Dec 02 2011
Located on Ko Pha Ngan’s east coast, Thong Nai Pan Yai beach is far from the party revellers of Haad Rin beach, as it is not as easy to access, making it particularly good for families. The resorts on this beach will collect guests daily from the ferry pier, or the occasional guest sails in. This good swimming beach offers the perfect mix of laidback bars, inexpensive but good accommodation and a taste of Thai island life. Here are some suggestions to make the best of a visit to Ko Pha Ngan’s bay with a tongue-twister name, and escape the crazy crowds of Samui and Ko Pha Ngan’s main tourist drags — such as Haad Rin — over the peak festive season.
Where to stay: Kids love Dreamland Resort for no other reason than the pool, and if the kids are happy, it means mum and dad can relax too. The pool is huge, with a swim-up bar, waterfall, Jacuzzi pool and plenty of pool loungers. It’s located next to the beach and restaurant, making it easy to keep an eye on little ones.
The accommodation isn’t fancy, but bungalows are clean and most have air-con. The restaurant serves good value Thai and Western fare, and the onsite shop keeps a good supply of essentials. Bring Santa’s pressies with you, as you won’t find much in the way of a Toys’R'Us in the vicinity. A perfect beach, warm water, fresh air, new experiences and plenty of quality family time make up for expensive gifts, so keep it simple.
Rates range from 600 baht for a standard fan bungalow to 3,500 baht for a large deluxe bungalow. See our review here.
Where to eat: Although Dolphin offers accommodation, it is best known for its restaurant, if you can call it that. Several standalone salas are dotted around the resort, some on the beachfront, some under huge shady trees. These salas are furnished with low tables, pyramid cushions and bean bags for a truly relaxed vibe. The food is outstanding – Western, with a Mediterranean twist and good vegetarian options, and well-priced. On one occasion we arrived for breakfast, taking over a large beach sala while the kids played at the water’s edge. Not wanting to leave, we ordered coffee after coffee, and ending up staying for lunch and afternoon drinks.
Where to drink: The Flip Flop Pharmacy Bar is located midway along the beach, painted bright yellow, and the name certainly starts conversations. Great music, beer on tap and a pool table make this a popular hangout.
Thong Nai Pan Yai beach transforms at night as resorts and bars turn on the fairy lights, and fire dancers put on shows to end another spectacular day on a perfect beach.
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