Koh Phayam is a small remote jewel of an island in the Andaman Sea, known for its kangaroo shape, crystal-clear blue waters, silky sands and gorgeous coral reefs that draw avid snorkellers the year round. Blanketed by thick jungle, Phayam offers an abundance of hikes and foot trails, as well as highly sought-after beaches.
Located 35 kms from the mainland city of Rayong, Koh Phayam, roughly 10 km long by 5 km wide, has a population of a mere 500 people.
Ao Yai is the island’s main beach, 3 km end to end. Here, the crowds are livelier and younger in the high season, with more bars and parties to choose from. For tranquility seekers, Buffalo Bay will tick just the right boxes. With more laid-back clientele, it’s probably the most unspoilt beach on the island.
Said to be one of Thailand’s great fishing waters, avid anglers are highly recommended to rent a yacht to Koh Phayam for it’s white snapper and grouper, barracuda, trevally, grouper, wahoo, mackerel, longhorn, and tuna as well as its adventurous excursions including kayaking trips around the island, jungle walks and even a visit to the island’s only temple, Wat Ko Phayam. Getting around the island requires mainly motorbikes or bicycles, and you’d most likely meet some of its four-legged and winged inhabitants, including monkeys, hornbills, and sea eagles.
There’s a small sea gypsy settlement at the southern end of Buffalo Bay, where also you will get a taste of local culture, history and tradition.
Koh Phayam, alas, is not the hidden gem it once was; a plethora of tour operators have opened shop on its sandy banks. However, its superb beaches and mountain treks still make it well worth an excursion..