The twin beaches of which Thong Nai Pan Noi is the northern sister, share the same both the same bay and the same name but for their big and small endings. They are carved into the steep mountain, making the setting quite spectacular. Many people think these are Koh Phangan's most beautiful beaches, though they have competition from other, similar east coast beaches like Bottle Beach and Than Sadet Beach to the north and south which have less development.

Just a few years ago this beach was a remote hideaway, but today it is well-discovered and has resorts lining the full length of its sand.

# sand
The sand on Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach is quite fine and soft, with the natural granite particles having a high coral content that helps make it white. The sand is a bit narrow at the south end of the beach, where the resorts have built too close to the beach, causing some erosion when the biggest storm waves arrive around New Year. The north end has the cheaper bungalow accommodations, and the widest sand.

# water conditions
Except during the three months of the northeast monsoon season when the strongest waves wash in here, November to January, this bay enjoys calm clear water. Pollution levels are very low in this area.

# swimming conditions
Like other east coast beaches, there is no offshore reef blocking waves and creating shallow sand flats of the kind found all along the south and west coasts. Here a nice sandy bottom runs out into deep water, creating excellent swimming conditions. At low tide you simply walk a little further for good swimming depths.

# shade on the beach
The two high-class resorts at the south end of the beach are built right up to the high-tide mark, and few of the original beach trees remain. Both resorts provide beach umbrellas as shade for their guests, and these fill most of the available beach. It’s a great situation for the hotel guests, but there is little space for outsiders. The top end of the beach, however, remains in a more natural state and there are some large deer’s ear trees casting shade out over the beach sands.

# beach access
Accessing this beach is not so easy, despite that there are two public access roads, or tracks. The easiest is that at the south end, where the main village road runs between Buri Rasa and Ananatara resorts. The last 50 metres to the beach looks like part of the hotel, but in fact it is a public access. Parking in this area is difficult. The other public access is between Phuwadee and Thongtapan resorts, but to get there you need to negotiate the rough hilly track well back from the beach, and this is so steep it’s positively dangerous.

# village at the back
This is the only real let-down in Thong Nai Pan Noi; the development is completely unplanned and the village is an ugly mess. It is so dense and crowded that two cars have trouble passing in the narrow, twisting lanes. Even motorcycles have trouble finding parking spots, so it’s not wise to bring a car here.

# beachfront accommodations
Thong Nai Pan Noi is both the boutique and luxury beach of Koh Phangan, offering more 4- and 5-star, well designed luxury beachfront resorts than any other beach on this island.

Panviman Resort was the first resort on this beach, opening in the early 1990s when there was no road access and no habitation here save a couple of backpacker bungalows. It was seen as a wild gamble in those days. Built onto the southern headland, it enjoys great privacy and beautiful views and has a tongue reaching down onto the sands where it also keeps a restaurant. Panviman has continuously upgraded and now offers luxury 5-star pool villas, cottages, and hotel rooms with either sea view or garden view. And of course it has a spa, massage and a full range of services. This is listed as one of our Top 10 Most Romantic Resorts on Koh Phangan.

Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas and its 44 pool villas and suites, with fine, indoor-outdoor design, are set into lush tropical gardens right on the beach. It has a spa with health treatments. This is certainly among the most beautifully designed resorts on the island.

Santhiya Resort & Spa is the resort with the most spectacular location – see the photos for proof. Its Northern Thai style architecture & design blends into beautiful tropical gardens that cascade down towards rocks, sand and sea. This offers 9 room types, including pool villas and sea view villa suites. This luxury hideaway would be an ideal, romantic place for a beach wedding if one's guests could find their way here. We have named this new the top of our list of Thailand’s Top 10 Most Romantic Beachfront Resorts.

by John Everingham