Situated in the Gulf of Thailand in Southeast Thailand, Koh Phangan is an island which is world famous for its exuberant full moon parties under the enchanted sky. Known as the ‘Mecca of Backpackers’ and ‘Paradise on Island’ in southeast Asia, Koh Phangan serves as an ideal getaway location allowing its visitors to bask in the pure and untouched beauty of the sanctimonious nature.
Koh Phangan is the fifth largest island in Thailand spreading over 168 square kilometers. Coconut production, fishing and tourism are the main source of income for the island’s 12,000 inhabitants.
As portrayed in fiction and motion pictures, there is more to Koh Phangan than adrenaline thumping full moon party at the Haad Rin Beach. Koh Phangan is a quaint island with deserted beaches adorned with crystal clear waters, coral reefs, groves of palm and coconut trees and miles of lush tropical rainforests with luxurious resorts and hotels making it a paradise for every traveler.
How to Get There
By Air –
Koh Phangan is a 1 hour boat ride from the neighboring island of Koh Samui. To reach Koh Samui, there are various daily direct flights from Bangkok. There are also flights to Nakhon Si Thammarat, Suratthani, and Chumphon and from there Koh Phangan can be accessed by bus or boat. There are also direct flights from Phuket, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong to Koh Samui.
By Bus –
Travelers can also reach Koh Phangan from Bangkok through government bus service. The buses, both general and VIP buses start from the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok and continue on the ferry to Koh Phangan. The traveling time to Koh Phangan is almost 18-20 hours by bus.
By Train –
There are various overnight sleeper trains leaving from Bangkok to the southern Thailand, stopping at Suratthani and Chumphon. From Suratthani and Chumphon there are connecting buses that will take you to the ferry pier. The total journey by train and boat takes around 9-16 hours.
Weather in Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan enjoys a typical tropical climate with average temperatures ranging between 25°C – 34°C. The island of Koh Phangan gets plenty of sunshine and just occasional showers, with November receiving the maximum rainfall. The dry season from mid December to April is relatively cool as compared to the summers (May – September). Summers in Koh Phangan are quite hot with occasional Thunderstorms. The period from October to mid December is the monsoon season with heavy thundershowers. The best time to travel to Koh Phangan is from January to August, when the weather conditions are usually perfect.
Things to do in Koh Phangan
There is a bit for everyone in Koh Phangan and no moment spent in this enchanting island can be a dull moment. Here are some of the most popular things to do in Koh Phangan.
For the Party Animals – One of the most compelling reasons to visit Koh Phangan is its groovy party scene. Every month, the Haad Rin Beach transforms into a roaring party venue for the world famous Full Moon Party. Thousands of enthusiasts dance the night away under the full moon light, in the backdrop of eclectic lights, vibrant decorations and free flowing champagne. There are also Half Moon Party (one week before and one week after the Full Moon Party) and The Black Moon Party every month that bring the serene beach of Ban Tai to life. If you are a party enthusiast, there is no better place anywhere in the world to get your feet moving to the thumping music than Koh Phangan.
A Haven for Adventure Sports Lovers – Koh Phangan is an ideal destination to provide fuel to your thirst for adventure sports. From the traditional Thai boxing (Muay Thai) stadiums to gyms, beach volleyball and beach football sports, Koh Phangan has everything that will keep your adrenaline levels rising. The beaches and landscape of the island are tailor made for several adventure sports such as –
- Diving – The shallow waters make Koh Phangan a perfect place to learn diving. The most popular diving spots include Ang Thong National Marinepark and Sailrock.
- Snorkeling – For tourists who love snorkeling, Koh Phangan has the most outstanding snorkeling spots in the world including Koh Ma or the Horse Island.
- Kayaking – Kayaks can be arranged for tourists at resorts for kayaking at some of the most incredible places such as Koh Ma, Haad Salad, Haad Yao, Haad Rin and Haad Khontee.
- Koh Phangan is also a great place for wakeboarding and kite boarding.
- Trekking and Hiking– The virgin lush jungles offer several adventurous trails for trekking and walking amid the outstanding views of the verdant valleys and the gushing sea.
- Mountain Biking – There are various tracks in Koh Phangan that are tailor made for mountain biking. These include the road beside the Ban Tai coast to Haad Chao Phao, Chaloklum and Mae Haad and the road from Ban Tai to Thong Nai Pan.
A Natural Wonder – Koh Phangan is famous for its unspoilt natural beauty with myriad magnificent sightseeing options. Some of the most outlandish and incredible natural wonders in Koh Phangan include –
- Koh Phangan Phaeng Waterfall National Park
- Weang Sai waterfall
- Than Sadet Waterfall National Park
- Wat Pho Herbal Sauna
- Wat Phu Khao Noi
- The Chinese Temple located between Chaloklum and Thong Sala
- Thong Nai Pan
- Thong Sala
Restaurants on Koh Phangan
No matter on which beach you are in Koh Phangan, you will find excellent restaurants and beachside dining options. Whether it is the local Thai food or Mexican, Italian or Mediterranean cuisine, Koh Phangan is a scintillating destination that offers richly prepared delicacies to be enjoyed beneath a star studded sky, with cool breeze and soft sand beneath accentuating the overall dining experience.
Shopping on Koh Phangan
When it comes to shopping, Koh Phangan is much cheaper as compared to Bangkok or Phuket, or even other Southeast Asian countries. From sexy lingerie, beach towels, handmade artifacts, jewelry to traditional Thai artwork, paintings and handicrafts, Koh Phangan is a much cheaper place to shop at. Apart from the colorful beach markets in Haad Rin, Thong Sala, Haad Yao and Thong Nai Pan, one can find numerous outlets selling goods in bulk for export as well.
Whether it is a relaxed afternoon on a pristine beach, authentic Thai dining in the picturesque surroundings, adventure sports, unmatched natural wonders or a throbbing partying scene, visiting Koh Phangan is an experience in a league of its own. With various easy and affordable accommodation options available, visiting Koh Phangan is an experience that will literally take you to the moon and back.