Straddling the maritime border with Myanmar, photogenic Ko Phayam has shifted hands over the centuries and been home to many kinds of residents. Less developed than many of its counterparts further down the Andaman Sea or across the isthmus to the Gulf of Thailand, it is nevertheless well equipped and hospitable while not being overrun. Laid back, atmospheric, with a jungle interior and spectacular beaches, it has much to offer short- or long-term visitors, despite some off-season closures and intermitted power. It is home to a community of the seafaring nomadic Moken and an eclectic mix of artists and seasonal and permanent residents. The island has few high-end resorts, most guest house being mid-range and relatively inexpensive, and it is easy to find a quiet beach empty of crowds, far removed from the city stresses of work, lockdowns and political volatility. For the photographer, Ko Phayam is a rare gem.
Jewel of the andaman : Among Thailand’s many island escapes, Ko Phayam with its unusual mix of atmosphere, culture and scenery stands alone