What can you say about the beaches of Koh Lan Beaches, an island which sits 7.5 kilometres from the city of Pattaya? Typically, there are five or six that are worth mentioning in detail, with a few others that are more secluded.
They all feature white sands and beautiful clear water that is never cold, no matter when you dip your toes in. There are no sudden shocks to the system due to freezing water when you get to waist level either. The water is simply divine and wonderful for swimming, snorkelling and paddling with the kids. Every beach appears to have deckchairs for hire, shower facilities and restaurants. Beverages including beers and soft drinks are never far away but you can of course take your own food and partake in a picnic but you miss out on some the excellent fresh seafood and other culinary delights on offer, should you do so. Some beaches offer accommodation for those of you who wish to stay longer than the last ferry or speedboat back to the mainland. Getting to and from the island is covered in another article but it is simple enough either by ferry or speedboat. So on to the beaches.
Samae Beach is on the western side of the island looking out towards the island of Ko Phai. This is a very popular beach, especially during high season, when upwards of 3000 people will pay it a visit. In low season, you may find that you can have much of the beach to yourself but generally speaking, it is a busy venue. If you arrive at Naban Pier, simple jump on a motorbike taxi and they will take you to Samae for a small fee. Alternatively, hire a motorbike and make your own way there. The beach is between 500 and 600 metres in length, feature white sands, crystal clear water and often has a lovely gentle cool breeze. Restaurants are in abundance here, so there is no problem finding something to eat. Hire a deckchair to keep out of the sun or get in the water, either for a swim or snorkelling. Jet-skis are available and the fun loving people amongst you, can climb aboard a banana boat and go for a ride around the bay. Tourist shops and street vendors can be found just about everywhere you look, so again, plenty of choice if you want a souvenir to take home for a loved one or friend. High above the beach is a wind farm, which if you feel like a good walk, is worth a venture up to, just to take in the views. Photographers, you really must remain on the island overnight, so you can catch one of the glorious sunsets, that miraculously appear most evenings. These are beautiful and offer to die for scenes for the budding photographers amongst you.
Nual Beach (Monkey Beach)
Pronunciation of this beach depends on who you talk to. Some say Nual but others suggest it is Nuan but if you say “take me to Monkey Beach” the taxi bike driver will know exactly where you want to go. This beach differs considerable from others in that the majority of the buildings are constructed in the form of beach huts. There are still toilet and shower facilities, restaurants, bars and shops but they have this air of charm due to their construction materials and style. Once again the beach is clean, it is long and narrow, with white sands and clear waters and is south facing. Swimming and snorkelling are the main offerings from visitors along with deckchairs and umbrellas to keep you cool. However, there is one added attraction that none of the other Koh Lan beaches offer. Monkeys. Yes, there is a colony of monkeys, that live high in the forested cliffs above the beach, and at certain times of the day, they will come down and mingle with the tourists . They tend to appear early, before the temperatures rise too high. You can purchase bananas from one of the many vendors and hand feed the them.
For the more adventurous and fit people, you can scale the steep hillside and get amongst them. Beware this is not a straightforward task for the inclines and drops are not for the faint-hearted. Much of the path is loose soil and rocks, with a rope to help pull yourself up or to support you on the way down, but you are very much on your own. There is no health and safety on the cliffs of Monkey Beach, so care is required at all times. There have been reports that the monkeys have bitten a few people over the years but it is extremely rare. Do not tease them or seek to provoke them. Simply throw bananas or hold them out and they will take take from you. Should one or two decide to climb on you, don’t panic. Enjoy the situation, stand still, give them a banana and they will soon be on their way. It is advisable to keep all belonging in a safe place as they can take a liking to mobile phones and bags. Never leave items unattended when there are monkeys around. Being up close and personal with these creatures is an experience you will adore but treat them with respect.
This beach has its own pier and the ferries frequent it on an regular basis, arriving and departing from dawn to dusk. It is popular with tourists and expats but you will find it often very busy, typically at weekends when Thai people head for a break after a hard week at work. The surrounding area is more developed with restaurants galore catering for people from all over the world. The cuisine on offer is truly an international affair, with Thai, Russian, Chinese, European foods all being available. Off course, it goes without saying that fresh seafood is always available at Tawaen Beach. But before you indulge yourself in the delicious culinary offerings, get yourself into the water for some hilarity on a banana boat or tour the coast of Koh Lan Beaches on a rented jet-ski or try your hand at fishing or snorkelling. Again the waters are warm, often reaching 22-24 degrees, which is like soaking in a cool bath. It is a fantastic experience as you walk down the gentle slope, into the deeper water. There are plenty of options for accommodation, should you wish to spend a few days here too. Again, an abundance of souvenir shops can be found. Bargains can be found if you look around, and should you purchase a hand crafted gift, you will almost certainly be supporting an islander, as the majority of souvenirs are produced on Koh Lan. There are vendors trading in everything from towels to sunglasses, just in case you happen to forget to pack something or other. Lap up the rays on the beach, enjoy a sunset, partake in excellent food and sample the many cold drinks. This beach has it all but if it is too busy for you, hire a bike, take a taxi and head off somewhere more tranquil.
This idyllic beach sits in the shadows of the heavily forested hillsides, facing west towards Ko Phai. In the evenings it offers wonderful sunsets but has so much to offer during the day. You can get here by speedboat from Pattaya or by the usual ferry trips and then take a taxi bike or rent a motorbike. You should be aware that the road stops a good five minute walk from the beach, which may be why it is more tranquil than many of the other locations. It is not the largest beach on the island and it appears like it is end to end deckchairs and umbrellas but if you are spending a day on this beach, you will most certainly want to hire one, to get some respite from the sun at some point. The waters and sands are to die for. Crystal clear seas, white grainy sands and the usual souvenir shops line the area. It is very much a relaxing experience at Tien Beach but yet you will find ample entertainment to amuse you and the kids. You can hire a canoe/kayak, rent a jet-ski or sample the food in one of its restaurants. But generally speaking, Tien Beach is a more serene experience and one that you should select to visit for a quiet day. Never a bad thing now and them of course.
Tong Lang Beach
Measuring a mere 200 metres, this lovely gem of a beach is amongst the smallest on offer. The beach is narrow and can only be accessed by boat, which in turn makes it less busy than the more popular sandy areas around the island. It is possibly to walk to it from Tawaen Beach but expect the walk to be steep and hard going in the heat. If you are fit, it should not be a problem though. There is no road to the beach. It offers a quiet day by the seaside, deckchairs, restaurants and shops but generally, once more, this is one for those of you, who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the more popular beaches.
Most people forget that when you arrive at the main pier at Naban, there is actually a pretty decent beach with shallow clear waters and plenty of sand to enjoy. There is a wealth of activities here to amuse yourself with include everything that the other beaches offer, other than the monkeys of course. Simply step off the ferry and make yourself at home. It is quick and easy here. When you are hungry, visit one of the restaurants, if you have forgotten your sunglasses or sunscreen, buy them here. Fancy a trip on a banana boat or a jet-ski, it is all here. The beach has a stony area, which may put some people off but it is often packed with tourists, who come to Koh Lan Beaches, have a look around and leave again, within a few hours.
Well there you have it. The most popular beaches on Koh Lan Beaches in a nutshell. Each one has its own pros and cons, so choose the beach that is most suitable to you and your party. Some offer resorts for overnight accommodation, others offer peace and quiet or you may want one with a hive of activity.
Whatever your desires are for a beach day out, one of them is sure to offer what you are searching for. Enjoy!