Plai Laem is a little-known, very quiet stretch of headland and beach, with the sand broken by rocky outcrops into many pretty coves and private beaches. The headland has thrown huge granite boulders all around.

The beach sand here is a little coarse, and the beaches generally narrow. There is a reef offshore that keeps the water shallow, and only good for swimming at high tide.

The resorts here are surprisingly good value, boutique and very different. See our beach photos, and Editor photos of the hotels – as we saw them. Some resorts here have built into their environments imaginatively, using the coconut plantations, beach trees and huge rocks to create special ambiance. Also, there are a few choices for a romantic couple looking for a secret beach, a place with beautiful sunsets and many opportunities for a romantic dinner under the stars.

Sabai Beach Resort has built small beach chalets nicely into its varied location, with some right on the sand. Sea Scene has a picture-perfect coco beach, with a line of smooth boulders creating a fence at its end of the beach. Sea Sunset Resort has a restaurant, and tables in the sand, that enable guests to really enjoy the perfect sunset. These three do not have swimming pools.

The most comfortable, and interesting sunset resort here has crafted itself into beach and rocks in a unique manner. Tharathip Resort has ocean view chalets up the side of its hill, and toes-in-the-sand beach cottages below. It has a beachfront boardwalk and an ideal sunset restaurant. This is perhaps the most romantic resort in this part of Phangan.

by John Everingham