Haad Salad Beach in Koh Phangan
Welcome to Pirate Beach
In local dialect 'Haad Salad' means 'pirate beach'. This is because this beautiful stretch of white sand was favoured by smugglers because of its out-of the-way location and its coral enclosed bay prevented large boats getting near. Nowadays the coral reef is still there but the beach is easily reached by good roads from Thongsala. The pirates have been replaced by a mixture of tourists and backpackers drawn by the sand, crystal clear water, the nearby Wangsai Waterfall and the friendly village. The area also has a few private residences - evidence that this location in the north west of Koh Phangan is worthy of serious investment. And indeed it is: along with Haad Yao, Haad Salad is considered the best beach on the west coast of the island.
The Beach and the Sea
The beach at Haad Salad has fine white sand. It has plenty of tree cover and is great for sunbathing. Swimming varies. Seasonal tide changes make it better to go for a dip during the higher tidal months between November and April. You can swim at other times but you have to walk farther to get out into the deep.
150 meters from the shore is a healthy coral reef. It is a shallow reef (only 7 meters deep) and so is great for learning scuba skills. Haad Salad reef has brain and table corals with numerous fish to spot including angel fish, butterfly fish, parrot fish and damsel fish. You can hire a kayak and explore the reef by snorkeling. Blue Horizon Divers and Pirate Divers are located in Haad Salad; both offer a full range of scuba courses and fun dives. Nearby are the dive sites of Koh Ma and Haad Yao.
For those keen on snorkelling the next beach, just north of Haad Salad called Mae Haad, is the access point to Koh Phangan's only National Martine Park at Koh Ma. To find out more about Mae Haad, Koh Ma and snorkelling visit the only Mae Haad dedicated site at www.maehaad.kohphanganhotelreviews.com
As you enter Haad Salad by road there is a small village. Here you will find a good selection of shops, internet cafes, travel agents, bike hire places and souvenir stands. For more shopping options it is only a short drive to the village of Srithanu where you can pick up a wider selection of fresh produce; and a bit farther south is Thongsala where there are supermarkets, banks etc.
To read more about bars and restaurants in Haad Salad as well as the activities on offer the best website to visit is www.haadsalad.info which appears to be the only website devoted to all things Haad Salad.
There are a few bars and restaurants in the village as well as along the beach. When you enter Haad Salad you cannot help but notice the famous Haad Salad Reggae Bar. Reggae suits the easy, laid back vibe of Haad Salad. The nightlife in Haad Salad is more relaxed than in places like Bantai and Haad Rin. This is not a trance / party beach. Haad Yao has a bit more of a nightlife scene but those looking for crowds and noise should stick to the south coast.
Haad Salad used to be predominately visited by long stay backpackers looking for a quiet beach to relax and live cheaply. Haad Salad has maintained this bohemian feel but now offers both cheap wooden bungalows as well as luxury air-con rooms. There is something here for all budgets. Smile Bungalow and Sea Salad Resort are two of the cheapest resorts on Koh Phangan with bungalows starting at just 350 Thai Baht a night ($11).
At the other end of the accommodation spectrum there is Haadlad Prestige Resort and Spa that has hotel rooms and villas with air-con, hot water, satellite TV etc. There are also a few beach front villas with private pools. Salad Buri Resort offers stylish interiors and private Jacuzzis or plunge pools; and, Green Papaya Resort has private pool villas.
Perhaps the best mid-range option is Salad Hut. It has some stylishly furnished cottages and a small communal pool as well as a restaurant.
There are plenty of rooms in Haad Salad, but this doesn't mean that the tourists are packed in, as is the case in Haad Rin.
If you are looking for an idyllic beach that is fun but not noisy, and that is easy to get to and from Thongsala then Haad Salad should be on your short list of beach destinations.
Click on the links below to book a room, bungalow or resort accommodation on Haad Salad.
(Updated Febraury 2016)
Starting under 1,000 Thai Baht
Smile Beach Resort 350 thb - 1,700 thb (low season); 500 thb - 2,500 thb (high season)
Sea Salad Resort 400 thb - 800 thb (low season); 900 thb - 1,300 thb (high season)
Double Duke Bungalow 500 thb - 1,300 thb (low season); 850 thb - 2,000 thb (high season)
Haad Salad Villa 600 thb - 1,200 thb (low season); 1,200 thb - 1,800 thb (high season)
Phangan Natural Resort 650 thb - 1,150 thb (low season); 800 thb - 1,300 thb (high season)
Cookies Salad Resort 850 thb - 2,500 thb (low season); 1,500 thb - 3,500 thb (high season) - breakfast included
Starting between 1,000 and 2,000 Thai Baht
Haadlad Prestige Resort & Spa 1,000 thb - 7,000 thb (low season); 2,300 thb - 9,000 thb (high season) - RECOMMENDED / breakfast included
Salad Beach Resort 1,235 thb - 2,795 thb (low season); 2,320 thb - 4,400 thb (high season) - RECOMMENDED / breakfast included
Asia Bungalows 1,300 thb - 1,800 thb (low season); 1,800 thb - 2,000 thb (high season)
Salad Hut 1,900 thb - 3,500 thb (low season); 2,500 thb - 5,000 thb (high season) - breakfast included
Starting over 2,000 Thai Baht
Salad Buri Resort and Spa 2,000 thb - 8,500 thb (low season); 2,800 thb - 11,000 thb (high season) - RECOMMENDED / breakfast included
Green Papaya Resort 2,500 thb - 6,600 thb (low season); 5,600 thb - 15,000 thb (high season) - RECOMMENDED / breakfast included