Koh Phangan is an island located in the gulf of Thailand just north of the more popular Ko Samui Island. Bottle Beach is a smallish beach located in a small cove on the North end of the island. Koh Phangan is probably best known for the full moon party. The good news is that the party is on the other side of the island and it won’t affect your visit all the way up at Bottle Beach. If you are into the partying this might be the place to come and relax afterwards.
Bottle Beach is for relaxation. It’s where you go to to get away from it all and sit back and relax on the beach. It’s not quite like living on your own little beach, but it’s as close as most of us will get. The beach is beautiful and the lush tropical backdrop is spectacular, with the water generally very calm. During the day you will get a handful of day-trippers peaking in the mid afternoon, but early in the morning and later in the evening you will often find yourself alone here. There are only a few accommodation options if you want to stay here, which makes it ideal if you want that vacation away from it all. There are not a lot of food options here, so bring some with you. You can buy food and drinks from the hotels, but the prices are somewhat inflated due to the isolation.
How to get there
As of writing this they are in the process of building an airport on the island. Until then the only way to get to the island itself is by ferry. Ferries run from numerous locations including Koh Samui (30 minute ride), Surat Thani (3.5 to 7 hours depending on carrier) and Ko Tao (1.25 – 3 hours depending on the carrier). Prices range between $10US and $15US for all options.
Once on the island the best way to get to the beach itself is by taxi boat. Depending on where you arrive on the island the cheapest option will be to get a normal taxi to Chaloklum (price depends on your arrival point, but shouldn’t be more than $US10), and then jump on a taxi boat to get to the beach ($US5). Another option we suggest, if you arrive in Haad Rin Port, is to get a water taxi from there to the beach directly. It is more expensive at around$US20/person (minimum 4 people), but the ride is spectacular. The coast line you pass will leave you with your mouth wide open (don’t forget the camera!). You can get there by land, but it is nothing short of an adventure! One not worth the risk.
Things to Do in the Area
This beach is well out of the way, so there isn’t a lot to do other than sit and enjoy the beach. There are a couple of accommodation options, with some food and drinks available (expect to pay a little bit more than the rest of the island – though not outrageously more). You can also arrange to have a massage. There are numerous boat rides on offer to get you around the island (generally to other beaches). Inland there are a couple of waterfalls relatively close (Paradise and Than Phawet Waterfall), which you can either go to by foot (very difficult hike) or by returning to Chaloklum by water taxi and then taking a tour/taxi.
No real surf here. Most of the time it is as smooth as a lake. During monsoon season the waves get a bit bigger, but not clean enough to surf. If you are interested in surfing the west side of the island is your best bet, but even there you are likely to be disappointed with waves (if there are any) being only for beginners. If you are looking for a surfing vacation you are really in the wrong area of Thailand. Try the west coast in areas like Phuket.
This is the perfect beach for swimming. There are usually little or no waves and the depth of the water gently slopes away from the beach. The water temperature during the hotter months is quite warm, so don’t be expecting a refreshing swim. The water is generally clear and you can usually easily see your feet when shoulder deep.
While it is possible to snorkel/dive here, there are far better options around the island. There isn’t a lot of coral and you will be better off finding one of the other beaches on the island if you want to partake in this activity (west coast beaches are best – Haad Salad, Haad Yao and Chao Phao). Or even better is to visit the nearby Koh Tao Island, which is famous for it’s diving/snorkeling.
Due to the fact it is hard to get to, you can get stranded here in the event of heavy rain and waves. The road in becomes inaccessible and the water taxis can only operate in relatively smooth waters.
Have you been to Bottle Beach?