While further edited for publishing on our site, this was originally submitted by Macrae and published in Southeast Asia Backpacker Magazine, Issue 34: pg 14-15, under the title “Top 5 Places For Sunset Drinks”
More Than The Full Moon Party To Discover
Sitting, watching the sunset while having a drink; as the sky starts to dim, the sun seems to be more saturated in colour, or it may be that now all your focus is on this gigantic body of fire, creating a glow through the clouds, turning them purple and pink.
You look above it all and notice something you’ve never seen before: a rainbow mimicking an oil spill in a crystal clear glacier lake upon a mountain. You realize nothing really matters, not your job, not your grades, not what is happening on social media… only what is in the here and now. The present. The moment.
The Full Moon Party is world-renowned for its neon body paint, glow sticks and bucket drinks. But when the crowds slowly dissipate and the tranquility is once again restored to the island, there are some astonishing things to be seen that may have been overlooked during full moon. The perfect spot to have a drink and catch one of the best sunsets, painting a picture in the sky beyond imagination is one such thing.
Here Are My Top 5 Places for a Sunset On Koh Phangan
- Haad Sarikantang (Leela Beach): Leela beach, with its soft sand, relaxing rope hammocks and mystical mangrove trees, is easily the best beach in Thailand to enjoy an unforgettable sunset. At one end of the beach, you can find a floating pier that, from land, seems to go on forever reaching into the ocean’s endless abyss. Sitting at the end of the pier with your favorite drink is the only way to end a day with perfection.
- Haad Son (Secret beach): Secret Beach Bar is a little hidden paradise nestled in a cove, easily missed by the usual tourist trying to find the next party. With its pearl-white sand and stunning views of the sunset, it’s a place where you can grab a drink and easily let time drift away.
TIP: Don’t miss the strawberry daiquiris – simply amazing and, at just 120 Baht (like all the other cocktails on the menu), they’re a steal.
- Haad Rin Nai: The sister beach of Haad Rin Nok (where the full moon party is held) is a place that can satisfy any budget, with its new resorts and old rustic pubs. At Seaside Bar, you’ll find a couple triangle pillows upon a mat in the middle of the beach. Pick a spot, order a drink and treat yourself to a unique sunset that will never be forgotten.
TIP: Stay until dark when the sky becomes illuminated with a blanket of stars. You might be lucky enough to decipher the mysteries of the gods and watch the story of the universe unravel above you.
- Haad Yao: Another stunning beach, with pristine water, sprinkled with contrasting bars and restaurants; one place that stands out is Seaboard Bungalows. This is a perfect place to get your party on after watching the sunset, when its rays no longer dominate the sky and the beach is lit by the moon and tiki torches until the early morning.
Tip: On Wednesday nights, the local expat community gathers here for some great music (usually deep house) and some fantastic specialty drinks.
- Ao Playlearn: When you speak to anyone who has spent some substantial time on Koh Phangan, they’ll ask if you have been to Amsterdam Bar. If you haven’t, it’s a must go. While not located on a world class beach, it is strategically placed mountainside for the ultimate sunset experience. With a sea of triangle pillows, mats and even a pool (with a view), this is a must-stop location for anyone visiting the island.
TIP: To insure an unobstructed view, make sure to get here early and grab “the perfect seat” especially in peak season as this spot gets very busy.
These top five sunset drink spots in Koh Phangan are amongst many, where a good cocktail and a sensational sunset can be found. There is more depth to Koh Phangan than its full moon celebrations; it’s a unique place that is truly magical.