The sand under your toes, the salt in your hair and the sun warming your body. How can you not just forget all your worries and be filled with positivity and tranquility?
Proven through various studies, effects of the beach are beneficial to your physiological and psychological health and well being. Here is a short summary of these and why you should take that break for yourself and head down to the beach!
Topping up those pesky vitamins
The World Health Organization studies have found that sunshine fosters a general feeling of well-being and stimulates blood circulation.
Short exposure to sunlight (about five to 15 minutes) two to three times a week during the summer is enough to keep vitamin D levels high.
Vitamin D is vital for calcium and phosphorous absorption from food and encourages skeletal development, immune function, and blood cell formation.
So not only will the beach instantly give you a happy glow, but it will also make you a picture of good health! Just don’t forget your SPF!
Another reason why your body will be happy with you is when you go swimming in the sea!
This location is one of the easiest and most picturesque places to burn a few calories. The Independent shows that swimming burns close to 500 calories per hour.
With the thought of this how wants to be exercising in a crowded, un-hygienic gym environment compared to being surround by this paradise?
Feel chilled and zen-like when you take a trip to the beach?
One of the psychological benefits due to this is study by Richard Shuster, PsyD, clinical psychologist and host of The Daily Helping podcast.
“The color blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace,” says Shuster. “Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.”
Not to mention the calming crash of waves breaking on the shore, can also help send your mindset into a positive slow pace.
Power sources and electrical devices can lead to a great deal of positive ion exposure, which can lead to anxiety, breathing difficulty, irritability and an overall lack of energy.
Good news for you, found outdoors in natural clean air sources, such as the beach, negative ions are present. Negative ions can reverse the effects of their positive counterparts on your body. Also helping to purify blood, revitalize cell metabolism and boost your immune system.
Sea air help with respiratory health
Reader’s Digest reports that sea air contains tiny droplets of sea water enriched with salt, iodine, magnesium and other trace elements, which stimulate immune reactions by the skin and respiratory organs and effectively clears up the airways. Well known to relieve symptoms associated with asthma, and other respiratory problems. More reason to take long strolls along the beach and get lost in one’s thoughts!
Free spa day!
Everyone loves something for nothing, and here is the perfect example!
“Sea salt is packed with healthy skin-friendly minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which is exactly what makes it so beneficial to various skin conditions. It absorbs the toxins in the body and on the skin, including acne-causing bacteria, and works to treat infections and encourage the healing processes.”
Also the sand is a great exfoliate for your skin, removing any of that ugly dead skin and making way for the pure skin, for the fresh new you.
Unplug and Unwind
Get off your phone! Here you don’t need social media to distract you of the real beauty of the beach. Have a digital detox – Working is not for the beach, therefore you can just relax. You will want to be enjoying every moment of the natural environment around you, until you have to go back into filling the routine roles in your life.
Generally everyone’s go-to Thai dish, as it doesn’t disappoint, with its explosion of a variety of flavors! A cheap and quick dish to make, you can order at every Thai restaurant.
Pad Thai is a dish made of wun sen lek wok-fried noodles, mixed with tamarind paste, to which shrimp, tofu, bean sprouts and spring onion is then added. Peanuts, chili flakes and sugar are added according to personal taste.
Guay teow describes any type of noodle soup and is a favorite with the locals. It can be found almost everywhere, in restaurants and even little mobile stalls. You can literally see them have all the cooking utensils and ingredients of their motorbike with a side trailer!
Vendors will dip the noodles into the hot broth to cook with the meat and usually add wontons or meatballs. The dish is best topped with a selection of condiments including, sugar, dried chilli peppers, lime juice, and fish sauce. Enjoyed at any time of day and is particularly good as a late night snack, as they are open til the early hours of the morning.
Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad)
Originating from the Northeast Thailand, this Isaan dish is addictively hot and refreshingly crunchy. This authentic Thai staple has been called the world’s best salad.
Green papaya salad is a spicy salad made from shredded unripe papaya, sliced tomatoes, raw yardlong beans, peanuts, dried mini shrimp, and fresh garlic.
Mouth-wateringly delicious, the dish combines the five main tastes of the local cuisine: sour lime, hot chili, salty, savory fish sauce, and sweetness added by palm sugar. The ingredients are dramatically pulverize and pounded in a mortar, to release all the flavors.
