Haad Rin is Thailand's most famous hot beach, home of the Full Moon Party that draws thousands of revellers to Koh Phangan each month. The world's biggest regular beach party, Full Moon has boosted Koh Phangan into one of Thailand's major beach destinations. Finding accommodation at Haad Rin at party time is difficult, for every room within walking distance is taken days before.

Here the beach beauty has taken a beating by poor construction, and the tourist village behind is a soulless, buzzing, concrete maze. Everyone here is out to make money from the monthly influx. Except for beach party & fun, there are few reasons to stay here.

This is not a beach for children or families, nor for couples seeking tranquillity. Beach massage is available from a number of small pavilions along Haad Rin.

If looking for modern comforts on Haad Rin; Sunrise Resort has comfortable, 3-star aircon rooms, a swimming pool and a large beachside restaurant.

However, there is a hidden gem over the hill at Sri Kantang, a real hideaway beach. Facing South to Koh Samui, this beach is very different; a narrow strip of coral sand with bushy trees growing right in the sand, giving shade at mid beach. Very unusual, and pretty.

Two of the resorts here are boutique and beautiful – both are crafted into natural forest, both with good design, both with restaurants and good ocean views, both a beach spa. Coconut Beach Resort & Spa offers pool villas, each with a private balcony in a romantic setting. Sarikantang Resort & Spa is also a stylish, romantic beach escape with beach cottages spread through a wide tropical garden. See our beach photos of each.

by John Everingham