Bottle Beach - A Secret Paradise of Koh Phangan

Bottle Beach Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan - one day at the Bottle Beach

Bottle Beach is probably Koh Phangan’s most amazing beach. Forget the pulsing bars of Haad Rin and the Full Moon Party strips on the south coast of the island, as this one’s all about escaping the crowds. It has some serious looks, too – we’re talking cotton-white powder beach that The Land of Smiles is known for. Days on Bottle Beach are just what you might expect. They’re about lazing under the shade of palm fronds on soft sands, for sipping cold Chang beers as the light gulf waves lap against the shore.

Bottle Beach – a day trip on Koh Phangan

We will tell you everything you need to know about visiting Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan. First off, we’ll show you how to reach this secret paradise (tip: It’s not the easiest place to get to on the island). We’ll also reveal some of the top things to do once you get there.


Paradise Corner of Bottle Beach


How to get to Koh Phangan

Part of the allure of Bottle Beach is precisely due to the fact that it’s not so easy to find. Being isolated up on the northern edge of Koh Phangan has helped to keep the crowds away. On the other side, that means it’s not going to be easy to get there.

As there isn’t any airport on the island of Koh Phangan, you will have to take a boat to get there. You can have a flight to first arrive in Koh Samui or Surat Thani, the you will change to a boat at the end. By the way, Surat Thani can also be reached by bus or train while the last boat ride is inevitable.

Accommodation at the Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan – our hotel tip

The good news is that there are some hotels on bottle beach for those who want to enjoy this slice of Koh Phangan heaven without having to rush back to catch a water taxi. Just remember: The truth is that there isn’t any luxurious accommodation on Bottle Beach. Still, most people are not the sort who can be free away whole weeks with their Kindle in a hammock. So, we wouldn’t recommend staying too long on the beach.

The way to Chaloklum

Chaloklum of Koh Phangan is located in the centre of the Northern coastline and is the starting point for most of the North Koh Phangan beaches. From Chaloklum Beach you can catch a taxi boat to the next bay of Bottle Beach.

Usually, arriving on Koh Phangan means arriving at the pier of Thong Sala, the capital of the beautiful island. Chaloklum Village is in the North of the island around 10 km from Thong Sala. It’s definitely the easiest way to explore the island and took roughly 20 minutes to reach Chaloklum from Thong Sala Pier. Using the tarmac road that runs straight through the middle of the island.

From Thong Sala you can either take a pick-up ‘Songthaew’ taxi (motorbike taxis are not common here) or you can rent your own motorbike or car. As for the taxi ride the price relies, besides the distance, very much on the time of the day and how many people join the ride. Some taxis wait until they are full, so sometimes you have to be patient. A minimum rate for the distance from Thong Sala to Haad Rin is around 110THB during daytime.

If you want to rent a motorbike, please keep in mind that accidents are not unusual, so drive really carefully and wearing helmet is a must. Also, if you are not used to it, remember to drive on the left side of the road. A motorbike rental is about 150 – 250 THB per day and it should be possible to rent a Jeep for 700 – 1200 THB per day.

Additional Tip: There are two main trekking paths from the town of Chaloklum (where you also collect the taxi boat) to Bottle Beach. The most popular and the easiest is the so-called jungle hike. It actually starts in the little beach town of Haad Khom Beach, which is 30 minutes’ walk or a short 5-minute taxi from Chaloklum. There’s a little lay by there where people leave their scooters to begin the hike.


Beach of Chaloklum


The boat ride to Bottle Beach

The most popular option by far is to take the longtail boat from Chaloklum to Bottle Beach Koh Phangan. These classic Thai water taxis start at Chaloklum Beach (a little to the west of Bottle Beach itself). Look for them on the main pier in the town – there’s a big sign saying ‘Taxi Boat’. You can’t miss it.

There’s not much haggling to be had on the price. The standard, going rate for a trip in the longtail to Bottle Beach is 150 THB per person each way, though you might be able to score a little discount if you’re willing to book a return or are traveling as a big group. The ride takes 15-20 minutes.

It’s usually a pretty breathtaking affair, with lovely views of the totally unspoiled jungles on the north coast. However, you can get some choppy waves in the rainy season (August-November is worst). Also be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen. Some of the boats have a shade cover but most don’t. You’ll be dropped off at the west end of Bottle Beach. Remember the spot because that’s where return boats leave from later in the day.


Longtail Boat from Chaloklum to Bottle Beach


At the Bottle Beach

To tell the truth – there’s not much noise in this corner of Koh Phangan while tranquility si the real theme. The Full Moon Parties of the south coast are a distant memory. The yoga sessions of the hippy west shore are far away. In fact, kicking it with a good book and your snorkeling gear is pretty much the vibe, with a touch of trekking in search for good measure…

Meanwhile, snorkeling is a popular activity on Bottle Beach due to the excellent coral and incredibly clear waters. If you want to go snorkeling, head to the rocky end of the beach on the eastern end – the opposite side to where the boats pull in.

Remember to bring your own snorkeling equipment as it can be challenging to find rental gear on the beach. We advise you also wear reef shoes, as there can sometimes be sea urchins lurking on the reef. You definitely do not want to be stepping on one of those tough guys this far away from the nearest village!


Snorkeling at Bottle Beach


The Bottle Beach Viewpoint

A popular activity at Bottle Beach is hiking up to the famous Bottle Beach viewpoint. The peak boasts panoramic views of the island’s untouched northern coastline, with Bottle Beach itself unfolding in a shining dash of pure white sand below.

You can start the trail behind the Bottle Beach 2 resort. From there, it leads deep into the thick jungle and involves a small amount of scrambling and climbing over dusty rocks. Suitable footwear is a must. Also don’t leave the strong bug spray behind (we usually go with one that has a strong effect for this sort of activity).

However, the vast majority of the jungle trek lives up to its name: It’s through dense woodland and on rough undergrowth. Our advice? Wear good hiking shoes, bring the bug spray, and start early.


Bottle Beach Viewpoint


Generally speaking, the views on the coastal path are much better. The downside is that it takes longer – up to two hours is normal. Oh, and there are some parts that the locals will tell you are ‘dangerous’. They’re referring to a few steep boulder sections that are heavily exposed. You’ll need to watch your footing.

The path is super simple to follow and it’s virtually impossible to get lost. The overall hike time is around 45 minutes, so we would recommend setting off before 5pm to avoid coming back in the dark. The final reward is a huge granite boulder that pokes over the coast mountain, offering 180-degree panoramas of the bay and the forests and the Thai gulf.