What Makes a Great Beach Great?
Thong Nai Pan in Koh Phangan, Thailand
What Makes a Great Beach Great?
It is a difficult question until you have been to a truly great beach. And then the answer is simple. A great beach is one that you don't want to leave at the end of your holiday. A beach that you dream about when you are back home, working hard and hating the cold weather. A beach that you will undoubtedly return to.
As to why you will feel that way is different according to the person you ask. People value different things differently. That's one of the great things about people. However, from having lived on Thong Nai Pan beach for a blissfully extended stay I feel I'm in a position to name a few of the key ingredients that goes to make Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai truly great beaches.
1) First and foremost has to be the beach itself. Nature's beauty has no rivals. And few beaches can rival the beauty of Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai. They are set in an idyllic double bay surrounded by forested hills. The white sand beaches are soft underfoot and fringed with shade giving coconut palm trees. The area is scattered with huge granite boulders. The sea water is deliciously warm and inviting. It is calm and suitable to swim in nearly all year round. Nature abounds: yellow butterflies sport in the sea, eagles hover over head, tropical fruit and flowers are everywhere.
2) The accommodation in Thong Nai Pan is terrific. There is a good range to cover all budgets, starting from a coconut thatch bungalow with bathroom for as little as $11 and going up to the kingly luxury of villas with private pools for $1,470 a night. Suitable for backpackers and honeymooners and families. With and without luxury. Next to the water's edge or in the mountains with spectacular sea views the choice is yours. And it is not just the accommodation but it is also the service; the friendly Thais working in the resort, the extra mile they go to make you feel at home, to make you feel pampered, so all you have to do is lie in your hammock and doze.
3) The weather is brilliant. Sunny day follows sunny day in the South of Thailand, especially in the Gulf of Thailand which is free of tsunamis. It feels like summer nearly all year round. And when it does rain it is still warm. Usually it only rains for 30 minutes and then the sun comes back out and everything seems fresher.
4) The restaurants are great value. Thai food is famous and rightly so. The curries, salads, fresh fish and noddles are to die for. Full of exotic spices and subtle tastes. You never seem to tire of eating Thai food. And if you do,then there is pizza, steak, sandwiches, etc. to order.
5) What is better than having a cocktail on the beach and watching the sun go down. Mellow out as the sky takes on the soft hues of dusk. Then hit the bars to dance or chat or meet the locals. Listen to great music and go to bed when you fancy. And of course, that final stroll along the beach to your bungalow or villa is a romantic highlight in itself. Holding hands with your loved one and looking at the stars.
6) When you fancy doing something other than sunbathing or swimming then why not experience a Thai massage that will iron out all the wrinkles in your muscles. You feel more alive after a Thai massage. If it's beauty treatments you're after then why not have a herbal facial scrub, or sauna or oil massage? Or why not a reflexology foot massage? Or an aromatherapy treatment? All those rejuvenating treatments are available in Thong Nai Pan. Tannaporn Massage House in Thong Nai Pan Noi is particularly recommended.
7) Relaxing can never be over-estimated. Unlike Koh Samui, Koh Phangan has no ring road going round the island. You are far away from the noise of vehicles. Nobody bothers you on the beach hawking their goods. The only sound is the sound of waves gently lapping on the beach.
If God made the world in 7 days then it seems entirely fitting that there are 7 key ingredients to feeling like you are in a tropical heaven.
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