Thong Nai Pan Noi is a small beach and village in the North East of Koh Phangan with a big reputation. Thong Nai Pan Noi was a major destination on the South East Asian backpacker circuit until around 2005 when the character of the beach changed as major investors moved in building large expensive resorts in an area around the beach which was previously coconut groves. Thong Nai Pan Noi is still immensely popular except the visitors are no longer backpackers staying for months at a time but high budget visitors staying for a week or two in luxurious accommodation.
About Thong Nai Pan Noi
Thong Nai Pan Noi is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Thong Nai Noi is a gently curving 600 metre long stretch of white sand beach which is good for swimming 9 months of the year. Another beach, Thong Nai Pan Yai, is separated from Thong Nai Pan Noi by a small headland. Thong Nai Pan Noi village stretches about 900 metres back from the beach in a thin strip of flat land between two hills.
One of the major selling points of the beach and village is its isolation. There is a concrete road to the village but it is a 20 km journey through the jungle over a hill to reach the more heavily populated south coast of Koh Phangan where all the parties and most of the nightlife takes place. Thong Nai Pan Noi is often described as being an island in its own right because the long journey to get there separates it from the rest of the island, and the type of tourism in Thong Nai Pan Noi is different to the type of tourism in the rest of the island.
A lot of the tourists who come for holidays in Thong Nai Pan Noi prefer it over visiting destinations in the Caribbean because as well as the resorts there is a small village with independent restaurants and bars which is safe to go to and generally reasonably priced. A stay at a luxury beach front hotel in Thong Nai Pan Noi does not mean being stuck in the resort for the whole holiday except for going on expensive excursions with guides to the local points of interest.
Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach
Thong Nai Pan Noi is not a private beach even though some parts of it has been cordoned of by some of the beach front hotels. In fact you can sit where you like on this beach, although most people who aren’t staying at one of the beach front resorts tend to head to the northern end of the beach where there is shade from the trees at the back of the beach.
There are no lifeguards on Thong Nai Pan Beach but there are warning flags. It is very safe to swim on this beach except in stormy weather which can cause riptides that are dangerous. So long as you don’t swim when the red flags are up then this is a very safe environment for children to play in the water with very few waves and virtually no current. The sand is also kept clean by the people working in the resorts on the beach front.
Restaurants in Thong Nai Pan Noi
Thong Nai Pan Noi has a wide variety of restaurants. Because of its isolation, amongst other reasons, eating out in Thong Nai Pan Noi tends to be a bit more expensive than elsewhere on Koh Phangan although there are still bargain options to be found with two clusters of food stalls, one in the centre of the village and the other in a covered night night market as you enter the village.
Restaurants in Thong Nai Pan Noi include:
- Rasta Baby: Bar and restaurant in an upstairs balcony area serving Thai food and drinks at moderate prices.
- Hacienda Happy Days Restaurant: The only Mexican restaurant in the area with good food and great service. They also have large TV screens here where they show sporting events often late in the evening.
- Valentino: Purpose built Italian restaurant serving great Italian food at relatively expensive prices.
- The Beach Club: Beach front restaurant attached to Buri Rasa Hotel. This restaurant is the busiest on Koh Phangan with an extensive Thai and International menu at moderate prices.
- Baan Tapannoi Restaurant: Very popular Thai and BBQ restaurant on the beach by Thong Tapan Resort. Moderately priced.
- Luna: Thai and International menu served in a purpose built restaurant with alcoves. Moderate to expensive.
- Handsome Sandwiches: Thong Nai Pan Noi’s only late night burger bar run by two jolly Thai ladies who have been in business in Thong Nai Pan for over 20 years. Great place for a late night beer and burger.
Accommodation in Thong Nai Pan Noi
Most of the accommodation in Thong Nai Pan Noi is relatively expensive. For the best room, such as private pool villas, the room rate goes as high as 40,000 to 50,000 THB a night depending on the season. You can, however, still find rooms for under 1,000 THB a night away from the 4 or 5 star resorts.
The hotels on Thong Nai Pan Noi include:
- Panviman Resort Koh Phangan – 5 Star. Large hotel on the headland between the two bays. Hotel rooms and bungalows.
- Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort and Spa – 5 Star. At the northern end of Thong Nai Pan Noi beach this luxurious hotel has some private pool villas as well as hotel rooms. The communal pool here is very large with a man made waterfall.
- Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas – 5 Star. Beach front villas, some with private pools. This resort also has a premium Japanese restaurant.
- Buri Rasa Koh Phangan – 4 Star. A more economic beach front option with beautifully furnished hotel rooms.
- Sand in My Shoes Beach Loft – 4 Star. Some rooms above a beach front restaurant. Good value for money and a great location.
- The Hill Village – 3 Star. A cheaper option set back on the hill overlooking the beach. Has a pool and bungalows, some have 2 bedrooms, offering privacy but basic furnishings.
- Sandee Bungalow – 2 Star. Located in the village a 50 metre walk from the beach. This long running bungalow operation is the cheapest place to stay in Thong Nai Pan Noi.
Travel to Thong Nai Pan Noi
There are several ways to get to Koh Phangan: you take a bus or train to Surat Thani and then a ferry across to the island, or you can fly to Surat Thani and take a joint bus and ferry service to Koh Phangan, or you can fly to Koh Samui and take a ferry over to Koh Phangan. To find the option that suits you best use the Search Box below:
Ferries from the mainland, and most ferries from Koh Samui, arrive in Koh Phangan at Thong Sala Ferry Pier. From there it is a 30 minute journey by road to Thong Nai Pan Noi. The only public transport on the island is by shared taxis which wait for passengers to come off the ferries. Per person it costs 300 THB to travel in a shared taxi from the ferry pier to Thong Nai Pan Noi.
Location of Thong Nai Pan Noi
- Thong Nai Pan Noi is on the East Coast of Koh Phangan.