For a weekend trip from Bangkok, Koh Larn is one of the best trips you can make.
Koh Larn is the closest nice beach to Bangkok. By ‘nice’ I mean it has white sand and blue water similar to Thailand’s famous southern beaches and ‘close’ in that it’s literally right by Pattaya beach, which is only 2 hours from Ekamai bus station in Bangkok.
There is very little information about Koh Larn online but I was able to find one clip about traveling by boat to Koh Larn, an introduction of Koh Larn on Wikipedia and a website devoted solely to the small island. In addition to really nice beaches they have a great temple in the town center by the night market.
For the most part the primary tourist on the island are Thais, with Russians coming in a solid 2nd place followed by some Chinese. All white people are assumed to be Russians by the locals and they even try to sell you swag in broken Russian.
The beaches aren’t that busy compared to Pattaya and once the sun goes down it’s pretty much empty since most people just do a day trip to the island. I recommend staying the night but it’s not cheap (at least 1,000 baht in peak season).
To get here you need to book a bus ticket from Ekamai bus station to Pattaya with Pattaya Bus for about $6 each way. Once you arrive in Pattaya tell the truck taxis (they’re blue or red and you can’t miss them) that you want to go to Bali Hai pier.
Bali Hai pier is near the famous Pattaya City sign and has speed boats for about 3,000 baht or you can take the local ferry for 30 baht. The ferry only takes 40 minutes from pier to pier so there’s no point in the speed boat unless you want to go directly to a specific beach. There are five main beaches on the island and taxi or motorbike is required to get to all of them.
I recommend the motorbike since it’s only 200 baht for the entire day and if you get a hotel for the night many times one is included in the price of the room.
I read online that Samae beach was quiet and pristine but that must have been last year because it was fairly full of beach chairs and sunburnt Russians. Although, there weren’t that many people on the beach it appeared like they were preparing to be the next Pattaya and had ample chairs and restaurants just in case an extra 2,000 people showed up.
Naul Beach was the most relaxing and had the prettiest motorbike ride to it but the water had a bit more trash in it than the other beaches. I assume this was because it faced Pattaya’s coastline and some plastic would wash ashore from time to time from the mainland.
From leaving my apartment in Bangkok to arriving at Koh Larn pier took about 5 hours and I was on the beach within 30 minutes of reaching the pier. It would have been done in 4 hours but we had to wait for another ferry in Pattaya since most of them go in the morning and we arrived at midday.
That’s it, so what are you waiting for? Let’s book a bus ticket online with Pombai.