Ao Khao Kwai, Ko Phayam

Ao Khao Kwai on Ko Phayam is an impressive bay with golden sand and a calm sea. The beach features soft, golden sand and blue waters. It is surrounded by green vegetation including coconut palm trees, creating a picturesque and pristine environment. You will enjoy a more intimate feeling compared to Ao Yai, the other main beach of the island.

If you are going for a leisurely swim with small children, it is better to go to Khao Kwai, where the waves are calmer. Pay attention to the swimming conditions! The northern part of the beach is best for all-day swimming, while the southern part of the beach is difficult to swim at during low tide, as the water recedes and you have to walk a long way through muddy sand.

Two of the 3 stays we list are located on the north side of the beach. A good mid-range option is Chomjan Resort which offers well-designed concrete bungalows. The lovely Marina Resort has wooden bungalows and more basic bamboo huts.

Phayam Cottage Resort is located at the southern end of the beach and has a swimming pool so you can swim all day long. You find several alternative stays on Khao Kwai, so make sure to check the booking sites.

All stays have their own kitchen. Make sure to go for a drink at the Hippy Bar, one of the most attractive beach bars in Thailand.

Ko Phayam is often considered a hidden gem in Thailand, offering a more authentic and natural experience compared to some of the more touristy islands. It’s an ideal destination for travelers who value tranquility, pristine landscapes, and a slower pace of life. Whether you’re looking for a remote getaway, a digital detox, or a nature-focused vacation, Ko Phayam has much to offer. Hopefully, this small island with a social, laid-back atmosphere will remain this way in the coming years.

Ko Phayam is covered with small concrete roads, which makes it easy to discover the island by foot, scooter or bicycle. The only village on the island can be found near the pier. Ko Phayam is not known for snorkeling, however, at Ao Kwangpeeb you are able to admire colorful fish. This beautiful small bay is surrounded by jungle and here you often find monkeys. The Surin Islands are a beautiful day trip. The coral is beautiful and the islands themselves are heavenly. A day tour can be booked starting at 2,800 baht.

We listed 3 amazing beaches on Ko Phayam: Ao Yai, Ao Kwangpeeb and Ao Khao Kwai. You can take yoga, boxing and cooking classes on the island. On Ko Phayam there is only one ATM near the pier, so bring some cash just in case.

Ranong is a good starting place to reach Ko Phayam. Nok Air and Airasia operate daily flights between Bangkok and Ranong. Bus services between Chumphon and Phuket stop in Ranong. A 20-minute minibus or taxi ride will take you to the ferry.

From Ranong Pier, a 30-minute speedboat service will take you to Ko Phayam (450 baht). The alternative is a 90-minute slow boat service (200 baht) and during high season a daily speedboat connection is available from Ko Chang (350 baht).

Pick-up trucks will take you to your beach (100 baht). We recommend renting a scooter from Sawatdee in front of the Thing Shop just near the pier.