Mae Haad is quite possibly one of the most beautiful beaches on Koh Phangan. It is also a beach that can offer something for everyone.
Located about a 5 minute drive from Chaloklum Village, Mae Haad is the ideal place to spend the day, with a number of bungalow operations and their restaurants, beach-front dive shops, massage stands, snorkel, mask fin and kayak rentals, beach bars, volley ball nets and a genuinely good vibe. Mae Haad successfully combines some of the best aspects of the island — it is chilled, but it is never dull and it offers all the services and luxuries you could want, without losing its old-school Koh Phangan feel or being overly built up.
The beach at Mae Haad attracts a really varied cross-section of traveler, from couples to families to flash and back packers and vacationing professionals, all of whom combine to make a pretty interesting mix. By day it is a great place to people watch. The crowd is generally a little older and more European than Haadrin’s stereotypical recently post-pubescent travelling horde of Brits. While Mae Haad gets busy during the Full Moon Party, it doesn’t get hectic and people who chose to stay at Mae Haad tend to venture elsewhere to really party. Likewise, while there are a few bars and restaurants on the commercial strip behind the beach on the road in, nothing really goes over the top.
It is also one of the best places on the West Coast of Koh Phangan to watch a sunset, and many locals and tourists alike head down to Mae Haad just before dusk to watch the sun drop into the water and enjoy the fire show in the sky. It is a great way to wind down as the evening approaches either from the beach itself or from the not so subtly named Rolling Stoned Bar. Beware however, the local police are aware that people may be carrying small quantities of sunset enhancers and sometimes set up shop just around the first bend off the road to the beach.
Koh Ma, arguably the home of Koh Phangan’s best snorkeling, lies less than 100 metres offshore of Mae Haad’s Island View Cabanas. In addition to providing excellent snorkelling, Mae Haad with its abundant and varied marine life and shallow coral reefs is the perfect place to learn diving or just brush up your rusty skills. The length of Mae Haad’s coast line is fronted by a shallow coral shelf which can vary between 50 and 100 meter wide and is divided in the center by a narrow channel cut from the coral to allow boats, divers and snorkelers out into deeper waters without disturbing the reef . Once over the reef in deeper water, coral formations dot the length of the bay, almost like a bread crumb trail to Koh Mah. Haad Yao Divers and Dive Inn both maintain small dive and booking operations on Mae Haad because of the quality the diving can compare (on a good day) to an ocean dive without the boat trip (or expense).
There are many bungalow operations along the sand, appealing to varying budgets. A beach front bungalow with air can go for 1000-2000 (or more) baht per night, but 400 baht fan accommodation is still available a little further back from the ocean.
Bungalow and resort operations on Mae Haad include:
Island View Cabana, Royal Orchid, Wang Sai Resort, Koh Ma Dive Resort, Mae Haad Cove and Pim Bungalow.
Whatever it is you are after, Mae Haad is likely to have it. If it doesn’t Chaloklum will.