This post was last updated on February 17th, 2020 at 02:55 pm
Koh Phayam is a relatively unknown island in Thailand that is becoming increasingly popular. With fine white sandy beaches and coral reefs, that is not surprising. It is just a small island with a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere and hopefully, it will stay that way for the coming years.
The island is not that big. And perhaps that is precisely the charm of Koh Phayam. About 500 people live there, most of whom live by catching shrimp, squid, and crab, or they grow cashews, beans, coconut palms, and rubber trees. They live in the only “village” of the island on the north coast.
TIP – There are no ATMs on Koh Phayam. So take enough cash with you!
Koh Phayam is a little livelier and more developed than neighboring island Koh Chang. There are a number of simple beach bars with hand-painted signs and driftwood sculptures.
A large number of expats also live here, although most of them leave the island during the rainy season (June to October). Most accommodations close during this period.
5 Fun Things to Do on Koh Phayam
Make no mistake; it is not Phuket or Koh Phi Phi. It is a lot quieter here. The bays on either side of the (only) village have a few nice places to stay, but the most important beaches and accommodations can be found on the west coast, in Ao Yai and Ao Kao Kwai.
You can explore the island with a scooter taxi although that does not take very long since the island is only five by eight kilometers (3 by 5 miles). We’ve listed some of the most important activities below.
1. Snorkeling in Crystal Clear Water
Several bays around the island have beautiful coral reefs where you can find a lot of small fish. Koh Phayam is an ideal place for a day of snorkeling. Unfortunately, visibility is very unpredictable and the current is sometimes strong.
Therefore, always seek advice from the locals before you enter the water. For better visibility and more opportunities for snorkeling (and diving), we recommend booking a day trip to the Surin Islands National Park or the islands that belong to Laem Son National Park.
TIP – You can book a snorkeling trip here.
2. Learn to Surf at Aow Khao Kwai Beach
Aow Khao Kwai is worth a visit for both the mangrove forest southwest of the beach and the impressive rock formations on the northeast side of the beach. Along the beach, you will find different accommodations where you can eat.
Every morning and afternoon, just as the sun goes down, a few surfers always go into the water. You can also learn to surf yourself. Lessons and board rental is offered on the beach and by a handful of accommodations.
The waves are not huge so it is also great for beginners.
TIP – Check Phayam Surfers for more information about renting boards or surfing lessons.
3. Wait for the Sunset
For those who love the sunset as much as we do; on Koh Phayam you will be right at home. At Aow Yai Beach, the best-known and largest beach, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset every evening.
Since the large crescent-shaped beach is three kilometers (1.8 miles) long, you always have a place for yourself and your friend to enjoy this beautiful natural phenomenon.
4. Cycling or Walking
You can cycle and walk well on this island. This way you can easily spend a day on the narrow roads and paths of the island. In addition, the island is not that big, so you can easily explore the entire island with a bicycle.
In fact, wherever you are, you are never more than 5 minutes away from the nearest restaurant (by bike).
TIP – Renting a bike costs around 100 THB (US $3.25), scooters cost 200-350 THB (US $6.50 to $11.35) per day.
5. Learn to Scuba Dive
There are a few diving schools on the island, including Phayam Divers and Andaman Discovery. They organize daily snorkeling or diving trips around the island. We must be honest; Koh Phayam is not THE diving location of Thailand.
TIP – Here you will find an overview of all diving schools.
Where to Stay on Koh Phayam
Most accommodations in the form of bungalows and small resorts can be found in the north and southwest. These are also the most beautiful parts of the island. You also have a number of restaurants and beach bars here that ensure a good time at night.
The only village on the island focuses on tourists although there are also many locals around, especially during the famous February Cashew Festival.
There is a lot of variety in terms of accommodation on Koh Phayam. How much you pay per night depends entirely on your own wishes. The cheapest budget bungalows on the beach cost on average around $6 per night.
This makes the Rabbit Bungalow a great option! If you want to live a little more luxuriously at the beach, you have to pay around $60 to $70 per night.
TIP – Check all accommodations on Booking.com.
How to Get to Koh Phayam
The only way to get here is by boat. There is a ferry from Ranong to Koh Phayam every day at 10 a.m. This ferry takes 2 hours and it costs 200 baht (US$6.50) per person. During the high season (November to April) there are also speed boats.
These only take 35 minutes and cost 250 baht (US$8.10) per person.
Book Transport Tickets Online