Those looking for a relaxing, family-friendly beach in Koh Phangan away from the crowds, partiers, and backpackers, should consider visiting Thong Nai Pan Beach, or Thong Nai Pan Noi as it’s known in Thai.
Located on the northwest side of the island, surrounded by a national park and beautiful nature, Thong Nai Pan Beach is an off-the-beaten-path destination that offers a serene break from the rowdier parts of Koh Phangan.
If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Thong Nai Pan Beach, either for a day or to stay for a while, this guide will reveal to you everything you need to know about how to get there, what to do there, and some tips for visiting.
How to Get to Thong Nai Pan Beach, Koh Phangan
The easiest way to get to Thong Nai Pan Beach is by taking a ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan and then driving across the island.
From Koh Samui, it takes between 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on whether you catch the ferry or speedboat.
You can get a ferry to Thong Sala Pier, Koh Phangan’s main port, or you can get a speed boat to Haad Rin.
Once you reach Koh Phangan, Thong Nai Pan Beach is 18km away which takes 30 minutes to drive.
If you only have a backpack or small luggage, I would recommend getting the ferry to Thongsala and hiring a scooter near there, as you will likely need to return to this pier to get the ferry to your next destination in Thailand.
You can also rent a scooter near Haad Rin, but you will need to drive over a huge hill to get to Thong Nai Pan Beach which is not ideal, especially with luggage.
There are a few large hills on the way to Thong Nai Pan Beach from Thongsala, but if you have a scooter with good brakes and you drive slow it’s doable.
Alternatively, you can get a taxi to Thong Nai Pan Beach from the pier, which takes about 40 minutes and will cost around 300-400 baht per person. This is the best option for those with suitcases and large luggage.
Alternatively, you can take a water taxi from Thongsala to Thong Nai Pan Beach, which takes around 45 minutes but is more expensive.
If you plan to stay at Thong Nai Pan Beach, many resorts also offer a transfer service, sometimes with a water taxi, so it’s worth checking with your accommodation if they offer this service.
Things to Do at Thong Nai Pan Beach
Thong Nai Pan Beach is a beautiful and serene beach that is perfect for families, couples, or groups of people looking for a relaxing location.
The water is warm, shallow, and gradually slopes, which means it’s ideal for those with small children who love to splash around in the gentle waves.
The beach is protected by a bay, which means you rarely get big waves here, but you should be careful if visiting the northern and southern shores as there are large rocks.
Here are some of the best things to do at Thong Nai Pan Beach.
1. Go Snorkeling or Kayaking
The beach has calm and clear waters, perfect for snorkeling or kayaking. You can rent a snorkel mask and fins from one of the dive shops in Panburi Village, or rent a kayak from the resorts on the beach.
There is a small reef just a few meters from the shore, and it’s possible to see small fish, sea cucumbers, and even a turtle if you’re lucky.
Be mindful of the boats when snorkeling. There aren’t too many in the bay of Thong Nai Pan Beach, but you may have the odd one or two water taxis pull in.
2. Play Beach Volleyball
Not many beaches in Koh Phangan have a beach volleyball court (the only other I’ve seen was at Malibu Beach).
You can pick up a ball and other beach toys such as buckets and spades from the convenience store in Panburi Village and use the volleyball court free of charge.
3. Drive over to Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach
While many people visit Panburi Village to see Thong Nai Pan Beach, just to the south is another beach worth checking out, called Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach.
It’s quieter than Thong Nai Pan Beach, and has limited facilities, but there are a few beachside bars and restaurants to enjoy.
The water is calm and great for swimming. The sand is soft, pure white, and super clean. It’s a beautiful beach with a quiet, serene location. If you just want to sit on a beach with a good book, this is the place to be.
4. Visit The Nearby Waterfalls
To get to Thong Nai Pan Beach, you need to drive across the island through Namtok Than Sadet National Park.
Along the way, you pass several waterfalls, such as Thong Nai Pan Waterfall and Namtok Than Prawet Waterfall.
These waterfalls require a small trek to get to, but not more than 15 minutes or so. If you visit during the right season (after the rainy season in October – December is ideal) they are full of water and offer a refreshing break from the salty sea water.
If you visit during the hot and dry season (March and April) be warned that these waterfalls may have dried up.
5. Go Trekking in Namtok Than Sadet National Park
Another popular activity in the Namtok Than Sadet National Park is trekking.
You can trek to the waterfalls mentioned above, or you can trek to more secluded beaches such as Haad Sadet Beach and Haad Thong Reng.
There are also some historical landmarks such as Historical inscriptions of Rama V, hike up the highest mountain peak on the island, Khao Ra Peak at 635 meters above sea level, as well as take in the native plants and fauna of the park.
6. Hike the Bottle Beach Viewpoint Trek
A popular viewpoint on Koh Phangan is the Bottle Beach viewpoint. The start of the trek is only a 5-minute scooter ride from Thong Nai Pan Beach, and then from there, it’s a 15-minute walk.
The walk to the viewpoint goes through the jungle and is not dangerous until you reach the rocky outcrop at the end.
