This title will make little to no sense for those people who haven’t been to the tropical island of Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand. Thong Nai Pan Noi is the name of a beach in the north east of the island which is famous for its beautiful sands, unspoiled natural scenery and expensive, 5 star hotels.
‘Thong Nai Pan’ means ‘bay of Pan’ because legend has it that Pan was a man who did a great service for the King of Thailand, and as a result Pan was given the two beaches of Thong Nai Pan Yai and Thong Nai Pan Noi. ‘Noi’ means ‘small’ and ‘yai’ means ‘big’.
One of the oldest resorts on the beach of Thong Nai Pan Noi is the Thong Tapan Resort. It is a mid-range option with some beautiful wooden bungalows on a hill behind the beach. Thong Tapan also has some family villas with 2 rooms near the beach.
Next door to Thong Tapan Resort is a smaller resort with cheaper bungalows, most of which are purchased on the rocks at the northern end of the beach. This place is called Tapan Noi. They offer simple wooden bungalows; some with bathrooms and some without. One of the bungalows has 2 rooms and a small kitchen. Many of the bungalows have great views of the bay.
There is a popular restaurant attached to Tapan Noi that serves Thai and Western dishes. In high season they have a BBQ every evening. The only odd thing about the menu is that they offer small and large portions that seem to differ little in size but considerably in price.
The reason the bungalow operation is called Tapan Noi or Baan Tapan Noi is because it is owned by the same family as the Thong Tapan. ‘Tapan Noi’ means ‘small Tapan’. This is fitting because it is a smaller and cheaper version of the resort next door. If you want to contact Tapan Noi you have to phone the Thong Tapan.
There is really no point contacting them because they don’t take bookings either over the phone or on the internet. And it is a delightful place exactly for the reason that it harks back to the original backpacker days of the beach.