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Haad Yao Beach stretches for more than one kilometre around the northwest coast of Koh Phangan. Its sands are soft, white and slope gradually into the clear waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Tall palm trees dwarf the holiday hotels situated along Haad Yao Beach. Behind the beachfront there are more palms and forest trees.
Haad Yao Bay is lovely for swimming or snorkelling in. There is a protective coral reef 400 metres offshore. Haad Yao dive schools do some of their training at this reef or at the nearby Koh Ma islet or the reef at Haad Salad Beach. The reefs give the chance of spotting colourful tropical fish plus the occasional turtle or ray.
Nightlife at Haad Yao Beach is more relaxing than at Haad Rin or Chaweng Beach on Koh Samui. A good way to start the evening is with a long, cool drink at one of the beachfront cafés while watching the sun slowly set. Eateries here serve up delicious seafood barbecues of fish, prawns and squid. Steamed crabs are also popular. There is a good choice of international food for those looking for variety.
Address and contact: Haad Yao Beach, northwest Koh Phangan
Opening times and fees: Open to all every day: free entryWhere to stay
There is a good choice of hotels near Haad Yao Beach, with more than a few enjoying beach frontages. A high proportion of them have their own onsite restaurants and, three-star properties and above possess their own swimming pools. The Haad Yao Bay View Resort features two pools, a spa and almost 200 accommodation units. All this comes at a very cheap nightly rate.
Among other Haad Yao Beach hotels are Seaboard Bungalows, JB Hut Bungalow and Long Bay Resort. These all boast buildings that are modern yet a pleasant mix of old-style Thai architecture. JB Hut is one of the hotel options set on a hill above the beach. Haad Yao Beach is about 20 minutes by taxi from the main ferry pier at Thong Sala and some of the hotels provide transfers.