Those chasing the scenery and atmosphere of old Thailand before it was commercialized and lost much of its charm are often drawn to the untouched, secretive island of Koh Phayam. While enjoying the peacefulness and relaxing at the beach is an incredible experience in and of itself, exploring the food, the culture, and all the attractions the island has to offer makes for a complete experience. While Koh Phayam isn’t a place for shopping enthusiasts (thank god), what it offers instead is the exploration of its marvelous tropical forests, unique beaches, and exotic wildlife.
Below you will find a comprehensive list of the best Koh Phayam Activities to assist you in enriching and making your stay as memorable as possible. As residents of the island, we care greatly on maintaining its peaceful nature and clean environment and we hope that you will do the same.
1. Fishing in Ko Phayam
Ko Phayam is known as one of the last few great fishing islands in Thailand which is a result of maintaining its synergy with nature by keeping things eco-friendly as well as its opportune geographical location. Fresh fish are caught and served in various restaurants throughout the island and their deliciousness more often than not inspires one to try and partake in a fishing adventure. Depending on your chosen method of fishing and the available water transportation you have available, you will find an exciting and versatile list of fish within your grasp. From Groupers & Snappers to Barracudas, Tunas, and Mackerels. Squids and certain species of crabs are also quite a common catch but without a doubt, the most sought after is the tiger prawn often found in the mangrove forest area, a delicacy that is caught in Koh Phayam and sold fresh throughout the entire ranong region.
Due to being such a great Island for fishing you will find that most respectable bungalow resorts offer rentals of various fishing equipment as well as some great advice on good spots to visit. If you truly want to enjoy the experience to its fullest, various fishing tours across the land via boat will help you reach the greatest spots in the Island and offer different methods to do so, including Trolling, Spinning, Classic Boat Fishing & Much more. You could either head to the pier where various locals that organize these trips are situated and pay for the service or head towards more organized groups which include but are not limited to:
- Koh Phayam Fishermans
- Buffalo Bay Vacation Club (half-day trips)
- Payam Fishing
2. Ko Phayam Snorkeling & Diving
While Koh Phayam itself has seen a bit of a hit in its own diving locations due to the rise in popularity of fishing (both commercial & private) there are some tremendous diving schools & tours available that will take you to the best spots for diving in close proximity to Koh Phayam. The best time for diving is between November and April, especially if you like to take underwater photography.
The best spots in the area include but are not limited to Surrin Islands, Richelieu Rock, and Kham Archipelago.
Richelieu Rock which was discovered by none other than Jacques Cousteau is considered by many to be the best diving site in the entirety of Thailand, showcasing astonishing purple reefs and rich marine life. You may come across the yellow boxfish, moray eels, tiger tail seahorses, harlequin shrimp, mantis shrimp, and other incredible marine species. Diving in different times throughout the day reveals completely different experiences and marine life, and there’s certainly a lot of it to explore which will take more than one trip to accomplish.
One thing that is very important to note is that due to the somewhat unpredictable nature of the surrounding Koh Phayam diving spots you definitely should use accredited tour organizers and diving schools. The following are some reputable businesses in that field that are located in Koh Phayam:
- Aladdin Dive Safari – offers both diving and snorkeling tours around the best spots surrounding Koh Phayam
- Buffalo Bay Vacation Club – Offer beginner as well as advanced diving courses. Day trips are available to the best spots in the area, most notably Richelieu Rock & Surin Islands.
- Phayam Divers – PADI Courses and Liveboard Diving Courses, as well as Day Trips.
- Andaman Discovery
3. Kayaking Through the Mangroves
Koh Phayam is home to an incredibly impressive grouping of Mangroves called the Mangrove Forest which is positioned at the Southern part of Buffalo Bay, taking roots in its stunningly beautiful waters. The best way to view and explore the mangroves is via kayak, allowing you to enjoy its marvels up close and personal with a good chance of encountering monkeys, exotic birds and other exciting wildlife while enjoying the beauty of the forest. Most resorts offer a Kayak rental service at an affordable price and the waters are quite friendly for beginners to paddle away at their own pace with ease, just make sure you time your Kayaking through the mangroves during high tides. Kayaks are available for rental in most resorts and are very affordable.
