Why Ko Phayam Should Be On Your Bucket List
Ko Phayam - the perfect off-the-beat island.
Ko Phayam is an idyllic island for those looking for the simple things in life. You will find beaches of raw natural beauty, a few hiking trails and narrow roads for explorations, a handful bungalows hidden in lush vegetation, delicious local eats, and some friendly hippie-style entertainment.
Read on and find out if this island is right for you!
This forgotten paradise lays near the southern tip of the Myanmar border in the Andaman Sea, about 30 km from Ranong. Ranong itself is a 90-minute flight or 9-hour bus ride south of Bangkok.
Beaches and accommodation:
Ko Phayam has two main beaches, Ao Yai (Big Bay) and Ao Khao Kwai (Buffalo Bay) and two smaller beaches, Kwang Pit and Mook Bay, ideal for day trips.
If you like turquoise blue water and phenomenal white sand with more regular entertainment, then Ao Yai is the place. The bungalow resorts are lined up on a narrow road behind the beach, most of them feature a beach restaurant.
Ao Khao Kwai (Buffalo Bay) has less entertainment and isolated stretches divided by rocks; the sand is more light brown with shady places and some hidden bungalow resorts in the lush vegetation. You easily may get the feeling to be the only one enjoying the beach as most people relax in the hammocks on the terraces of their bungalow.
There are restaurants, cafes with bookshops and some food shops for every taste and budgets. High-quality vegan and vegetarian places open up here and there. We tried out many of them and were rarely disappointed.
For more social life walk along the beach to the Hippy bar, a faux shipwreck decorated with driftwood, old fishing gear, and sea debris. The ambiance is relaxed, and it is easy to socialize with yachties and neighbors. Sometimes there is live music playing, on other days there are Happy Hours organized followed by Beach BBQ's.
There are no cars on the island; scooters and bicycles are for rent, or you may explore the island on foot and return with a moto taxi if you are tired. We choose the last option as we enjoy beach walks and hiking on the trails through the forests without any traffic.
Our preferred hike went along the beach to the Moken village and onwards to the viewpoint hill.
Meet the Moken
Historically, the Moken have been a seafaring, nomadic population of fishermen. Dogs and chickens run freely around the village. Children showed us their toys and tried out the few English words they learned at their school; adults offered to take pictures and showed us around. There is a peaceful feeling, and people are friendly.
Ko Phayam gained our hearts, and we will be back soon - as long as it is still a pure paradise. Meet you there?