Buri Rasa Phangan

Tong Nai Pan Noi, Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand Book from

Nostalgic touches, clever design and lovely staff raise this resort above the rest on one of Thailand’s prettiest beaches
Fronted by an old-style town plaza complete with cobblestones, reclaimed Burmese wood and vintage shop signs, Buri Rasa cleverly arranges 65 rooms on a compact site to offer both sweeping sea vistas and a sense of protection from the outside world. Shaded walkways, balconies and stairwells provide respite from the heat, and everything centres around an inner courtyard with a stone-tiled pool and lush, lovingly tended vegetation. Macadamia trees are a unifying theme, from the saplings lining the paths to the huge old lantern-festooned specimen sheltering the plaza.

The architects plundered the whole tropical vocabulary from Mexico to Bali to create Buri Rasa - warm earth tones, hacienda-style doorways, the big roofs and low eaves of Sri Lanka - but the result is neither cluttered nor incongruous. Instead, it feels pleasantly timeless, allowing you to leave everything behind that doesn’t say ‘holiday’. But the best thing is the beach, one of the loveliest bays in Thailand and miles away from Full Moon Party horrors, with fine sand, coconut palms and sprawling umbrella trees.


  • Romantic, relaxing rooms with private balconies or terraces; it's worth paying extra for a sea view
  • Good value for money
  • Exceptionally friendly, helpful and unobtrusive staff
  • Thoughtful and mildly surprising touches in every corner of the resort, from antique wooden doorways to the panoramic sea view from the gym


  • The resort is compact, and although cleverly designed to maximise privacy, it may feel densely populated in peak months and around Full Moon
  • In the November/December rainy season there isn’t much beach, so the loungers sit on a rampart of sandbags
  • Taxis across the island are expensive. Rent a scooter
  • Views on the furnishings will vary, but it’s all comfortable and functional

Best time to go

January to April is high season, with hot and humid days; May to September are cooler months, with pleasant breezes spilling over from the southwest monsoon during July-September. Like all islands on the eastern (gulf) side of Thailand, Koh Phangan is affected by the northeast monsoon from October to December, with the worst of the rains in November. You'll need to book well ahead for Full Moon, and also during major Thai and international holidays.

Our top tips

  • Make your way over to Tong Nai Pan Yai for barbeque nights (Tuesday and Friday) at the quirkily designed New Dolphin Bar. Expect pork and chicken from the makeshift tandoor, and local characters in varying stages of mental decay
  • Drive carefully. Abrasions from motorbike tumbles are known locally as the Phangan Tattoo
  • Great for...

    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Beach Resort
    • 65
    • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Spa
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Concierge Service


    The 65 rooms are designed in a style known as Tropical Modern, with dark-brown wood veneer offset against turquoise and orange cushions and durable upholstery. All have a powerful ceiling fan that’s best at a low setting, and air-conditioning to boot. Lighting is energy-saving, but mostly LED rather than fluorescent. A comfortable kingsize bed is separated from the bathroom by a divider of reclaimed wood from Burma, with a louvred window for marital exhibitionism.

    The bathrooms are well-paved in beige terrazzo (that can get a tad slippery), and equipped with all the lotions, unctions and gewgaws you’d expect, nicely scented on the lemongrass spectrum and decanted into earthenware dispensers. Wardrobes hold kimono-style bathrobes in the familiar midget size, plus slippers and an umbrella.

    The best are the Ocean Deluxe rooms, upstairs and down, which needless to say are also the most popular. Of these we would recommend the ones in the extension stretching towards the spit for maximum privacy. From the walkways they have lovely views of the hills and a jungly peninsula out back. The Ocean Front Deluxes give right onto the beach, with a pair of dedicated loungers out front, while the upstairs Ocean View Deluxes have a nice pitched ceiling. All benefit from something called ‘in-room check-in’ and extra free cocktails.