This dish can be served quite spicy, due to the dried chilies. However you can choose you level of intensity – 2/3 is usually enough for a little kick. How hot do you dare?
Tom Kha Kai (Chicken in Coconut Soup)
This creamy concoction primarily consists of coconut milk, fiery chilies, thinly sliced young galangal, crushed shallots, stalks of lemongrass and tender strips of chicken, and topped off with fresh lime leaves.
Great for people who don’t like too much spice, but still want heaps of flavor. It is mild, sweet and delicately fragrant.
This iconic dessert will keep you coming back for more!
First bites will hit you of its sweet, slightly salty glutinous sticky rice drenched in slurry coconut cream sauce and fragrant slices of tender yellow-ripe mango that bring you to heaven.
Thai desserts are not so popular. However Thais are big on the sweet snacks, called Ka-nom. Also ones to try.
Mango sticky rice is definitely one our favorites here on Phangan Explorer!
Gaeng Keow Wan Kai (Green Chicken Curry)
Thai has plentiful curries to display, however this is a popular one with tourists as it has a beautiful exotic appeal and a perfect balance of intensity of heat with the coconut milk to cool it.
A bold, refreshing blend of fragrant spices from the green curry paste blended with cherry-sized eggplants, tender bamboo shoots, sprigs of coriander sprinkled with handfuls of sweet basil and any protein of your choice.
Served next to a bowl of fragrant Thai rice, Green Chicken Curry, will leave your belly satisfied and content.
Other colored curries, are just as appetizing; Red and Yellow Curry. Made with similar ingredients, just with different colored chilies.
(See our article – The Difference of Thai Curries – to be a Thai cuisine connoisseur)
Pad Krapow Moo Saap (Fried Basil and Pork)
Fried Basil and Pork (also substitute for tofu) is a simple one-pot dish but still full of flavor and make for a great fulfilling meal.
Made in a piping hot wok, the minced, fatty pork and combines with lots of holy basil leaves, large fresh chili, pork, green beans, soy sauce and a little sugar, to create this wonderful magical masterpiece.
Coming with the steamed white rice, often topped with a fried egg (kai dao) you will most likely be asked if you would like an egg with it.
Watch out with for the heat! – This dish can make your tongue tingle, however you can tell them your level of spice.
Kai Med Ma Muang (Chicken with Cashew Nuts)
Sweet and saucy, experience the crunch of the cashews with the perfectly fried vegetables in this beautiful infusion. Take pride of place in one of the top recommended Thai dish.
Order with meats/ tofu of preferred choice, cooked alongside roasted cashews, sweet soy sauce, onions, chilies, pepper, carrot and mushrooms.
An extremely yummy dish, made without chilies it can be enjoyed by the tamest of taste buds.
Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)
This invigorating sour-spicy-hot taste, is an ‘in-your-face’ reminder are in Thailand.
Mouthwatering, bold and classic dish is a blend of fragrant lemongrass, chilli, galangal (part of the ginger family), lime leaves, shallots, lime juice and fish sauce. Succulent fresh prawns and straw mushrooms shape the soup.
Coconut milk can also be added for more substance and heart to the dish. Or try this with noodles instead of rice, to mix things up a bit.
Khao Pad (Fried Rice)
The legendary – Fried Rice – will be seen and found every corner of Thailand. This versatile dish that can fit within any meal, being simple, quick and enjoyed by anyone regardless of the fussy eaters.
Composed of rice, egg, onion, a few herbs, the beauty of its simplicity is enough. Typically served with a wedge of lime and slices of cucumber.
Condiments such as chili powder, fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar can be added as you may wish from the little dished they provide in restaurants.
Experience the deliciousness of the Thai cuisine and be adventurous – Try them all!
Bring your snorkels here! One of the best beaches to see many varieties of fish in amongst the mass of natural coral. Its other main attraction is Koh Ma island, a national nature preserve and marine park, which can be accessible on foot if you walk along the sand bar from Mae Haad.
This is one of the more popular beaches in the north, however you will definitely not feel overcrowded in the daytime. Only peaks at sunset due to the beach facing sunset side (the West). Where some wonderful sky scenes can be witnessed.
