The shame about Koh Phangnan is that the best beach that we saw was Hat Rin. This is the beach that is renowned for the full moon parties, and along the whole stretch of white sand is enough travelers to make you feel like you are at a tourist resort. The signs advertising ‘fucking good buckets’ (literally, a bucket that is filled with a small bottle of alcohol, red bull and a mixer) don’t exactly add to the charm of this place – nor does the soccer pitch that is set up on the nicest stretch of sand, or the roar of jet skis. It is a true testament to this beach that it can still manage to look so beautiful with all that tourists are doing to it.
Further to the north, in the area that we were staying, we had some stunning beaches – almost all uniformly idyllic with the white sand and crystal clear water that one expects at your beach paradise. The weather was mostly pleasant, despite the imminent monsoon season, and he tropical storms in the evening with their torrential downpours only made everything greener and fresh.
It is a pretty hard task to describe the view from the restaurant at our bungalows on Koh Phagnan without sounding like I am bragging. But of course, you all know that I am going to give it a try.
Firstly, where I sat each evening: a chilled-out bar and restaurant with music playing just at the right volume, and dark, heavy wooden furniture. It is set up well, with a kitchen that pumps out great Thai food – although not spicy enough to be authentic -, a television for dvd watching, a pool table and some computers with internet.
The seating faces directly west, and the beach is about twenty metres from the front of the bar. In between the deck of the restaurant and the ocean, tables and chairs, hammocks and small wooden platforms with cushions are set up for prime lazing.
Each night, the sun slowly dipped towards the horizon, coinciding with the tide, which has peaked and would then draw backwards towards the open ocean. The rest of the resort – really just lovely bungalows scattered around this private beach – is made from wood and thatch, complimenting the palm, mango, banana and frangipani trees.
The highlight for budget backpackers like us is the pool – lined with deep sea-green tiles and so, so clean, set high enough so that when you are in it, all you can see is the ocean on the horizon and the tips of palm trees that line the ocean-side. The water is an intense aquamarine blue and sparkles in the declining sunshine.
Now for the price… this slice of paradise, ours for a few days at least, is less than ten aussie dollars. Yep, that’s right.