Koh Phangan
Thailand
By Christopher Feddersen

Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Phangan offers the lush green jungle and emerald waters that are harder to find on Thailand’s more developed islands such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Phi Phi. The relatively light infrastructure and cheap prices on this small 100- square mile island make it a magnet for backpackers, but families in well-appointed resorts will also appreciate the casual, laid back nature here. Throughout the world, Koh Phangan is also known as home to the world’s biggest beach party, the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party.

WhatsCheaper.com wants to help you book your trip to Koh Phangan. Find flights to Koh Phangan’s two nearest airports: Surat Thani Airport (URT) which is a four hour ferry ride to Koh Phangan and Koh Samui Airport (USM) which is a one hour ferry ride to Koh Phangan at (http://www.whatscheaper.com/flight.php). Find the Koh Phangan hotel that’s right for you with WhatsCheaper.com at (http://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php).

WhatsCheaper.com recommends experiencing Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party on Haad Rin beach. This beach party has become so popular that it seems to occur with any lunar phase. If you have an opportunity to see it on a full moon or on a major festival or holiday, however, you will be treated to the jaw-dropping sights and sounds of nearly 50,000 revelers partying on the island’s largest beach. The party is fueled by the dance music of dozens of bars and clubs strung along the sand and by a local concoction of Thai whiskey, soda and energy drinks served in and consumed from a plastic bucket. The semi-monthly Half Moon Party is celebrated in the jungles near Haad Rin the week before and the week after the Full Moon Party.

The island is not overrun by the Full Moon Party, however, and it is easy to find the hammock-swinging peace and quiet that Koh Phangan is also known for.

The island boasts a healthy selection of beaches. Haad Khuat, or Bottle Beach, boasts fine white sand and emerald water with interesting rock formations and plenty of palm trees as a backdrop. As with many of the larger beaches, there are bungalows to rent on Bottle Beach so one can visit as a day trip or overnight. Haad Than Sadet, Haad Thian and Haad Yuan are beautifully pristine beaches that are more secluded but with fewer amenities. You can travel between the island’s beaches easily by renting a scooter or by songthaew (shared taxis) which circle the island frequently. WhatsCheaper.com recommends a day-trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park. This unique archipelago is a fantasy land of limestone islands and crystal clear water that also offers memorable snorkeling. In the evenings, the busier beaches play host to restaurants on the sand, fire dancers and floating candle lanterns that you can release upward into the night sky.

Koh Phangan also serves as a spiritual retreat. Yoga and meditation facilities come in all varieties and can be found in the mountains and on the beaches. Consider visiting Wat Pho, a temple that specializes in tranquility and therapeutic treatments such as herbal sauna and massage. Not far from Thong Sala is the Kuan Yin Chinese temple, an enchanting and relaxing complex of manicured gardens, pagodas and Buddha statues.

For more vigorous activities, look to the island’s jungles and scuba dive sites. WhatsCheaper.com invites you to explore the interior of the island including seeing the waterfalls of Nam Tok Than Sadet and Nam Tok Phaeng. Than Sadet waterfall has become a favorite among the Thai Royal family and is still used for some royal ceremonies. The path to Phaeng waterfall continues upward among crocodiles, deer and monkeys to the highest point on the island, Khao Ra. Here, there is a vantage point from which you can see nearby islands. Riding an elephant is another way to explore the jungles of Koh Phangan. Most elephant treks are begun at Baan Chaloklum in the north of the island.

Some of the gulf’s best scuba dive sites are around Koh Phangan led by Sail Rock, a magnificent limestone formation rising out of the water that offers spectacular wall diving. Koh Mah offers beach access diving from Mae Haad beach where grouper and barracuda are easy to spot. Off of Haad Salad and Had Yao, there is an extensive coral reef.

When you do not want to venture far from your hotel, remember that Koh Phangan offers exquisite Thai food at bargain prices. WhatsCheaper.com suggests taking one of several Thai cooking classes offered on the island that will introduce you to the aromatic and exotic flavors of Thai cuisine in a fun atmosphere.

The prevailing attitude on Koh Phangan is informal and easygoing. This is as true among the locals as it is among the tourists. You will enjoy the hospitality and strong Thai culture of this small island. Book your trip to Koh Phangan with WhatsCheaper.com by clicking the links above.

MUST SEE IN Koh Phangan LIST:

  • 1. Full Moon Party
  • 2. Half Moon Party
  • 3. Haad Rin Beach
  • 4. Haad Khuat Beach
  • 5. Ang Thong National Marine Park
  • 6. Sail Rock
  • 7. Thong Sala Night Market
  • 8. Phaeng Waterfall
  • 9. Kuan Yin Chinese Temple
  • 10. Than Sadet Waterfall

Koh Phangan EVENT CALENDAR:

  • 1. Full Moon Party - Monthly
  • 2. Half Moon Party - Semi-monthly
  • 3. New Year's Eve - January
  • 4. Songkran Festival - April
  • 5. Coronation Day - May
  • 6. Vesak Day - June
  • 7. H.M. The Queen's Birthday - August
  • 8. Koh Phangan Marathon - October
  • 9. Loy Kratong Festival of Lights - November
  • 10. H.M. The King's Birthday - December

PHOTO GALLERY