Description of beach: Mae Haad has a beautiful wide and sandy beach. There is little shade here, a few trees by the restaurant so bring your sun cream.
Location: Located at the Northern-West point of the island.
Snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel and fins) can be hired from the surrounding restaurants, with a charge of around 250 thb per hour. The coral can be found 20m out, in the shallow waters, where you can follow the bois along for the trail. Please keep the coral alive, by not touching it or littering.
What a relaxing massage on the beach? Well this is the place to find one! For just 400THB you can get a full body oil massage while listening to the waves splash against the shores surface.
Beach Bars, Restaurants and facilities: There is one main restaurant you can get Thai and European food, fit with shower and toilet facilities. 20THB to use.
Size: 2km length. Fairly wide.
Getting there: It is easily access by either bike or taxi via concrete roads. However taxi prices may be expensive if you are traveling from the south, around 300THB from Thong Sala, southern Pier and Town area.
Tip: Viewpoints can be found here, overlooking the whole bay, on some of the restaurants and bars on the side of the mountain hills, you’ll need a bike as too far to walk to. Suitable for a romantic evening or with the family to watch sunset or just for a great scene.
Thong Nai Pan is an area on the northeastern tip of Koh Phangan that includes the two beach resorts of Thong Nai Pan Yai and Thong Nai Pan Noi. They are maybe the most secluded, yet developed beaches on the island.
Known for its breathtaking sunrises, this is a great place for travelers who want to have access to great beaches and be able to walk to nearby natural attractions.
Description of beach: Spectacular white sand. Tong Nai Pan Yai has it all! With some areas to hide under the shade in the trees, making it a great place to spend the whole day.
Activities: Swimming, Snorkeling, Nearby waterfall treks, yoga on the beach.
Beach Bars, Restaurants and facilities:
There are also plenty of excellent restaurants, countless bars, a pharmacy and all the amenities that you might need for a day trip or an overnight stay. Cheap beachside bungalows are available with one top-end resort and several mid-range options.
Size: 2km stretch
Getting there: 30 minute drive, from Thong Sala, the main pier area. Good quality tarmac surfaced windy roads, on the East side of the island, going through the jungle. However roads are steep and curved in many places, recommended for experienced drivers, but well worth the drive.
Tip: Yai means “large”, and it’s the larger and more developed of the two beaches. Noi means “small”, and the beach here is about half the size of Yai. The two are a 15-minute hike apart from each other.
Location: The beach is found in a small fishing village called Chaloklum, which is a quiet part of the island, where many of the expats have decided to take up residence. This is where the main diving schools go out from. Malibu Beach is located on a sand spit at the southern end of Chaloklum Bay, between the bay itself and a small river that winds through the village. It sits directly in front of Malibu Beach Bungalows, the upscale Thai family-owned bungalow operation that gives the beach its name.
Description of beach: This is a popular beach however, due to its 3km stretch, there would be plenty of space to find your own quite spot there. With its soft white sand and shallow waters Malibu Beach is an ideal beach in Chaloklum for families and adult travelers alike. For families, the shallow waters are excellent for children to go swimming and play in the sand. For the rest of us, the beach itself is beautiful, with plenty of shade trees for those who love to hang out, but don’t want to fry. The trees also offer some privacy and it is always possible to find a quiet place to yourself. However there are no sun beds or body boards for hire, so make sure to take your own towels to sit on.
Getting there: Easy drive to Chaloklum, then to get to Mailbu beach and restaurant, you must pass through the bungalow operation and cross a small concrete bridge at the mouth of the river, but it is well worth the effort.
If you are feeling like stretching your legs there is a local beach volleyball net set up. However for more competitive games, come down to Haad Rin Beach in the south.
There is a small massage pavilion in the shade right next to the restaurant who charge 300 baht an hour.
Beach Bars, Restaurants and facilities: On the beach, you can order food and drinks from a charming covered traditional Thai thatched roof bar and restaurant which is perfect for hanging out, enjoying a cool drink and watching the bay. Their menu features a good variety of dishes – everything from fried fish with garlic and pepper, fried noodles with pork, phad thai with shrimp, pizza, to spaghetti, sandwiches, ice cream and seasonal fruits. Prices are quite reasonable. Washroom facilities and a fresh water shower to hose yourself down after a swim are also provided.
