Koh Phangan is Koh Samui’s little sister, about two-thirds of its size, and also wilder and less developed. A total of 15 kilometers separates Koh Phangan from Koh Samui, but they are also separated by 15 or 30 years of development, perhaps because Koh Samui is more accessible – it has its own airport and its roads are better, or perhaps it just started to develop earlier. Koh Phangan still belongs to young people, and in Koh Phangan you will find plenty of cheap and basic accommodation, cheap and tasty Thai food and even Western food, great Beaches, some of which are bustling with life and parties, others isolated and almost inaccessible, for those who desire a romantic atmosphere.
Let’s face it, Koh Phangan’s main attraction is the Full Moon party (see below) but between parties, there are plenty of things to do to pass the time. You can try various water sports, ranging from sailing in kayaks or speedboats, scuba diving, for example in the charming site Koh Ma: a small island, about 100 meters from the beach, accessible by a thin strip of sand, with waters so clear, you’ll see the corals as if they were in front of you.
You can go walk to various vantage points, such as the one near the Phaeng waterfall. Climb up and look out over the coast of Koh Phangan, all the way to Koh Samui, and then refresh yourself with a swim in the cold waterfall. If you like waterfalls, why not visit the Tan Sadet National Park. It has a waterfall that King Rama V loved so much, that he visited the place 14 times!
You can also ride elephants. You can learn a little Muay Thai or practice archery. Those who come to the island to relax can take yoga workshops or visit the beautiful Chinese temple, for the scenery, mostly. And why not treat yourself to the traditional vegetable sauna on the island, a unique spa with different saunas for women and men.
If you’re here to party, go to the southern corner of the island – Haad Rin beach. It has two sides, Haad Rin Nok on the east, is where the Full Moon parties are held. It is one of the most bustling beaches in Thailand, full of bungalows, bars, restaurants and clubs, music and fun around the clock. On the western side, a 15-minute walk away, the Haad Rin Nai is a quieter beach for those who want to sleep well at night without listening to music all the time. Between the two sides of Haad Rin sits a charming little town with tiny alleys where you can find bars, restaurants, clothing stores, grocery stores, massage parlors, lodging, travel agencies and more.
About Full Moon Parties:
Legend says the parties began in the 80s with a birthday party that got blown out of proportion. It was so good that it became a tradition. Every month when the moon was full, people came to dance. The parties grew larger and larger by the month. Today, every Full Moon party has 5,000 to 30,000 people at the peak season. They’re coming to dance as if there were no tomorrow, to dance until the day came.
To make waiting for the full moon easier, more parties were recently added twice every month – a week before and a week after the full moon: The Half Moon and the Black Moon. So now there’s a great party every week.
But these smaller parties, however enjoyable, can’t compete with the original Full Moon party. So if you came to Thailand to party, check the date for the full moon party, and come to Koh Phangan.
The parties are held at Haad Rin beach, which is located in the southeast of Koh Phangan. At nightfall, a strip of beach hundreds of meters long turns into a huge club. Various clubs and bars on the beach play loud music. No matter what your style is – you’ll find it on the beach: trance, techno, bass & drum and even reggae. Around it are plenty of alcohol vendors of all kinds – straight from the bottle or tropical cocktails. The lighting is courtesy of the moon, the live performances and the tourists themselves. At the beginning of the night, the celebrants draw colorful shapes of phosphorescent colors that light up the night. When the party peaks, the beach looks like a variety of colorful shapes dancing in the dark.
A few tips: Around the time of the Full Moon party, the hotels on Haad Rin beach require a minimum of 5 nights’ stay. In addition, it is recommended to arrive in Koh Phangan a few days before the party, to get used to the island and find a place to stay. Keep your money and passports in the hotel safe. Stay in pairs or in groups (especially women) if you drink a lot and do not go swimming in the sea.
How to Get to Koh Phangan
There are several ways to get to Koh Phangan, the fastest and most convenient way is by a direct flight to the nearby Koh Samui, and from there to Koh Phangan by a ferry that takes about 45 minutes.
In addition, there are low-cost airlines offering a flight + shuttle package (flight to Nakhon Si Thammarat and a ferry to Koh Phangan, or a flight to Suratthani and a ferry to Koh Samui, which then requires an additional shuttle to Koh Phangan).
Another cheaper way to get to Koh Phangan, is a bus from Bangkok to Chumphon, which takes about 7 hours or a trip to Suratthani which takes about 9 hours, and from there a direct ferry to Koh Phangan.
Koh Phangan is not a place to be missed when visiting Thailand. If you are on your way to Koh Phangan, contact us today, and we will provide you with all the information you need and the best prices!