Koh Larn Island which is situated just 7 kilometres offshore from Pattaya Beach within the Gulf of Thailand is one of Thailand's best kept secrets. This tranquil little island which is located near the islands of Koh Krok and Koh Sak measures only 4.6 kilometres in length by 2 kilometres in width has several stunning beaches and an abundance of colorful coral, is also known for its idyllic atmosphere.
The landscape of this tropical Island is quite mountainous and 90% of the land is covered with thick wooded forests. However, most people come to Koh Larn Island for its beaches and it has at least six, each of which are among the most beautiful you will find within eastern Thailand.
While this is only a small island it still has its own medical centre and police force and is home to approximately 1,000 residents who reside within the local Naban Village. The island has a variety of resort style accommodation including lower cost bungalows and there are a variety of shops, restaurants and bars. There are a number of roads which allow you to explore the island and there is motorized transport including motor cycle taxi's and songthaews so its easy to travel around.
However, you can also hire a motor scooter or bicycle if you wish to do some exploring of the island on your own. Although, the main reason that people choose to visit this island is for its beautiful beaches and these include:
Nual Beach is located on the south of the island and is probably the less visited of all the beaches. It is also known as a nudist location. It is therefore one of the most quiet and relaxing and you can feel like you are isolated from the world. A restaurant/bar is located adjacent to the beachfront and there are some beautiful coral formations in close proximity.
Sangwan Beach which is about 600 metres in length tends to be a popular beach for foreign tourists as there are many water-sports available here including jet skiing and banana boats. There are also a number of cloths shops.
Samae Beach is considered by many as being the prettiest beach and has a more up-market feel and a good selection of restaurants/bars and guest bungalows located close by (see pictured below).
Thien Beach feels
more private than say Tawaen beach and is therefore good if you are
looking for a quiet romantic site or wish to avoid the crowds found as
some of the other beaches. It is a clean beach and has a few
restaurants/bars and sun lounges on the sand.
Tawaen Beach is the largest of all the beaches (approximately 750 metres in length) and the busiest but it is very clean and the sand is very white. There are also a number of restaurants/bars and shops located within close proximity along with a number of guest bungalows.
Thonglang Beach is located at the northern end of the island. While it is a small beach it is also secluded and therefore a great beach that provides an abundance of tranquility and peace. There is also a restaurant/bar located here so you can still quench your thirst or fill your stomach. The sand here is also very white and clean.
The most popular activities on Koh Larn Island are water-sports including snorkeling, diving, para-sailing, swimming, fishing, and jet-skiing. However, if you get tired of the water-sports you can simply go exploring, ride a bicycle, or visit the shooting range which is located on the Island.
As mentioned, the Island also has a number of restaurants, shops and guest houses and resorts. However, as the island is located so close to Pattaya, you can visit the island as a day trip if you don't wish to stay here overnight.
Pattaya is located approximately 147 kilometres southeast of Bangkok, Thailand. Buses depart daily from Bangkok's eastern Ekkamai Bus Terminal. The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours.
The only way to travel to Koh Larn Island is by boat from the Bali Hai Pier at Pattaya. There is a public ferry which departs from Pattaya daily at 10 AM and takes approximately 40 minutes to reach Naban Pier at Koh Larn Island. The service is said to run basically 24 hours a day now.
Private speedboat operators also taxi passengers across to the Island from 7 AM each day and while the journey is faster (i.e. approximately 20 minutes) it is also more expensive. Life jackets are provided and the cost for the journey for a group of people is between 1,500 to 2,500 baht (i.e. total cost) each way.