What should you expect from Koh Phangan?
You’ve probably already seen the pictures of crazy revellers on Koh Phangan covered in UV paint, dancing and smiling with the legendary bucket in hand.
As most will know, Koh Phangan is the island famous for its 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 its breathtaking viewpoints, waterfalls, hiking trails, food markets and incredible beaches.
Also read: Top 11 Things To Do in Koh Phangan
Where to stay on 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.
Location #1: Haad Rin -live and breathe the party atmosphere
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 southeast 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 accommodation 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.
Location #2: Baan Tai – the perfect balance between good accommodation and party
Baan Tai is perfect for those looking to be close to the action on Koh Phangan, 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 8 km long beach. The beach runs largely uninterrupted, apart from the rivers that spring from the surrounding mountains.
Location #3: Sri Thanu -Yoga, co-working and vegan cafe’s galore
If you don’t fancy being at the epicentre of the party, head to the northwest of Koh Phangan and find your perfect accommodation in Sri Thanu.
Beginning to generate an alternative reputation for Koh Phangan. Sri Thanu is home to a 24hr coworking space, Beachub, several health conscious cafes, cooking courses and an abundance of yoga classes and retreats.
How to get around Koh Phangan
Getting around Koh Phangan is extremely easy and has been made even easier over the past few years with improvements to roads and new infrastructure connecting more areas of the island.
As with most Thai islands, if you crave freedom and independence then hiring a motorbike is probably your best option. They also tend to work out cheaper than exploring everything by tuk-tuk or taxi, especially if you enjoy exploring every crack and crevice of Koh Phangan. Motorbike rental for the day should cost 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.
Taxi (songthaew and motorbike)
Taxis in the form of motorbikes and songthaews can be found driving along the main road every few minutes. Both are relatively safe options of getting around the island, and can simply be flagged down from the road.
Motorbike taxis can be recognised by their bright orange vests that clearly say taxi on them. They have no set fees or routes, so make sure to agree on a price before getting on.
Songthaew taxi prices usually start at around 50 baht and increases depending on your destination.
How to get to Koh Phangan
Benjamin's Hut - Budget Friendly
Benjamin’s Huts are very far from huts. In fact, they’re not huts at all. They’re spacious and modern rooms that offer a very comfortable night’s sleep. If there’s a group of you, opt for the two-bedroom village with its own private pool!
Staying here you’re seconds from the sea and a 10-minute drive from Thong Sala Pier. This accommodation proves that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a paradise beachfront stay.
- Modern and clean rooms
- Option for private pool
- On the beach
- Great value for money
Private rooms start from $29 per person.
Secret Garden - Budget Friendly
You don’t need to splash the cash to go for a splash in a pool on Koh Phangan. Secret Garden has a stunning swimming pool surrounded by greenery, sun loungers and beanbags.
The hotel is located in Thong Sala, putting you close to plenty of restaurants and cafes, but the onsite restaurant is the real hidden gem! Make sure to check it out.
- Beautiful swimming pool
- Comfortable chill spots
- Great location
- Delicious onsite restaurant
Private rooms start from $27 per night.
CheeVa Beach Resort - Mid Range
Just 500m from Baan Tai Beach, CheeVa Beach Resort offers a stunning place to stay. There’s an onsite restaurant, a beautiful outdoor swimming pool with sea views and a fully-stocked bar. You’ll even find a pool table on the beach.
Each room comes with its own sun terrace, comfortable beds, and air conditioning. Need help with something? The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful.
- Great location
- Beautiful swimming pool
- Tasty onsite restaurant
- Sea views from private sun terrace
Private rooms start at $35 per night
Baan Manali Resort - Mid Range
Baan Manali Resort is incredible value for money. You can get the beachfront bungalow experience for less than $50 per night. The bungalows are beautiful with a private balcony and hammock.
Enjoy a quiet location on the private Nai Wok Beach. Spend all day lounging on the white sand or swimming in the infinity pool overlooking the beach.
- Beachfront bungalow
- Private balcony and hammock
- On Nai Wok Beach
- Infinity pool
Private rooms start from $43 per night.
Mangata Boutique Bungalows - Treating Yourself
With an almost perfect rating, Mangata Boutique Bungalows ticks all of the boxes. Want to open your curtains in the morning and be greeted by stunning sea views? You can do that here!
Or do you want to swim in an infinity pool overlooking the beach? You can do that too. The rooms are absolutely stunning boasting unique designs and a balcony. This place feels like your own private oasis.
- Incredible accommodation
- Right on the beach
- Infinity pool
- Beautiful rooms with balcony
Bungalows start from $140 per night.
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Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.