Koh Phayam Nominated for Thailand’s Best Beach Destination
As Khiri Travel Thailand’s Product Manager, I am often asked to name my favorite Thai island or where to go for an island beach holiday. With so many wonderful choices in Thailand, it’s difficult to give a straightforward answer and it often boils down to personal preference. My favorites are little known gems that offer great beaches, wonderful fresh food and still have a local feel. Islands such as the remarkable Koh Jum near Krabi, picture-perfect Koh Mook near Trang or peaceful Koh Kood near Cambodia each offer the perfect environment for an idyllic island break. However, my best of the best is Koh Phayam, situated close to Myanmar on Thailand’s Andaman coast.
Off the beaten path, Koh Phayam boasts long white sandy beaches and a lush interior of thick vegetation and cashew plantations. Cars are not allowed. Despite this small place being off the radar for the masses of tourists that descend on Thailand, Koh Phayam is surprisingly accessible from Bangkok! There are at least two daily flights from Bangkok to a small airport in Ranong and then only one additional hour via taxi and speedboat to reach the island.
Koh Phayam’s best beaches are situated on the west side of the island. Ao Kwai or Buffalo Bay is the place to go for spectacular sunsets. It’s a memorable experience seeing the patchwork of purple, pinks and orange colors in the sky reflecting off the sea as the sun disappears beyond the horizon.
On the whole it’s a very low-key island with excellent local Thai seafood restaurants. The bar scene is not the raucous nightclubs of more popular islands. Nightlife consists of a few bars including the Hippy Bar, designed to resemble a beached pirate ship, with a great selection of cold beers, snacks and music.
One thing travelers will notice when arriving on Phayam is how incredibly friendly the locals are and the island’s chill vibe. With no roads it’s either a moped or a bicycle to get around and from my experience the locals are more than happy to give you a free lift on the back of their bikes. Also noticeable is the Burmese influence, which is not surprising considering the island is not much more than 20km from the Myanmar border. Thais from other parts of the country will tell you that the local accent here is Burmese and islanders of all ages, both male and female, wear the distinctive thanaka paste on their cheeks as seen on people throughout Myanmar.
If you are looking for that little slice of paradise off the beaten path, Koh Phayam could be the perfect choice for you. For more information about this island or other beach destinations in Thailand, please contact [email protected]