BANGRAK / BOPHUT / MAENAM
BOPHUT. 9°33.498N, 100°3.058E
MAENAM. 9°34.612N, 99°59.952E
One large bay divided by a rocky promontory forms Bo Phut to the west and Bang Rak to the east. These bays are shallow, only 4 metres up to a mile offshore with anchorages on a sandy bottom in 2-4 metres. They offer the best protection from swell and wind during either season.
Approaching either bay from the northwest, beware of the reef at the western end. Arriving from the east, the passage between Koh Som and the headland has a depth of 4 metres. In the east of the bay are several wooden and concrete jetties operated by tour companies where fuel and water can be arranged.
The best organised, giving all-tide access, is Petcharat Marina, in essence a pier to deep water and a shore-based speedboat operation that can provide some services. At Bo Phut there’s a night market and walking street. The Billabong and the Frog and Gecko are lively pubs offering great food, laundry and car hire services nearby. Refueling larger quantities can be pre-arranged at the nearby PTT service station or by jerry can at the western end of the village.
These north-coast beaches developed more recently than Chaweng and Lamai and are less built up. In Bangrak, look for the huge Buddha on Koh Fan, the island north of Haad Bangrak. This bay is directly on the approach path of the airport, so it can be a little noisy. There’s a large concrete ferry pier in the southwest corner of the bay which is deep enough to go alongside.
Ashore in each bay you’ll find clusters of small resorts and bars and a variety of small shops and local markets along the road. Many restaurants and small resorts line the bay, particularly in Fishermans Village. Further west at Maenam, anchor in 4-6 metres on a sandy bottom. Beware of the submerged rock off Laem Na Rang.