AO THONG NAI PAN is a beautiful, semicircular bay backed by steep, green hills, which looks as if it’s been bitten out of the island’s northeast corner by a gap-toothed giant, leaving a tall hump of land (occupied by Panviman Resort) dividing the bay into two parts: Thong Nai Pan Noi to the north, Thong Nai Pan Yai to the south. With lovely, fine, white sand, the longer, more indented Thong Nai Pan Yai has marginally the better beach, but both halves of the bay are sheltered and deep enough for swimming. A bumpy road, only partly paved, winds its way for 13km over the steep mountains from Ban Tai on the south coast to Thong Nai Pan, but once you get here you’ll find most of the basic amenities you’ll need: internet shops, travel agents, dive outfits, ATMs and a tiny post office (on Thong Nai Pan Yai).

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