Thong Nai Pan
Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Thailand : Southern Thailand : Central Gulf Coast : Ko Pha Ngan : Thong Nai Pan
Thong Nai Pan (or just TNP among backpackers) is an area on the northeastern tip of Ko Pha Ngan that includes the two beach resorts of Ao Thong Nai Pan Yai and Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi. They are maybe the most secluded, yet developed beaches on the island.
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.
To get to either of the Thong Nai Pan beaches, you first need to make your way to Ko Pha Ngan; see the article for details.
Once at the island's harbor of Thong Sala, there will be one or more taxi/pick up truck drivers waiting, holding up signs with the destination. Price is a fixed 300 baht/person. Note that some taxis don't go to both beaches so check for the Noi/Yai extension on their signs. Since the beaches are less traveled and quite a ride, sometimes you'll have to wait for the next boat or even the boat after that because the driver won't drive up and down for just 1 or 2 passengers. Once they do take off, the trip is about half an hour.
Since you've chosen this destination you're unlikely to be in a hurry. But if, for some reason you are and you are a little bit more adventurous, then catch a quick ride to the town (or even walk, out the harbor take a left on the main street till the round about). Here you can rent a typical Thai 125 cc motorcycle 200 baht/day or a 4x4 jeep/truck 700-1000 baht/day. But be aware that the road to these northern beaches is unpaved about half the distance and has really steep slopes, (see picture). So after one or two hours of rain, this trip can be a dangerous one for the less experienced drivers. It's about 15 km (10 mi) and it will take you around 30-40 minutes to drive.
The road to Thong Nai Pan begins at Ban Tai village (on the main road between Thong Sala and Haad Rin). The road from Ban Tai to Thong Nai Pan is 13.4 km and about half of it is now sealed concrete. From the first mountain outside of Ban Tai to the Than Sadet turn off, the road is unpaved all the way and has some nasty hills with lots of dust and gravel. Once you get to the Than Sadet turn off, the road is concrete the rest of the way (7.5km) and much better. Care should still be taken as there are some deceptively sharp dusty corners. The improved road from the Than Sadet turn off to Thong Nai Pan has greatly reduced travelling times.
There are ATMs in both the Noi & Yai villages and shops for purchasing souvenirs, water and snacks. There is also a big pharmacy on both beaches, and Yai has a 7-11 for picking up snacks.
Not to be mixed up with the old Dolphin Restaurant by Dolphin Bungalows,which unfortunately have new owners who cannot quite match the previous in quality of food and service.
All places in town are very much alike, i.e., open bamboo constructions with cold beer in the fridge, Western music on the stereo and a very relaxed atmosphere. Also on the beach you can find a couple of these bars. Some of them are part of a guest house. Most close between 22:00 and 23:00. Some stay open till around 02:00.
Accommodation in Thong Nai Pan has come a long way. There are some villa rentals in the area with private pools as well as guest houses of different ranges all along the beach plus a couple of hidden places in the village. Prices for a bungalow at the beach range, depending on the season, from 200 to 1200 baht. So drop your bags at one of the bars and start picking out the ones you'll like best. At both ends of the Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi there are some classy resorts in the splurge range. Accommodation is cheaper on Yai beach.
The village rooms will give you a more local experience so don't be afraid to go back from the beach a bit.
On Yai Beach, backpacker bungalows can be had for 300-800 baht/night at the following:
There are several Internet cafés charging steep prices by Thai standards of 3 baht/minute. There is also Wi-Fi available on both beaches (Ban Pong on Noi Beach, Indian Bar on Yai Beach) for around 150 baht/hr, so bring your laptop.