Nestled on the west coast of Koh Phangan, Zen Beach is a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the island’s more crowded beaches.
With its crystal-clear waters, soft white sands, and stunning views (especially at sunset), Zen Beach offers an idyllic spot for those seeking solitude and relaxation.
In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about visiting Zen Beach in Koh Phangan including how to get there, what to do there, and some tips for visiting…
How to Get to Zen Beach
Zen Beach is located about 5.5 km from Thong Sala, the main port of Koh Phangan. The easiest way to get there is by renting a scooter or hiring a taxi.
A taxi ride from Thong Sala will take around 15 minutes and cost approximately 200-300 baht. The good news is, Zen Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Koh Phangan, so you will have little trouble finding a taxi back to your hotel after visiting (especially after sunset).
However, the best way to get there is by scooter. You will find scooter rentals are readily available across the island.
Hiring a scooter is much more cost-efficient than taking a taxi (the average scooter rental is 200-250 baht per day), and unlike other beaches on the island such as Haad Salad and Secret Beach, there is no steep hill down to Zen Beach (though you do need to drive down a dirt road with potholes).
If you’re confident driving a scooter, this is the best way to explore all that Koh Phangan has to offer.
If you’re coming from outside Koh Phangan, the best way to reach the island is by taking a ferry from Surat Thani or Koh Samui. Once you reach Thong Sala, you should follow the main road west toward Zen Beach.
Note: The entrance to Zen Beach is not clearly marked, and Google Maps takes you to the wrong side of the beach.
You should look for “Zen Beach Parking” when searching the beach on Google Maps, or look out for the entrance off the main road near a tourist information center with the words “INFORMATION” in big letters.
To help you out, here is a photo of the entrance to Zen Beach so you know what to look for…
If you want to put directions into Google Maps, here is a map showing you where to go…
Things to Do at Zen Beach
Zen Beach is relatively small and does not have many activities available, but that’s precisely the appeal of the place.
The beach is perfect for lazing around and enjoying the sun, and the calm waters make it perfect for swimming.
1. Meditate and Watch the Sunset
With its stunning views facing West, Zen Beach is a popular spot for meditation and yoga at sunset. You will find many people here offering yoga classes or group meditation sessions.
As the sun goes down, the Grasshopper Beach Bar plays ambient chill music, and you may even be lucky to see a community of people playing instruments and singing.
The atmosphere is calming and, well, zen, which makes it the perfect place to switch off and meditate.
2. Try acro yoga
Likewise, if you do visit during sunset, you will find some acro yoga enthusiasts practicing their skills next to the Grasshopper Beach Bar.
It’s not clear whether it’s a group class or people just enjoying practicing, but if you want to try acro yoga in Koh Phangan, there is a Facebook group set up dedicated to all things acro yoga in Koh Phangan.
3. Sunbathe on the Nudist Beach
Not many people know this, but the far north of Zen Beach is a nudist beach. If you want to sunbathe without getting tan lines, this is the place to go.
4. Stay at Zen Bungalows, Koh Phangan
There aren’t many resorts that sit directly on Zen Beach, but the most famous one is located right on the edge of Zen Beach where the Grasshopper Beach Bar is.
The tranquil Zen Bungalows is a mid-range resort in which you can stay in your own private bungalow, with a little verandah overlooking a garden.
They are just steps away from the beach.
5. Get a Thai Massage at Dawan Massage Zen Beach
Another popular activity to do at any beach on the island is to get a massage.
At Zen Beach, the massage parlor is called Dawan Massage Zen Beach, and they are located next to the Grasshopper Beach Bar, on the northern side to the main entrance.
The average rate for a Thai massage is about 300 baht for a 1-hour massage.
6. Have a Drink at Grasshopper Beach Bar
This is the most famous beach bar on Zen Beach, so you can’t visit without getting a cold beer or a cocktail. They also have soft drinks for kids.
While the drinks are nothing special, the atmosphere is what brings people to the beach bar. It often has live DJs and musicians playing in the evening.
Facilities at Zen Beach
As you with most beaches in Koh Phangan, the facilities at Zen Beach are basic but sufficient for a day trip.
You’ll find a few beach chairs and umbrellas outside the Grasshopper Beach Bar, which is a small restaurant serving simple Thai food and drinks.
There are no public bathrooms or showers, but you can use the restaurant’s toilet.
Zen Beach is also just a short distance from the main road in Koh Phangan. You can easily walk down the road to the 7/11 if you want to get drinks and snacks.
Tips for Visiting Zen Beach
Before you go, here are some tips for visiting Zen Beach…
- Bring your snacks and beach necessities. Zen Beach is somewhat secluded and may not have all the facilities you may need. There are a couple of restaurants that serve simple meals and refreshments, but there are no showers, public bathrooms, or stores (though there is a 7/11 on the main road just a short walk away). Be sure to pack all the essentials, including sunscreen, towels, a hat, and a book.
- Watch out for rocks. Although the beach is relatively shallow and safe, there are some rocks scattered around the water, so be cautious when swimming.
- Respect the environment. Leave only footprints while visiting Zen Beach. Don’t litter, and be sure to take back any trash with you.
- Visit during sunset. This is the best time to visit Zen Beach because it’s not only when you see a perfect sunset, but is when all the backpackers, hippies, acro yoga enthusiasts, and spiritual young people come to the beach. The vibe is cheerful and zen (hence the name, Zen Beach).
- Have a Plan B. The beach is quite small, and if it gets too crowded, you may want to have a backup plan like visiting other nearby beaches.
- Be aware there is a nudist beach. There is a nudist beach to the far north of the beach. Just so you know…
- Park in the overflow parking. There is plenty of parking at Zen Beach and it’s obvious where to park (look for the huge pile of scooters). However, there is an overflow parking to the right as you drive towards the main parking area. I recommend you park there as the main parking area gets full of scooters and I have been blocked in there twice.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Zen Beach, Koh Phangan
Zen Beach is perfect for those seeking peaceful solitude and a place to watch the sunset surrounded by like-minded people.
The beach’s white sands, turquoise waters, and gentle ocean breeze provide the ultimate backdrop for an ideal day out in Koh Phangan.
With basic facilities, a secluded location, and no rowdy crowds only spiritual seekers, you’re sure to experience your slice of paradise.
So, pack your beach bag, find a spot in the sand, and enjoy the peace.