Ko Pha Ngan is a great place to go for a drive, and many travellers enjoy doing a (semi-) perimeter of the island (roads on the east coast are not yet accessible) to check out its off-the-beach beauty. The island’s steep, hilly terrain not only makes for a thrilling ride, but also allows for some incredible panoramic views. Here are our top recommendations for must-visit viewpoints on Ko Pha Ngan. Don’t forget your camera!
This isn’t the first time we’ve featured Amsterdam Bar for its view (see: best sunsets on Ko Pha Ngan), and it probably won’t be the last. The restaurant and bar is perched high in the mountains overlooking Ao Plaaylaem, with a long set of steps to climb to reach its wooden balcony. The effort is worth it — the view from up here includes Ko Samui, Ang Thong Marine Park and a huge gulp of the Gulf of Thailand.
Hill overlooking Haad Son
One of the most photographed views on the island has to be on the beach road heading north from Ao Chaophao towards Haad Yao. Past Sea Garden II, before the road bends and steeps downwards, you’ll be treated to a view of Haad Son Resort’s rocky outcropping and the beautiful bays on either side of it. This is a rather dangerous corner, so rather than slowing down to see the view, and potentially causing an accident, we suggest parking your bike on the side of the road and walking to the edge.
Heading just north of Haad Yao to Haad Salad, you’ll see a sign for Peppercorn Restaurant on the right. Take that dirt road and drive straight (slowly and carefully!) down it for a few minutes. On the left, you’ll be treated to an awe-inspiring view of Haad Salad bay and mile upon mile of azure ocean. You’ll understand why the area is full of posh villas facing the bay — the view is worth a fortune.
Top of Khao Ra
Being Ko Pha Ngan’s highest point, it’s probably not surprising that we’ve included Khao Ra (Ra mountain) on this list. The hike to get there — taking two to three hours — is significant, but oh-so-worth it! To get to the starting point, follow the signs for Phaeng Waterfall (which is a good spot for a picnic). Once through the big purple archway, look for a sign reading “Khao Ra bungalows”. Follow those signs until you see the start of the trail. Once summitted, you’ll be graced with a breathtaking, nearly bird’s-eye view of the island below and its many beautiful bays.
By Kaila Krayewski
Last updated on 31st December, 2013.