This post was last updated on February 18th, 2020 at 06:37 pm
The Full Moon party! That is probably the biggest reason why Koh Phangan is so well known. Rightly so or not; the parties here are of an unprecedented high class and they are world famous! Koh Phangan is located in the same region as Koh Samui and Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand. Fortunately, Koh Phangan has a lot more to offer than just famous parties.
This is one of Thailand’s best-known islands. And to prepare you for this paradise, we have put all our tips together. On this page, you will find the following about this beautiful island!
Koh Phangan is More Than Just Partying
Koh Phangan is one of the international greats such as Perhentian Islands, Phu Quoc, and Koh Rong. Despite its fame and big hordes of tourists, you can still relax here! They sometimes say that Koh Phangan is what Koh Samui was before it was discovered by tourism.
Although we find that statement to be a bit exaggerated. While the Full Moon Parties on Haad Rin Beach are world famous, you can also relax in a hammock on the beach with a cocktail in your hand.
Our Experience on Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan has a special place in our heart. It was one of the first islands that we visited in Asia. A whole new world opened up for us. The beaches, the people, the food, and the local life was (and is) very different from what we are used to, but so laid back! It is really a must-see for everyone that comes to Thailand!
The 6 Most Beautiful Beaches on Koh Phangan
On Koh Phangan, you will find some of Thailand’s most beautiful beaches. “In the old days” only backpackers came here wearing flip-flops and slept in small hammocks on the beach. Unfortunately, that time has passed, but luckily you can still enjoy a few beautiful beaches! We have made a small overview of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
TIP – Rent a scooter for a few days to explore the island. Renting a scooter costs around 150 – 250 baht (US$4.80 to $8) per day.
1. Bottle Beach
As soon as you see this bay in front of you with its traditional long-tail boats you know that you are on one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. It is a wonderful place to relax for a few nights in one of the bungalows. The beach is also called Hat Khuat.
2. Haad Salad
If you are looking for the perfect photos with hammocks and palm trees you should come here. It is located on the west coast near Haad Yao in one of the coves. The hustle and bustle of Koh Phangan will disappear like snow in the sun. In our opinion, it’s one of the best beaches on the island.
3. Haad Yao
Another great beach! Haad Yao is located on the west coast; it’s a beautiful beach with an even better view. Clear blue water with a white sandy beach and palm trees are what you will find here. It is a 20-minute drive from Thong Sala which makes it easily accessible.
There are also enough accommodations available here for you to spend the night.
4. Haad Yuan
Haad Yuan is close to the famous Haad Rin though it is a lot quieter here. From Haad Rin, you can walk here or take a long-tail boat from Haad Rin Nok (Sunrise Beach). It is one of the nicer beaches on the island.
5. Chaloklam Beach
If you want to recover from all your traveling adventures, Ao Chaloklam is the place to be. It is a quiet beach where there is not much else to do. There are enough accommodations available to spend the night here and if you come to Koh Phangan for its beautiful nature and not for the crowded parties then this is the beach for you!
6. Haad Rin
Together with Railay and Ao Nang Beach, Haad Rin is probably the most famous beach in the country; known for its Full Moon parties. It is pleasantly busy during the day with many beach bars and sleeping tourists who often try to get rid of their hangover.
TIP – This is the beach where the Full Moon parties take place.
Full Moon Party Dates of 2020
Do you want to know when the next Full Moon party is? We made an overview of all the upcoming full moon parties in 2020, take a look below!
Full Moon Parties in 2020:
- January 9, 2020 – Thursday
- February 9, 2020 – Sunday
- March 8, 2020 – Sunday
- April 7, 2020 – Tuesday
- May 7, 2020 – Thursday
- June 5, 2020 – Friday
- July 6, 2020 – Monday
- August 3, 2020 – Monday
- September 1, 2020 – Tuesday
- October 2, 2020 – Friday
- October 30, 2020 – Friday
- November 29, 2020 – Sunday
- December 28, 2020 – Monday
8 Fun Things to Do on or Around Koh Phangan
Most people will come here to relax on the beach or for one of the parties. Yet Koh Phangan has much more to offer. It offers spectacular nature with mountains, waterfalls, forests, and nature parks. If you are tired of the beach you can check one of the following things.
1. Scuba Diving or Snorkeling in the Clear Water
Fair is fair; if you want to scuba dive in one of the best places in Thailand you should actually be on Koh Tao, but Koh Phangan also has some great locations. Famous places like the Southwest Pinnacle and Sail Rock are great locations for diving.
For those who just want to snorkel, check out the beaches in Haad Salad and Haad Ya. In theory, you can snorkel anywhere in Thailand, but this island has something special.
TIP – A PADI Open Water Course will cost you around $364. A day of snorkeling with a tour will cost you around US$45. Renting snorkeling gear costs around US$5 a day.
2. Go on a Boat Trip
The area around this island is too beautiful not to visit. Do yourself a favor and explore the many beautiful beaches near Koh Phangan. For example, you can go to the Ang Thong National Marine Park for swimming and snorkeling.
