Mae Haad was once a beach destination in Koh Phangan that few people had heard of. For many their only exposure to the beautiful double beach of Mae Haad and nearby Koh Ma would have been a boat and snorkelling trip of the island. Things have moved on for Mae Haad. It now looks set for an up-market make-over.
From 2012 Mae Haad started gaining popularity with beach lovers as an unspoiled beach destination and as Koh Phangan’s equivalent of Nang Yuan which is also a National Park and blessed with a strip of beach joining the mainland to a small island just off the coast.
As a result several accommodation options started popping up in Mae Haad such as Mae Haad Garden Inn and Mae Haad View Resort offering cheap bungalows near the beach. At the same time beach massage shops and small stalls made their appearance.
In 2017 the beach massage shops and small stalls selling food and drink have largely disappeared. Moreover, the row of wooden bungalows directly on the beach have been pulled down. These fantastic budget options have been replaced with 2 storey beachfront houses made of wood and concrete.
This is clearly a move to appeal to a different demographic. Resorts are trying to attract higher paying customers looking for beachfront accommodation. Island View Cabana and Mae Haad Bay Resort see the future of Mae Haad tourism as being about air-con, swimming pools, better service and exclusivity. To some degree this transformation can be seen happening all over the island. It is perhaps just more noticeable in Mae Haad.
The beach used to attract long stay guests of a more Bohemian mindset looking for a relaxed and friendly beach with cheap prices. These guests have largely been replaced by short stay tourists looking for more creature comforts.
Mae Haad is in a transitional phase. Whether it can be re-branded as a luxury resort area like Thong Nai Pan Noi is still to be seen. However, for those looking to escape the crowds of other Koh Phangan beaches Mae Haad is still an excellent option. There are also still cheap rooms to be had at:
And what’s more less people to share the stunning beach with is for many a massive bonus.