Describing Haad Yao in Koh Phangan as the perfect beach is probably slight hyperbole. Nevertheless, it is a great beach. This post will look at the reasons why Haad Yao is called ‘the perfect beach’.
A Long and Wide Beach
Haad Yao is about 1 kilometer long. It is one of the longest beaches on Phangan Island. It is also a wide beach. This means there is plenty of space on the beach for all kinds of activities such as volleyball, football and Frisbee. Moreover, the size of the beach means that there is always plenty of space for sunbathing. You can easily find a spot to lie down and take the sun. It definitely enhances a beach experience when you don’t feel that you are squeezed in with hundreds of others.
The Look of the Beach
Haad Yao has a gently curving beach. There are rocks at both ends of the beach, framing the sandy picture as it were. Behind the sand is a line of coconut palms and other trees. Pictures taken of Haad Yao beach from a distance do look spectacular. From an aesthetic point of view, Haad Yao beach does look perfect.
For many people, the quality of the sand is a big factor in whether the beach is any good. As with many of the beaches on Koh Phangan, Haad Yao has fine white sand that feels soft underfoot and is comfortable to lie on. Care is taken by the various resorts and bars along the beach to keep the beach clean. It is therefore safe to walk around without shoes on. However, the sand does get very hot in the summer months. Moreover, it is rude in Thailand to enter a building with dirty feet.
Koh Phangan has improved its infrastructure over the years – electricity, road access, transport links, internet etc. without going overboard with big-scale development. 90% of the island still remains virgin rainforest. The sea around the island is also very clean. This is particularly true of Haad Yao. You can go into the sea in Haad Yao without fear of encountering trash. The water is warm and often very calm thanks to the coral reef 400 meters out to sea that acts as a wave break. The only downside to the sea in Haad Yao is that during low tide and especially during the low tidal months between April and October you have to walk a fair distance for the water to get deep enough for swimming.
Diving and Snorkeling
The upside of having a coral reef off the coast is that there is plenty of marine life to spot. It is possible to swim out to the reef (about 400 meters off shore) and go snorkeling. Among the wide variety of things to see are porcupine fish, squirrel fish, parrot fish, blue spotted rays and fusiliers.
There are a few dive shops in Haad Yao that are happy to take both beginners and experienced divers out to see the reef. It is long reef and an easy dive with maximum depth of 14 meters. It thus makes a great dive for those working towards their Open Water qualification.
For many having such healthy corals just off the coast makes Haad Yao a perfect beach.
Amenities and Facilities
When people talk about Haad Yao beach they often refer to the wider beach area. There is a good range of accommodation on offer that fits all budgets. You can stay in traditional Thai bungalows or hotel style rooms or in stylish boutique style accommodation. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from as well as a few shops to get your every day necessities as well as souvenirs. The road to Haad Yao from the main port town of Thongsala is in good condition and it is easy to get into the main town to do bigger shopping, change money etc. Convenience is a big reason why Haad Yao is considered perfect.
Last, but definitely not least is the sunset. Haad Yao is a west-facing beach. This means every afternoon there is a spectacular sunset to enjoy. Watching the sunset on the beach is the perfect way to end the day on a perfect beach.
Sunset picture from: http://brandleblogphoto6.blogspot.co.uk/