorts though, so it’s hard to gain public access to this beach.
Many resorts allow you to enter the beach from their premises for a small fee, or if you use their restaurant, whereas are strictly for paying guests.
If you do find yourself staying at one of the resorts along this beach, you will love the tranquil atmosphere and pure white sand.
The tide is often low which makes swimming a bit difficult. You would have to go early in the morning when the tide is in if you want to swim.
You can also find a shady spot below a palm from most parts of this beach. It’s a great place to sit and chill and read a book if you’re not bothered about swimming.
8. Secret Beach
Secret Beach is not so secret anymore. It’s a tiny beach that’s sheltered by a bay and extends for no more than 70 meters.
It has one beach bar, and a few resorts nearby, but otherwise lacks facilities. Which is why I love it.
Despite being well known, it’s quite a quiet beach and is usually visited by backpackers and young adults, since there isn’t much in the way of entertainment for kids.
The water slopes gradually and you’ll find yourself sitting in the water rather than swimming, but it’s a lovely beach to relax on and read a book.
If you walk around the rocky headland to the south you might even find a secluded patch of sand to yourself.
9. Haad Khom Beach
Haad Khom Beach is often overshadowed by Chalok Lam Beach and Bottle Beach which sits on either side of it, but I think it’s one of the nicest beaches on the island.
Most people will use this beach as a gateway to Bottle Beach, since you can get a water taxi from here to the beach.
But don’t use it as a stopover. The beach itself is gorgeous, with golden sand, restaurants serving refreshments, and a thriving reef just off the shore.
Grab a snorkel mask and swim out by the rocky headland and you’ll find an abundance of sea life.
10. Chalok Lam Beach
Chalok Lam Beach is on the northern shores of Koh Phangan and is where you will find boats going to Bottle Beach.
The beach itself is rather skinny, and the water is mainly used as a harbor for boats, but it’s still worth checking out.
I like this beach because it’s lined with great restaurants and sweeping ocean views. On the East side, you have the beautiful Malibu Beach, and on the West, you have the headland towards Haad Khom Beach.
I personally wouldn’t swim here as there are quite a few boats in the water, but other people do.
11. Thong Nai Pai Beach
Located on the northeast of the island, Thong Nai Pai Beach is one of the quietest beaches since it’s far away from everything.
To get there, you have to drive through the island’s stunning national park, which surrounds this beach with rich, jungle plants and fauna.
The beach itself is stunning with soft, white sand that’s clean and pristine. Like most beaches on the island, the shore is shallow with gentle waves, which makes this an ideal beach for families with young children.
It’s located right next to Panburi Village, which has many restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. It also has some of the best resorts on the island, which offer 5-star luxury in a 5-star location.
What makes Thong Nai Pan Beach one of the best beaches in Koh Phangan is that even though it’s gorgeous and has luxury resorts around it, it’s not overly crowded.
It’s location is far away from everything, so those visiting are really looking for seclusion away from the party crowds and backpackers. It’s perfect for couples and families who are happy to be far from everything and stay in the resorts.
Whether you’re looking to snorkel, swim, party, relax with a book or find seclusion, you will find all this and more at one of Koh Phangan’s beaches.
I hope this guide gave you some inspiration about which beaches to visit on the island. If you have any more recommendations, feel free to reach out to us in the comments.
Read more: How to Get to Koh Pha Ngan from Bangkok