What should you expect from Koh Phangan?
You’ve probably already seen the pictures of crazy revellers covered in UV paint, dancing and smiling with the legendary bucket in hand.
As most will know, Koh Phangan is the Island that became world famous for it’s full moon parties. Every full moon, 20,000 to 30,000 travellers from all over the world gather on the beach of Haad Rin to party the night away.
However, Koh Phangan is much more than just a party Island. While the South of the Island is all about the full moon, the north is centred around meditation, yoga and healthy lifestyles. Vegan cafes and yoga studios are popping up in the Northern part and changing the reputation of this well-known island.
Regardless of where you stay, Koh Phangan is an Island that is too beautiful not to explore. Whether you plan to visit Koh Phangan for a full moon or a yoga retreat, make sure you plan a few days extra to explore it’s breathtaking viewpoints, waterfalls, hiking trails, food markets and incredible beaches.
Where to stay in Koh Phangan
The contrast in atmosphere between the south and north of Koh Phangan creates the illusion that you’re on two different islands. Whether you’re looking to party hard or carelessly relax, there’s a place on the island that’s perfect for you.
Live and breathe the party atmosphere at Haad Rin
If the reason for your trip to Koh Phangan is to tick ‘Attend a Full Moon Party’ off of your bucket list, then Haad Rin is the place for you.
On the south east of the island, you’ll be at the heart of all the activity and parties, encompassed by numerous bars, restaurants and fellow travellers. Accommodation around here can get booked up well in advance of a Full Moon Party, so make sure to plan ahead.
Tip: Most accomodation in this area require a minimum booking of 3-5 nights around the time of the Full Moon Party, so bear this in mind when you’re planning your itinerary.
Finding the perfect balance between good accommodation and party in Baan Tai
Baan Tai is perfect for those looking to be close to the action, but not too close!
You’ll have no issue finding that idyllic secluded spot and it’s still bustling with beachfront restaurants, funky bars and lively nightclubs to occupy your evenings. The only problem you’ll have is trying to fit them all in.
And if you feel like you’re missing out on the action back at Haad Rin, no worries. A short taxi ride of 15-20 minutes, will have you back at the centre of it all in no time.
In Baan Tai there is a large choice of good quality accommodation that is well-spaced along the 8km long beach that runs largely uninterrupted apart from the rivers that spring from the surrounding mountains.
Yoga, co-working and vegan cafe’s galore in Sri Thanu
If you don’t fancy being at the epicenter of the party, head to the northwest of the island and find your perfect accommodation in Sri Thanu.
Beginning to generate an alternative reputation for Koh Phanghan, Sri Thanu is home to the 24hr coworking space, Beach Hub, and boasts several health conscious cafes, cooking courses and an abundance of yoga classes and retreats.
How to get around Koh Phangan
Getting around the island is extremely easy, there are songthaews (modified trucks) and taxis driving along the main road every few minutes. Simply wave one down and jump in!
You can also rent a motorbike for the day, costing you around 200-300 baht.
Be aware that the roads have a lot of hills and can be quite windy through some areas. We would not suggest driving a motorbike up into the mountains if you are not an experienced driver.
Koh Phangan’s Best Beaches
Top pick #1: Haad Khuad – Bottle Beach (north west)
Quoted by many as one of their favourite beaches on the whole island, due to its hard to reach nature, Bottle Beach is an unspoiled, blissful haven.
To reach this beach, you can either take a taxi boat from Chaloklam or Beach Malibu, or get your sweat on via a 2 hour trek towards Haad Hon. Once you’ve made the journey, relax under one of the many palm trees that border the beach or keep the energy up with a game of volleyball.
Top pick #2: Mae Haad (north west)
Want to see what it feels like to walk on water? Well, the stroll across the sandbar connecting Mae Haad beach and Koh Ma can give you a good idea of what it’s like.
At over 800m long, despite being one of the most popular beaches on Koh Phangan, it somehow always maintains the illusion of spaciousness and tranquility.
You can continue the sense of peacefulness by opting for a massage on the beach or stake your claim over a hammock and watch the world go by.
Top-pick #3 – Haad Rin Beach (south east)
If you’re staying in Haad Rin drowning your inhibitions every night, then this beach is a perfect short hungover stroll away.
Divided into two sections, Haad Rin Nok continues the energetic vibe the area is known for whilst Haad Rin Nai has a quieter, more reflective feel. Here you’ll have access to an ample number of restaurants offering a whole host of choices from beach BBQ’s, Mexican, Moroccan and of course traditional Thai food.
Other great beaches on Koh Phangan
Some of our other favourites that you should definitely check out are Haad Salad for snorkelling and diving, Haad Seekantang (Leela’s Beach) and Haad Son (Secret Beach).
10 Amazing Things to do in Koh Phangan
Whether you’re looking for wild nights out, adventure, relaxing on the beach or practising yoga, Koh Phangan has it all.
See below our top 10 things to do on Koh Phangan:
#1 Dance the night away at an epic Full Moon Party
Are you ready for the wildest party of your life?
