Green Attraction

Ko Phayam


The rough diamond of the Andaman

      The sight of this great bird never fails to make us overjoyed. While we were going about sightseeing (done only on bike or motorbike as the roads on this island were not built for anything bigger than those), a pair of Hornbills nonchalantly glided by in front of us. You cannot get any closer to nature than that.


      Ko Phayam is the second largest island of Ranong, inhabited by approximately 160 families of fishermen and farmers. The latter have put Phayam on the Thai agricultural map, producing arguably the best cashew nuts in the country. The sight of red and yellow cashew fruits hanging heavy on the trees all over the island is best witnessed during January and February, when their fruity aroma intersperses among the air.


      There are no electrical grids on this island and almost every house is powered by generator and solar panel. Most resorts will have electricity available only at certain hours, but we sheepishly admit that the absence of the electric posts somehow enhances the landscape of the island. We recommend that you rent a bicycle (available at shops by the main pier or at resorts) and pedal your way around the island. The orchards are to be relished at a slow pace, and you might be able to stop by and talk to the villagers who are cracking cashew nuts. The better part of the roads are cemented and lined with cashew and rubber trees.


Biking to the Most Beautiful Beach

      If your stamina allows, we suggest you ride up to Ao Kwang-Pip at the northern tip of the island. The route is still made up of dirt roads, but cuts into a less-trodden area. Once arriving, you will find the most beautiful and least visited beach on island. The beach is spotless, with soft white sand, and the tide is pretty stable so you can swim all day long. Unfortunately, this haven is inaccessible by road during the rainy season. Another two beaches that visitors love are Ao Khao Khwai (Buffalo Beach) and Ao Yai. These two stretches of fine beach are perfect for relaxation, with an array of accommodation so well-hidden among the trees that you have to look hard to spot them from the beach. Another asset Ko Phayam is blessed with is its coral reef. It may be overshadowed by the wealth of the nearby Surin Archipelago, but Ko Phayam has something to offer, too. There are many spots on the island where you can snorkel and see a myriad of hard corals. Surprisingly, there is a considerable amount of sea anemones as well. The best time to snorkel is in November when the visibility is the highest. If you want to explore further, there are boat trips to nearby islets and you will find dive shops here offering day-trips to Mu Ko Surin National Park. 



      Ko Phayam used to be renowned for the finest cashew nuts it produced. Today it is known as one of few islands that still remain unswept-over by mass tourism on the Andaman Sea. Some hidden corners welcome those seeking ultimate hideaways.



      The sense of adventure and remoteness when opting for thatched-roof, bamboo bungalows in the middle of nowhere. 


How To Get There

      From Ranong town, follow the signs “Ko Phayam Pier” on Highway 4080. The Pier is located about 9 km from the town centre in a small alley so keep your eye on the signs. There are daily buses leaving from Bangkok to Ranong. The closest airport and train station is in Surat Thani, about 2 hours drive from Ranong Province.