I will be staying on ko pha-ngan during August this year and was looking at staying in either Thong Nai Pan Yai or Thong Nai Pan Noi. We don't want to stay in a fancy resort but a beach hut with warm water and air con. Any recommendations as to where to stay? Which is the livelier of the two places? Also how long does if take to get to the full moon party from this destination?
#1 Saranne44 has been a member since 26/3/2014. Posts: 3
Unless the dirt road has been upgraded i wouldnt stay there. Virtually nothing to do with limited food options. Haad Yao area is better.
Fmp is a disgrace with drunks puking on beach and using ocean as toilet. Dont know why anyone would.want.to see that.
#2 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
We've a complete Ko Pha Ngan update that is going onto the site in a coupla weeks (when I'm back from holidays), but quickly, they are both outstanding beaches - I particularly like Thong Nai Pan Noi but Yai does have a wider range of accommodation. Looking through the submission our writer gave top marks to Thong Tapan on Noi and Dolphin on Yai with Nice Beach Bungalows on Yai also getting a very good review.
Food wise, as with accommodation, there are more options on Yai than Noi.
For the Full Moon Party can go by speedboat or at least an hour each way by pickup.
All up a great choice of an area on the island.
Every time I go into Thong Nai Pan the road gets better with more sections of concrete. I'd still caution novice motrcyclists to take care after periods of heavy rain which can cut up the dirt sections, but in one of the songthaews from the pier the trip is long but not uncomfortable as before.
I kinda like Thong Nai Pan - lovely twin beaches which can be walked between in 20 minutes, not super busy but enough bars and restaurants to make things interesting, and a reasonable selection of shops and other traveller services.
But I'm darned if I know which is better. The whole area has pushed upmarket in recent years, particularly beachfront at Noi. I think there is only one budget joint now, Baan Tapan - towards the north end. There are other budget joints off the beach. Dunno if they go to hot water though - a lot of the aircon huts in Thailand still have cold, on account cold showers (well they aint particularly cold) are sooo nice in that climate. Maybetravelfish's accommodation booking outfit will show places with hot water.
I know for a fact that Longtail Resort towards the south end of Thong Nai Pan Yai has hot water - I stayed in a fan bungalow with same last visit. They have aircon bungalows too and overall they run a pretty nice budget place. Most of the old-time backpacker joints towards the center and north end of the beach have upgraded with pools etc but when I last checked the booking sites some still had budget bungalows up the back. A cheap bungalow in a place with a pool is sweet IMHO.
Both beaches have reasonable shopping streets behind the beach. I got the impression Noi's had the better atmosphere re backpacker type bars and restaurants. with beachfront bars and restaurants the table is maybe turned. But there is not a lot of advantage in both these factors.
The beaches themselves? Um, both are pretty nice but my own personal opinion is that Yai is the better. But whichever you choose you should not be disappointed. Which is what I'd say about both places overall.
At FMP time you will find special songthaews running down to Had Rin. I'm thinking 30 minutes. I reckon there may be a few longtail boasts make this trip too - 20 minutes. The east coast ferry to Samui runs down the coast calling in at Had Rin each morning. It returns early-mid afternoon each day - this would give you lotsa time to check out Had Rin if you plan to stay all night. It also ensures a cheapish way back - I have heard people from the popular beaches saying that when they wanted to return to their beach there was no regular transport and they had to pay outrageous prices. But getting to TNP from Had Rin after daybreak by public sonthaew shouldn't be too difficult although there may be a delay on connections in Ban Tai or wherever it is on the south coast that the Thong Nai Pan road takes off. Of course if a bunch of you tee it up with the songthaew which brought you down to pick you up at a certain time - or join to hire a longtail; no problems.
I personally was not overwhelmed by the party but I reckon anyone who visits Thailand should experience it unless they are misanthropes.
Doing Songkran or loi krathong are interesting thai cultural events. Drunks on a beach is a western thing. Nothing to do with thai culture. Getting drunk in a thai nightclub listening to thai music and surrounded by thais is a more interesting thai experience.
