There are no cars at Koh Phayam and if you stay at Ao Yai Beach, you only have electricity 2 hours per day. This is pretty charming, but remember to bring a flash light.
Welcome to the hammock life.
You may think that there is no way to find a hidden gem in Thailand. It’s probably one of the most visited destinations all year, all over the world. Thailand has been a travel destinations for many years, which makes it pretty hard to find the untouched. It’s hard, but not impossible. Ask yourself, shouldn’t it be a little hassle to experience something truly magical about Mother Nature? Otherwise, I don’t think it would have been that special, because if would have been accessible at all times. We need to feel a little toil to really appreciate something spectacular, don’t you agree?
So, if you are up for the task, you should visit Koh Phayam, Thailand. This is a small, enchanting island south of Phuket. You need to take a bus from Phuket for 5 hours to the small town, Ranong and from there you need to take a boat for about an hour. You will arrive pretty exhausted, but it will be the only time you have that feeling on your vacation in Koh Phayam, Thailand. Welcome to the tranquil life!
Good, spicy Thai food and delicious Mango Lassi is easy to find on this little island. My favorites where Big Tree Bungalows and Lazy Hut Koh Phayam Restaurant. Super cheap, tasteful and friendly atmosphere.
When your sugar-crave kicks in, go to Fanatic Shop. Take the main road from Ao Yai Beach, about 5 minuets walking. This place has amazing coconut brownie and banana bread.
My favorite place on the island – Cha-Chai Home! Lovely couple who invites you into their world, with great drinks and sweets. They serve so many different kinds of milkshakes, coffee shakes, juices and smoothies (with a secret ingredients) and the best pancakes. Sit down in the little garden and enjoy the serene, tranquil surroundings. They offer yoga classes in the morning.
Ao Yai Beach (West coast) – huge beach with the most breathtaking sunsets. You can find your own deserted place or stay in front of one of the bungalow hostels. If you are lucky you can surf here, but it’s not too often the waves are good.
Ao Hin Kao (East Coast) – you need to go through a little jungle to get here (walk or rent a motorbike). It’s almost no people, and no beach bars so bring drinks and food. When it is low tide, you can walk to the little island across from the beach (many stray dogs on this island…). Make sure you get back before the tide goes up – this happens fast!
Buffalo bay, Ao Khao Khwai (North/West coast) – magnificent, golden beach with two beach bars, so you can enjoy a whole day here. Experience how the sun makes the beach sparkle like gold at sunset – words can’t describe it!
Yoga in the morning with the sound of the ocean – you will definitely feel relaxed the rest of the day! Ask at Cha-Chai Home for classes.
Take a boat trip around the island – talk to some of the locals, so you get a private boat ride. Go to Pi Tao Bar on the East Coast, and they will find someone to take you around the island for a good price.
Relax in your bungalow on the beach (fall asleep in your hammock) and drink lots of Mango Lassi’s.
When you finish reading the book you brought on vacation, go to the bookstore beside Fanatic Shop and trade it with a new one.
Hippie bar (Buffalo bay, Ao Khao Khwai, North/West coast): the best place for full moon parties with a huge fire on the beach. Crazy bamboo house with several bars, tattoo shop and souvenir shop. Just dancing and good vibes! Climb to the top and have a beer on the roof.
Rasta Baby Bar (Ao Yai Beach, West coast): great place for reggae-nights and full moon parties. Chill laid-back atmosphere.
Big Tree Bungalows (Ao Yai Beach, West Coast)
The sweetest little family hostel with ten bungalows, right on the beach. You can choose from different bungalows, depending on your budget. The place is so beautiful and tranquil. It’s located at the end of the beach, away from the parties and loud music. But if you want this, it’s just 10 minutes walking (or 3 minutes with motorbike).
The family is so warm and hospitable. They have a little book at the bar where you can write down what you are drinking/eating and pay every week.
Lazy Hut Koh Phayam (Ao Yai Beach, West Coast)
Need a place to sleep, eat and chill? And by chill, I mean really manage to get rid of all the tension and stress in your mind and body. Stay at Lazy Hut Koh Phayam. They offer this cosy, little beach bungalow and restaurant on the beach with a big outdoor space filled with hammocks, comfy sunbeds and a lot of big pillows. I mean, you don’t need to live here to enjoy some siesta time. Just grab a pillow, fall asleep to the sound of the ocean and wake up to delicious thai-food and lots of Mango lassi.
Worth mentioning about going to Koh Phayam:
It’s a bit of a hassle getting to the island, but I promise you, it’s absolutely worth it. Fly to Phuket and take a bus to Ranong. From Ranong the boat leaves two times a day and it takes about one hour to the island.
Note: I visited the island in 2012; so maybe a lot has happened since then. I really hope not, because this was a little travel treasure…