Secluded Bottle beach on the very northern tip of Ko Pha Ngan and though it’s a pain to get to, the white sands and ultra-clear sparkling waters make it well worth the trip.
There are three ways to get to Bottle beach. The easiest is by boat, with a taxi boat service running between Bottle beach and Chaloklum throughout the day, priced at 100 baht per person. The longtail will take you from Chaloklum, past Coconut beach, then past loads of jagged rocky areas, before going around the bend to Bottle beach. It takes 15 to 20 minutes and stays close to shore, thus the waves are minimal and the ride is pretty smooth. The boat leaves four times a day from Chaloklum (near Rose Villa), at 09:30, 10:30, 13:00 and 17:00, with return times 30 minutes later.
The other ways to get here are not only difficult, but slightly dangerous unless you really know what you’re doing. There is a hiking trail from Coconut beach that takes you up and through the mountains on a dirt path that goes straight up, and then straight down. It’s doable in about an hour, but take plenty of bug spray, and don’t go alone. There may or may not be snakes on the trail, but there will definitely be loads of bugs. Finally, a dirt road goes to Bottle beach from the road to Thong Nai Pan, but it’s bumpy and very tricky for even experienced motorbike drivers.
Bottle beach itself has incredible fine, soft white sand in some parts, but it gets rather grainy, dark and hard in others. Finding the better parts — or a better patch — is essential to a great Bottle beach experience. Explore a little!
At the farthest west end of the beach, a funky restaurant and bungalow set-up called Smile Bungalows, with super-friendly, if a bit too laid-back staff. Try the club sandwich (150 baht) and strawberry-coconut shake (70 baht) is also delicious. Farther down the beach are other fun bars and restaurants, with Bottle Beach 2 restaurant and bar particularly popular, blaring Latin music and serving good food with decently-priced drinks.
Smile Bungalows provides great value for money, with large, sea-view, wooden and fan bungalows for 750 baht and under, while moving east, Bottle Beach Resort has a lovely pool and their beachfront bungalows are hugely popular. Rooms themselves are dark and basic, but their location makes them worth the 1,200 baht price tag.
Haad Kruad Resort has upscale rooms, with their massive floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors looking out at the beach only steps away. This is the most upscale spot on the beach, and at 1,800 baht per night (with discounts available for those who stay more than three nights), it’s a pretty good deal. If this is too pricey, their garden rooms in the back sleep three, and are clean but basic, for 550 baht a night.
Finally, at the far east end of the beach is Bottle Beach 2 Resort, with very basic wooden backpacker bungalows lined up along the beachfront, going for 400 baht a night. Inside, it’s just what you’d expect – a thin mattress on a bed big enough for two but definitely no more, and a bathroom that contains only a toilet bowl and bucket of water for flushing. The second row of bungalows, behind the beachfront row, has rooms for only 350 baht a night.
What to do once you’re here? Snorkelling is a popular Bottle beach activity, and with three volleyball nets along the beachfront, it’s clear that beach volleyball is too — feel free to join in a friendly.
By Kaila Krayewski
Last updated on 23rd March, 2013.