Haad Rin, Koh Pha Ngan

Party beach

As beautiful as it is, Haad Rin is really known for just one thing – Full Moon Parties! Once a month the beach goes on an all-night bender with plenty of drinking, dancing and music. At other times of the month, the party atmosphere still pervades so those looking for a quieter beach experience might want to steer clear. During the day the soft, gold sand and gently sloping coast make Haad Rin ideal for swimming and enjoying the surrounding scenery, though many visitors are too bleary-eyed to appreciate it. The beach is on a small peninsula jutting out from the island so while there are places to sleep and eat, it’s still relatively undeveloped.

Koh Pha Ngan is known for its backpacker scene and wild full moon parties, but that's not all th rugged island next to Koh Samui has to offer visitors. Whether you came to dance all night or just relax on a quiet beach, or both, you'll find the right beach on Koh Pha Ngan.

Haad Rin

Haad Rin is Koh Pha Ngan's most famous beach since it's home to the island's full moon parties. The beach, in the south eastern part of Koh Pha Ngan, is actually two beaches -- Haad Rin Nok and Haad Rin Nai, or Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach, separated from each other by a narrow strip of land and facing in nearly opposite directions.

Haad Kuad (Bottle Beach)

Haad Kuad, known also as Bottle Beach, in the northeast corner of the island, is one of Koh Pha Ngan's prettiest beaches, with soft white sand and a fringe of palm trees in the back. The beach has a small but good selection of both cheap bungalows and nicer resorts, but there are limited services here and it's tough to get to by land.

Thong Nai Pan

Thong Nai Pan, which consists of two adjacent beaches -- Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai Beaches, is on the east coast of the island and has some rugged, beautiful stretches of sand and clear, warm water. This part of the island feels the wildest and most remote, though there are plenty of places to stay on either beach, as well as enough bars and restaurants to keep most occupied.

Koh Ma

Koh Ma is a small island attached to Koh Pha Ngan by a sandbar during low tide. Though there are no accommodations on the island right now, it's a great place to visit for a day trip for the snorkeling in the area.

Thongsala Bay

Thongsala Bay, on the southeast corner of the island, is just adjacent to Thongsala Town, where the main ferry Samui stops and where you'll find the closest thing to "hustle and bustle" as is possible on an island like Koh Ph Ngan. The beach here is long and pretty, and there are plenty of cheap bungalows to stay at, but because it's so close to town and the ferry, it doesn't feel as relaxing and remote as other beaches on the island.

Read more: Beautiful Thailand Beaches