Koh Larn is the closest island to Pattaya, just 7 km and 40 minutes by ferry. The island is administered by Pattaya City.
Koh Larn is a lush green tropical island. It has beautiful white sand beaches, and is quite hilly with dense tropical vegetation.
The island’s roads are great for cycling or hiking, and offer spectacular views to the nearby islands, as well as to Pattaya and nearby locations.
It’s a popular tourist destination for visitors staying for several days and for day trippers from Pattaya.
Getting to Koh Larn
Takes 15- 20 minutes, boats leave from Pattaya and Jomtien beach. The fare is from ฿ 2,000 round trip.
There’s a regular ferry service from Pattaya, Bali Hai pier, at the south end of Walking Street. Ferries go to Naban on the east coast, and to Tawaen Beach on the west side. The journey takes about 40 minutes.
Service is hourly and costs ฿ 30; pay on the boat.
Getting around Koh Larn
If you want to travel around Koh Larn, there’s a range of choices.
Baht Bus – the same as Pattaya’s Baht buses, but these are white.
Motorcycle taxi – there are taxis available, that will take you to any of the locations on the island.
Rent a motorcycle – You will be approached as you arrive, to rent a motorcycle. Cost is ฿ 300 with a full tank of gas / petrol. Price drops to ฿ 200 later in the day.
Bring your own motorcycle – cost ฿ 100, from 10:00 am onwards; but not on the early morning ferries, as these are loaded up with supplies for the stores and restaurants on the island. Roads are paved and very narrow!
Hiking – This is for the energetic and those with more time, but is one of the best ways to explore the island. You can reach all of the beaches by hiking trail.
Koh Larn Activities
Beach Activities – There’s a wide range of water sports available, including jet skis, banana boats, canoes, snorkeling, and para-sailing.
Hiking – there are plenty of hiking trails that link the beaches and provide access to the look out points. Koh Larn is a small island, 4.6 km by 2.1 km, but once away from the beaches, the terrain is quite hilly.
Viewpoints – Khao Nom Viewpoint in the south of the island near Samae beach, that offers views to the other islands and to Pattaya and nearby towns.
Sunsets – There are also magnificent sunsets especially from the Khao Nom view point, and from the hills at opposite ends of Nual beach.
Temples – there are two temples on the island: Wat Koh Yai and Wat Mai Samraan.
Koh Larn Beaches
Koh Larn has many beautiful beaches. The choice is yours, between popular beaches with lots of facilities and the more tranquil beaches with limited facilities. Most of the beaches are on the west coast or in the south of the island.
Tawaen is the most popular beach. If you’re looking for a beach with facilities but a little less crowded, try Samae beach on the west coast.
The other beaches are quite peaceful and tranquil in comparison. Some seem almost deserted, except in high season, when the beaches become more popular.
Tawaen has its own ferry terminal and this is where most tourists arrive. Tawaen beach is famous for its beautiful white sand beach that’s 750m long and its crystal clear blue water.
The beach is an impressive sight set against the islands hills. The beach is lined with small tourist shops, and restaurants, and dining halls for tourist groups. Restaurants menus are based mainly on fish and seafood.
Tawaen has lots of facilities for travelers, several hotels, restaurants, stores and there’s beach activities, for those who want to jet ski or venturing out on a banana boat. The beach is a popular destination for Asian tourists.
Sangwan Beach is a small beach with white sand, clean and secluded, just 150 m. long, next to Tawaen Beach. It’s a beautiful beach and more tranquil than Tawaen Beach.
To access Sangwan beach walk along the walkway to the ferry and take the link around the hillside that leads to Sangwan beach.
Tien beach is on the west side of the island south of Tawaen. It’s name comes from the Tien tree. If you’re travelling by road, the road takes you south, and then over the hill, past the Kao Nom view point and past the Samae beach.
Tien beach water sport facilities such as jet skis, canoes and banana boats, but is more relaxed than Tawaen beach. Tien is a peaceful beach, its 500 m. long, and is a perfect location for visitors who enjoy relaxing activities, such as swimming, sun bathing and traditional Thai massage.
If you’re looking for accommodation, Tien Beach has bungalows and tents for hire.
Samae beach is 300 metres long and is very popular with western tourists. The beach gets its name from the Samae Tree. You’ll see lots of these trees near the beach.
On the beach there’s a good selection of restaurants and coffee shops as well as a small park and gardens.
There’s the usual range of water sports
available, jet skis, banana boats, snorkeling, canoes, and on dry land there’s volleyball, and ATVs (250cc) are available for rental.
The road to Samae beach passes the Kao Nom lookout point. This is the main scenic viewing point on the island where there are panoramic views of Koh Larn and nearby islands, and Pattaya and nearby towns.
Samae beach is the base for some experimental “green” electricity generating equipment.
At the north end of Samae beach there’s a building with solar cells, and at the southern end of the beach, there are wind turbines on the side of the hill.
Nual beach is situated in the south of Koh Larn. The beach is 250 m. long and has restaurants and hotels available right at the seafront.
This one of the few beaches which have coconut trees, (Tayai is another) and there are many places where you can get fresh coconut water. Click here for more on coconut water and coconut milk.
There are small hills at each end of the beach, that provide views of the wonderful sunrises and sunsets that can be seen from this location.
Tayai beach is a little known beach at the northern tip of the island. The access road is even narrower than the main roads on the island and baht buses don’t travel along this road. The road is fine for motorcycles and adventurous car drivers.
There’s a small bar on the beach, that serves food and drinks, otherwise it’s blissfully quiet!
If you’re looking for a little more activity, there’s a shooting range along the road to the beach.