The wild and untamed east coast of Koh Pha Ngan is the most mountainous region on the island. Steep volcanic hills run down to sheer cliffs that dominate the rugged coastline. Due to the intensity of the waves that can hit the east coast in tropical storms, usually coming in across the South China Seas, only a few beaches have formed in idyllic sheltered bays and coves.
Thong Nai Pan and Thong Nai Pan Noi are two of Koh Pha Ngan's most celebrated beaches, set in a deep cove at the bottom of a river valley, the beaches are split by the estuaries of two rivers and a rounded volcanic outcrop. Immensely beautiful and with year round swimming, these popular beaches have somewhat legendary status amongst backpackers. There's a small village with a few cool bars, tattooists, and an old skool Pha Ngan vibe with many long-termers populating this sunrise side of the island.
Had Sadet and Had Thong Reng are very similar to the Thong Nai Pans on a smaller scale. The river that splits these two beaches forms the islands most dramatic waterfall upstream, Nam Tok Thaan Sadet, a cascading year round three kilometre run of rock pools and rapids. It has become a favourite place for several Kings of Thailand to visit and the waters are considered sacred.
The rocky mountainous landscape is far more rugged than the rest of the island and its uncultivated slopes are the most part original tropical rainforest, an untouched haven for wildlife. There are several impressive waterfalls to visit, Thaan Sadet National Park with is giant monitor lizards and a number of places experienced rock-climbing enthusiasts.
The mountains make the region fairly inaccessible, thus there are no major services locally and the roads are hazardous, especially in adverse weather conditions. That said, Koh Pha Ngan's road building program has extended to this district, and a concrete road all the way over the mountains will be completed early 2003. Another good way to visit the region's beaches and waterfalls is on a boat trip along this beautiful and lush coastline.