You can even spend the night on one of the beaches and islands during your boat trip. There are also boat trips that take you to places that are difficult to reach such as Thong Nai Pan, Bottle Beach, Koh Ma, and Koh Tae.
TIP – A boat trip to Ang Thong Marine Park will cost you around 1,000 baht (US$32).
3. Rent a Scooter
If you have had enough of all the beautiful beaches (almost impossible) you can rent a scooter and explore the island. The island is quite large and it is a shame to only stay near the famous beaches. Cycling is the cheapest way to see the island, but the island is quite hilly so a scooter will come in handy (unless you’re looking for some good old exercise!)
Do you want to know one of the best places to drive to? Try visiting the viewpoint on the hill with a beautiful view of Haad Son.
TIP – Renting a scooter will cost you around 150 to 300 baht (US$4.80 to $9.60) per day.
4. Visit One of the Waterfalls
Koh Phangan has a beautiful interior. In the mountains of the island, you will find a number of beautiful waterfalls. The best known are the Nam Tok Than Sadet and Nam Tok Phaeng. At the former, you will also be able to take a number of beautiful pictures. The latter is in a protected nature area but can be visited. You can also climb the latter via the Phaeng-Domsila Viewpoint Trail.
5. Eat Delicious Food at the Thong Sala Night Market
The Thong Sala Night Market is a must-go when you are on Koh Phangan. Unlike most night markets, Thong Sala is full of food. It is really a paradise for lovers of good food.
The selection of seafood is pretty good and the meals are really delicious! You will find everything there; from traditional Thai meals to sushi, baked potatoes, and more. It is also a nice place to meet other travelers.
TIP – If you want cheap food you have to come here. A meal here is much cheaper than in a restaurant.
6. Join a Cooking Class
Let’s stay on the (delicious) food topic for a bit longer. If you are not that great at cooking, and you want to learn how to make some traditional Thai food, you can follow a cooking course. There is actually no better way to spend a few hours than by cooking (and eating) delicious Thai food.
Koh Phangan has many cooking schools, but schools such as Same Same in Haad Rin, C&M Study Center, and Jang’s Thai cooking school are some of the best-known.
TIP – A cooking course will cost you between 1,000 to 1,500 baht (US$32 to $48).
7. Visit the Temples of Koh Phangan
You may expect the temples to be in Bangkok or Sukhothai, but there are also a number of them on Koh Phangan. The best known is the Chinese Guanyin Temple, also known as the Goddess of Mercy Shrine. The temple was built for the goddess Guanyin.
The Chinese name on the wall stands for the Chinese island where Guanyin would have lived.
8. Stay on the Beach for a Sunset
You are on a tropical island, and on a tropical island, you should always experience a sunset, at least in our opinion. We have had our portion of sunsets in different parts of the world, but here they are always special.
Koh Phangan has some beautiful places to watch the sun go down. Buy a beer, plop down on the beach and wait for the sun to set. Awesome!
TIP – One of the (in our opinion) best places to watch the sun go down is at the Amsterdam Bar in Ao Playlaaem.
Where to Stay in Koh Phangan
There are more than enough places to stay the night in Koh Phangan. You can find accommodations from super luxury resorts to low-budget beach huts.
We recommend that you choose one of the bungalows on the beach. After all, you won’t be on a tropical island every day. In any case, do not stay in Thong Sala as it is not very special here.
In addition, accommodation at the more famous beaches is more expensive. It’s better to spend the night at unknown beaches and rent a scooter to drive anywhere you want on the island. It’s both cheaper and more fun! We spend the night at White West Beach Huts. Unfortunately, this cannot be booked via the internet.
TIP – Book your accommodation via Booking.com. It is not necessary to book in advance but if you want to be sure that you will have a room in that special hotel, we recommend that you do book in advance.
How to Get to Koh Phangan
There are innumerable ways to get here. It is one of the best-known islands of Thailand and you can travel to Koh Phangan from every corner of the country. Below are the easiest ways to get to the island. Most tourists come by boat.
To Koh Phangan by Plane
There’s been construction on a new airport since 2012. The plan was to open it at the end of 2017. In 2015 the slow process came to a halt when it was discovered that part of the airport would have an impact on Than Sadet National Park. Since then it has been quiet around the plans, but once it’s operational we will try it out!
To Koh Phangan by Boat
There are many ways to get to Koh Phangan by boat. You can book a complete tour from Bangkok, Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, Phuket, etc. The best website to look for transportation in Thailand is 12GoAsia. You can click here for an example of all the routes and prices from Bangkok to Koh Phangan.
Due to the rough sea, ferries can cancel trips between October and December.
Best Time to Visit Koh Phangan
If you want to relax on the beach for a few days, it’s nice to have good weather. The best time to visit Koh Phangan is from April to August. The wettest months on the island are September and November; it can rain a lot in these months, depending on the monsoons.
The dry season is from February to April. The temperature is pleasant all year round, so pay particular attention to the average rainfall.
Between May and September, it can get quite hot and storms sometimes raze over the island.