One of the fastest changing holiday destinations in Thailand is Koh Phangan. The island has re-invented itself from backpacker hang-out to party island. Recently it has started changing from a party island to an island of expensive resorts.
There are now three flight options for getting to Koh Phangan from Bangkok. Change is happening quickly, but there are still a few undiscovered beaches on the island which seem to buck the trend. One such beach is Haad Chao Phao.
The beach of Haad Chao Phao is located on the west coast between Srithanu and Haad Son. It is a beautiful stretch of beach fringed with palm trees. It is in a hilly area and some of the resorts offer spectacular sea views, especially early evening when the sun plunges into the ocean.
Haad Chao Phao beach offers great year round swimming and has a coral reef 100 meters out to sea. Once the coral is crossed there is an abundance of fish and colorful corals to see by either snorkeling or diving. There is a dive shop on the beach or alternatively a kayak can be hired to paddle out to the corals.
Whether you choose to swim, snorkel or just sunbathe there will be few people to disturb you. Few tourists make it to Haad Chao Phao; and there are no hawkers to interrupt the serene atmosphere. This is the charm of Haad Chao Phao – it seems like the rush to cash in on tourism somehow skipped this gem of a beach.
That is not to say that there is no accommodation or restaurants on the beach. There are a few resorts and bungalows on Haad Chao Phao beach ranging from basic to mid-range in quality. These are all established businesses that run a tight operation and offer good value for money.
At night time there is the Pirate Bar or the Seaflower Beach Bar to enjoy a few drinks. They sometimes throw a warm-up party before the Full Moon, but Haad Chao Phao retains its peaceful air as all those who want to dance all night are whisked away by taxi.
For those who want to experience part of the timeless tropical beauty of Koh Phangan, Haad Chao Phao beach cannot be recommended highly enough.