The small island of Ko Phayam boasts quiet white sandy beaches, aquamarine sea, a lush green interior and mellow vibes, but with enough facilities such as 24-hour power, wifi and motorbike taxis, manages to be comfortable whilst maintaining a non-commercialised feel. This includes some good budget accommodation options. It’s one of the great Thai islands that’s managed to avoid mainstream tourism. It also has one of a handful of beaches in Thailand where you get waves big enough to surf, often around 1m.
Ko Phayam is not a party island; nightlife is pretty low key – think chilled reggae vibes.
Ao Yai (Long Beach) is the most popular beach on the southwest with 4km of white sand and a chance of surf. You can rent surf and boogie-boards from several resorts, with Phayam Lodge offering surf lessons. The sea often has jellyfish larvae that do sting a bit (unpleasant rather than painful). Ao Khao Khwai is on the northwest coast and is an excellent beach with shallow water suitable for swimming and snorkelling; although fishing practices have destroyed much of the coral. It’s known as Buffalo Bay because its shape resembles a pair of buffalo horns. The island’s only temple Wat Ko Phayam is on the east coast and can be found by heading directly north along the beach from the main pier.
When To Go
Monsoon rain and winds power through here May to October, when the boats stop running here as the seas are too dangerous and most places close. The tourist season is November through to the start of May, with it getting busy around Christmas and New Year.
This small island has an Islander population of around 500, and the island is still farmed for cashews, coconuts and rubber. These families also run all the facilities around the island giving it a nice community feel. There are no ATMs on Ko Phayam. Took’s Place in the village will make cash withdrawals for a 5% charge.