Sunday, 19 May 2013

The East Coast and Koh Phangan Airport

Lots of people were surprised to discover that Koh Phangan Airport was being built on the east coast of the island. It seems the least likely spot for an airport. There is flat land in the south near Ban Tai, and there are also areas along the west coast that seem more suitable for a runway.

The east coast of Koh Phangan is the least accessible part of the island. There are still beaches such as Haad Nam Tok, Haad Thian and Haad Yuan East that you have to trek to or catch a boat to. The mountainous terrain and the jungle have left these beaches cut off from the rest of Koh Phangan.

What then is the reasoning for attempting to construct an airport in the east of Koh Phangan?

We can only guess the rationale behind Kan Air’s choice of site. Perhaps there wasn’t any other land available?

More people are inclined to think it is to do with the luxury resort beach of Thong Nai Pan Noi in the north east of Koh Phangan. Thong Nai Pan is a magnificent double bay with towering mountains behind covered in thick jungle. In the 1980s it was a travellers’ secret – two perfect beaches very underdeveloped and very ‘chilled’.

The secret got out and in the early 2000s there was a rush to build luxury accommodation on the smaller of the two beaches – Thong Nai Pan Noi. Now there are three 5 star hotels – Rasananda, Santhiya and Panviman. There is also one stylish 4 star resort called Buri Rasa. All the cheap beachfront bungalows have been pulled down. This year (2013) even the old Tapan Noi bungalows on the headland were pulled down.

The village has even been altered with Buri Rasa setting up a European style paved café / shop enclave at the end of the village road where it leads down to the beach.

The people who visit Thong Nai Pan Noi are the most likely to be willing to pay a premium to fly directly to Koh Phangan, and more so if the airport is just 10 minutes from their hotel.

Moreover the site for Koh Phangan Airport is close to all the major parties on the island – the Full Moon Party, the Half Moon Party and the Jungle Experience. These seem the two most likely factors influencing the placing of Koh Phangan Airport.

For those interested Koh Phangan is currently being built near Than Praphad Waterfall and Haad Nam Tok. It is a very short runway that ends at a cliff. Kan Air hopes to fly 2 flights a day between Koh Phangan and Bangkok. They plan to use 12-seater propeller planes. For more information and updates go to

No comments:

Post a Comment