This Underrated Beach In Thailand Is Best For Avoiding Crowds And Relaxing

Thailand's Phi Phi Islands might be hard to find on a world map, but they're packed with blue water beaches, one-of-a-kind experiences (prepare yourself for monkey and monitor lizard sightings), and vibrant nightlife. It's no wonder the destination draws crowds of tourists. In fact, one of Phi Phi's most popular coves, Maya Bay, attracted up to 8,000 visitors each day, as marine biologist and professor Dr. Thon Thamrongnawasawat revealed to CNN. This prompted officials to temporarily close the area after over-tourism damaged the bay's precious coral reefs.

Put simply, avoiding the hordes of people while visiting Phi Phi Islands can require a bit of effort, and you'll have to skip the guidebook attractions if you want a relaxing beach day. Exploring the islands on foot is one way to uncover off-the-beaten-path spots, but if you're not sure where to start, make the beach at Phak Nam Bay your first stop.

Phak Nam Bay is located on Ko Phi Phi Don, the largest island in the Phi Phi Islands archipelago. The beach isn't exactly in the middle of nowhere — a bungalow resort is situated just next door — but savvy travelers still consider it a hidden gem perfect for when you just want some peace and quiet. Fittingly, you might also hear Phak Nam Bay referred to by its other name, "Relax Beach."

How to unwind at Phak Nam Bay

If you're just looking for sparkling water, soft sand, and lush tropical forests to complement some relaxed "me time," Phak Nam Bay has you covered. The beach offers the perfect escape for sunbathing or a refreshing dip in the ocean. However, there's a lot more to do at Phak Nam Bay than leisurely passing time. The quiet spot is ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving, given the abundance of coral that dot the area. Pack your own goggles or speak with one of the island's diving schools for more advanced underwater exploration.

If you prefer to keep your head above water, try kayaking at the bay instead. Head to the Phi Phi Relax Beach Resort to rent kayaks and other equipment. Don't forget to look down beneath the clear, turquoise-colored water when you're out paddling.

If you're an avid fisher, you're in luck: Phak Nam Bay is a hub for local fishermen, and you might be allowed to join for a small fee. Otherwise, bring your own fishing gear and find a secluded spot in the bay to cast your line. After taking in all that the beach destination has to offer, refuel at the resort's restaurant and beach bar. Be sure to schedule plenty of time at Phak Nam before moving on to other more crowded attractions — chances are, you won't want to leave this tranquil seafront.

Ways to reach the beach

Phak Nam Bay isn't the easiest beach to get to on Ko Phi Phi Don, but the trek required might be part of what keeps the crowds away. The lowest-effort option to reach the area is by boat from Ton Sai, near the island's main ferry terminal. From there, hop on one of the charming long-tail boats headed for Phak Nam. To save some baht, share a taxi-style boat with other visitors looking to escape to the secluded beach. When you're ready to make your return to the center of the island, either grab one of the passing taxi boats again or go to the Phi Phi Relax Beach Resort reception desk to schedule a ride.

If you don't mind getting a workout on your way to the beach, you can skip the boats altogether and follow a hiking trail to Phak Nam Bay. Begin your journey at the island's main viewpoint, located just east of the town. Follow the hiking trails northeast, passing Phi Phi Viewpoint 2 and Phi Phi Viewpoint 3 — and make sure to take time at each point to snap pictures of the stunning scenery. After the third viewpoint, continue following the trail for about nine minutes, where you'll turn right to make your way to Phak Nam Bay. Give yourself 30 minutes to an hour to complete the hike.