The number one attraction to Koh Phangan is the Full Moon Party that is hosted on the east side of Haad Rin Beach every month.
The full moon is an open-air party that consists of numerous DJs, fireworks, live music, fire shows, and up to 30,000 people.
The music caters for most people with drum and bass, pop and hip hop, but the main music of choice is electronic music – techno, house, trance etc.
Even if this isn’t your go-to music, you probably won’t care after a few buckets of Thai whiskey-cola!
And if the Full Moon wasn’t enough for you, don’t worry, the party doesn’t stop there! Starting at 7 am, straight after the Full Moon Party, the Backyard Full Moon After Party at Moon Paradise begins!
To give you an idea of the prices, we created this short overview:
- Entrance fee: 100 baht.
- Bucket whiskey cola: 150-600 Bath depending on the type of alcohol and brand
- Bottled Chang beer: 80-100 baht
Check out the Full Moon Party Schedule for 2020-21 to plan your trip around this world famous event.
#2 The fun doesn’t stop there – more parties!
Thankfully, there are plenty of parties to get you in the mood leading up to the much anticipated Full Moon Party!
On the three days building up to the big event, Koh Phanghan starts to give you a taste of what’s to come with some phenomenal pre-parties.
First up is the Pool party, followed by the Waterfall party and if you’re still not pumped enough, on the third day is the legendary Jungle party.
Some travellers like the Jungle party even more than the actual Full Moon, so make sure to not miss out on this pre-party if partying is the reason for your visit to Koh Phangan!
And if you missed the date of the full moon, don’t worry there are also Half Moon and even Black Moon parties! Each being almost as crazy as the original Full Moon party.
Basically, what we’re trying to say if you never have to stop partying on Koh Phangan!
#3 Snorkel and dive till your heart’s content
Luckily the island is not all about partying!
Around the Island you will find more than 20 different diving and snorkel spots with plenty of tropical fish and underwater coral gardens to explore. Some of the best spots include Mae Haad, Haad Salad and Haad Yao Beach.
If you aren’t an experienced diver, don’t worry, there are countless diving schools on the island where you can take your PADI Open Water Diving course with qualified instructors.
You can also rent snorkeling equipment and stick closer to the shore if diving isn’t your thing.
PRO-TIP: While Koh Phangang offers amazing diving sites, it can’t beat the neighbouring island of Koh Tao. Check out our island guide of Koh Tao to see why it is often called Thailand’s mecca for diving.
#4 Food glorious food
We’d be surprised if you hadn’t worked up an appetite after all that dancing!
To satisfy that hunger, head over to Thong Sala Night Market – also known to locals as Panthip Market. It opens at 4pm until late at night so plenty of time to fill your stomachs to the brim.
Here you will find all the food you could imagine, everything from traditional Thai dishes to falafel, pizza and burgers.
Locals and tourists alike will be shopping here and taste-testing the many foods as they stroll through the market. Whether you’re a foodie or just need a quick snack, this is the place to eat on the island.
Koh Panghan is fast becoming known for its selection of vegetarian and vegan scene. Some restaurants we encourage you to check out are Akasha Home for some tasty vegan meals and Art Cafe for a fresh tropical smoothie bowl in their artistic restaurant that makes you feel like you are in a treehouse.
#5 Chasing the 7 waterfalls on Koh Phangan
Get your hiking shoes on and head out to explore the jungles and 7 stunning waterfalls on the island.
Most of them are fairly easy to access, including Paradise Waterfall, Than Sadet and Than Prawet Waterfall.
We can’t think of anything better than swimming in the refreshingly cool waters of natural waterfalls surrounded by lush greenery and fauna.
You may even see a few wild monkeys along the trails!
#6 Challenge yourself at Challenge Phangan
Located at Sweet Water Lake between Sri Thanu and Chao Phao bays on the west coast of the island, Challenge Phangan gives you the chance to perfect your face planting technique.
It offers a heart-pumping and exhilarating water obstacle course that you need to complete as fast as you can!
A day pass will cost you 500 baht, giving you plenty of time to master the rolling barrels, embody a monkey on the monkey bars and swing like Tarzan across the course.
Not to forget to catapult your friends +20ft in the sky with the massive blob.
#7 Hike up or relax with a drink at one of Koh Phangan’s viewpoints
Ready for your body to tingle with goosebumps and take in some of the amazing views Koh Phangan has to offer?
For those willing to put in the work, hike up Khoa Ra, a 627 metre mountain in the north of the island.
Don’t worry it’s not as daunting as it seems, the roundtrip takes around 3 hours and is relatively easy. Starting at Khoa Ra Retreat, just follow the marked path and embrace your surroundings.
Is it one of those days that you rather enjoy the breathtaking views from a hammock or laying backwards on a comfy cushion? Koh Phangan has several mountain top restaurants, resorts, and bars on the island offering spectacular views, including the popular A’dam Bar.