You then need to do some rocky scrambling to reach the viewpoint.
If you’re afraid of heights, I wouldn’t recommend this hike. And do not go alone.
7. Take a Taxi Boat to Bottle Beach or Mae Haad Beach
You can also take a taxi boat from Thong Nai Pan Beach to other beaches on the island.
Some popular beaches that you can visit are the remote Bottle Beach, which can only be accessed by hiking or boat, or Mae Haad Beach which is connected to Ko Ma Island by a sand bar.
Water taxis are expensive, usually around 400 baht each way, but what they offer is a unique view of the island from the ocean. Taking the water taxi is an experience in its own right, and definitely worth doing at least once.
It’s also the fastest way to reach Mae Haad Beach, which is on the north west of the island. To get there by car you will need to drive all the way to the south and back up again, so if you plan to visit for a day a water taxi will save a lot of transport time.
Facilities at Thong Nai Pan Beach
The beach is more remote than other beaches in Koh Phangan, but there are plenty of facilities nearby since it’s right on the edge of the Panburi Village.
There are many restaurants, cafes, and bars serving both local and international cuisine in the village, as well as on the beachfront.
You can enjoy a drink while watching the sunset or have a romantic dinner by the beach. It’s the perfect destination for a honeymoon in Thailand.
The village also has several massage parlors offering traditional Thai massages and other spa treatments.
If you’re looking for souvenirs, there are several shops selling handicrafts and local products.
However, there are no public restrooms or showers on the beach, you will need to use the resort’s facilities. Most beachside restaurants allow you to use their bathrooms if you buy a drink.
Restaurants at Thong Nai Pan Beach
Most of the restaurants are located in Panburi Village, but there are a few beachside restaurants on Thong Nai Pan Beach that offer delicious food and a perfect setting.
The Bistro at The Beach offers Western cuisine such as pizzas, burgers, and pasta dishes.
It has a beachside location where you can feel the sand beneath your feet and see the stars above your head as you dine on delicious food.
As it’s beachside, the prices are more expensive than what you would find in the village.
If you’re looking for cocktails and seafood, head to Stone Beach Restaurant on the south of the beach. It’s part of the Panviman Resort but you don’t need to stay there to enjoy the restaurant.
It has a mixture of Western and Thai cuisine, for quite reasonable prices considering its idyllic location.
For those looking for casual dining right on the sand, head to The Beach Club, which has a mix of Western and Thai cuisine for a reasonable price.
They sometimes have live music and entertainment in the evening.
Resorts at Thong Nai Pan Beach
Thong Nai Pan Beach has a few accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury. Some of the popular ones are:
- Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas. A luxurious beachfront resort offering private villas with a private pool and stunning sea views. It’s a 5-star hotel offering 5-star luxury.
- Buri Rasa Koh Phangan. A boutique 4-star resort located on the beachfront offering comfortable rooms and suites. There are no bungalows or villas here, but some rooms come with a balcony to enjoy the sea views.
- Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort & Spa. A luxury 5-Star resort set in a tropical forest to the north of the beach, offering private villas with sea views and traditional Thai architecture.
- Panviman Resort Koh Phangan. A four-star resort located on the south side of the beach on a hill offering panoramic sea views and a private beach. It also has an infinity pool and a private boat transfer to other parts of the island.
- Sand in My Shoes Hotel. A budget-friendly option located on the beachfront offering rooms and bungalows.
- Thong Nai Pan Beach Residence. A 2-star hotel offering comfortable bungalows on a budget. The bungalows are basic but are kitted out with everything you would need, plus they are right on the beach.
Tips for Visiting Thong Nai Pan Beach
Before you go, I have a few tips for visiting Thong Nai Pan Beach to make sure you have the best experience.
- Pack sunscreen. The beach gets very sunny during the day, so it’s essential to pack sunscreen. There isn’t a lot of shade in the morning, so if you visit this time you may want to rent an umbrella from a resort. However, in the afternoon the sun is behind the mountains which offer some shade.
- Bring insect repellent as there may be mosquitoes around, especially in the evening.
- Rent a motorbike. Whether you’re visiting for a day or for a few days, I always recommend renting a scooter if you visit Koh Phangan. It is considerably cheaper than taking taxis everywhere and also gives you more freedom. You can rent one from near Thongsala Pier, or you can rent one from one of the local shops in Panburi Village. It’s relatively cheap but you should feel confident driving on hills.
- Be mindful of the environment. Thong Nai Pan Beach is a beautiful place, and it’s important to keep it that way. Pick up your trash and be mindful of your impact on the environment.
- Book accommodation in advance. Thong Nai Pan Beach is a popular destination, especially during peak season. It’s advisable to book your accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Thong Nai Pan Beach
Thong Nai Pan Beach is a serene and beautiful beach destination in Koh Phangan.
With crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and lush hills surrounding it, there’s no denying it’s the perfect peaceful retreat for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Whether you want to relax on the beach or explore the area’s natural beauty, Thong Nai Pan Beach has something for everyone.