    The rest aren’t at all bad though, if you want something cheaper (Deluxes and Pool View Deluxes). Each has a little sheltered veranda or balcony, angled so that none directly faces another.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Bathrobes
    • Cd player
    • Coffee tea making
    • Cots Available
    • Dvd player
    • Extra beds
    • Fan
    • Hairdryer
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Mosquito net
    • Phone
    • Safe box
    • Satellite tv
    • Slippers
    • Terrace
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • Turndown service
    • Umbrella
    • WiFi
    • Wifi internet


    Breakfast in the airy bamboo-furnished restaurant (The Beach Club) is a fairly standard buffet, with reasonably fresh pastries and breads and a selection of artisanal jams, cereals, fruit and salad. Eggs are prepared at a little frying station, while juices slosh around in a fountain. There’s also a pre-cooked Thai selection on chromium-lidded platters.

    For dinner you can choose between a seafood barbeque or set and à la carte menus, all reasonably priced. Our lamb shank with a thick gravy and mash was surprisingly good, if slightly on the well-done side of medium, as was crocodile with various bits and bobs. For pudding there was crêpe suzette, a little too promptly produced from the fridge. The 'beach restaurant' is quite literally that, with oil lamps lighting your romantic evening and the sea splashing away at your feet. Three nights a week there’s a dinner show, with fire jugglers. Lunches are available every day - sandwiches, burgers, that sort of thing - and there are a couple of coffee shops in the plaza.

    For a change of scene, there are a few options within walking distance. Better Than Sex (if you can get past the name) is a stylish hangar-like space, with excellent Burmese curries and interesting starters including potato latkes with smoked salmon. Best to order a selection of these. Luna has good local steak and the best chocolate mousse this side of Limoges. The woman in the shack with the half cartwheels makes a great Thai working men’s lunch, and the Northeastern place under the tree with the air roots attracts authentic Northeasterners working in the resorts with authentic grilled Pla Tu, Larb and Tom Yum.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Children meals
    • Coffee tea making
    • Cooking classes
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Room service
    • Vegetarian menu


    By day:

    • Swim your heart out. The sea is flat as a sheet (except in the worst of the rainy season and the depths of winter), and the beach slopes so you only need to wade a few steps to reach swimmable depth. Or there's the pool
    • Be massaged in a little pavilion on the beach, or wrapped in mud at the bijou spa, if that floats your boat
    • Thai cookery classes are on offer, and you can borrow kayaks and jet skis
    • Experience the jungle at Jungle Experience, with ziplines through the forest canopies
    • Ride an elephant at the nearby elephant camp, swim in local waterfalls, or take a longtail boat to one of the quieter beaches or around the islands in the national park
    • Snorkel and dive. A shop up the road hires out equipment and arranges trips

    By night:
    • Rave at a Full Moon Party on Haad Rin, with 6 billion other ravers. The best place is still Backyard, from 3am onwards. The worst places are right on the T-junction. The hotel can arrange transport to Haad Rin, or boats go every 20 minutes from the sister bay of Tong Nai Pan Yai
    • There’s also a Half-Moon Party in the jungle on the road to Ban Tai, a Dark Moon Party, and a ‘Shiva Moon’ Party that celebrates the waxing or waning sickle moon. So chances are, your stay will coincide with a party
    • A couple of beach bars on Tong Nai Pan Yai cling to an old-fashioned backpacker vibe - fire shows, techno and all

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Cooking classes
    • Hiking
    • Jet skis
    • Kayaking
    • Nightlife
    • Private guided tours
    • Scuba diving
    • Snorkelling
    • Swimming
    • Waterfalls
    • Wildlife
    • Ziplines


    Children are welcome, and extra beds/baby cots can be provided.

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    All rooms can fit 1 extra bed and 1 baby cot.

    Baby equipment:

    High chairs in the restaurant.

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    A kids' menu in the restaurant.

    Kid Friendly:

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