If you want to go for a bit more luxury, we recommend to check out Secret mountain. This restaurant is located high in the mountains and offers unparalleled views from their infinity pool. Watch the skies changing from blissful blue to vibrant orange and purple while enjoying your cocktail as the sun disappears for the day.
#8 Yoga & meditation courses and retreats
Whether you’re already a pro at relaxing the mind and body or can’t even touch your toes, Sri Thanu region is bursting with yoga classes, retreats and workshops for you to try.
The Yoga Retreat comes highly recommended as one of the best on the island. Start your day off with a morning yoga class costing 300 baht or take it one step further and opt for a 3-14 day detox retreat to cleanse your body. Not only will this make you feel completely rejuvenated, it will also help prevent illness and give your immune system an extra boost.
#9 Practise the art of traditional Muay Thai fighting
If fitness is your passion, then be sure to check out Muay Thai on the island. There are numerous training gyms with extremely experienced teachers available to teach you everything you need to know.
If you don’t feel ready to put yourself into the gym, you can also find several matches on Koh Phangan almost any night of the week during the high season.
#10 Take a boat trip to explore Ang Thong Marine Park
Just a 45 minute boat ride away from Koh Phangan, you’ll find the Ang Thong Archapello.
This park is a protected archipelago of 42 islands featuring limestone mountains, lush jungles, white-sand beaches, waterfalls, and hidden lakes. It’s almost too much to fit in a sentence, let alone a day.
One of the highlights of this 100 square meters marine park is Ko Mae Ko Island, where you’ll find the Emerald Lake. An enchanting mint blue lagoon that looks just unreal and is also strictly off limits for anyone wanting to take a swim in the lake. We promise just admiring this natural beauty is enough!
Day tours typically cost 1,700 – 2,000 THB ($53-$62), but if you’re looking to save some money, we recommend booking online with Klook. You can book the Angthong National Park Day Tour from Koh Phangan for only 1,400 THB ($43.75) and 800 THB ($25) for children.
You can feel confident that you’re booking with a secure, reputable company. The reviews speak for themselves! On top of that, if you find the price cheaper elsewhere, they’ll give you back double the price difference.
Camping at Angthong National Park Day
If you feel like just spending the day at Ang Thong Marine Park isn’t enough, you can also book a boat trip that includes overnight camping in one of the few basic bungalows or tents at Ko Wua Talap. Just be aware that you’ll need to book this in advance as the number of bungalows and tents are very limited!
There’s nothing better than waking up to the sound of the birds chirping and the waves crashing rhythmically on the beach.
Whichever tour company you book with, bear in mind that the park entrance fee of 300 THB (150 THB for children) isn’t included in the initial price.
How To Get To Koh Phangan?
|Leaving from||Duration||Prices from||See details|
|Bangkok||2hrs-18hrs||790 THB-3,500 THB ($26-$115)||Bangkok to Koh Phangan|
|Koh Samui||30mins||150 THB ($4.90)||Koh Samui to Koh Phangan|
|Koh Tao||1hr 15mins||500 THB ($16.50)||Koh Tao to Koh Phangan|
My favourite places to stay in Koh Phangan
Located in Baan Tai, just 70 meters from the beach, the hostel is set in an ideal location. There is a restaurant, bar, and shared lounge on-site for socializing, and a large terrace area for taking in all the views. Car and bike rentals are available at the property, as well as a tour desk to assist with all your excursions. You will be treated like family by the warm and welcoming staff.
- Excellent location
- 70 meters to the beach
- Onsite bar and restaurant
- Very friendly staff
Single bed in dorm room starts at $6 - Be aware that these prices may increase around the time of the Full Moon Party
This beachfront accommodation offers stunning views, white sandy beaches and the sea at your fingertips. You’ll find a restaurant, bar, and garden on location for your enjoyment and convenience. The property also offers a terrace for relaxing and taking in the surrounding sights. Well known for hospitality, the staff here will great you with a warm welcoming smile.
- Beachfront location
- Onsite bar and restaurant
- Garden and terrace
- Stunning views
Private bungalows start at $21 per night
Located in Haad Rin, just a few steps to the beach and Full Moon Party, Lily: a beach hotel is a great place to stay for travelers of all types. You will find a shared lounge and bar onsite for your enjoyment as well as evening entertainment and a tour desk. With the beach just steps away, the staff welcoming you with a warm smile and offering a cold drink, there’s really no better place to stay when in Haad Rin!
- Great location for Full Moon Party
- Steps to the beach
- Bar and live entertainment on site
- Clean and comfortable rooms
Private rooms with sea view start at $31 per night
Set in Baan Tai, just 500m from the Baan Tai Beach, CheeVa Beach Resort offers stunning accommodations. An on-site restaurant, a beautiful outdoor swimming pool with sea views and a bar are just a few of the luxuries here. Each room comes with its own sun terrace, comfortable beds, and air conditioning. Highly recommended for the excellent hospitality.
- Beach resort
- Swimming pool
- Excellent staff
- Onsite bar
Private rooms start at $42 per night
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