After a week in Bangkok where we spent most of the time indoors, trying to escape the heat, we realised we miss the island life and decided to go South. We did a little bit of research and chose Ko Phayam as our next destination. Shortly after we got there we agreed it was the right decision, because Ko Phayam is a beautiful, laid-back island where you can just relax and enjoy uncrowded beaches.
To get there from Bangkok, we hopped on a night bus which left Bangkok at 20:00 from the southern terminal and got to Ranong at around 05:00. The ticket was 650 baht, one person, one way (VIP Bus). Comfortable reclining seats, big leg space, they even gave us blankets, water and some snacks.
From Ranong bus station we got a taxi (like a pick-up truck) to the pier, where we waited until 7:30 to get the speed boat to the island (350 baht per person, journey time 35-45 min).
There are also slow boats to and from Koh Phayam (200 baht per person, journey time aprox 2 h) but we were anxious to get there and couldn’t wait until the first one left, at 9:45.
Ko Phayam is one of the less known islands in the Andaman Sea (off the coast of Ranong province) and it remains relatively unspoiled, compared to other Thai islands. But things are slowly changing, with more and more tourists finding out about this place.
What to expect?
First of all, the island doesn’t have a power supply, most resorts can provide electricity only in the evenings, and only a few of them (the ones with really big generators) have power 24 hours a day.
There are 2 main beaches, Buffalo Bay and Long Beach, on each of them you can find accommodation and some beach bars. Buffalo Bay is the quietest, while Long Beach is where all “the action” takes place (of course this is a joke, cause not much is going on in either of these 2 beaches). Other accommodation options can be found all over the island.
Because the island doesn’t have roads wide enough for automobiles, motorbikes are the main means of transportation, if not the only one. Of course you could choose to walk, but automatic scooters are available for rent for about 200 baht/day, which is a bargain, and it’s really worth it. We found out the hard way :)
We arrived at the Koh Phayam pier at around 10:15, it was just starting to get hot.
All we knew at the time was that we need to get to Buffalo Bay, about 5 km to the other side of the island, where our resort was, but didn’t know exactly what to expect: “are there some sort of motorbike taxis, should we rent a scooter from one of these many shops found here at the pier? Nooo, we should get away from the pier, cause I bet these scooters are overpriced tourist traps!” Turns out they weren’t :)) 200 baht, same same everywhere! Walking wasn’t thaaat bad, but I definitely recommend renting a scooter as soon as you set foot on the island, it’s easy, fun, and more remote and beautiful places quickly become easier to reach.
So after about 45 minutes of walking, we got to Buffalo Bay Vacation Club, a beautiful resort, where we stayed for 4 nights. We read some good reviews about it, and the fact that it’s one of the few places on the island that runs it’s fuel generator 24 hours a day was a definite plus. Aside from the fact that we could charge our electronic devices and keep the fan running also during the day (not when we were not in the room, go green ;) ), it was safe to assume they keep the food in the fridge all the time, so it’s safe to eat. Which is not always the case with other places. It took us a full day of lying in bed with stomach aches after eating some sausages to learn this lesson.
The place is set on the beach, in a pretty remote area, surrounded by palm trees. And it’s very quiet and beautiful, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for a romantic getaway with your significant other. Plus they offer many activity options so you won’t get bored: diving and snorkeling tours, kayak renting, Thai massage, cooking classes. But because “dolce far niente” is our strong belief :), we didn’t do any of these. We spent most of our time sunbathing, swimming, taking naps, reading and just enjoying each other’s company. See some pictures below.
All kinds of people come to Koh Phayam, but in general it’s preferred by backpackers, hippies (young and old), and families with children, because there are no wild parties on the island, no crowds of tourists, no shopping. Just a chill atmosphere and beautiful scenery.
To sum up, we had a great time in Koh Phayam and we definitely recommend this island to anyone who wants to enjoy a very relaxing vacation, on a beautiful “rasta” island, away from the crowds of tourists that suffocate the better-known islands of Thailand.
All photos were taken with Samsung S6 & Samsung Galaxy Note Edge!