Ko Phayam is the second largest Andaman Sea island off the coast of Ranong Province (Ko Chang, about 4 kms distant, is the largest). Ko Phayam has no roads suitable for automobiles, thus motorbikes are the chief means of transport. Tourists hire motorbikes at the pier and ride along the road to the resorts. There two major beaches/bays, i.e., Ao Yai and Ao Kao Kwai (Buffalo Bay). For those who want to get away from it all, Ko Phayam is reminiscent of what Ko Samui was like 30 years ago, before the airport and hotel developments.
Ao Yai is the largest bay on the west coast, about 3 km long and 300 m wide, with a white sand beach and a gentle swell from Andaman Sea. Stunning sunsets as well.
Ko Phayam is widely thought to be one of the most beautiful--and undiscovered--of Thailand's islands.
Ko Phayam is just over 30 km from Ranong, about 2 hours from the mainland's Phayam Pier by slow boat, 30-40 minutes by speed boat. The slow boat leaves at 09:30 and 14:00 from the mainland. 8:30 and 14:00 on the return journey. Speed boats depart at different and more frequent schedules (but not in low season).
Flight service from Bangkok to Ranong Airport and back three times a week via Happy Air 
Ferry Prices as of Dec 2012
Slow boat: 150 baht
Speed boat: 390 baht
Ferry Schedule as of Dec 2011
From Ranong to Ko Phayam:
Slow boat: 9:30, 14:00
Speed boat: 10:00, 11:30, 14:30, 16:30
From Ko Phayam to Ranong:
Slow boat: 8:30, 14:00
Speed boat: 9:00, 10:00, 13:30
No cars on this island. Motorbikes and scooters can be rented at Phayam Cottage Internet Shop near the main arrival ferry pier as well as many other places. The price is roughly 150-200 baht per day unless heavily booked. Gasoline costs 40-50 baht per litre. If you rent a motorbike don't drive it on the beach. There are rumours that you can get fined 5,000 baht because of fine print on the rental agreement.
Motorbike taxi drivers will be waiting for you as you step off the pier and can be found around the island, differentiated by their blue or red vests. Maps of the island near the pier are colour coded, showing you what the fixed price is to get to certain areas. 70 baht from the pier to Ao Yai. Ask your guesthouse to call you a taxi bike if you are at the quieter end of the island. The wait for a taxi to pass by can be longer than you wish to wait.
There are many beautiful beaches, some of them long like Ao Yai--the largest. The ferry pier area is vibrant with restaurants, a few Internet and other shops, and places to settle into a lounge chair or hammock and enjoy a cold drink or two.
For action, Ao Yai has a very nice swell since it faces southwest and the Andaman Sea. For kayak surfing, body boarding, wave surfing and snorkelling, Ao Yai beach is the place.
In the northwest is Ao Kao Kwai, a quieter beach. Many new resorts, budget style and quiet, unlike the larger Ao Yai which have some more people and more activity. Relatively speaking, however, the entire island is a tranquil place for you to explore.
Take yoga or batik courses at PP.Land Beach Resort or visit the art shop at Heaven Beach Resort & Art.
If you feel like exploring underwater, a few boats offer dive and snorkelling cruises around the infamous Richelieu Rock, Surin islands, and Similan Islands. The Smiling Seahorse  and Phayam Divers  are the main diving operators on Ko Phayam.
Locally grown cashew nuts available
There are many good local seafood restaurants with fresh catch and several Western food restaurants run by the island's local foreigners.
The entire island offers many cheap vegetarian/vegan food options.
Paceluce (Snack bar Italiano), Ao Kao Kwai North (next to Chomjam Resort), ☎ +66 860 294 106. closes 17:00. Little Italian family restaurant serving pasta, salads, bruschetti, sandwiches, real coffee, shakes, and crepes, all made with fresh ingredients.
Blue Sky near the pier
Phayam Lodge at Ao Yai Beach.
There are many bars and restaurants on the island with quite a few German-speaking guests. Now Scandinavians are starting to discover Ko Phayam.
The island's official drink is Thai Sang Som rum with fresh Ko Phayam coconut milk.
Some places refill water bottles (roughly 5 baht per litre, always a smart thing to do instead of buying new plastic bottles.
