Ko Phayam (not Phangam), Thailand

Every time we told someone we were heading to Koh Phayam, folks asked ‘are you going to the full moon party?’

Ko Phangam (on the east side of Thailand) is famous for its all night parties, something we had no interest in. Ko Phayam, on the west side, is the exact opposite. Very few travelers we met elsewhere had even heard of it.

Ko Phayam only has about 200 residents (about 1/2 of which are Burmese immigrants), and maybe another 100 tourists while we were there. At the peak of season there might be 300 tourists. Most of the island shuts down 6-8 months per year during the off season.

Ko Phayam currently has no cars, and no roads wide enough for cars. Instead there are nice, paved, scooter trails. For me, that was one of the main attractions to the island. Unfortunately they have plans to build the first road across the island. While this may increase tourism in the long run, it will certainly chase away folks like me.

If you think you might want to check out Ko Phayam, note that the main island web site claims that the season starts in November, but many things don’t actually start until sometime between Dec 1 and Dec 15th. Good Cell phone coverage, Wi-Fi, and electricity more that a few hours per day are all new this year. Electricity is still pretty flakey, and went out for a few minutes several times per day, and is not strong enough to run air conditioners, etc. They are building a new generator for the island, so probably there will be 24×7 electricity next year.

A surprising number of people we met on the island come back every year, and there is a great live music scene at Irie Islands Music Bar run by a cool Japanese guy. There were very few Americans here compared to other places we went in Thailand, and LOTS of Germans.

We stayed at JJ’s Beach Resort, but if I had it to do over, I might have preferred to stay next door at Bamboo Bungalows (which had kayaks, massage services, and better food) or Coconut Beach (which had really nice staff and better food).

Unfortunately there was a LOT of rain the week we were there (we came a bit too early in the season), and there were lots of mosquitos. But overall a very nice relaxing week.

The sand crabs made amazing art on the beach twice a day after every high tide (see photo below), and I discovered the snapseed photo editor app ‘grunge’ filter (also see photo below).

Selection of other photos is here.

Posted by travel_b1p6zj

Leave a Reply