Koh Phangan is Thailand’s fifth biggest island and has an area of 167 square kilometers overall. It is located 70 km from Thailand’s mainland. Unfortunately, the place does not have an airport. So, to get there, visitors have been relying heavily on ferries that come from the mainland and Koh Sanui (just 12 kilometers away).
Much as it is mainly made of granite, the place still has an almost untamed beauty which is heightened by the hilly, lavish topical jungle interior with quite a number of peaceful long white-sand beaches. To add on to all this beauty, the place boasts itself of over 20 nearby dive sites.
The nearest main landing spots are Thongsala and Haad Rin. This is where you can make your ATM and bank transactions. The police station can be found just outside Thongsala as there is none at Koh Pha Ngan.
The main transport is provided by converted pickup trucks commonly known as ‘song teaows’, which pass through the hilly road. There are other options like rental jeeps and motorcycles or privately hired taxis.
Some parts – specifically between Ban Tai and Haad Rin – have really bad roads because they are pretty hilly so one needs to exercise caution especially at night and during rainy weather conditions.
One of the things that has made the place become such a famous place is the many Full Moon Party events, ‘Black Moon’ and every other moon beach parties. Basically, this is where the party animals flock with a New Year’s Eve Full Moon Party attracting between 10,000 to 30,000 partygoers.
Flashing lights… amplified music… party people shaking their bodies all night long… Now that the best way one can describe the Koh Phangan beach life. It’s all about the infamous Full Moon Party here. But during the day, the place is just tranquil and perfect preserve of the mind and soul. When it comes to tranquility, and absolute exquisite beauty, during the day, the beaches here are unparalleled in Gulf of Thailand. Some of the beaches you will find here are: Chaloklum & Mae Haad beaches, Haad Rin (Sunset and Sunrise beaches), Haad Yao & Haad Salad beaches, Thong Nai Pan Noi & Yai beaches, Thong Sala among others.
See in the south of Thailand there is usually the painted clichéd picture of serene beaches with palm trees along the white sand. Well, all that applies to the beaches of Phangan. Some represent that picture more than others. For instance, much as the Thong Nai Pan Noi, Yai and Haad Salad seem to be out of the way, they are worth all the trouble because of the serenity they offer. The Haan Rin Nok and Haad Rin on the other hand are very stunning beaches and have the largest concentration of clubs and bars. So, while trying to figure out what will work for you, one thing for sure with the Koh Phangan beach life is that if you want, you can have it all… tranquility during the day, party all night long! As they say, you can have your cake and eat it too. So, all you need to do is to just explore the beaches and take the best photos you possibly can.
Ask anyone who has visited here and the first thing they will talk about is the Full Moon Party, the Half Moon Party and now they have introduced the Black Moon Party which all happen on the island every month. These are the ones that have made Phangan gain so much popularity. They are usually held on the southernmost beach, Haad Rin beach. There is no sleeping here. It’s a dusk till dawn affair.
Beach-hopping is one of the things that is a must-do, enjoyable and satisfying whenever you visit the island. Much as the island isn’t that big – about 40 kilometers in perimeter – it is still host to 30 beaches of various sizes and shapes. To do your beach hoping, you can a motorbike – about 200-300 baht a day and hop as you explore beach after beach. For those that cannot be reached by road such as the Haad Nam Tok, there are long-tail boats for higher for the day that you can use to get there as you enjoy the beautiful shore of the island beaches.
Much as the island the beaches are stunning beaches, wait until you get below the surface of the waves. If you are really not a party animal and don’t know what to do in Koh Phangan, then you should really consider diving as this place and nearby areas offer some great diving experiences at more than reasonable prices. You can experience wreck diving as well as night dives.
There are lots of coral, colorful tropical fish as well as other exotic marine life like the stingrays and whale sharks that can be spotted on dives. You can even get some diving lessons and get certified on the island. And if you are not a diving fan, there is still lots to see while snorkeling.
There is no better place to get the full experience and taste of the Thai culture like the night markets. Much is Thong Sala night market is more popular with visitors, you will still get a good feel of how the locals live.
One thing that people love about this night market is the freshness and the deliciousness of their seafood delicacies.
With Koh Phangan being a hilly island, the natural mountains, jungles and waterfalls offer the perfect trekking routes. These provide a great balance to the all-night parties. The eastern coast has a great number of well-established trekking routes. There are also the Phaeng and Than Sadet waterfalls which perfectly display the natural magnificence of the island.
One thing that this beautiful island is known for is the beautiful hotels. Now most people who visit the island usually go to hostels. However, it does not hurt to spoil yourself a little once in a while. Now if that is your plan, there are lots of posh hotels to give you that lush experience. Phangan has some of the desirable facilities like some dramatic pools, rooms overlooking the beaches, spas… And the beauty about all these amenities is that you can enjoy them at a surprisingly low price – especially during the low season.
Now that you know what to do in Koh Phangan, you have every reason to visit the island and have a great time.