4. Koh Phayam Surfing
Aow Yai Beach is the go-to spot for surfing in Koh Phayam. While adrenaline junkies looking for monstrous waves are better suited elsewhere, Koh Phayam is a dream like surfing island when it comes to beginners and intermediate surfers due to the consistency and soft breaks of the waves even when they reach the 2-meter height. You hit the beach with a shortboard or longboard that you either brought with you or rented at an affordable rate (available in almost all resorts throughout the island), surf as much as you want and head to one of the local restaurants or bars and have yourself a relaxing drink.
Another reason surfing is getting more popular in Koh Phayam is how clean and clear the beaches in Koh Phayam are, not to mention there’s no overcrowding whatsoever. The best months for surfing are October, November, May, and April. However, if you want to gain real insight to the weather conditions and status of the wind and waves throughout the island for your chosen date, head over to our Koh Phayam weather page. In case you have an interest in surfing but have yet to learn, Phayam Surfers offer surfing lessons and are definitely worth checking out.
Trekking in Koh Phayam and its exotic jungles is made possible with trails in key spots in the island, most notably near Monkey Bay (north), as well as various spots in Aow Yai Beach. Other than kayaking in the mangroves it is perhaps the ideal way to encounter the fascinating atmosphere and magnificent animals that are indigenous to the island. While generally speaking the animals in Koh Phayam aren’t particularly dangerous, one should always be safe and remember that there’s no supervision. Buffalo Bay Vacation Club has been doing some trekking tours, but there’s something much more enjoyable about discovering things by yourself when it comes to trekking in our humble opinion.
6. Tai Moung Market
While not often covered online, Koh Phayam has a lovely market that opens every Saturday from 9am to 9pm and is called Tai Moung Market. Local residents of Koh Phayam sell their crafts and harvests. From Cashew Nuts, Island Grown Organic Vegetables, as well as Sweet Desserts, Seafood, BBQ, and much more. Traditional Thai Cooking Lessons are also available depending on the number of visitors at the market. You can find the Market at (need more info will update).
7. The Famous Cashew Nut Festiva of Koh Phayam
Many first time visitors to Koh Phayam are often caught by surprise when learning about the festivities revolving around Cashew Nuts that are held once a year in Koh Phayam. Due to being one of the main income sources of the locals, during the harvest time celebrations and festivities are held. Cashew beauty contests (yes you read correctly) live music concerts through various spots in the island, soccer games, volleyball, Thai boxing, and so much more are all in full swing during this period. The festivities are held during the month of February, commonly between the 19th to the 20th, and in case you were wondering, the Cashew Nuts in Koh Phayam are incredibly tasty.
8. Koh Phayam Bird Watching & Exotic Animals
Koh Phayam is home to some fantastically rare species of birds that bring both bird watchers and even casual observers tremendous joy. Perhaps most sought after is the famous hornbill which has sort of become the unofficial mascot of the island with many bars and restaurants carrying its name. Other birds that can be spotted around the island include: Pacific Swallow, Kingfisher & many others. When it comes to other wildlife in Koh Phayam there is no official documentation of the species identified despite being so versatile and rich. Certain species of monkeys that hang around the mangroves, sea tortoises, sea otters, squirrels, monitor lizards and much more. While not an everyday occurrence, dolphins tend to visit the island from time to time and are always a sight to behold.
It’s hard to picture an island more perfect for studying and practicing yoga than Koh Phayam, with tropical forests and blissful beaches. In fact, it’s hard to find a spot that isn’t perfect for practicing yoga. There are various resorts throughout the island that offer Yoga lessons, such as PAUSE – Surf & Yoga House, Birdsong Surf And Yoga Retreat, and 1-self Yoga.