The local village is generally a quiet area, but has a couple of late night bars.
Ao Khao Kwai
Chomjan Resort, (on Ao Khao Kwai on the western side of Ko Phayam), . Chomjan Resort is a good place for relaxing and enjoying the environment. The rooms are private and comfortable, and each bungalow comes with fan. Excellent facilities, including a restaurant serving Thai cuisine.
Contact Bungalows. Has unsecure bungalows for 200 baht (double bed, mosquito net, sit down toilet, shower) and 300 baht. Near a rocky beach. Serves food (60+ baht)200-300 baht.
Lazy Hut Resort (South end of Ao Yai Beach), firstname.lastname@example.org (From the pier rent a scooter (150 baht/day) or hire a taxi (70 baht to Ao Yai), take the road perpendicular to the beach. Go about 500 meters, turn left on Tupauan Road. Take it all the way to Ao Yai Beach (about 3 km). On the beach turn right. First is Longbeach Bungalows, next is Lazy Hut.), ☎ +66 089 724 0386, . Offers a mix of classic bamboo bungalows (350 baht) and brand new family style bungalows (700-1000 baht), with free wifi, electricity 9am-11pm, tasty restaurant, and a great assortment of sitting/lounging spots on the beach. A great place for those who want to chill out for a few days or creative types looking for a longer stay.Classic bamboo bungalow 350 baht, new luxury room 700 baht, beachfront luxury bungalow 1000 baht. Discount can be negotiated for longer stays..
Coconut Beach Resort (Coconut Bungalows), 14 Moo 1, Ao Yai, Ko Phayam, 85000 Ranong, Thailand (down Ao Yai Beach, past South Star Bar, before Ao Yai Bungalows. Around 500 m down from the taxi stop.), ☎ +66 899 208 145, . checkin: All day; checkout: 12:00. While the bungalows are well-fitted out, if a little rustic, and the food at the bar is fantastic, the real reason to come here is the warm welcome and service you will receive from the family of young people that run the resort. A beautiful location directly on the beach.300-1,000 baht. (N09º 43.320,O098º 23.648)
Phayam Lodge Beach Resort, (on Ao Yai Beach), ☎ +66 86 995 2598, . Offers family houses with 3 bedrooms and fully furnished kitchens. They also have beach bungalows with sunset terraces for couples just 20 m from Ao Yai Beach. Amazing sunset view. All accommodations have 24 hour electricity, air-con and Wi-Fi. The resort also offers an on-site restaurant, The Bubble Beach Bar and Phayam Divers.1,400-2,500 baht.
Vijit Bungalows, email@example.com, ☎ +66 77 834 082, . To fit almost every budget, Vijit Bunalows is a good choice at Ao Yai.300-1,500 baht.
Heaven Beach Resort & Art [] is a small luxury resort on Ao Kai Kwai beach. 50 sm bungalows with hot/cold open air showers, spacious porches, and a very cozy restaurant on the beach. From the same owners as PP.Land Beach Resort, so customers of Heaven Beach are allowed to use all the PP.Land facilities.
PP.Land Beach Beach Resort [] is a small eco-resort run by Paul from Belgium and Pearl from Thailand. All bungalows are built to Western standards in an old cashew garden, next to a 300 m private beach. There is free WiFi and a swimming pool and they organise boat tours for their customers. The restaurant is open all day and on the rooftop terrace they have a pool table.
Sabai Sabai Bungalows A charming place with an informal, friendly atmosphere. Has 8 simple, but stylish, themed (e.g., India, Africa, Cuba) beachfront bungalows priced 200-500 baht per night. Also a restaurant serving sociable family-style meals, a cool lounge area showing movies and sports, an abundance of hammocks in which to relax, and a small sailing boat and a kayak for its customers. The Coconut Bar and the comfy hammock-filled Shisha Lounge are also both on-premises, and the establishment hosts beach parties fortnightly.
Happy Air  flies to Bangkok from Ranong Airport (20 minute drive from Ranong)
Boats go from Ko Phayam to Ko Chang on some weekdays at 16:00. Boats do not sail on Sa-Su.
Buses from Ranong bus station to Chumphon, Khao Lak and Phuket, seven times a day. (Phuket Town: ~6 hours, 240 baht)