Ko Phayam, Thailand
Ko Pha Yam /Phayam is a small island off Ranong in South West Thailand.
It is a cool, chilled-out island, with some good topside nature tracks. But it is not known for its snorkelling. Underwater visibility is VERY poor, probably due to river/rainwater run-off from the mainland.
I went there in 2010, before I had an underwater camera – so, sorry, no pictures on this one.
Here’s a map of the island, taken at the jetty at Saphan plaa, near Ranong.
I have marked the areas I snorkelled at with the light-red shading on the map.
Surprisingly, I did find some nice coral in Ao Khao Kwai – typically branching Acropora species and some brain corals. The trouble was that visibiity was less than one metre, so you couldn’t see anything from the surface. You just have to dive-down and see what’s there when you get to the bottom. And Ao Khao Kwai is a big bay. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.
There is a long strip of coral between points B and C on the map. Give it a try – about 80-120 metres off the beach. The coral is only a metre or two deep here.
Point A, on the Northern cape of Ao Khao Kwai is the other reliable spot for coral – again at pretty shallow depths. It is a bit of a hike to get out there, mind.
There is a rock sticking out of the sea there – about 4 metres square. The coral is on the East (beach) side of it. But, again, you have to dive-down through the murk to find it. There are plenty of reference points around point A, so you can continue your explorations tomorrow.
Apart from Ao Kao Kwai, I walked around pretty-much the whole island, and didn’t find anywhere that looked enticing enough to get me in the water. And I’m keen! The East coast looked especially murky.
But I hadn’t seen the map at that point. There are a few spots marked with the white ‘Fins and Snorkel’ icons. Are they gratuitous colouration on the part of the map painter, or is there actually decent snorkelling there?
I don’t know. If you get there before I do, please let me know.
Topside – look out for Hornbill birds in the top of the trees and a million lizards, big-geckos and tree-frogs.
There are some beautiful sunsets in May. . .
Written: May 2010 Last updated: May 2010