Surfing Ao Yai beach on Koh Phayam island, Ranong Thailand
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Surfing Ao Yai Beach

Ao Yai Beach can be found on the island of Phayam. To get here, you’ll need to get on a boat that leaves from mainland Thailand’s Phayam Pier. The pier is located in Ranong province, which is situated along the border of the southern tip of Myanmar.

The southwest facing wide open, sandy beach break gets swell almost all year-round. Throughout the SW monsoon (April to October), winds are mostly onshore and wind waves are produced by storms generated out in the Indian Ocean. Yeah, the surf can get messy and stormy at times but it can also still be fun surfing in a tropical environment. However, winds will switch to offshore once the NE monsoon kicks in around October and will last till January. Sandbars will have developed by then and the shift in wind direction makes it the best chance for cleaner surf with various peaks to choose from.

Throughout the NE monsoon, wave height ranges from 0.6 – 2 meters (about 2-6 feet) and are typically fun and playful making it suitable for anyone interested in learning to surf. It’s also great for surfers who enjoy a peaceful sessions in a picturesque and natural setting.

Ao Yai Beach Overview

Ao Yai Beach is also known as, Sunset Bay, thanks to the sky’s stunning colors and Andaman Sea’s vibrant reflections that’s visible each and every day at dusk time. The three kilometer (almost 2 miles) stretch of white sands offers plenty of beachfront resorts to select from. You’ll easily find accommodations that suits your budget and your comfort level whether you’re a solo backpacker or are traveling with a growing family.

The vibe is super chill and you may feel like you’re out on a secluded island. There are no massive tour groups, rows of beach umbrellas, or pesky beach vendors here. There is no government-run source of electricity on the island, so local businesses use generators or solar power for electricity. You won’t see any cars on the island either, only scooters cruising along narrow paths. Overall, it’s a bit of a back-to-nature experience. Beachside bars, chill music, fresh seafood BBQs, making new friends from all around the world…yeah, it’s worth the trek.

The island’s small population of locals are genuinely welcoming, particularly towards tourists who create employment opportunities and income to help support their modest living conditions.

Ao Yai’s Details

Best Tide:

Low to Medium

Best Swell Direction:


Best Wind:



Sandy beach

Ability Level:

Beginner to intermediate

Best Season:

October to January


Easy road access or through various resorts 

Crowd Factor:


Local Vibe:

Friendly, chillaxin’

Paddle Out Power:

2/10 (1=easy peasy; 10=feels like paddling on a treadmill)

Poopie Patrol:

1; clean

(1=clean; 10=dingleberries in the lineup)


Rip currents

Surf Lessons & Board Rentals

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