I really need to make more time for visits to Koh Larn; I went recently and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The island has a really relaxed feel to it and hoping from one beach to another is a simple matter, you just hire a motorbike for the day and off you go. If you want a Pattaya beach holiday, this is the place to come. There are lots of good beaches on the mainland, but this place is home to the best ones. To get the most out of the trip, I think it best to go as early as you can get yourself out of bed so that you can really kick back and relax all day.
I said previously that all the Pattaya beaches that I will review are within 20 minutes of central Pattaya. Technically this one is within reach in that time, but you would need to take a speed boat to do it in that time. I prefer to take the ferry; it takes about 45 minutes, but it only costs 60 baht for a return ticket. Another idea is to stay on the island overnight, there is a range of quality hotels to choose from:Lareena Resort - nice and cheap
Altogether there are 7 beaches on the island, mostly on the western side of the island. In this two-part review I'll give you pictures and comments on 5 of them.
The other two are really small and difficult to get to, so I didn't manage to see them during my visit. I think that there is a good chance I'll be visiting again though, so you can look out for a follow on update about the missing 2 beaches.
The fist time I ever went to Koh Larn, the ferry dropped us off on one of the beaches, Ta Waen beach if I remember correctly. This time it dropped us off at Na Ban Pier on the eastern side of the island. If you get a choice of drop off point, I'd go for Na Ban Pier. The advantage of this is that you can hire a motorbike almost as soon as you step off the ferry.
Motorbike hire is, in my opinion, essential. The whole attraction of the island for me is in the exploring. Without a motorbike you are kind of stuck. Don't worry if you don't have a license, have never ridden a motorbike, have no safety helmet etc... I had none of these but was allowed to hire a motorbike for a mere 200 baht. For 200 baht the bike is yours until 6pm.
I should point out here that it is a slightly dangerous affair to take out a bike if you have no experience riding one whatsoever... especially if you have a companion riding on the back as was the case with me. We came close to having an accident on three separate occasions!
The first beach I headed for was Nual Beach on the southern tip of Koh Larn. All in all I think I would have to recommend this one as being one of the best beaches in Pattaya if you want isolation.
I'd imagine that the two really small beaches that I couldn't find i.e. Sungwan and Tah Yai, are even more isolated. I suspect that these can only be accessed on foot but I'm not certain about that. Nual beach feels like it is miles away from anywhere in particular. There is a good beach, the sand is a little grainy, but you are surrounded by steep hills on either side.
It is quite a picturesque setting. There is a single bar/restaurant that serves the beach, so getting a drink or a bite to eat is easy. One thing I noticed about this place is the sea, it had a really rich blue colour to it. In the distance you can see the Pattaya coastline, this adds to the feeling of isolation. I highly recommend Nual beach.
Samae beach was the next port of call. You need to ride over the hill-tops to get to Samae and when you get there you find a medium sized beach with a range of bar/restaurants to choose from.
There is also a viewpoint that you can walk to on one of the hiltops at the northern point of the beach. Samae beach is well worth a visit during your exploration of Koh Larn, but personally I think there are better options available.
Koh Larn; the second half of the review will focus on Thien Beach, Tawaen Beach and Thong Lang Beach. You can read all about it by clicking here: Koh Larn; part 2 of 2
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