Size: 3km stretch
Tip: Some great seafood restaurants are found here, but not many bars. So if you are looking for a chilled time, as a couple or family this is ideal as it gives you a good impression of a true little Thai fishing village which still has its port with working boats and obviously fresh seafood.
This is a magical, hidden beach. Beautiful, clean, relaxing beach with a cafe/bar and afternoon drink specials. Not too busy in low season, though it’s a small strip, and there’s another restaurant at the resort on the end of the beach. Fine for kids or adults of any age – water is shallow and you can snorkel in the reef 20m from the shore. Great place to spend the afternoon!
Location: Located in a small bay at the west coast of the island. (Sunset side).
Description of beach: With its crystal clear water, it is just perfect for a swim, and a short swim out from the beach, you’ll come across a coral reef. However, at low tide you have to go a little bit further to swim, and be careful of the sea- urchins. Haad Son is a small tucked away beach, relatively protected and safe, and it is quite popular in high season, so sometimes the name “Secret Beach” doesn’t quite live up to its name. Like on many of the Koh Phangan beaches, you don’t have too much shady spots over here.
Activities: Snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing
Beach Bars, Restaurants and facilities: There is only a small restaurant, to purchase food. It has a long waiting time if busy, where you can sometimes hear some music at the beach, but it’s not too noisy.
Getting there: Taxis will know where this beach is. May be quite expensive if coming from the south – 300thb. Biking will take you along the beautiful coastal roads, but you’ll ride up and down some really precarious hills but much of the island is like that. You’ll be able to see the sign from the road, but eyes open otherwise you’ll miss it. Signs refer to it as “Secret Beach”.
Tip: Beautiful for a few hours just before sunset, or early morning you will have the place to yourself.
Nearest resort: Haad Son is generally not considered to be a destination beach, but a lot of travelers stay at hotels within walking distance.
Haad Rin Nok (Sunrise Beach) is a 1km peninsular beach area and town. The famous Full Moon Party takes place on this Beach each month. Click this link for the date schedule of the Full Moon Party Dates. Around this time of the month, 2/3 days before and after the party, the island gets quite busy, however the rest of the month, it is a wide stretch of beach with plenty of space, shade and restaurants easy to spend your whole holiday there. There are many mixed reviews about this location, due to the Full Moon Party, however don’t let this fool you. It is the best beach on the island!
Location: The most southern tip of Ko Phangan. Its main beach in Haad Rin Town, to the East.
Description of beach: Pure golden clean sand. This beach is spotless on all days of the month, apart from the evening of the full moon party, as the Haad Rin Business Society, which organizes the parties, have a cleaning team and also have a million dollar beach cleaning machine which goes over the whole beach. So it remains to have its golden picture worthy sand.
The water is very shallow, great for swimming and also for small children. Occasionally you get a small pinprick, due to the Rin, which are there micro sea-lice. However this is not to be worried about as they are non-harmful. There is no living coral here, so if you are looking for snorkeling it is best to head to the North of the island.
Lots of shade can easily be found under the coconut trees lining the beach, however it is not recommended to sit directly under them, due to falling coconuts.
Beach Volleyball Thailand organizes the Beach volleyball on the island which can be played here, on Olympic standard nets and balls, on the court in front of Tommy Resort. They offers trainings, tournaments around full moon and half-moon and also open play.
Jet skis can be hired, however be careful if you break them as you’ll be charged a large amount.
Shopping in the main Haad Rin town, which is just one street up from the beach, you can find many a cheap bargain, or souvenirs, sarongs, swimming costumes.
Beach Bars, Restaurants and facilities:
Enjoy the environment of the relaxing beach, with refreshments for the beach bars and restaurants, or catch a bite to eat from the many places to eat (see our top restaurants review). You will not be stuck for choice.
Resorts have pools, toilets and sun loungers which and be used for 200THB per day.
Size: 1km peninsular beach area
Tip: Haad Rin Nai (Sunset Beach) located on the West of Haad Rin, can be found if you go to Cocohut Resort, which has its own private beach and floating pontoon going out into the sea. Great for sunset pictures.
Nearest resort: There are many resorts on the beach front and in Haad Rin Town, all ranging in prices and standards.