Ao Yai, Ko Phayam

BEACH
Ao Yai is located in the southwestern corner of Ko Phayam, offering stunning sunset views overlooking the Andaman Sea. It is the largest bay on the island and is characterized by a long stretch of soft, golden sand. It is a bay with a fantastic backdrop of tree-covered mountains. Ao Yai is a good swimming beach with more waves and wind than the island’s other beaches, making it a good place for surfing.

Ao Yai is the most popular beach on Ko Phayam and is one of the best places on the island to meet other travelers. You find several beachfront restaurants and bars that serve a variety of Thai and international dishes. Fresh seafood is a specialty, and you can enjoy your meals with beautiful ocean views.

One downside is the presence of sand fleas on the beach. Be aware of this and make sure to protect yourself with the special oil and spray.

WHERE TO STAY
If you want comfort, Cede Boutique Beach Resort or Phayam Lodge are upper range stays we can recommend. One of our mid-range favorites is Bamboo Bungalows which offers concrete or bamboo bungalows. Hornbill Hut, located on the north side of Ao Yai, offers rather simple bungalows made of concrete, wood, and bamboo.

On the south side of Ao Yai (you have to take a different road), are 2 great more budget options: Green Beach Hut with nice wooden, well-priced bungalows or the neighboring alternative Deeland Bungalows.

There are many alternative places to stay in different price ranges. The beach offers several good dining options, although we recommend dining at the attractive restaurant of Bamboo Bungalows.

ISLAND
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.

WHAT TO DO
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.

TRANSPORT
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.