Koh Payam

Koh Payam is a relaxed, easygoing spot in the Andaman sea, just off Ranong and near the Burmese border. Many people pass through Ranong on Visa runs, but do little else, so Koh Payam has refreshingly few visitors. Power is generator only and normally runs from about 6 to about 11, depending on demand, location etc.

To get out here, catch a songteaw or moto down to the port in Ranong. In the low season, the ferry departs at 2pm only, arriving around 5ish. Cost is 150 baht, only 50 baht more than local price, which isn't too bad.

Places to stay: There are a slew of bungalow operations all over the island, but in the low season most of these are closed down. I stayed at Coconut bungalows, which (low season rates) has bamboo bungalows for as low as 100 baht a night, which have a bathroom included. More expensive, modern bungalows are also available, some of which are huge!

Coconut, along with most of the other operations, is located on Ao Yai (literally Big Bay) - I'd recommend coming out this way, as Ao Yai also has the best surf I've seen anywhere in Thailand. There were actually surfers out there! Which rolls nicely into...

Things to do: Swim, surf, bodysurf. Ao Yai has great water, not too hot, with big surf. Well worth swimming and sunning yourself on this beach.

Hang around in hamocks or on the beach reading. Really, there isn't much to do here, and that's the whole appeal. High season has many bars along the beach, but most were closed while I was here (really, there were maybe 10 - 15 tourists on the whole island, not so much demand).

Places to eat: All the bungalows have their own restaurants, but the costs here are high. They claim that there are additional costs there, petrol for generators, food etc. has to come from the mainland. There is some truth in this, but for some reason Papaya Thai, in the little community near Ao Yai, undercuts the bungalow prices by a huge margin, despite having the same costs. Anyhow, I'd say eat at Papaya Thai at least once a day. Support your bungalow a bit and eat there anyway, much of their money comes from the food; if nobody eats there, the room prices will probably rise!

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