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Thong Nai Pan is located in the north west corner of Phangan Island in the south of Thailand. The beaches of Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai have been legendary destinations in travellers' circles for over 20 years. Beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, towering palm trees, hidden waterfalls and massive granite bolders make the area a nature lover's paradise.
Thong Nai Pan has developed since the early days of tourism in Koh Phangan. It is now the premier holiday beach on the island. Thong Nai Pan Noi beach is commonly regarded as one of the best beaches in Thailand. It is a paradise destination.
What's in a name?
Thong Nai Pan means 'the bay of Pan'. Pan, according to local stories, was a man who did a great service for the King and as reward was given the bay area. On some old maps the area is referred to as 'Tong Tapan' ('Tong' is a variant spelling of 'Thong') which means something like 'bay of old man Pan'. Some of the oldest families and land owners in Thong Nai Pan claim to be descended from the semi-legendary 'Pan'.
On Thong Nai Pan Noi (small bay of Pan) the various businesses use 'Pan' in their names - Thong Tapan, Tapan Noi and Panviman. Whereas, Thong Nai Pan Yai (big bay of Pan) establishments generally foresake the Pan moniker.
Both Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai experience very small tidal changes. There isn't a coral reef in the bay and so they are great for swimming all year round, except during the monsoon. Yai beach to the south is longer than Noi. Both beaches have fine white sand and are fringed with palms and trees. The two beaches are separated by a headland where Panviman hotel is situated. It takes about 40 minutes to walk the road between the two beaches. There is a short-cut through Panviman but only meant for guests to use.
To the north of Thong Nai Pan Noi is a small cove with a beach. Santhiya is built on the hill above this cove. Anyone can use the beach but the sand is slightly coarser and the beach is only accessible via a jungle road. This cuts guests at Santhiya off from the rest of Thong Nai Pan
Thong Nai Pan Yai is the administrative centre of the area and consequently it is on this beach that you will find a middle school, a small clinic, a temple (wat), a post office, a local mayor (Obrador) and a policeman. There is now a police presence on the main road opposite the entrance to Thong Nai Pan Noi beach.
Things to do
Obviously the main activity for most visitors to Thong Nai Pan is relaxing on the beach and swimming in the warm sea. However, the area does provide other distractions. Here is a list of a few things we recommend doing:
Costs and Accommodation
Prices in Thong Nai Pan like many places in Thailand have gone up sharply over the last 10 years. That is because the secret of just how wonderful Thailand can be is no longer a secret.
Much of the accommodation on Thong Nai Pan Noi is aimed at the high end of the market. There are some notable exceptions, and some great bargains. Yai beach has more budget options but not the 5 star hotels. Read our reviews and use our online booking to get the best deals.
You can find cheap local restaurants in both the villages of Thong Nai Pan Noi and Yai. There are also shops where you can pick up cheaper food and drink. However, everything is more expensive than in the main town of Thongsala. If you plan on self-catering at Sunrise Villa it is worth making at least one trip to Tesco Lotus in Thongsala.
As an absolute minimum you can get by spending 1,000 Thai Baht a day on food, drink and accommodation. Maybe less if you are planning a longer visit, and can stay away from the bars.
To help plan your trip and its expenses we give the latest prices whenever possible.
Getting to Thong Nai Pan
It used to be difficult to get to Thong Nai Pan. The mountainous jungle road is notorious on the island. Things have changed: most of the road is now concrete; the hotels offer speed boat transfers; and an airport is being built nearby. Generally speaking the infrastructure on Koh Phangan has improved greatly over the last 10 years. You can find plenty of useful information in our travel section about planes, boats, trains, buses and taxis.
We give more information about Thong Nai Pan than any other website.
This website is an ever expanding resource about Thong Nai Pan. You can find a few links to pages describing various things to do and see in Thong Nai Pan in the left column. Above is a drop down nav bar with plenty to explore. You can also search for specific information using the search box above or look at the site map of www.thongnaipan-magazine.com.
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