Misanthrope is someone who hates humans. 99% of tourists to Thailand dont even visit kpn. They must hate humans hey. Strange theory u have. Oh wait they visit bangkok and phuket which have far more people.
#5 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Not 10000 of them.
Fmp has zero to do with thai culture.
Even in crowded pattaya which thais visit there isnt 10000 thais on a small beach.
#7 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Stone the crows trendsetters. Don't get upset by my badly worded last sentence.
But I'm a little perplexed. I don't see any mention of Thai culture in Saranne's OP. People go to Thailand for a whole bunch of reasons. Some for the Thai culture, some for the beaches, some for the scenery, some to be warm when it is cold at home, some to make their money last a bit longer than at many overseas holiday locations. I fall into a lot of those categories and because my background is in economic geography, I'm also interested in seeing what drives the economy of different areas. When I was a kid my family was desperately poor and so I've always been interested in the wealth drivers of any location/country. It is maybe why I have a delicious sense of shadenfreude watching certain southern European fakers get their just deserts.
A lot of younger people are interested in partying big time when in Thailand - maybe you could say they want to immerse themselves in the partying-tourist culture. Others like me are interested in attending the party at least once because I reckon as a fully fledged budget tourist I should have some idea what it is like. As I said I was not whelmed.
But I do get annoyed when others jump on people who want to attend the party. Just because the party isn't for the jumper does not give them the right to say others should not go, see what it is like and make up their own mind.
So okay, let's change my last sentence in #4:
"I personally was not overwhelmed by the party but I reckon anyone who visits Thailand has the right to experience it"
Good ol' "misanthrope" has disappeared - I put it in because it is a big word I learned from Lady Tezza in respect to I won't tell you who. And I could picture several reader dudes heading for the dictionary. At the same time, the notion of misanthrope is contained in some of what I said above.
Stewart, I hate to argue, but I have seen more than a few drunk Thais on beaches.
I was being sarcastic!"
Well duh! I gotta admit I'm a bit slow on the uptake these days.
Labuan Bajo - west Flores. At first take I thought what a dusty overcrowded dump - but familiarity made me realize it is a great little travellers' town - on the old scale.
Hey, Kanawa and Seraya islands close offshore were real nice when I visited.
Haha thank you all for your responses! I of course want to experience Thai culture, but I also want to have one night to let down my hair and party! I do appreciate it is full of drunk westerners but hey oh it's one night and many of friends have said it is worth giving it a go. Anyway, moving on....I have read that boats here don't always run in August. I've read so much I'm a little confused. Will catching a boat be a problem or should I just go for it. I'm glad you mentioned Longtail, this is where I was looking to book.
Thanks again all xx
#11 Saranne44 has been a member since 26/3/2014. Posts: 3
Sarenne, August is a kind of second high season for the southern Gulf (after Christmas into early March) on account of the good weather compared to other Thai beach locations plus the northern hemisphere summer holidays. So I doubt there will be problems with the boats.
Stewart - I'm thinking maybe you will do one of your blog coverages on Kanawa. Hope so - it is several years since I've visited and I've heard conflicting reports re changes. I personally hope it is much the same as when I visited. But if someone has developed it a bit into flashpacker/lower midrange - put in a pool etc I reckon it might be equally attractive.
@tezza we have some pieces on Kanawa from our trip last year, for eg here where we compared it to Seraya, but we will have an update up shortly.
In summary - the island is informally for sale (Eu3-6m depending on who you're talking to) and the resort is run down -- even more than last year, and the restaurant remains a complete debacle. On the upside, the snorkelling on the house reef (2m reef shark off the beach was a personal highlight) and at Manta point (20 mantas in one session) is pretty freaking amazing. Also did a few dives this time around and were pretty awesome.
All up the island is so gorgeous I could be staying in a cardboard box and I'd go back, but sadly once they offload it, assuming they get what they want for it, I won't ever be able to afford to stay there again.
So go now