Koh Phangan is my personal favourite island in Thailand, because there is never a dull moment and it’s just a perfect place to relax or go crazy.
It’s very close to Koh Samui and they share similar features, especially the weather and transportation. Maps are available everywhere, at hotels, cafés, or you could even get one from Songtheaws. In Phangan, you could also go around with the taxi boat service.
Legendary of Koh Phangan
Historically, the former king under the house of Chakri; King Rama V was really gratified by this island. During his monarchy, he visited Koh Phangan a lot, especially when he had to travel. There are still traces of his visits around the island.
Phangan Island was also filmed and mentioned in one of the legendary movies like The Beach (2000) by Danny Boyle, starred Leonardo DiCaprio. If you haven’t heard of it before, you should check it out. It’s a great story by Alex Garland.
What to do in Koh Phangan
There are so many places to go and things to do here, but I’ll only tell you about ones that I really like and what I think you shouldn’t miss. Otherwise, we’ll end up writing a book.
Top 8 Beaches to Visit in Phangan
- Mae Haad Beach
- Koh Ma
- Chaloklum Bay
- Thong Nai Pan
- Haad Thong Reng
- Haad Nam Tok
- Haad Rin
- Baan Tai
We’ll start at the very North of the island. At Mae Haad Beach, there are few quiet bars and restaurants for some great food, smoothies, and beers. This beach also has a sand bar linking with Koh Ma, which is a tiny island. The island is explorable within under an hour trekking and it also has great marine park. You could bring your snorkeling gear and enjoy the clear water.
Not too far from Mae Haad, there is Chaloklum Bay. The beach stretches out in quite a good distance, so it’s not congested here. Sometimes, you might be able to witness mahout and his elephant, bathing. There are few palm tree swings that you could use to dry yourself after a swim and there is a small fishing village nearby that you could visit.
Next is Thong Nai Pan. It’s a bay that has 2 beaches and one of them is Thong Nai Pan Noi. It’s so beautiful, with only few luxurious hotels. The other beach is Thong Nai Pan Yai. What’s great about this beach is that there is a lot fewer people.
On the very East part of the island, there are 2 precious beaches; Haad Thong Reng and Haad Nam Tok. These are not very well-known but they are very beautiful. They are pretty much private beaches. Haad Nam Tok is right by the end of a waterfall. It’s pretty unique. However, you can only reach them with taxi boat service. Though, I insist you check them out.
Haad Rin is the most famous beach in Phangan. It’s where the famous Full Moon Party occurs. The length of this white beach is always filled with tourists, sunbathing and swimming in the sea. Many facilities are located within this area, including cheap hostels, hospitals and piers.
Baan Tai Beach is good if you are looking for budget beach front accommodations. It’s a perfect location. It’s not far from the main pier and it’s only 3 minutes walking to Big C Supermarket. There are many local restaurants and bars in the area. If you are interested on staying in this area, you might want to check out V-View Beach Resort. It’s very quiet. The food is great, the view is amazing and there is a nice swimming pool as well. Price is also great! A standard room with fan is about 600 baht.
Top 5 Waterfalls in Koh Phangan
- Paradise Waterfall
- Thaan Prawet Waterfall
- Thaan Sadet Waterfall
- Thaan Praphad Waterfall
- Phaeng Waterfall
Phangan Island does not only has great beaches. There are several amazing waterfalls as well. My favourite one is Paradise Waterfall. It is privately owned but there is no entrance fee. There is a big pond that you could enjoy jumping off the swing into cold water. There are also layers of cascades that you could carefully explore.
Thaan Prawet, Thaan Sadet and Thaan Praphad waterfalls are named after several visits of King Rama V. They are massive and beautiful. The combination of cliffs, cascades and water makes these waterfalls a must. It’s also possible to have a small picnic within the area of these waterfalls, just don’t forget to clean up.
One of the most memorable experience is definitely at Phaeng Waterfall. The place is just nice. You could spend about 2 hours trekking around the area. The surrounding is just as good as the waterfall itself.
Other Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Phangan
- Party the Full Moon Party at Haad Rin
- Wakeboarding at Wake Up! Wakeboarding
- Wipeout at the Challenge Koh Phangan
- Daytime party at Slip N Fly
- Kiteboarding with Breeze Kiteboarding
Arguably, one of the main reasons why there are tourists all year round in this amazing island is because of the Full Moon Party. It’s authentic since 1985. About 30,000 people party here every full moon nights. They also organize parties on many festive nights, including New Year’s Eve. I witness one of the most amazing countdown fireworks here. It’s massive and really fancy, with colourful explosions from the dark sea. I would really recommend trying to party until the sun rises. It’s amazingly beautiful and it feels so good!
If you are interested then you could check the dates and other related information here.
If you are looking for something to do that’s a bit more engaging, there is a lot here. You could try Wake Up! Wakeboarding at Chaloklum Bay. It’s a lot of fun and the view is amazing. Or you might want to bring your GoPro and spend your day at The Challenge Phangan. It’s just like the Wipe Out, with many obstacles. It’s another way of getting tan. The price is 500 baht for a day.
One of my favourite place to hangout is at Slip N Fly. It’s a place to party during the daytime. They have splash pool, slides, pool tables, restaurants, beer pong bar and other facilities. It doesn’t operates everyday so you might want to check the available dates here. The price is around 600 baht for a day.
However, if you want to try something a little bit different, you should check kiteboarding out. It’s a mix between kite surfing and wakeboarding. It’s a great fun! The provider I would recommend is Breeze Kiteboarding at Baan Tai Beach. It’s close to V-View Beach Resort I mentioned earlier, with only 2 minutes walking. If kiteboarding is not your thing, they also do windsurfing and paddle boarding. They have nice accommodation and facility as well, which is perfect if you want to advance your skill. The staffs are also really nice and friendly.