The Beaches of West Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is home to over 30 beaches, with many of them situated in the North West of the island, all of which are within 15 minutes of The Challenge Phangan.

These are the beaches you want to visit for awesome Phangan sunsets after enjoying your day at The Challenge!

Image by

Most beaches in Koh Phangan are best to visit between December and March due to low tides and rocky bottoms in summer months. Although don’t take this as gospel, as it changes from year to year. Check the tidal table and try not go during low tide for the best swimming experience.

All of the beaches on the west side of the island are family friendly all year round, as none of the Full Moon parties have so far taken hold here. Although there are definitely the occasional parties here too! 

Thai words used in this article:

Haad = Beach

Ao = Gulf

Koh = Island

We’ve listed the beaches below in order of distance from The Challenge.

Srithanu Beach

Distance from The Challenge: Less than a 2-minute drive or a 7-minute walk

The closest beach to The Challenge Phangan, Srithanu beach is technically two beaches and is stretched across two coves, Ao Srithanu and Ao Niad. As you first get to the beach, you get to what many local yogis have nicknamed Zen Beach (also referred to as Naked Beach). Visit here in the evening to catch rhythmic drum beats, harps, sitars, guitars, vocal harmonics (every night is different), and groups of people gathering to meditate. Feel free to join in (but be respectful and hang out away from the crowd if you want to talk or listen to your own music).

A few nice chilled bars also live on this beach, including Golden Rock and the Pirate bar on the north end.

Things to do here

Food: Ban Sri Thanu - the market center for the west and northwest coast of Koh Pha Ngan - is just a short walk from the beach. You'll find lots of street food stalls and little restaurants around the area with delicious and cheap Thai food. 

Haad Chao Phao

Distance from The Challenge: 2-minute drive or 10 minutes on foot

One of the closest beaches to The Challenge Phangan, Chao Pao is a 500-meter long beach that offers a great place to relax after a day on our obstacle course. Ao Chao Pao is the home to a rich coral reef that lies about 100 meters from the shore and is a very popular site for snorkeling and diving. This reef runs all the way up to Koh Ma island.

Things to do here

Snorkelling: Chao Pao beach is considered one of the best places on Koh Phangan for both snorkeling and diving. 

Yoga: Many Yoga schools have their centers around Chao Pao and will offer open lessons and courses for the tourists. Prices vary. 

Sunset: Chao Phao was one of the first popular beach destinations on Koh Phangan because of the great Sunset you can see from the cove.

Haad Son

Distance from The Challenge: 4-minute drive or 22 minutes on foot

Son beach was recently a private beach but is now free for everyone to visit. It only has one resort on its northern end and is usually quiet.

Things to do here

There’s not a lot to do here behind relaxing, swimming and catching some sunshine. Haad Son is nicely underdeveloped and the perfect place to escape the crowds.

Haad Yao and Haad Salad

Distance to Salad from The Challenge: 9 minutes drive

Distance to Yao from The Challenge: 5 minutes drive or a 30-minute walk

Haad Salad and Haad Yao are more developed beaches with lots of resorts, restaurants, bars and accommodation to fit most budgets. Salad is also home to one of the more well-known dive sites on the island. The coral reef that stretches along the west coast of the island is about 150 meters off the shore here.

View from one of the Haad Yao resorts

Things to do here

Food: As both beaches are so well developed, there is no shortage of available food choices.

Massages: Expect prices to be similar to other places, starting at ‎฿300 per hour.

Hiking: The area away from the coast is populated by a few hills, and there are a number of mountain trails to follow. Wang Sai waterfall is also an easy reach, as well as a freshwater lake Laem Son. 

Haad Thian and Haad Kruat

Distance to Haad Thian from The Challenge: 9-minute drive

Distance to Haad Kruad from The Challenge: 9-minute drive

Similar to Haad Son, Haad Thian is a quiet beach with only one resort. The beach is positioned right in the middle of Haad Salad and Haad Yao,

Haad Kruat (also sometimes spelled Haad Kruad) is a small beach with coarse sand and coral deposits. It’s not very popular for swimming because it's quite shallow, but because of this it's less visited, and perfect for escaping the crowds.

Haad Mae Haad

Distance from The Challenge: 15-minute drive

Haad Mae Haad is a beautiful beach in the far North-West of Koh Phangan - it is the home to Koh Ma island, the only National Marine Park within Koh Phangan’s waters, and is a great place for swimming, snorkeling and to watch the sunset. The beach is best to visit between December and March. Outside of this period, snorkeling is still possible, but swimming is not so great.

Things to do here

Food: Haad Mae Haad is the home to many resorts, but if you’re just visiting for the day, there are a handful of places you can go eat on the beach. Prices start at 100baht for sandwiches, whilst you can expect to pay ‎฿400+ for seafood dishes.

Sunset: Catch the sun setting behind Koh Ma island, or even better, head to one of the viewpoint bars on the hills surrounding Haad Mae for an awesome sunset view from a hammock or a pool. 360 Viewpoint Bar and Tree House Bar are both good for this.

View from the Haad Mae Tree House Bar.

Koh Ma island is located a short walk over a sandbar from the north side of the beach and is referred to by many as paradise. It’s surrounded by a living coral reef and is an ideal location to go snorkeling while visiting Haad Mae Haad beach. Feel free to pick Papaya or Coconuts from the trees that inhabit the island.

View on the Koh Ma island from the Haad Mae beach.

Snorkeling: The coral reef and waters around Haad Mae Haad are designated as a Marine Park, and you can hire snorkeling equipment for ฿50 per hour here. Expect to see turtles and small reef sharks.

Beach Massages Prices reflect other places on the island and will start at ‎฿300.

Other: At the north side of the beach you can hire beach chairs for ฿30.

Image Credit: Srithanu Beach - image by, Haad Son - image by, the rest of the images by


Have you been to any of the beaches on our list? What's your favourite beach? We'd love to hear your experiences in the comments below! 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published